As I get older I wake up earlier. At first this caused me worry and upset. Why was I up so early? How could this be good? Waking up early began to be associated with worry and anxiety.
(sunrise winter 2013, by me)
After I calmed down, which took years, I realized I woke up early because that was what my body wanted and needed to do naturally. It helps, I imagine, that now I am fortunate enough to be able to go to bed and fall asleep fairly easily. During the night my body gets the rest it needs to wake up on it’s own. Rested and refreshed. Whatever the hour may be.
Having gotten through that, I worked on using that dark, quiet time and allowed myself to begin to go inward consciously and take care of myself in another way. I have no name for it.
You can call it prayer, contemplation, reflection, introspection, meditation, being present or mindful, you can call it what ever you want. I call it listening to the songs the sunrise sings.
I listen to stillness and silence. I listen to the music only the sun absent darkness sings. I listen to my breath. I listen to my heart beat. I listen to the song of my husband’s breathing. Of the purring of the cat. I listen to every thing I cannot hear during the noise of the day.
“The only journey is the journey within.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
I come to terms, find peace and closure with thoughts and emotions. I listen to all the stories filled with drama that my mind creates about the past, which is gone, and the future which hasn’t’ even happened yet. And then I close the book on those stories and put them away.
And I return to experiencing the gift of the early morning. I discover things. About who I am. Who I am not. Who I want to be. Who I do not want to be. I sort through crap and gunk, and discard them. I think about choices I have and choices I can make. About being kind. Patient. About what it means to respect others. Especially people who are very different from me. I think about the choices I can make in working with young children and their families and how I might make a difference in their lives. I remember I can choose the way I respond to things, to worry, to fear, to anger and disappointment.
I think about the kind of person I want to be.
Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.
~Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
As the sun rises and light slowly pushes the night away, Nature begins to sing and hum. Birds call to one another. Bees get ready to do their dance of information sharing, trees bend as strength against the wind.
Presented before me is a new day. A day with no story written. Oh sure, I have to go work, do the grocery shopping, make dinner, pay bills…..but within those things, the script can be new, different. If I make that choice.
I am such a small, small thing in this great, infinite universe. I am really not significant. All I can do is to make a choice each day about the kind of tiny speck I want to be. I want to sparkle and make someone smile. I want to open my arms to embrace and comfort. I want to champion compassion and hope. I want to foster respect and generosity of heart. I want to be the speck that nourishes and sustains.
“When your heart speaks, take good notes.” ~Judith Campbell
Do I succeed with all of this every day? No. Of course not. But every day is a new day. The sunrise reminds me of this. I don’t get so caught up with the not succeeding part. I hold on to the possibility part.
So this morning when I listened to the songs of the sunrise I thought perhaps I should explain the title of this blog and why I listen to these songs. About why I am grateful to wake up early. I had a whole other blog entry ready, but today was not the day for that one.