Hey, can I ask you something? How do you wake up in the morning? Are you an early riser or more of a mid-morning or almost-midday person? Our work schedule and daily duties often influence our sleep pattern and wake-up routine. A night guard, fire service operator, hotel front desk agent, auditor or gas station attendant is likely to have a different work life and sleep rhythm from someone who works 9-5. Not always – but often.
For the most part, each of us does what we can to map our day to navigate taking care of our responsibilities.
As a former artistic insomniac and workaholic, I’m coming to have a healthier understanding of the value in how we greet the day…but more importantly, how we react when the day doesn’t begin on the note we expected it to.
For years now – most of my adult life in fact, I’ve woken up early in the morning without an alarm. (Stay tuned; the story takes a bit of a twist shortly.) How I wake up has always mattered, because quiet mornings are absolutely serene and my preference is to not be jumped or startled out of sleep – whose is?? That kinda feels like treating the day itself like a threat.
Some days, an alarm comes in handy when I’ve gone to bed as the birds wake up, but even the name of the thing raises a red (or at least amber) flag – A.L.A.R.M. What’s the purpose or cause for alarm? Gotta get to work – gotta be somewhere – gotta do something – starting right now! I imagine most diligent and devoted parents, athletes, and teachers would find it extremely challenging to set about the tasks of the day without one, and understandably so.
In reflection, I remember a morning last year when I was woken up – to mix cement. Yes, mix cement – and like ‘all now’ – urgently, before the workman arrived when the sun was actually shining. I mumbled and grumbled my first words for the morning (without thanksgiving), washed my face and shuffled through the quiet house, barely making an effort to schloop my unwilling 5 and 1/2 size feet into chilled slippers and head outside.
First, I had to learn how to even mix cement with a shovel (kudos to all the construction workers out there!), then be taught how to use the tools correctly for that application – thennn apply muscles that hadn’t yet woken up, and finish the work in time. And there was no staged heroic photoshoot (wearing a ‘hot’ outfit) for Instagram so others across the globe could cheer on and post comments like “oh how cool and how strong!” – or “you go girl!” #girlsrule – nothin’ like that.
Nope, just me – hair frizzy and wearing a pair of beige cargo pants and some miscellaneous top or another. Oh man, those first few minutes mixing that house-porridge were – let’s say “un-fun”…and then something happened. I committed to the work and began enjoying the movement and responsibility. After all, the whole purpose of mixing cement was to build something – an eventual home (that didn’t work out, but I put in the works, and that’s a key lesson.) We can be thankful, both when it’s quiet and while we’re hard at work.
I didn’t design that particular morning which was a gift just like every other morning, but received a wake-up call along with an assignment which came at a time that challenged my obedience and willingness to work when I’d have preferred to take it slow.
So here’s hoping for willingness to be present and flexible when called to step up before we think we’re ready. And here’s to learning how to be grateful regardless of what note the day starts on.
If you have a life rhythm that does require an alarm, how about being gentle with yourself and choosing a peaceful yet effective wake-up call…because you matter, and those you encounter throughout the day do too.
Thanks for taking the time to read, and have a beautiful day.
On that note, how did your morning start (and hopefully bloom) today?
A work in progress,