Monday, April 11, 2016

Don't Go Back to Sleep

Five mornings a week through every season of the year, my drive to work takes me directly into the sunrise. [The rest of the year, it's either full dark or the sun's already above the horizon.]

The scene is often breath-taking at dawn: fog rising off a river, hillsides covered with greenery, clouds playing peek-a-boo with the light. Of course, there is also the traffic, the mile markers and the exits. Yet through it all, what I see, what wakes me up, is the beauty.

These things make up my version of Rumi's world. As I drive through these adjoining worlds ~ akin to Rumi's doorsill ~ I often find myself seeking something. I ask for guidance for the day. Or I express gratitude for the beauty. Or I request blessings on friends, co-workers or loved ones in distress. Until I found and read this poem again, I didn't realize that I was following Rumi's advice to "ask for what [I] really want." The moments of growing light are the grand doorway to the world's beauty. Beauty captures the heart and leaves it grateful.

One of my favorite phrases of Rumi's has always been his charge: "Don't go back to sleep!" In the midst of that morning beauty, it is easy to express gratitude. It is a wonderful reminder of the glory of the Earth and the great gift of Life.

I start my days that way because it is so much easier to 'go back to sleep' later in the day, when the beauty is not quite as breath-taking and visible. If I practice gratitude and awareness first thing in the morning, it creates a rhythm within me to continue to be awake, or to return to wakefulness, later. Rumi reminds us to be mindful of the 'breeze at dawn' because those are the moments when we can breathe in that awareness of the side-by-side worlds before getting bogged down in the mundane routines of our day. It helps keep us focused.

How do you begin your day? What is your 'breeze at dawn'? your 'doorsill where the two worlds touch'? What did you ask for today? How do you make your requests? How do you remind yourself to not 'go back to sleep'?

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