How to Drink the Dawn
Those who don’t feel this Love pulling them like a river
Those who don’t drink dawn like a cup of spring water
Or take sunset like supper
Those who don’t want to change let them sleep…
When trying to jumpstart your wonder, when trying to ignite your creativity, when trying to wake up altogether — you must start with mornings. There is no escaping them.
Well, actually, there are plenty of ways to escape mornings and to that, Rumi the beloved mystic writes, let them sleep.
But once you have felt the pull of the early light, it changes you. Once you encounter the grace of the early dawn, once you cup its spring waters and press your hands to your cheeks, then surge does not leave you. It baptizes you.
In my last piece, I talked about vulnerability as step one to waking up. Vulnerability breaks open your heart in ways that allow you to access wholehearted life. We live fragmented when we do not know what is going on in our souls, when we do not allow ourselves access to the full range of emotional expression.
Wholehearted living means taking a morning peripheral walk around the circumference of your coronary, scanning and thanking and noticing what is living inside. You peek into the corner recesses. You inspect the cracks most often overlooked and dust off the corners long forgotten.
It is said humans only use 30 percent of our brains and can survive on as little as 30 percent of our heart before heart failure. Physically, we have limitations. But when it comes to cupping wonder, we are limitless. When it comes to the possibilities of awakening our hearts, we are boundless, as this is the space of us beyond mind and body. This is our souls, the part of us that sees beyond time and space and eternally rests there. This is the part of us that seeks connection to grace, dances with the Beloved, and lives in the eternal summers of our childhoods, playing in our backyard forts. In order to enter the kingdom, we must become like these little ones we once were. Jesus himself reminds us of this:
Let the little children come to me and do not stop them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
To enter heaven on earth, we must become like wide-eyed toddlers waking in the morning light.
Mornings are a daily means to access the timeless shreds of our hearts. To reconnect with our inner five year old that couldn’t wait to play. To tap into the part of us that one day will be older and wiser and whispers back to us now, “Make the most of it because it’s all fabulous, even the heartaches.” To access the whole range, past and futures of our lives in an integrated and wholehearted fashion.
Mornings help us pinprick through the veil that fogs our souls. We peak into the horizon just beyond us, entering through the daybreak. We find the crisp air that draws our lungs into the moment and transports us into the timeless and for second, we drop our glassy-eyed gaze and windex off our eyelids and we can see – “Oh right, this is life. Oh wow, I am living. Oh right, this is what I’m here for and it’s far from mundane.”
Webster defines morning as such:
1. The first or early part of the day
2. Sunrise; dawn; daybreak
3. The beginning
Mornings, by very definition, are gateways of transformation. You do not have to have a PhD in English to connect with the syntax here: first, rise, break, beginning. Mornings scream fresh starts and fresh starts are cloaked in amazement and wonder and all the things we need to access our full creative potentials.
But to understand mornings, you can not go to the dictionary. You cannot even stop with the science of 30 percent brain and heart functioning. You must go to the poets.
Mary Oliver, in her collection of poems Why I Wake Early, writes:
Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float
a little above this difficult world…
When it’s over, I want to say:
all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Later, in her work, she adds:
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields…
and into the windows of
even the miserable and crotchety-
best preacher that ever was,
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light.
Good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
Mornings give us this embracing pause: of soft light, space, and silence.
Cinematographers have long known this. You film in the morning, as it draws the viewer into the timeless space of wonder, into the tangible mystery of possibility. This epoch of day begs listening. As Rumi writes later in his same volume about morning connections:
Almost everyone must be bound and dragged here.
Only a few come on their own.
Who gets up early to discover the
moment light begins?
What nine months of attention does for an embryo
forty early mornings will do for one’s gradually
Some nights stay up til dawn
As the moon sometimes does for the sun,
be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well then lifted out into light.
Stars burn clear all night.
Do that yourself, and spring will rise in the dark with
water your deepest thirst is for.
Ignite your mornings? Ignite your thirst. And watch your wonder become insatiable.
I’m no expert at this. I woke up early once this week to go to a yoga class I was locked out of. There are moments when dawn will not mystify you but you already know that. But to enter a habit of standing in the light will change you.
After all, if you want your life to feel more poetic, go to the source of poet’s inspiration. Go get your early mornings.
Early can mean lots of different things. Early to me means waking up before my alarm. Early to others means getting up while the stars are still out. I’m not that ambitious. But waking up early, however you define that, is the second (obvious but overlooked) clue to waking up.
Cheers to dawn and daybreaks. And copious amounts of coffee as you watch the sunrise.
Until then, just keep Dreaming. Yourself. Awake.