Stories from Healthy Mind

How Making Morning Altars From Nature Helped This Artist Heal His Broken Heart

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsApril 27, 2018

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All Photos: Day Schildkret

Maybe your usual morning routine involves a tall glass of lemon water, a clarifying meditation, and a quick bite before dashing off to your morning sweat sesh. But for Morning Altars artist Day Schildkret, the a.m. looks a little different.

After undergoing a particularly crushing breakup (been there), the artist found an unexpected outlet for mending his aching heart. One morning, while walking his dog, Schildkret began absent-mindedly collecting fallen leaves, twigs, and other detritus off the ground. Before he knew it, he was sitting on the ground, creating altars out of the scraps of nature he had found. And, for the first time since the breakup, he began to feel better.

“Two hours later, I made something really beautiful and I felt better,” Schildkret says. “I realized, Oh, this is something that is so healing, healthy, and helpful.”

“That’s what my art is really teaching: how to love things because you know that they’re really limited.” —Day Schildkret, artist

After that first “aha!” morning, the artist challenged himself to create morning altars for the next 30 days. Not only did he meet his goal, but the earth devotee has built thousands (yes, thousands) of pieces since then. (Many of which are compiled in a book due out in October from Countryman Press/Norton.) He now views this sacred ritual as an everyday reminder that beauty is often impermanent—and all the more gorgeous for that very reason.

“That’s what my art is really teaching: how to love things because you know that they’re really limited. To really love the beauty in life, and the beauty we’re making in the world is, at the same time, to understand the limitation of it,” he says.

Keep scrolling for 5 of Schildkret’s morning altars that will remind you how wondrous Mother Earth *really* is.

Enchanté

earth day slideshow

Desert Sunrise

Earth day slideshow

Fruits of Labor

earth day altar slideshow

The House Made Ready

Earth Day altar slideshow

Lady Nouveau

Earth day altars slideshow

To spend more QT outdoors, try the best waterfall hike in your state or travel to one of these 8 dreamy places where you can sleep in nature.

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