January 29, 2013

How to Love your Morning at 5:30 A.M.

photo: rogerglenn

Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. comes surprisingly soon after Sunday evening at 11:45 p.m.

I’m still working on the whole “going to bed earlier” thing. I intend to, but then I get busy with things, get feeling creative, get talking to someone and all of a sudden it’s nearly midnight. Lucky for me, when I hit the pillow, I’m usually out quickly.

This morning when I woke up, I didn’t really feel like putting the lights on to practice. Still a little sleepy and wanting to ease into my day, I opted for a candlelight practice instead.

Now, I’ve gone to candlelit yoga classes. Typically, it’s something restorative or at least very mellow, and usually at the end of a long day. But for some reason, it seemed like a perfect way to start the week.

I lit the candles.

Turned up the heat a little.

Put on some sweet, peaceful music.

Gently, yet steadily, I moved my way through my practice.

The rest of my Monday was typical Monday busy-ness: kids, work, meetings, phone calls, errands. I’m not someone who hates Mondays; they are busy, but with things that matter to me. I don’t know why I chose to start the way I did, but the fact that I acted on and honored that impulse felt like a huge gift to myself, like a wonderful treat.

Why do we tend to talk ourselves out of what we want so many times?

I don’t mean that we should be self-indulgent or self-destructive. There is a vast difference between what I’m talking about and indulging every whim with no regard for ourselves or others. It’s like the difference between a spoiled child who is always given what he wants in order to pacify him, and a healthy, happy child, who delights in the world around him—without embarrassment or hesitation.

When we notice desire, the creative impulse that lights up like a child and says, “I want that!” it’s a chance to make our external world a more authentic match to what’s going on inside of us.

Since we are important adults, we tend to stifle those feelings. We might think of dancing, but feel it’s not the appropriate time, so we don’t. We might want to pick strawberries and eat them instead of a regular meal, but talk ourselves out of it. We might want to say what we are really thinking, but hedge our bets instead and say something safe.

I could have put the lights on, left the music off and had a more serious practice. The practice I had was exactly what I wanted, and honoring that desire kept a smile on my face all morning.

Not every morning is a sleepy candlelight morning. Tomorrow morning I may need something with a little more ferocity to kick off my day.  Sometimes the smallest desires are a window into the world we wish to create. It might be something simple: a song, a color, a drawing, a phrase.

Those simple things we are instinctively drawn to are like a little treasure box held by our truest selves, waiting for our busy minds to stop and listen.

Every time we choose things from that authentic, child-like place, we do change our own worlds a little bit. It helps us open up to what we’re truly passionate about. We make it okay for others to be authentic too. We make a world for ourselves that is a match to our hearts instead of to someone else’s idea of what life is supposed to be like.

Whether your Tuesday starts too early, too late or right on time, may you listen to what your body and mind are asking for. Whether it’s quiet sweetness or fire on full blast, may you have a song that fills you up. And whenever they present themselves, may you always pick the strawberries.


What was your practice like today? Are you doing #yogaeverydamnday this month? Check back for my updates and follow along on Twitter @kate_bartolotta and Pinterest.

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