I read an article in a magazine entitled “Are You Where You Want To Be?” by Anna Davies. She advised readers to wake up an hour early for a week. She says, “Use the extra time to work out or sip a latte. The point is, you’ll be practicing doing stuff because you want to, not because you have to.”
The truth is, I have been thinking of doing this for a few days now, but each time I tried to get up, I would just find myself crawling back under the covers. I would ambitiously set my alarm to go off at 6:00 in the morning, only to turn the blasted thing off . It was only the other day that I finally mustered enough discipline to “just do it!”
I woke up at 6:30 (like I said, maybe 6:00 was too ambitious. Baby steps might do the trick). I went to the jogging path just below our condominium and looked for a nice, quiet spot where I can sit and ponder on the meaning of life or something intellectual and philosophical like that. As soon as I found one and sat down, I thought, “Okay. Now what?” Was I supposed to take out my journal and have me a “dear diary” moment? Was I meant to write a cheesy poem? Was I meant to inhale, exhale, and open my chakras?
“Shut up!” a voice commanded.
Who said that?!
It turned out it was my own voice.
Once I stopped thinking, I accepted the fact that I did not need to do anything. It’s okay to be silent and to be alone with my own thoughts. Once in a while, it’s perfectly acceptable (and in fact, healthy) to do nothing and to make peace with your solitude. It is when your mind is relaxed when your best ideas are born.
It was when I allowed myself to be still that I was washed over by gratitude. Lately, I have been consumed by everyday problems. I wondered where happiness could be found, and where in the world I should look for it. But when I went down to the jogging path in my place, I looked around and the sight before me took my breath away, though I’ve seen it a number of times before. It was when I truly took notice of the things unnoticed — like the grass I could lie down on, the little benches I could sit on as I read or ruminate, and the fact that if I needed to stop, think, and breathe, there was a place I can run to and I did not even have to go too far.
I felt like Tyltyl and Mytyl from the story The Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck. They set off to search everywhere for the Bluebird of Happiness, only to return home and see that the bird was just in their own home all along.
My morning meditation not only taught me that I did not have to look far because I did have my own happy place, but it also taught me that even just the opportunity to wake up each morning is a luxury. It sounds like a cliche out of a self-help book, but it’s true that each morning is a a gift. It’s another chance to do the things you love, be with people you care about, or simply just learn and have priceless experiences.
The morning is also probably the best time to deepen your spirituality because it is when you are most refreshed and less frazzled. It’s an ideal time to talk to God (or whatever higher being you believe in) and just say a prayer of thanks. Some people list down things that they are grateful for for each day. I understand that this may seem like too much work, and may seem factitious for some, but taking note of things you are thankful for – whether written, verbal, or mental – does jack up one’s happiness because you get to set aside for a moment the things you don’t have and at least for a few minutes, appreciate the things you do have. No matter how small they seem, once you learn to take them into account, you’ll realize that you’re more blessed than you think.
There’s a sense of healing in being an early riser. In your relaxed and unhurried state, you get to slow down and see the happiness in even the little things. Even just a few minutes of early morning solitariness can keep you grounded. Waking up early may not be a guarantee that the rest of your day will be flawless and stress-free, but at least you get to start your day with a smile and a sense of inner calm, rather than frantically face the day and dreading the challenges that it might bring. It may or may not change your life dramatically, but what’s a few minutes a day to reflect and count your blessings? If a few minutes is all it takes to make you feel even the tiniest bit better, wouldn’t that be worth a lot?