Release anticipation, expectation – watch a sunrise, have a little faith
I woke early this morning, looked out my bedroom window and saw the city lights glowing before a soft, pale blue sky. I woke at the perfect time to watch the sunrise. I pulled back the bed covers, slipped out of bed and opened the bedroom door onto the east-facing balcony. I perched on a stool, the early morning air giving me goosebumps, and waited. And waited. And waited. The sky was lightening and I could see more of the landscape. The stars were disappearing, the city lights were turning off, the trees on the hill surrounding the southern side of the city were becoming clear, and the soil in the paddock on the furthest south-west corner of my view was becoming redder, richer. The sun was making its presence known, but I couldn’t see it. Had I missed it? Was it hidden behind a great blanket of cloud that stretched across the vast horizon?
When I left the comfort of my warm bed, from which had a perfectly beautiful view, and stepped out onto the balcony into the cool morning air, I anticipated a sun coming to greet and warm me and expected it almost straight away. As I sat there, eyes focuses on the point of the horizon I expected the sun to rise, my mind began to wander. “What’s taking so long?” “Why isn’t the sun coming up?” “Maybe there’s too much cloud cover?” “I’m cold, maybe I should go inside?”
But I didn’t go inside. Instead, I closed my eyes, breathed deeply in… and out… Focused on the sounds of nature – the birds chirping, the wind passing by, the crunch of gravel beneath the wheels of a car or two in the distance. I felt the goosebumps rise on my skin, the fine hairs on my arms move with the breeze, the warmth circulating inside my body and the rise and fall of my stomach and chest as I breathed in the fresh morning air. When I opened my eyes, I saw a bird finding its breakfast beneath the grass in my front lawn. I saw movement in the streets of the city before me; cars on the road, people out walking. With each passing moment I saw the subtle changes in the colour of the sky and the ever more subtle rays of sunlight filtering to the houses, trees, hills and paddocks in the furthest reaches of my view. But still, I saw no sun rise.
When we expect something to happen, or for things to go a certain way, we also often anticipate how it will make us feel. How then could we possibly be comfortable with letting life surprise us if we’ve always got the blinkers on? How can we completely experience the moment that’s presented to us (notice the ‘present in presented) if we’re waiting for the future? Have you ever heard that quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson? “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I don’t believe that the destination is any less great once the journey to it ends. Rather, I believe the destination gives us perspective. It’s when we reach the destination that we better understand the value of the journey.
It’s sometimes challenging to enjoy moments of silence. The quiet points in life. The states of limbo. It’s been a challenge for me, anyhow. I thrive on change and adventure and growth, but I also observe and reflect and interpret a lot (if you hadn’t already noticed). What I am able to better understand these days (not without effort, mind you) is that these states of limbo are presented to us (again, notice the “present” in presented) because they’re what we can most benefit from right now. For me, these periods give me time to think and to enjoy what is before I know what is yet to come arrives. Because it will come. The future, that is. And I know that if I want to enjoy the future when it becomes the present, I can’t be worrying what I missed because I wasn’t present in the past. OK, so… enough of the deep stuff!
Of course, the sun rose this morning, as I knew it would. It took a little longer than I’d anticipated, but that time allowed me to enjoy the fresh morning air, the sights and sounds of nature, a moment to think about the day, week, month, year ahead, and then to just witness. And it was almost to the exact moment, when I thought, “It’s OK if the sun doesn’t rise before the clouds today, I will see it tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day,” that a burning orange/gold light began to peek over the horizon directly in front of me. And I was able to sit, still and centred, to witness and enjoy the expanding and far-reaching sun, with its bright white circle of light at its core, rise above the earth and warm my skin. It was a moment that reminded me of a Henry Thoreau quote: “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
I hope you enjoy your day, each and every one that’s “present”ed to you xx