Sometimes the first few minutes of the day are the only quiet time I have. At first light, before the day has attained its energy and push, before agendas and lists and demands can form, before my mind has revved up with all its ideas and opinions and anxieties, I get out of bed, make a cup of tea and have myself a quiet sit.
For most adults, our entire day is crammed with planning and strategizing and problem solving. Our minds and bodies are in full gear as we rush into the bright bustle of our human life. This is good — it's good to be energized and engaged in activities that keep us alive and give us a sense of purpose.
But for me, taking the quiet 20 minutes or so at first light to sit in a chair and sip a cup of tea are equally precious and life-giving. This takes a little discipline, for this is not the time to make lists and figure out my day's agenda. There will be plenty of that soon enough. Instead, I try to focus my attention on the sensory experiences around me. The smell and temperature of the tea, the way it feels when I swallow it. The specifics of the taste: strong, bitter, caramel, milky, sweet.
And I also wake up to the experience of my body, such a bundle of aches and pleasures and needs. Again, I resist turning this into a list of do's and should's and try to just enjoy the fact that I have this body, that I'm alive in this body and, for this time at least, nothing needs fixing or changing or attending to.
Unless its the deepest winter, slowly the room brightens as the sun comes up, sometimes with full-on splendor and sometimes shrouded in fog and whispers. Occasionally a bird chirps, mixing in with the sound of the refrigerator, a car door slamming, a dog barking, a neighbor's cough. No matter what time of the year, its usually cool in the morning and I take comfort in the warmth of the tea, and the shelter of my tiny apartment.
Another day has begun, full of possibility. What will it bring? And how will I meet it? With what body, heart and mind will I meet it?
(Image: Dana Velden)