As a child of night people, I grew up believing I was also a night person, and for the first many years of my life, I tended to sleep in (whenever possible) and stay up late (every night). I remember my dad saying once, somewhat wistfully, that he hated to give up the day. He and my mom were able to be productive until midnight, or even later, and were quite happy with that routine.
But for some years now, I have known that my natural rhythm is rooted in the calm of early morning. The stillness of the house at 5:00 am is a gentle usher into activity, the routine beginning of getting out the door. There is no better start to a hectic schedule than drinking my coffee and watching the sun come up. I know those moments are a precursor to the day’s pace, and in 2011, the pace is brisk. But the morning is a time of gathering myself, centering, preparing. I’m not going out to do battle! Let me hasten to say my life is not filled with conflict. It is filled with commitment….commitment to people, work, errands, to dos, information. The barrage of tasks, meetings, technology, obligations, desires…these things take their piece of time and energy.
Early morning is a great time to contemplate the workings of life. I don’t often find answers; mostly I think of new questions as I sit staring at the water and outline of the mountains appearing in the dawn. But even with questions and without answers, the peace of the moment reassures me. And that is the gift of early morning. I recognize that life begins anew each day. Circumstances don’t change overnight. But I can be new, face life with refreshed energy, renewed hope, a desire to try again.
There is a line by L. M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables that says, “Tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it.” Yes, I have to live with mistakes that follow me from the day before, or the year before. Some mistakes take a while to leave behind. But the morning presents another opportunity. And when I watch the sun come up, feel the hope of the day, I see the colors of potential.
Find your sweet spot regardless of the time of day. I think recognizing your rhythm is a big step toward sanity. If you’ve been living with less of that than you’d like, try getting up early, if that’s not a part of your routine. And if you’re already an early riser, try being still at the beginning of the day. With or without coffee in hand, it’s a great way to launch.