The indigo sky of disappearing stars shifts to shades of lightness, then burnt orange, as the sun slowly peels the horizon open into a new day. The breeze is cool, gentle and full with harmonies of birdcall. I sit in lotus position breathing in the stillness of the morning’s first sun rays. I feel my soul soften into its tranquil beauty, gliding into inner stillness as gracefully as the waterfowl in front of me sail on the lake. On the other side of the water, the forest trees stand silent and sagacious in their demeanour. Last night, they made great music with the wind, swaying and tossing their branches violently into the strong gusts. Yet this morning there they stand, ever peaceful and watching the sunrise with me.
Dawn is such a sacred time of day, laced with an air of wild mystery. I love being up to witness the quietness and sacred essence that only the early morning can bring. It’s food for my soul. When I escape the city and experience the magic of mornings in the wild spaces of the Earth like this, it’s even more profound an experience. There is something about the wilderness that connects deeply with one’s true nature and awakens the spiritual essence within.
Many ancient and indigenous cultures felt mornings to be a sacred time of day. The Griqua tribe of the South African Karoo believe that by falling asleep at night, the soul experiences a ‘little death’ and then each morning, Spirit whispers to wake up again. Shaman and author Antoinette Pienaar says the Griqua believe that if this doesn’t happen, the soul continues to drift in the dream world of night. They believe that each day starts with a miracle because the soul returns to the body, and you wake up refreshed to the gift of life, which in turn is reason to open your eyes with a sense of deep gratitude and an open heart.
Growing up hearing stories like this seems to have woven them into my consciousness, so much so that mornings are a precious part of my day, especially when I get to wake up in the wilderness. I recognize though, that regardless of whether we are in the wild or in the city, mornings are an opportunity to step out of the confines of domestication and into a soul soothing relationship with Nature. It doesn’t matter whether you are surrounded by an ancient forest, the ocean, a garden at your home or a simple view of the sky from a city apartment.
The start of your day is an opening through which to allow myriad elements of wildness enter into your space and into your heart.
With this in mind, I’d like to share three ways that you can turn your mornings sacred by connecting to the Earth:
1. Watch the Sunrise
Watching the beauty of a sunrise is an awe inspiring experience. It brings you into a mindful place of appreciating for the magic of Nature and of life. Brew a comforting cup of herbal tea and find a place where you can see the sunrise. Be present. Take in the colours of the sky. Express gratitude for the birth of a new day. If you like, you can visualize the brilliant rays of the sun energizing you for the day ahead. Or spend a few moments doing the sun salutation yoga sequence as you watch the sunrise. Witnessing the transition of the Earth from night to day reminds us of cycles of life. It is a good way to connect with the daily rhythms of nature and with your own body’s rhythms too.
2. Ground Yourself
Go out into the garden barefoot. Feel the moist grass or the earth beneath your feet. Visualize Mother Earth grounding and balancing you. Feel her stable and nurturing energy envelope you. Doing things like walking around the garden, watching the birds, brushing your hands over the herbs or leaves of trees and mindfully connecting with the energy of the place are all wonderful grounding activities. Activities like doing some yoga outside, taking early morning walks through a forest or on the beach are just as grounding and nourishing for the soul, too.
3. Meditate or Journal in Nature
Spend some quiet time meditating or have a soulful journaling session out in nature in the morning. Natural is the perfect setting in which to quiet the mind and connect with your inner essence. Take your meditation cushion outside, sit down in a comfortable and breathe deeply. Listen to the music of nature around you. Take in its sounds and refreshing morning aromas of the trees, or the lemon balm, mint or whatever is growing around you. Then simply let your soul drift into a state of peaceful oneness or write the insights that comes to you in your journal.