Mastering The Morning Ritual

Steven Barnes
4 min readMay 15, 2020

Remember to BREATHE!! Sixty seconds of deep diaphragmatic breathing once every 1–3 hours is a sovereign remedy for stress, so powerful most people don’t really believe it can be that simple. It kinda can.

But once you have mastered the Five Minute Miracle, what then? You expand the first sixty seconds out into what we call The Morning Ritual. And it is equally magical…or even more so.

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I was broken when I found the Morning Ritual: a family emergency showed me I’d made a major error in my life plans, one which, for most of my life, I’d been clever enough to prevent from clobbering me.

Well, in life, you can run out of clever, but you can never run out of the truth.

I was utterly devastated by a family move to Atlanta. The move was for the best of reasons, but its result was that my entire life’s plan was shattered. I had no idea how I was going to get back on track, and in some core ways I understood that I wouldn’t and couldn’t.

Desperate, I remembered the Hero’s Journey. I was in the Dark Night of the Soul, and had lost all faith in my self.

But what of companions? Could I find something I trusted OUTSIDE myself? The step called “Finding Allies and Gaining Powers” suggested that it is common for a Hero to need outside assistance. Perhaps…just perhaps I had neglected this step, or could accomplish something positive here.

So I began researching books, videos, MP3 and notebooks filled with scrawled observations on various teachers I’d known. And also connected with a Life Coach, and he asked me what my Morning Ritual might be. And…I remembered a dozen other teachers over the years who had suggested versions of the same thing.

It clicked. And I combined everything I knew into the pattern I teach today. I don’t expect students to do it exactly as I did, but I NEED them to understand WHY it is structured the way it is before they change it. Then, they can find a way to make it their own. Once done, you can supercharge your day by controlling the “Diamond Hour”, the first hour of the day, making it set the tone of the next 24 hours.

Here’s a student’s recent experience with it:

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Paul Cowles posted this morning:

Hi all! Still plugging away. Steven Barnes asked that I share my experience with the morning ritual. It has become an integral

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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.