24 June, 2009

Waking Early

wakingearlyOkay, so this was supposed to be about conversations in Chicago about politics, but there’s time for that. I wanted to share this link that a friend posted on FB about the ‘Ten Benefits of Rising Early & How To Do It.’ which is written by author, Leo Babauto. Here’s #1:

Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’

Okay, so just for the record I’m not turning into (horrors!) a wishy-washing, touchy-feely, new-agey…..anything else?…..bore. Which is not to say that Leo is one. Leo has accomplished incredible things by simplifying life. I am far from that place yet, though I think some changes are afoot inside my head. But this post spoke to me because I wake up sometime after 5.30 now in order to get to therapy by 6.45 am. I wake up early because I decided to bike it there instead of driving. I chose the time of day and mode of transport because (a) I didn’t want to “wait for radiation” all day long as if it were the most important appointment of my day, and (b) because I wanted to do something healthy and right for myself and the world to counter the fact that I was going in to treat something that was “wrong” with me.

I am a night owl who now loves waking early. It is peaceful and lovely all along my drive which is only two or so blocks from Philly most of the way. I am moving slow enough to hear the birds, feel the air, admire the flowers planted around the many-roomed homes along the way – instead of cursing at their stop signs like I used to do. I make eye contact with other early risers, joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers. I sing as I go because those down hills make the songs burst forth. I’m not listening to recorded music in the car, it is just whatever comes to mind. At first I would sit back down on the bike when I saw other people, thinking they’d be concerned by a full grown woman standing up on the pedals, but now I don’t care what they think, I feel the world is big enough for their inhibitions, if such there be, and my lack of them.

There are moments when I wonder if this is “right” for me as I huff and puff my bottom up hills and/or am drenched by insensitive motorists on the main road, or worse, seek refuge like a child on pavements barely wide enough for cats let alone a bike and me atop). But what could have been a ritual that reminded me only of the impossible fragility of life and the way its end walks a heartbeat away from the conduct of our days, I am happy for the morning that has broken, and for the ability to bear witness to its coming.

Leaving a warm bed for that? Sure, it’s worth it.

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One Response to “Waking Early”

  1. Karl Maria Fattig says:

    Morning is survival… night is release/surrender… or so it goes for me. This is a beautiful post, Ru. Thanks for sharing it.

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The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.


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