Dawning: Waking Up to Who We Are*

*Part 1 of 2

Photo by Susan Fischbach Isaacs

I’m noticing a trend in the last several weeks where I’m waking up naturally at about 7:00 AM. So far, for the most part, I’ve been rolling over to sleep more — just on principle. 7:00 just sounds so early. The truth is, though, I’ve been trying to get myself to bed earlier, at about 10:00 PM. I read until I fall asleep, but that’s almost always before 11:00. If I do the math, then, getting out of bed at 7:00 would give me right at eight hours of sleep, so there is a reason that I’m waking up at that time, early as it feels to me. My brain is active and creative at that time, too, I notice as I drift back in and out of sleep for another hour.

In my new honesty with myself and mindfulness (really, the same thing), I’m challenged with the awareness that I’ve gotten enough sleep and that I’m dozing through my most creative time of day. More often, now, I go ahead and get out of bed at 7 and write and just see what happens. You won’t be surprised to learn, I’ve lost nothing in this new practice. I daresay, it’s been beneficial.

There really is something peaceful about the first minutes of a new day dawning. My preference, of course, is to observe it through a window; but it is amazing and inspiring to see how the slightest changes in light make the world — and very particular parts of it — awaken and change, seemingly filled with hope, before my eyes.

In these moments I understand even more deeply the reason for metaphors of light — the incremental revelation of beauty and goodness after the masking cover of darkness in the night. As morning comes, God doesn’t just flip on a light switch to reveal the day in a blinding burst. The abrupt input from all directions would, at least temporarily, blind and overwhelm us.

Likewise, as we grow into ourselves and come out of our own particular darkness, it isn’t a sudden, flip-of-the-switch process. We gradually, often with the help of others, begin to shine light here or there in our lives and it reveals a bit more of a truth about ourselves we hadn’t before realized. This little bit of light helps us to see something of ourselves with new eyes; and once we try it out for a while to confirm it’s truth, we can shine a little more light there and learn a little more, and so on. Just as the light of day reveals the world to us at a peaceful pace each morning, so the persistent, gradual light of truth reveals to us our being.