Reading John O’Donohue’s words (shared below) on the altar of dawn has evoked mixed feelings in me.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
– John O’Donohue
The Altar Of Dawn
While these words are very inspiring, they also make me feel a sense of longing combined with guilt.
I used to be a morning person. When I was in school and college, and had exams coming up, I would get up at the crack of dawn to study. Later, getting to work on time was no problem, because I was up by 6 am.
I know the value of the quiet morning. Being awake when the rest of the house is asleep. The value of time spent with oneself in quiet reflection. The peace that comes with morning prayer and scripture reflection. The meaning that time spent writing my morning pages brings to my life.
But in recent times, I’m struggling to get up early – and hence the guilt. I’ve tried not to take my phone to the bedroom, so as to sleep early. Tried not to read too late either, but I find myself getting up in the middle of the night and tossing about. And then the best sleep comes at dawn!
I long for the quiet and calm of dawn. Truly an altar where I can lay my thoughts, fears, hopes and all I want to achieve in the day ahead. But it’s not happening consistently. And waking up later means heading into the morning chores first, and then sitting down for reflection and writing. Somehow it doesn’t feel the same.
Do you have the same struggle? If you’re an early riser, do you have any tips for me?
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