Mornings: coffee, reading and opening up to the day. I’ve been battling with a wonky sleep pattern lately – too late to bed (or should that be early?), struggling to switch my brain off – or maybe I should just accept that I have been, and always will be, a night owl. Yet there is something about waking early, to the possibilities that a new day brings. Each moment we live is our lifetime, each moment is the present, our lives unfolding. I want to be more present. Sometimes I find myself drifting too far into the future – worrying, planning, imagining – and not attending to here and now, the moment that is. I like mornings suffused with sunlight, with the smell of coffee and toast. The gentle purr of a cat.
I read an article on Philosopher’s Mail about the good points of insomnia – that we often do our ‘big’ thinking at night, whilst day is the time for present, smaller concerns – our ‘doing’ moments: ‘At night, however, the ranking of first and second order questions is reversed. In the dark, one may investigate the meaning of work, the needs behind friendship, the mechanics of love. The topics are far from academic. We become philosophers when we chase the practical issues upstream.’ For me, night can often be a good time for writing – during the day, I’m too concerned with emails, other people, social networking, editing articles and contacting people.
I would, however, like this to change. Doing this happiness project has made me take a look at why my circadian rhythms are back to front – I often stay up until 2am at the earliest, 4am at the latest. This either leads to a lack of sleep, or broken sleep, or it means I miss the best part of the morning. I’ve read that writers often do keep strange hours, as the smaller hours of the morning are the time when everyone is in bed and it seems as if you are able to focus better. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a morning person – even when rising early I am distinctly not a morning person, much more like a grumpy bear woken from hibernation.
I comfort myself with the thought that one of these days I’ll get my rhythms back to normal and will be able to rise with the dawn…or at least as close as possible to first light. That image of waking with the dawn, opening the window and breathing in the first breath of a new day fills me with possibility. In the meantime, it’s chamomile tea, reading and writing until sleep overtakes me.
‘We want to arrive, eventually, at a feasible, defensible strategy. But we all have to start with thoughts that look extremely unimpressive and possibly absurd. Night is a friend to the slow process of maturation that every ambitious project demands: it provides us with the cover to grow into our more complete selves.’ – The Philosopher’s Mail, The upsides of insomnia, Part 2.
*All images from Otherwordly (a wonderful Tumblog I could spend hours on).