Being jet lagged has its perks. Yesterday I was up at 3am until 8am working away while the rest of my life was silent. It felt strange but also felt right. I discovered that the birds start singing at 5am. That the first light breaks through at 6am. Today I awoke at 5am after not going to bed until nearly 2am. Josh was not there and after retrieving him (bartender hours means watching documentaries until the wee hours of the night), I lay there for forty-five minutes. I did all of the things that normally lull me into sleep but alas, none worked. I then decided that jet lag had won this battle and I may as well admit defeat, get up, do something productive. I grabbed my things to do a meditation session, my first in weeks, and I sat down on the floor to do my thing. Halfway through I peeked out to look at the time (every meditation session need not to be prophetic) and what I saw was a bit of pink light attempting to shine through the clouds. I knew that it as meant to rain all day. Everyday when I was camping in the desert of Australia I would wake up before sunrise, grab my things and go climb the rocks to sit in stillness and watch the sun come up on another day. On the retreat there, we would move about in silence until 8am and these mornings were some of my most favourite. The one morning that I sat there, I asked myself why do I not do this at home? Why do I not get up to watch the sunrise? Why do I not give myself this stillness? Start my day right. The easy answer is because I stay up late and sleep in until 8am as a result. But what if I gave myself this time once a week? Twice a week? How much would I benefit? How would my life change, evolve, from this? Greatly, I suspect.
So this morning, halfway through my meditation, I made a decision. I put on the kettle, made some coffee, tiptoed in the bedroom to grab some clothes, grabbed my journal and camera and I snuck out of the house at 6:10am, for no other reason than myself. Than my heart calling (and jet lag forcing me awake). No airplane to catch (the usual reason to be up at such an early hour). No people to photograph. Just me. I walked to the lake and I sat on a rock and I listened to the waves. Sitting in stillness. I grew up on this lake 100 kilometres from where I live now. It has meaning to me. It lives in my cells. In my being and I do not visit it nearly enough. We love to make every excuse in this modern world to not do the things that we truly want to do. We fill our calendars. We tell others we are so “busy”. That we are “stressed” as a result. The truth is, we are always capable of doing those things that we really want to do, we just need to commit to making the time for them. Not finding the time. Making it.
What I saw from being up and out at 6am today was that besides the highway, the city is quiet at that time. The city is slow to wake up. Couples jog together in silence. Women power walk. The dragon boat rowers are up and at it. And five Mute Swans traveled along the shore. I could not help but wonder what happened to the sixth. The waterline was high and the cement break was barely visible in spots. The water splashed against the lifeguard stand for further proof of the high level. The tire that was washed up on the shore wasn’t there yesterday, as the city worker told me. He also told me how he used to do triathlons until 1.5 years ago when he broke his elbow. Everyone has a story. Isn’t life wonderful? The clouds only truly broke for a few seconds. The sun shone through a tree and illuminated the lone swan that stuck around. In the muddy water, she looked like a heavenly creature. I marvelled at her beauty, so often overlooked much like the rest of our everyday encounters. It will rain later today, no doubt, but for now this moment of stillness is perfect.