Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Morning Person"

When our kids were little, we usually walked them to school. We live in a mile-square town and bussing isn’t necessary, so we’d start each day with a half-mile trudge to the other side of town. Neither my husband (who did the bulk of the morning drop-offs) nor I minded—but my youngest son was never happy about this. “He’s just not a morning person!” the crossing-guard lady would comment every day, as my littlest shuffled past her, dragging his feet and looking miserable. He really wished he could be back in his cozy bed.
            I know that feeling, for I’ve never been a “morning person” myself. If I had my druthers I’d stay up until two or three a.m., sleep until 11 a.m., and then begin the whole process over again. But that’s not how the world works for most people—most have to get up and go to work. And for those who toil in their little home office (like myself), I’ve found lately that wasting the morning hours is a huge mistake. In fact, the earlier I get up these days the better everything goes. And early to bed, early to rise really is healthier for the body.
            My mom was always an early riser, and in the past I never could figure out what the heck she did with those morning hours. She’d rise at 5 or 5:30 a.m. and drink exactly one small cup of coffee. Sometimes she’d read the newspaper or wash dishes from the night before. Or she might just sit quietly watching the birds in the feeder (by ten p.m. she was ready for bed). I always found it peculiar that anyone would want to give up a few good hours of sleep in the morning just to sit and stare out the window.
Until now. Lately, I seem to be following in my mother’s footsteps, rising earlier and earlier. I find that this time of day holds a beautiful silence. I like being the only one awake in a quiet house. The phone doesn’t ring (nor do texts buzz), no one is driving up my block, and I can sip my decaf without folks interrupting to ask me where the tire pressure gage is or whether their favorite jeans are dry yet.
The ancient yogis believed that the “ambrosial hours” or the “amrit vela”—the two hours before dawn-- were the best for meditation. That may be true, but I find that even getting up at a reasonable six a.m. makes a big difference in the day. At this hour I can hear the cicadas, the chimes over my doorway, and the finches in the tops of the trees. I can think about how I want my day to go, set an intention for the things I want to accomplish, and witness the first moments of a new day miraculously unfolding.
I don’t really need an ancient guru to tell me that morning is the best time of day; my mother’s example said it all. In any case, I’m no longer a "night owl."  
“Night, all!” fits me better.

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