I’ve been thinking a lot about waking up. I don’t mean in a metaphorical sense this time. I mean literally. How do I wake up into the day? I’ve been a night owl most of my life. Sometimes dawn and daylight catch me still awake from the day before. But we live a good deal in a morning world. Having jobs that require me to be up and about early has meant staying up late and waking up with just a few minutes to get ready and out the door. I am a pro at the 20-minute turnaround. Rushing to get to early engagements has meant I don’t leave myself any time to ease into the day, no time to step into the frame of the day with clear intention. With only 20 minutes to get out the door, the list of things to do and responsibilities rush in. I’ve come to believe this way of waking up is not optimal in the quest to live in divine alignment.
Without something to rush to, I notice that I like slow. Waking up slowly, intentionally means noticing and giving thanks that I am alive again, writing (morning pages are wonderful!*), practicing Jin Shin Jyutsu and, most importantly, intentionally setting the frame for the day.
What does it mean to frame the day? For me, this means asking the Divine “How can I serve you today?” This simple question has made a profound difference in how I experience all that follows. As human beings, we have a tendency to get caught up in our feelings, our impressions, our opinions, our judgments, our assumptions. These can loom large in our view and, consequently, how we experience our lives. What I’ve noticed is that framing my day in terms of “How can I serve today?” has me pay keen attention, eager to recognize opportunities subtle and obvious, to be a vessel for something far bigger than myself, far more powerful than my desires, thoughts, assumptions, etc. For example, if part of my schedule for the day includes going to an event or obligation I am not thrilled to attend, saying to myself “I am going as a servant,” has me show up fully present and available to whoever I may meet and whatever may show up in that space. I find myself listening more carefully and giving of myself more freely. Service comes first, my agenda comes second. Of course, service is itself a blessing and through this lens things unfold far more beautifully than my myopic ideas about my agenda would have me imagine. Needs and wishes, along with aspects of my purpose are unexpectedly fulfilled.
Last week I attended a Quaker weekend gathering. It was my first time going to a Quaker event. I wasn’t feeling well and nearly cancelled the trip but in the frame of “the Divine is sending me”, it was easy to trust that I would be well cared for. It was a wonderful experience and constantly remembering the frame created space to have conversations my fatigue might have had me rush from in favor of a nap. From one of those conversations came unsolicited news of a potential space I can use for an event I’m planning. Give. Receive.
I’m learning. There are still plenty of mornings I don’t leave myself enough time to really wake up into the day as slowly as I’d like, but now I know enough to make sure to ask “how can I serve today?”, jot a quick word and do even just a minute of Jin Shin Jyutsu before hopping to the next thing.
Questions for your consideration:
- How do you wake up into the day?
- What helps you feel grounded?
- What question(s) frame your day?
- What questions help you keep track of a bigger picture?
A musical treat:
In honor of Nina Simone’s 80th birthday, her tune “Children Go Where I Send You”. In joy!
*”Morning pages” comes from Julia Cameron’s amazing The Artist’s Way, which I enthusiastically recommend.