Photo courtesy of Vogue- Italy
The summer brought quite a few changes to my schedule. Some of which I liked, like having off on Fridays. That made room for great lunch dates in the city with friends, doctors appointments, and a thirdday to sleep in. It also brought changes that I loathed. Like working ten and a half hour days Monday through Thursday, which meant getting up at 5:30am, in order to have Fridays off. With the summer schedule at work coming to a close I am elated to return to my usual work hours. I can sleep as late as 7am and still have enough time to get myself together and out of the door and off to work. However, if I want to get a morning walk in I am usually up and out the door by 6:20am. Well, I have longed to wake up at 6:20am and get that walk in.
Pop your eyes back in your head, swallow your chai latte, stop rubbing your eyes and cleaning your glasses. You read right the first tie. I long to wake up at 6:20am put on my t shirt, shorts, and lace up my neon red Nike’s and walk, intermittently jogging should I decide to change it up, through my neighborhood. Now why in the world would I long to get up 40 minutes earlier than I need to?
Photo courtesy of Mark Abramson for The Wall Street Journal
Well, a part from the benefits of exercise, there is something about waking in the morning, before the mundane hustle and bustle of life gets underway that makes me acutely aware of life. On those walks I am immersed in that which is alive and most times I am in absolute awe. The flowers aren’t just flowers. They’re orange poppies, pink tulips, and rich yellow sunflowers. The trees aren’t just trees. They’re are weeping willows and 7 foot tall pines. They’re cardinals, blue jays, crows, and sparrows flying about. The school yard has a soccer ball, yellow ball, a basketball and a fading hopscotch area enclosed by fencing that is rusting and probably needs replacing. The house that has been vacant since I moved to the neighborhood is still vacant but the grass has been recently mowed. The people aren’t just moving beings. They’re mothers, couples with matching gold wedding bands, physically challenged, ready to graduate, and rambling about how ready they are to start school. I am aware of the intimate details of my surroundings. I am aware not only of my own life, but the life that surrounds me. In turn I find myself grateful and then committed to seeking to see others and be increasingly aware and responsive to those with whom my world intertwines that day.
Awareness beckons us to see and act. It demands that we see injustice and move toward justice. That we see sorrow and we seek to comfort. That we see mediocrity and we move to excellence. That we see brokenness and we seek wholeness. It calls us to see the distressed sales clerk and say hello and thank them for being there to assist us. It causes us to stop and call the person we were thinking about instead of just sending the text message. It causes us to bake cookies for the neighbor who we know recently broke up with their significant other. It causes us volunteer to babysit our other neighbor’s child so they can attend job interviews.
Photo courtesy of Vogue- Turkey December 2012
A simply aware life calls us to reject a life lived in the subconscious and to fully engage in every aspect of our lives consciously. It sees the areas in our lives that need nurturing in order to thrive. It makes us alert to over-committing and that we need to pull back and away to rejuvenate and be our best selves. It sees areas in the lives of those around us that need encouraging so their lives might be ones that thrive. We notice the anxiety in our friend who wants to return to school and so we volunteer to sit down and help them map out how to make that dream of getting that degree a reality.
My morning walks (most days) and jogs (rare days) are what make awaken me to the wonder of this thing we call life. It is what reminds me that I am alive and if I am alive, then I should be LIVE-ing.
What awakens your awareness to the beauty of your life and life around you?
What reminds you to “Wake Up” and “Look Alive”?