A week and a half ago I began to reacquaint myself with early mornings. On purpose. That’s right. I set my alarm clock for six am and actually got out of bed and wait for it, turned on my laptop and streamed 30 minute workouts. And completed them.
It’s not that I’m a stranger to exercising or that I’m a stranger to mornings either. I would say with 100% confidence that I’ve always been a morning person.
Yet in the years that have passed since I left my full time job, I have absolutely delighted in not having to wake up at 5 am. I have rediscovered the joys of sleeping in (which for me is 7 am–can’t make myself sleep longer no matter what I’ve ever done!) But in the process I lost an element that was critical to who I am at my deepest level. I lost my quiet.
I traded early mornings and quiet moments for extra z’s and zero to sixty daybreaks.
It only took three days of setting my alarm for 6 am (and doing those workouts) to reset my sleep clock. I’ve been up and awake between 5 and 6 am daily since. It’s the wildest cause and effect story I’ve been a part of in the last year. Granted, it comes with a price tag on the other side of the day–night time. If I can keep my eyes open until 10 pm, that’s a big deal.
What part of myself did I lose when I was forgoing early mornings?
I lost the time to gather myself, whether through intentional “quiet time” or just sitting down and watching the sun rise.
Another way of thinking about it is to use an metaphor from the workout world. Stretching. Without even a few minutes of alertness before the stampede of children, I became like a person who jumps into a long run without stretching, and possibly depending on how long that goes, without training. Preparing my mind, body, or spirit for those little souls, for my own as well is actually directly related to setting aside this daily time.
And who would have thought that adding something (an early morning exercise routine!) to my already busy life would be the way I would tease out this lesson?
What part of myself have I rediscovered since rising early?
This isn’t just a story of relearning the importance of getting my blood pumping. After all, I’ve been exercising A LOT for months and years. Actually, since I was about 10! Rather, it’s even bigger than that. While setting my clock for 6 has gotten me up and going a full hour earlier than when I had been rising, it’s actually reacquainted me with quiet moments again. And the power of those.
Because, now, not only am I ready at 6 to do my short workout video, but I’m waking up spontaneously even earlier. (What?! There is an hour earlier than 6 am?) I’ve been waking up at 5:30 and even 5 am! My mind is alert and my eyes are open. I have time to write. Time to read. Time to open my Bible and read a few lines and focus on what God might be asking of me or giving to me. The pen is still in motion as to the relationship between these mornings and this discovery process, but the pattern has emerged quite clearly for now. Making a priority to take care of my physical self has opened my eyes to another moment–one in which I can take care of my mind and my spirit too.
My higher thought is this:
I’m more whole. More awake. More flexible. More me. I’m more of all of it with this little big shift.
What about you? How can you restore wholeness to your life? In what ways are you being called to make small shifts?