What time does YOUR joy rise?
I’m convinced I’m part vampire.
Unless I’ve stayed awake for it, seeing the sunrise feels like a cruel punishment.
I get to work by 9:00am and with Co-vid, that means I roll out of bed at 8:45am. I’m a little ashamed of that. My day starts out groggy and I only really get my mojo going around 11:00am. That’s a lot of time spent in a haze. And life is so short and the joy to be gotten from it is so precious. So, why not get up earlier to enjoy it?
I’ve always had this image of mornings spent in blissful communion with the waking sun, over a cup of herbal tea, sitting in my white linen jammies while I ponder my many and varied blessings before I start a day of joy and purpose. But the thing is, I don’t like tea. Who wears linen jammies? And as I’ve mentioned, I don’t care much for the morning sun either. In my ideal life, however, all these things are true.
Apparently, my ideal life can’t start at 10:00am, as I swig a Diet Pepsi and admire myself in my fabulous outfit (because that’s a standard upon I will NOT give up). It appears that this totally achievable goal, given my current work situation and love of Diet Pepsi is not up to snuff.
No, life must start at 6:30am. Well, ideally, it should be 5:00am, like all the high-powered executives I’ve ever worked with start their day, but even in my fantasies, I can’t imagine getting up that early. No, in my ideal life, I arise joyfully at sunrise serenaded by chirping cartoon birds, just like Snow White.
For years, I’ve set my alarm for 5:00am in a sincere effort to achieve that vision. I go to sleep, determined that tomorrow will be another day - only to wake up to a gospel version of “This Little Light of Mine,” ready to weep at the prospect of achieving consciousness. I realize there’s no one who’s actually counting on me to be up and at that time in the morning, and that really, considering the unpleasantness of the task ahead, why would I put myself through all that? I determine that as it turns out, I was woefully misguided the night before and that in fact I’m not actually that concerned about my wake-up time. What’s in a wake-up time? And so, I re-set my alarm for 6:30am, and then 8:00am and then I press snooze for 45 minutes; brush my teeth and stumble in my decidedly non-linen jammies to my computer for my first meeting of the day and trundle on through until I can actually get my act together around 11:00am. In sum: I start my morning failing to meet my expectations, which really sucks.
So, here’s the rub, the part I just don’t know; do I set up a structure that allows me to get up at for a 6:30am communion with astral bodies, or do I accept who I am and sleep in? Which is the more life-giving choice? On the one hand, discipline is good. Setting a goal and achieving it right out of the gate sets me up for a beautiful, joy-filled day. When I am able to get myself up at 6:30, I can pretty much guarantee I’ll have a fantastic day. It’s just . . . . so hard. Especially when the only thing depending on me to get up at that time, is a very anxious and comfort-seeking me. I’ve been working for my boss for five months now, and he just asked me about my start time last week. I’m the only one who cares and at 5:30am, I just don’t.
Which brings me on to my second option. Do I learn to radically accept my nature as a child of the night? There isn't anything inherently wrong with being up late. Is it really some sort of moral imperative to be up before the birds start warbling? Isn’t there just as much joy to be derived at 11:00am than there is at 6:30am? Can I envision a future that accommodates the real me? The one that wants to emerge from slumber like a cuddly baby marsupial emerging from their mother’s dark and soft pouch when my natural rhythms dictates? The questions, as you’ve seen, go on and on.
I’m not sure which is best. I've got to decide thought, because this tug-of-war between “should’s” and “what is’s,” is getting old.
Probably, like most things, it’s a combo platter. I bet this means I’ll need to give up a little on my heretofore consistently unachievable standards on one hand, and on the other, kindly, gently, kick myself in the ass a little to create the life I want. I think an intentful beginning to the day makes sense. Gratitude. Contemplation. Both good, life-affirming things. I think I can make them happen, even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first. I think I’ll ask some friends to support me and reward myself to make it happen. I also think I can lighten up on myself. In Minnesota, the sun doesn’t come up until 7:30am in the winters. Why should I beat it to work when I don’t have to?
So, that’s the plan for tomorrow. If it doesn’t work, I’ll make another one for Thursday. And if that doesn’t work . . . and so on until I figure it out. Like most things, I’m pretty sure that if I keep moving towards what I want, while accepting where I am, I’ll eventually find a way to get up in time to see my joy rise.
How do you reconcile what you think you should be doing with what you are doing to see your joy rise?
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