I’m thrilled to introduce you to Ashley and her newly published book, A Beautiful Morning. Ashley lives in Florida with her husband and son and their rescued beagle, Snoopy. She has been a professional freelance writer for more than twenty-five years and authors the blog Joy Detectives, but this is her first book.
The idea for A Beautiful Morning began with many not-so-beautiful mornings. Never a morning person, Ashley said she would sleep as late as possible and race to get ready. Her days felt hectic and rushed, leaving her feeling impatient and frustrated. Tired of feeling tired, she began “investigating how to live more peacefully and joyfully.”
Her investigation led her to the idea of adopting a morning ritual. She started small: stretching in bed, deep breathing, and repeating mantras. She then experimented with adding other things like waking up earlier, writing morning pages, and taking her coffee outside.
It was on one such morning, outside with coffee in hand, that she began wondering how other inspiring women spent their mornings. Surely they, too, had morning rituals. Thus, the idea for A Beautiful Morning dawned.
She decided to interview women she admired who, as she put it, “are following their dreams and creating lives that fulfill them” to learn “about their morning rituals so I could share that information with others to help them experience this life-changing magic.”
When asked about the biggest challenge she faced in the process—writing, publishing, or otherwise—she said, “For me, the most challenging part was believing in myself—and the idea—enough to actually start the project and then keep going. It is a difficult journey, especially if you are self-publishing and are responsible for all aspects yourself. While I’ve been a professional writer for more than twenty-five years, this was the first time I’d written a book. But every time I interviewed someone and learned how vital their morning practice was to them, it reaffirmed my initial idea that this book could help others, and that spurred me on.”
I was fortunate enough to be one of the women Ashley interviewed, and I suggested she also interview my dear friend and mentor, Lezlie Laws. During my interview and chapter, I discussed how my morning practice has varied over the years, but how Lezlie helped me define a daily ritual which includes praying (“I ask to be led to say and do, whatever will best serve those I encounter, and to bring kindness to the people whose paths I cross.”); reading intentions I’ve written, writing, and doing a guided meditation.
From the book, I am quoted as saying:
My ritual starts my day off right. It puts me in a place where I’m a lot more focused and calm. If I get sucked into checking email first, I’m gone. Then I’m in multitasking mode, and I’m hopping from thing to thing. A set practice helps me focus on one item at a time, which sets the tone for the day. I’m more mindful of my choices and where I’m putting my time and energy.
I also suggest that you start with something doable and be realistic about how much time you really have: “Doing something for five minutes each day consistently is better than doing an hour every four days.”
Lezlie believes a morning ritual to be so important, she requires all her clients to have one, and calls them “foundational practices” because they set the foundation for living creatively. Lezlie advised:
Look at this idea of a morning ritual as a life experiment. Think of yourself as a walking laboratory. Just like a scientist, be vigilant and observant about the way you’re feeling and the way you’re responding, and begin to connect how you feel with what you’re doing in your morning practice.
(Lezlie constructed a practice called the TIA Method, which she’s outlined in a journal we just published. The journal describes the process and gives you pages for your first thirty or ninety days. Check it out at LezlieLaws.com.)
Once Ashley began interviewing everyone for the book, she began to adopt pieces of their rituals, like Koelle Simpson’s practice of breathing and visualizing energy moving up her spine. I was pleased to learn that she also added an evening ritual after hearing about my Five-Year Journal. Ashley purchased one, and now she writes in it each day just before bed.
If you want to discover the power of a morning ritual to transform your day—and your life–pick up a copy of A Beautiful Morning available on the book’s website and on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and iBook/Nook formats. Learn how a ritual can provide space for clarity and inspiration, refresh and restore you, enhance your relationships, empower you to be your best self, and enable you to steer your life with purpose toward a clear vision of what you want.
While A Beautiful Morning inspires readers to adopt a powerful, transformative morning ritual, Ashley Ellington Brown inspires writers to persevere. When asked what advice she has for writers trying to begin, continue, or finish writing the stories that live in their hearts, she responded with a resounding, “Keep going! The feeling when you finish is truly magnificent and worth all the effort. Also, what you have to say is important. The world needs your voice. Writing is a sacred act that can be healing for you and for others. Be brave and put yourself out there. And gather a team around you to cheer you on. Doing this alone is so difficult; having someone like Patricia to advise and encourage you will make a huge difference.”
Well done, Ashley. I wish you much success. Know that many lives will be touched by the information you’re sharing.
I’m curious to know if you have a morning ritual. If so, I’d love to hear about it, so please share that below.
To read more about the A Beautiful Morning, to order a copy for yourself or a friend, and to read about some of the other fabulous women who contributed their wisdom and experiences in the book, click here.