Starting the day predictably creates space for innovation

Each day, I wake up early. Before the sun begins to peek over the sleeping volcano to my east. I walk the short distance from the house to my studio and flip the lights on, “Good Morning birds,” I sing out. Sammy, my african gray parrot looks at me with her head tilted to the side and then stretches her wings and climbs out her now opened door. Griffin, my long-time companion conure, lets out a few peeps but stays in his sleeping spot for a while longer.

I get my mug and boil water for my french press coffee.

I share my coffee with one or both parrots on my shoulder or knee. No other people. No blaring television or radio.

Sammy’s zygodactyl feet perched on my knee. I drink coffee, she preens her feathers.


I have started my days in some variation of this ritual for years now. Through several cross-country moves, through three academic degrees, through joy and heartache.

What I’ve learned is that this ritual allows me the headspace to be more creative, more engaged in inquiry throughout my day. I can live into my desired role as a change-agent when I have a grounded sense of stability at the start of each day.

Change is scary. Disrupting long-held institutional practices or engaging in a personal growth process can be some of the scariest work we do in our personal lives. And it can be lonely without peers or champions in the endeavor. What works for me, what allows me to question and push is the comfort in trust that each morning I can begin again. I can start with a mug and the soft sound of feathers.

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