There’s something wonderful for me about witnessing the first light of day, especially when I am able to see the sun actually come over the horizon. It’s as if the day and I belong to each other – as if we are partnering to create this new day together.

 

Sunrise over Chautauqua Lake (Photo: Alan Seale)

Sunrise over Chautauqua Lake (Photo: Alan Seale, July 2015)

 

I love the stillness of the early morning and the soft, early dawn light. Somehow it helps me to ease into the day. Nothing is hurried. If I’m at home, the first thing out of bed is a short walk with my dogs. Then we settle in together on the wicker loveseat in the sunroom. I drink my coffee or tea and read the New York Times while they attend to their morning foot washing and grooming routine. Our morning ritual continues as we go down to my office for meditation. We all have our “places” – I’ll be on my meditation cushion, Toby will be curled up in my lap with his head tucked into the crook of my arm, and Matty will be stretched out across the leather ottoman just behind Toby and me.

These first couple of hours of the day are my “soul time.” It’s my time to ground myself and get fully present for the day ahead. It brings me clarity and stillness. It’s often a very creative time. And it is my preparation for the day, not so much preparing for what I have to do as much as sensing who the day will ask me to be – how the day will ask me to “show up.”

The late afternoon or early evening transition into sunset is also an important time of day for me. The warm, golden pink late afternoon light invites reflection on the day, insight, wisdom, and rest. When I’m at home, it’s once again shared with my dogs as we have their suppertime walk and then sit for a few minutes on the deck or in the sunroom to bathe in the glow of twilight. The pause to reflect at the end of the day is its own beautiful ritual.

 

Miller Bell Tower, Lake Chautauqua (Photo: Alan Seale, July 2015)

Evening settles in over Lake Chautauqua (Photo: Alan Seale, July 2015)

 

“Soul time” has been an essential part of my day for thirty years. It provides essential support to help me be at my best for the rest of the day. The form has evolved over the years – it’s whatever will feed my soul in that moment. My “soul time” is almost always spent alone and almost always spent in silence. And it’s every day, whether I’m at home or on the road.

“Soul time” can take different forms for different people. Perhaps for you, it might be running, or yoga, or a walk in nature, or journaling. Or perhaps it is meditation or prayer. The form doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have a way to recharge, refresh, and feed your soul. The key is that it happens daily, and, if at all possible, at pretty much the same time every day. Just as your body needs physical rest, your soul needs care. As you develop your practice, you will find your “soul time” of day and the ritual that serves you the best. As days turn into weeks, your body and psyche learn the ritual and respond, and your practice deepens.

Find the time of day that feels right for your “soul time” and then create the ritual during this time of the day that will feed your soul. Commit to your “soul time” every day. And notice how the rest of your day begins to shift.

 

P.S. If you need some help getting started with a “soul time” practice, a good place to start might be our “Becoming Mindful” meditation. Use this short video every day for a week and see what starts to shift in your awareness and overall sense of well being.

 

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