I love the dark morning hours. I love to awaken early, brew a cup of hot tea, and move to the upstairs loft, where I can be quiet, still, and alone. It is, I’ve proclaimed, “quiet hours” in the house. After an hour or two, I break the silence to begin the active part of my day.
During this early morning time, I may read poetry, meditate, write, or simply look out the window to the forest behind our house, all while slowly sipping tea. Or I may move to the computer to catch up on news or send an early-morning email. Most mornings I do a combination of these.
During this time I often set an intention for the day, how I want to be in relationship with this day, with others, with myself. In his book, To Bless the Space between Us,* John O’Donohue has a beautiful intention, one that I sometimes adopt as my own:
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love. (p.8)
This rhythm of this early morning extended time is something I’ve desired for a long time but found difficult to do in my working life. Now that I’ve begun retirement and can choose my activities and schedule carefully, I want to continue with this morning ritual that is, paradoxically, both wasted time and productive time. One of the best times of my day.
*Published by Doubleday, copyright 2008.