A few weeks ago I was searching for more quiet time in my day. I was feeling like the days and weeks were bleeding into each other. The school week felt like a blur, and the weekend seemed like just preparation for the same mild chaos that we had just lived through. My hope was that meditation and a quiet space at some point in my day would slow the days and weeks down, and ultimately I was looking for direction down a path to find the me that I know I have the potential to be. I have had fleeting visions of a calm, creative, and centered self that enjoys the day-to-day moments of motherhood and seems less affected by the day’s challenges.
Chad suggested waking earlier and so he and I could have some time together over a cup of coffee before he left for work at 6am. As someone who savors sleep like a fine wine, I thought this was a terrible idea. I loved hearing the first alarm clock in the early morning darkness knowing it wasn’t for me. And when he would leave, I would slip back into a sweet slumber until the last possible seconds before I needed to be up-and-at-’em to get the kids to school on time. In addition to my desperate need to fill my sleep deprivation tank, I also had a concern that waking before the rooster crows would crash me into the proverbial afternoon wall of exhaustion at 3 pm. With homework, activities, dinner prep leading up to dishes, bath, and bedtime routine, this is just when the day really gets going and does not work so well with a pooped out and cranky mommy.
But after years of hearing yoga teachers and other mindfulness experts talk about being centered and present, I decided it was time to set the excuses aside and go find this elusive concept. After a few weeks of gradually setting my alarm clock back to 5:30am, I found that waking up earlier isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. After Chad and I talk about the day’s schedule and the evening’s dinner plan over our morning coffee, he leaves for work, and I have 30 gloriously silent minutes that I use to clear the cobwebs from the old attic that is my mind. And what I find is beyond any benefit of an extra hour of sleep–free, usable, precious, empty space that gives way to feelings of gratitude, peace, and even happiness to carry me through my day.
Truthfully, this early morning time has become crucial to maintaining my mental health as I’ve come off of anti-depressants. After experiencing years of a drug-induced haze that kept me from going too high or too low, I’m pulling myself out of the lows, savoring sweet moments, writing to you about overcoming our challenges, and generally living a better life.
Oh…and I should mention that getting up before the sun means that I am fast asleep during the first DVR’d show that we had planned to watch together after the kids are asleep, but somehow I’m okay with that and so is Chad.
Here’s some images from a week of beautiful weather that I am proud to say that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Charlotte soaking up some Vitamin D at the park yesterday.
A salad for a picnic with lettuce, chicken thighs, grapefruit, radish, and sliced almonds.
Have a great weekend.