I don’t know about you, but it’s never easy for me to get out of bed in the morning (and I mean my literal bed, not B.E.D.). On Tuesdays I work two jobs, so in order to get to my first job by 7:30am, I have to leave the house by 6:45. Every Tuesday morning, the alarm goes off and I grumble and groan, thinking about my long day ahead, until I leave the house. This morning was no exception. That is, until I was about ten minutes into my commute and saw the splash of deep pink and orange which was the sun-spattered eastern horizon.
I’ve seen many striking sunrises and sunsets, but today’s sunrise really gave me pause, shaking me out of my grumbly, self-centered universe. The colors appeared just as I approached the apex of the Girard Point bridge, entering Philadelphia. At the same time, one of my favorite Christmas tunes started playing (“Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913” from the John Denver and the Muppets “Christmas Together” album). I was moved to tears as I listened to the words, suddenly reminded of my “gratitude list” from just a few days ago…all the people who I love, the good memories I have, the gifts I’ve been given and am now sharing, and the beauty of the natural world. The grumbles melted away with my tears.
As I reflect on this experience a few hours later, I realize that my grumbly Tuesday mornings are just one more way I have been giving power to the “critic” in my head…the very same one who once told me I was fat, useless, hopeless, and talentless is now telling me, “There’s no reason to be joyful. There’s too much to think about and do today.” He keeps me focused on the future–potential problems, the long day, the fatigue I’m going to feel, etc. This morning’s sunrise put me right back in the present moment and filled my heart with gratitude. I think it’s high time I fired my inner critic. The sooner he’s gone, the sooner I can capture that elusive feeling of inner peace that comes from being present, awake, and aware of whatever’s going on around and inside me.
Is there some way you can make more out of your mornings, days, or evenings? Do you have an inner critic who keeps you rooted to past mistakes or anxiously anticipating the future? Stop right now and take a deep breath in and out. Look around you, wherever you are, and find one thing that you can be grateful for. Now, pat yourself on the back, ’cause you’ve just taken your first step towards living in the moment.
Peace, joy, and health!