What if there were wakeup stories to help us begin the day?
Imagine that when you wake up in the morning, there’s time to stay in bed a little longer to enjoy your favorite breakfast and listen to a wakeup story. We associate words like cozy and restful with the notion of a bedtime story. If we were lucky when we were growing up, sometime after dinner, a bath, and clean pajamas, we crawled off to bed to listen to one of our parents read us Winnie the Pooh, or Where the Wild Things Are, or some other lovely tale that lulled us into a dreamy state of mind. But how nice would it be as adults, if instead of having to rush off to work or school or some other stressful place in the morning, if we could pause in our beds and listen to a tale that prepared us for the day? It could be a fairy tale about true love, or courage, or victory. It could be a true story about someone that we admire who followed their dreams.
There are lots of podcasts and short YouTube videos that have inspiring content as well. I’ve gone to YouTube sometimes to find a ten minute grounding meditation to start my day. I like the ones that recommend that I put my feet on the earth, and remind myself that the air, water, earth, fire and minerals that are in all the planets are in me too. Those few minutes may help to clear away unnamed anxieties, and give me a little time to ask myself if I should be doing something else with my life or if I’m on the right track. A few minutes to check the internal compass can sometimes allow unexpected answers to rise into the magic 8-ball of the mind.
So often we wake up to the jarring sound of an alarm clock, and then frantically rush to shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, drink coffee and travel to a place that demands our punctual arrival. Some people rise early and subject themselves to strict religious teachings before breakfast. Some snap on their televisions and listen to news programs that report on the latest disasters befalling the planet. Even worse are those who listen to morning radio shows whose hosts banter irreverently, playfully insult each other, or drone on about sports events, or who berate people appearing in the latest news stories. I can’t imagine subjecting myself to that chaos first thing in the morning.
I used to love to listen to Garrison Keillor’s program, “The Writer’s Almanac.” Public radio recently canceled the show because they have cut their ties with Mr. Keillor. Regardless of what he was accused of, that show was worth its weight in gold, and frankly I think NPR should be ashamed of themselves for cutting it loose. It celebrated the lives of writers, shared biographical anecdotes, and featured the reading aloud of a poem each day that many of us might never have heard before. Frequently for me, hearing that poem changed the feeling of my whole day.
If we lived closer to nature, we might wake up hearing the birds. I love to open the shade at night after the bedroom lamp is turned off, because I can look at the night sky. Living in a rural spot we’re fortunate to have relative darkness outdoors at night, and I can see Orion standing guard above the tree tops, or the moon in one of her phases. We moved into this house during the summer and slept with the windows open. Sometimes we were lucky enough to hear the owls at night. At five in the morning I got to hear the wood thrush calling from the woods out back, which is one of the most magical bird-calls in existence. Henry David Thoreau said of the thrush;
“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”
What is really of utmost importance is that when we wake up that we allow ourselves a moment of beauty, or some spiritual or emotional nourishment. It may prevent us from defaulting to the other oft-quoted Thoreau saying of being among:
“The mass of men [who] lead lives of quiet desperation.”
When our hearts and minds are put in touch with a resonant thought, we might feel giddy, remembering what it was like to fly a kite or make mud pies. Such perspective is like armor, making us impervious to the ones who bob around us in their kabuki masks. When we feel the flow of something authentic, it is harder for anything empty to have a hold on us.
Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.