Friday, January 4, 2013

The Morning Ritual (updated)

Hello everyone!

I'm sitting here a little after sunrise looking across the rice paddies beside my guesthouse in Ubud, Bali. It is such an amazing experience to be up at this time for "no good reason".

While most of us snooze this time of the day away, nature is busy at work. I've been watching a group of ducks searching for their breakfast in the fields below. I've seen birds, dragonflies, dogs, ants, spiders, and farmers already busy starting their days.

A farmer already up and busy with his day
Ducks having their breakfast. "The early duck catches the... whatever the thing is that ducks eat"

I'm just now smelling insense, so that means the owner of our guesthouse is up and doing the morning ritual.

This woman is even performing the ritual for a restaurant.
Offices and other places of business participate in this ritual as well.

The morning ritual or "ngejot" is performed by women every morning here. Women wake up early and prepare the food to be offered to the gods. Once the rice is cooked, they assemble the offering baskets. The baskets are small and consist of rice atop a small piece of banana leaf. They also put in other beautiful things to appease the gods and thank them for maintaining balance and harmony between the world of the gods and humans. After the baskets are assembled, the women dress in a traditional sarong and say prayers over the baskets, sprinkle them with holy water, and burn incense. These baskets are then placed in multiple areas of the home and businesses on little alters/chairs and even streets!

A typical chair/alter that can be found around Bali. This one was at a restaurant in Nusa Ceningan.

Street offerings in Nusa Lembongan

A woman and her daughter coming back from doing a morning ritual in Ubud, Bali

And they must do this all BEFORE they eat breakfast themselves!
Women here attribute their longer lifespan to the fact that they are faithful in doing this ritual every morning, as it makes them strong and gives them a pretty close relationship with the spirit world.

Mornings for me are never so glamorous and meaningful. I am NOT a morning person. I think most of us in the west are not "morning people". We are jolted awake -from what little sleep we get- by our alarm clocks.

Then after hitting snooze a few times, most of us stumble down the stairs to make the all-important, life-giving coffee. Then there is the usual struggle and fighting to get kids up, fed something really processed and sugary or really fatty and out the door to school- fully dressed, groomed, and with everything they need for the day.  

The Google Images version of "a morning routine in America"

This may be a little more accurate.
Photo from Orpah's "Three Ways To Stress-Proof Your Mornings"

I always hated the mornings as a child because of what this picture shows! Mom yelling to wake you up, yelling to get you dressed, yelling to get you in the car, yelling because you forgot your homework. What a horrible way to set the tone for the day.


But, this is the morning ritual most are faithful to every morning. 

After being here in Ubud, Bali. I really have a new found LOVE of mornings. It's hard to wake up in my high-rise apartment in Korea feeling so disconnected with the natural rhythms of the Earth. But I long to be in a place where I am more connected to this energy. It is so easy to wake up with the sun when you are in nature. Roosters and the occasional group of ducks provide a gentle, yet effective alarm clock. Waking up is gradual- a perfect way to ease yourself into the day. Sitting here, I have just jotted down a few ways that I hope to incorporate a new morning ritual in my life when I get back to Korea. Since I am an EXTREME hater of mornings, I am starting out small with steps 1-3. Then I'll work my way up to steps 4-6. I try to be realistic when setting my goals so I can reach them.

My New Morning Ritual 

(beginning ASAP)

1.)  Set the alarm for when I want to get up: 
      Instead of hitting snooze for a full hour before... yes- I do that. Sorry, Dave. 

2.) Do a morning affirmation in the mirror before I leave:
     I became inspired to do this when I saw a video one of my favorite Raw Vegan food coach's son.  
     This is his morning ritual. How beautiful would the world be if all children were taught this.

3.) Morning journal pages: I am going through the book "The Artist's Way" with a group of amazing women. This is a 3 month program to  and everyday we are asked to do a morning journal. We just write a steady stream of thought for three pages. 
More info here

-Rituals To Be Added Soon-

4.) Have breakfast as a family with my husband:
     Not taken in a to-go cup and drank on the bus. 

     I've been wanting to do this for so long. This would really ease my schedule of things to do later in
     the day.

6.) Meditate & Pray:
     Setting an intention for the day and taking time in the morning to breathe and focus my energy.

I guess I have been on the path to getting a good morning routine for some time. I get daily emails from 

I read both emails and reflect upon them on the bus on the way to work in the mornings. Both have brought so much wisdom and encouragement to my life. They are both very special to me. Check them out if you're interested.

I think in most cases, rituals are very meaningful. They keep us organized and focused. They also help the human mind find the predictability that it craves so much. 

Do you all have any morning rituals that inspire and help you? I would love to hear about them. I'm in need of more ideas to add to my list.

I have a very important and very soulful and meaningful YEARLY ritual that I have performed for the past two years. I can't wait to tell you about it soon. Be on the look out for the coming post, " My Yearly Ritual".

Wake up early tomorrow and listen to the beautiful music that the universe plays in the wee hours,


PS- I wrote that on my phone while I was still on vacation. I waited to post until I was back at home so I could add pictures. I'm now back in the wintery coldness that is currently Korea. :) 

This was me today. But after 11 days in tropical paradise,
I didn't mind so much.


  1. You made me want to live in a Southeast Asian country so badly. There is something to be said about the importance of nature in our everyday life, to feel connected to the earth, I was so desperate one day that I took my shoes off at Gwangalli and rubbed my feet in the sand IN DECEMBER! :) Your trip looked beautiful and good luck on taking the steps towards a peaceful morning ritual.

    1. There is such high energy in Ubud, Bali- and not like the "go go energy" of Korea. Ubud's energy comes from nature. We felt at ease there.

      I've never even been on the beach here in December... brrrrr... you must have been very desperate! But I love that you needed it in your life so bad that you just went for it!

  2. I am so not a morning person! With being a teacher in the US and waking up when it is still pitch dark outside is so difficult for me to get rejuvenated and ready to go in the morning. Several times I have tried to wake up with enough time to enjoy a good breakfast, have a relaxing devotion/prayer time, and maybe even an energizing exercise but so far it hasn't happened. I totally agree that starting off your day like this would help a lot!! Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Jami!
      Getting up early is super hard for me too. That's why I'm just going to start off with small things and after those become a habit, I will add more.

  3. It was annoying at first to be woken up by roosters. I was stubborn and wanted to enjoy my sleep without having to get up yet, but I quickly changed my mind and began to appreciate the natural wake up call every morning. It was crazy how quickly our sleep pattern changed while being in Bali. I hope to continue it as well. :)

  4. Also I wanted to add. So far I have added a light exercise routine involving pushups every morning. I'm loving it!

    1. I have always admired the fact that you shower and workout in the morning. You are such a committed person. I'm lucky.