How 10 Days in Wilderness Changed My Mornings

Every morning I opened my eyes to blue skies and the sun streaming through majestic Douglas firs. Between me, the earth, and the sky, was just a bit of translucent nylon.

The wilderness woke me up to just how far my morning rituals had strayed from attention to quiet, beauty, and breath.

I had backpacked into the Sierra’s with fabulous women. With our guides, we leaned into the wisdom of the Four Directions, East, South, West, and North.

We grounded ourselves in the natural world. 

I’m still learning from my experience. But I wanted to share how I’ve shifted my mornings. Maybe yours could be better?

I’m orienting myself to the East. It’s the direction of new beginnings, awe, and wonder. When I can’t see the sun, I use the compass on my phone to point myself East.

I’m (mostly) not worrying about neighbors hearing my energetic greeting or seeing me walking barefoot in the grass of my yard, talking to the plants.

“Good Morning, Sun! How are you trees? Firs, Pines, Maples? Hello, sky and clouds! Hello East! What new beginnings, awe, and wonder do you have in store for me today?”

You might think I left my mind in the woods. But just a month of this practice has restored a feeling of awe and wonder. 

It’s changed the culture of my mornings.

And culture is something I talk a lot about with the leaders and teams I coach. You’ve got a culture, but is it what you want?

I don’t need to tell you how easy it is to squander our most precious creative time or ignore our families or colleagues with our screens or worrying thoughts.  Watch where your attention goes.

I invite you to Greet the Day, where ever you live. 

  • Orient yourself to the direction of the sunrise (indoors, find an East-facing window or go outside for a few minutes)
  • Use your compass to find the East
  • Notice the plants, animals and sounds around you
  • Pretend they are all your friends and say hello
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Amaze yourself with the wonderful possibilities of the day
  • Follow with stretching, meditation, or journaling (and coffee!)

Let me know how it goes!


What’s Your Leadership Style?

Join my monthly newsletter of Conscious Leadership and the Enneagram HERE and get a Free download of the Nine ways of Seeing the World.