The match strikes, the familiar scratch and whirring sound of the flame, a bright flash of white, then yellow, orange and blue resonate before dwindling to a small flame. The gentle earthy smells of sulfur and warm wood.
There is something in this simple act that immediately connects me to what is sacred. Something primal, universal, infinite and yet deeply personal. It’s all of that rolled into one. When we connect to moments that have both the expansive and intimate, we can tap into meaning.
It’s 4:30 am on Monday morning, the alarm buzzes once as I hop out of bed, grab my watch and head to another room to change in the dark. I mix interval training, weight lifting, endurance runs, and gentle stretches to start my day.
Upon returning home at 6:00 I’m already feeling like I claimed my day. I make coffee, shifting to a calm and intentional state. I light the candles in our living room, one with a grounding scent of palo santo and cedarwood, another with lavender, frankincense and cedarwood. Two sticks of incense are lit. The smoke rises and billows.
I take a seat and pause for a ten-minute meditation. Next, gratitude, intentions and mantras will carry through. Sometimes, these morning moments are taken outside to the porch for a few minutes with coffee in hand, watching the other early risers.
As a full-time teacher, most of the day is spent caring for others and tending to the needs of the middle school students I teach. There is deep reverence and gratitude for this always, but heightened especially when a simple match sparks the morning routines awakening all senses.
What is it that awakens your senses? What is it that helps you to feel connected? My own rituals and routines have evolved over the years and it all started with getting honest and clear about what I needed.
Each new season of life requests something slightly different. I know that to feel my best I continue to keep evolving, setting both short- and long-term goals for my growth. By asking myself a series of questions to serve as a guide in mapping my multi-sensory rituals and routines. Remembering that life is always in flux and therefore the answers to those questions may shift with each season.
I am my most optimistic self when I:
Example: Wake up early, start my day with movement, pause for a cup of coffee and drink enough water.
I am my most grounded self when I:
Example: Do yoga consistently, set intentions, limit time with electronics.
I am my most productive self when I:
Example: Get enough rest, listen to what is needed and what is currently happening with my circumstances, the seasons, and my family.
I am my most loving self:
Example: When I do a daily gratitude journal, set intentions, and choose to focus my thoughts on all that is going well.
I am my most connected self:
Example: When I listen to my intuition, take time with nature, when I make time for my spouse, family, friends and co-workers.
by Amy Bilden, yoga instructor RYT 200 // founder of Bilden Farmacy
Amy is a graduate of Sama Yoga Academy’s YTT-200-hour and Restorative Teacher Training programs. Amy’s love of movement and self-expression are present in her classes and extend beyond the mat and into her daily life as an artist, art educator and marathon runner. By cultivating a practice on the mat we can transform our experience off the mat. In 2020 Amy founded bilden farmacy, hand-poured candles that offer rituals from Sama to home. “By caring for ourselves we are contributing to the greater good of our shared planet.”