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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Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
Hi Corinne – I discovered John O’Donohue on a calendar quote many years ago – and he has some very profound thoughts. I liked the line “May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,” and to be honest, I don’t think it matters if we do our thinking in the morning, afternoon, or evening…..what matters is that we take the time to pause and reflect and not let life drown out what’s really important. 🙂
You’re right, Leanne. I really need to be more flexible about this and ditch the guilt.
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Flowing Faithfully
I feel you, Corinne! I struggle everyday. And then beat myself up for it. Now my daughters and I have started an accountability group where we all come on a zoom call at 8 am and exercise together. This has been helping.
That’s a fab idea! Nice way to really connect too.
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Flowing Faithfully
There is so much one can achieve by waking up early. The golden hour is indeed precious and unique.
It’s synchronous how you and I sail in the same boat, more often than not. I’ve been an early bird too, always. In fact last year I would wake up at 4 am to meditate, minus any alarm clocks. Loved wrapping up my practises, including journaling, yoga etc by 7 am. But the last 3 months or so, I’ve also been struggling to wake up early.
But then I tried yesterday onwards. Slept early, no gadgets an hour before bedtime, and managed to be up by 5:45 am. Today the alarm didn’t go off, so I kept sleeping again.
The thing is sleeping well isn’t an issue. Touche’ to that!
But I realise I have been feeling tired a lot, so that extra 2 hours of early morning sleep feels a lot more relaxing.
But I’m telling myself I can grab a quick afternoon snooze if I wake up early. Let’s see how it goes. (you can too if you wake up early)
Getting off the gadgets two hours before bedtime, and lulling myself to sleep with a nice book, writing affirmations, gratitude and meditating before bed time helps get a good sleep. Even a nice warm bath is a great idea.
I think if one promises to wake up at a fixed time, however late one sleeps it may help. Idea is to sleep and wake up at a fixed time, but if for some reason the sleeping gets delayed, one can grab a power nap time during the course of the day. (my mum used to say this and I know it works)
I am affirming early morning wake ups and energetic immune systems and a relaxed body for both of us. So it is!
Natasha recently posted..Anticipate
I’ve tried it all, Natasha. But I do believe in auto-suggestion – but I wake up at 5.30 and then go back to sleep. I guess I just need to kick myself out of bed then! 😉
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..The Roots Of All Goodness
Holly G Jahangiri
Since retiring, I’ve let go of a lot of stress. I tend to sleep earlier and wake earlier, naturally, without having to set an alarm. Now, if I wanted to have the house all to myself and enjoy the pre-dawn hours and greet the dawn, I might have to set an alarm. I may try it, because I am bone-tired by bedtime, most days. I used to be a night owl, but this is changing.
I love this poem. I hadn’t run across it before, so thank you for sharing it and your thoughts on it. Let go of guilt, and maybe sleep will come when you want it to. Quell the racing thoughts of what should be or might have been, so that you can sleep and wake refreshed and ready to do the things you want to do, as well as your morning chores.
Holly G Jahangiri recently posted..Traveling South Dakota:Wind Cave
Corinne, I used to be an early riser like 4 am ish. Until last year, somehow I flip flopped, and now I rise between 8 & 10 am ish.
Paula Short recently posted..A Prayer That Got Answered In An Unexpected Way
This article hits home for me so hard. As a mom of two, with a full-time job, spouse, extra curriculars, and sports schedules, I am TIRED and more than anything do not want to get up before the sun. I force myself now, because I have to, whereas before I did it because I enjoyed that quiet, peaceful, early morning before the rest of the house wakes exactly as you mentioned. I felt that feeling reading this, and I think changing my perspective can make me enjoy it again. I loved reading other’s stories and connecting too. Thank you for this.