I awoke this morning with that familiar itch under my skin. It wasn’t there when I drug myself to bed last night, mind spinning with a “to-do” list a mile long. It wasn’t there as I drifted off to sleep. I first noticed it when I was rudely awakened by the cool breeze that slammed a door shut at 2AM, followed by tossing, turning, clock-watching, and “remaining sleep” calculating. It was there as I tugged for covers at 3:30. It was there when I awoke at 4:30. And, it was still there when I finally drug my self-pitying body from beneath the warm blankets at 5:00 this morning.
Now, if you were to talk with my kids, my husband or my friends, they would (hopefully) tell you I’m a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of gal.” I believe everyone is entitled to an occasional meal at the “pity party table” but shouldn’t dine there regularly lest one becomes addicted to the “food.” There are times in my life that are more challenging than others, and I remind myself to focus on my blessings. There are times my cup overflows with abundance, and I focus on sharing and gratitude. Then, there are times when I have nothing in the world to be “itchy” about, but I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need to find my bootstraps in the dark. This was one of those mornings.
Before I threw back the covers, I had already started my self-coaching session. It was my early morning pep-rally, and all I really wanted to do was throw the cheerleader down the stairs. Simultaneously, I was writing my “to-do” list for the day, which is probably why it wasn’t my most successful coaching session. By the time I reached the kitchen, I was in full mental-rant–“Need to do ___________, nobody else does ____________, almost forgot ___________.” It was silly stuff, all manageable. Thankfully, my ranting had not reached a crescendo before I looked out the window.
I have always enjoyed watching the sun rise but really fell in love with the sunrise when my husband and I lived in a little farmhouse in California. I loved that little house, with its kitchen sink so large my older daughter could still bathe in it at the age of 6. Perhaps more than the sink, though, I loved the large front porch that faced east. I have always been a morning person; the quiet solitude is perfect for uninterrupted productivity. But, a nursing child forces you to slow down during the wee hours and watch the world start anew. It was pure bliss, rocking a baby, watching the sunrise.
When we shopped for our house in Colorado a decade ago, I knew I wanted an east-west facing house. The “mile high” sunrises and sunsets really are spectacular! We had rented for a year before buying out here, and I really missed watching the sun greet me in the morning. It was a requirement on my “buy list”, and one I am so grateful we were able to fulfill. I was especially grateful this morning.
As I prepared the coffee, made my husband’s lunch, and cleared the books left out from yesterday’s lesson work, I vacillated between trying to pull myself up by those proverbial boot straps and wanting to use them on the family I love so dearly. Then, I noticed the blaze of color peeking through the neighbor’s towering cottonwood tree. I stopped, books loaded in my arms, and watched for a moment. To fully appreciate the nuances of a sunrise, you can’t look away. It changes instantly, leaving but a trace of its appearance the moment prior. I put the books back down on the table and stepped out on my front porch. The colors set the sky on fire; the oranges, reds, and yellows. The gentle streaks of pink clouds looked like paint strokes across the soft blue. I sat. I stared. I prayed. I took a deep breath and released the itch that I had carried down the stairs with me.
It took less than 5 minutes, and the sunrise had broken into a new day. I sat for only a few minutes, but in those few minutes I reset the tone for my day and, potentially, my husband’s and my children’s days. Sometimes, I forget how simple it can be. I didn’t create the sunrise, I merely enjoyed it. I didn’t need an hour of massage (though that would be nice) or a weekend away (though that would be nice, too.) I didn’t even need bootstraps. For 3 minutes, I turned off the voices in my head, left the “to-do” list unattended, and sat. My husband was first down the stairs, followed by my younger daughter. The front door was cracked, but neither interrupted me as I sat. They gave me the gift of a few minutes solitude, and I gave them a cheery, heartfelt “Good morning!” in return. And, a good morning it is! So good, in fact, I think I’ll start my day the same way tomorrow.
How do you reset your day when you awake with an “itch”?
(P.S. For those that are not morning people, I have found sunsets yield the same results.)