Morning night, morning light

I enjoy the darkness of the early morning. It has a nurturing softness. In the still-dark house, I move slowly and intentionally through my morning routine. Before too much movement or thought shakes the dreamy sleep from my head, I turn on the coffee pot and roll out my yoga mat in the living room for 20 minutes of gentle yoga and stretching. This quiet, prayer-full moving meditation invites my breath to slowly and gently waken my muscles and my mind. In the still dark morning, the monkey mind is still sleeping and the demands of the day have not yet arrived. I am not only surrounded by silence and stillness, I am filled with it as I fill my lungs with each breath. I set my intentions for the day during this quiet interlude between night and day, sleep and wakefulness.

With a bow to the rising sun that is still not yet peeking over the horizon, I roll up my mat and move to the kitchen. The coffee is ready. As I pour a cup, I notice the light coming from the chicken coop. I just put a light in there a few days ago. Chickens lay eggs when there are 12 hours of daylight or more. In our region, on this side of the equinox, 12 “daytime” hours is achieved with an artificial light on a timer.  I can only smile as I stand in my dark, quiet kitchen, looking through the dark, still yard to that beam of light. The coop is probably bright and noisy as the hens and rooster shake off the night in their own way. They will be stretching their wings, chattering and mingling about. I wonder if they are noticing that one of their friends spent the night outside. (We couldn’t find her when we closed up last night.) I will let the chickens out to explore the yard after it has gotten a little lighter. The rooster will crow to let me know when it is time.

Still moving gently through the dark, I take a shower and get dressed. Coming out of the bathroom, I hear my son stirring upstairs, heading to his shower. That is my cue that the day is arriving. It is time for me to move out of the transition zone and into the morning too. This time, I turn on the light as I enter the kitchen. I will make breakfast and pack lunch boxes. By the time I am done, there will be enough light outside to take the dog for a walk and let the chickens out of the coop so they can spend the day grazing. The day has arrived and I am ready to step gladly into the light.

Throughout the day, I will touch back into the morning’s stillness that is stored in the muscle memory of my body, mind and heart. It remains closer and clearer on some days more than others. I appreciate it when it is close, but the outcome is not the point. I just get to tend the practice with care and love each morning and strive to cultivate the same degree of intentionality throughout the day… And I get to share it all with you. May my morning reflection invite you to pause and embrace the dark and light of your own rising day. May we join together in stillness, gladness and gratitude for a new day.

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