To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate
love ’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the
beloved in your heart and a song of praise
upon your lips.
As the other side of the earth experiences piercing sounds of death and destruction, here the song birds permeate the air with their sweet melodies. Their voices are most pronounced in the early morning, but continue throughout the light of day. I do not know their names, or their migratory or evolutionary journey, but still feel the stirrings of a kinship far beyond labels and form.
Some part of me joins their joyful praising of existence. The notes rise and fall on unseen currents. No part of life is free from this hymn of notes fading and emerging. Even though we may not always aware of it, life pulses in a gentle rhythmic stream of seasons, tides, breath, and heartbeat. Within this harmonic beingness, there is the endless sacred grace of life.
It brings tears to my eyes to be enwrapped in nature’s continual prayerful expression of life. The oldest human traditions, lifestyles and languages synchronize with this communal grace. There is an inherent reverence for living and all life forms, and a deep surrender to an unnamable yet ever-present divine. Clothing, food, water, sunlight, and all the elemental underpinnings of life are cared for with unsurmountable gratitude, and with appreciation of a reciprocity of being cared for in return.
Sages, prophets and poets like Kahlil Gibran lift us up with reminders that the beloved divine is boundless. They carry forward the lessons from our ancient human ancestors of surrendering into praiseful way of speaking, living, and being together. There may be occasional soloists, but the blessed song gathers the microbes, plants, birds, sky, and humans into a vibrant, regenerative chorus. May these troubling times remind us of the gift of the morning song.
This practice brings awareness of our interconnectedness with other humans and other species.
- Choose a day when you have some extra time in the morning.
- The night before, just as you are ready to go to sleep: offer a word of gratitude that throughout the day, your existence has been supported in all sorts of invisible ways.
- When you awaken from your sleep the next morning, notice what you first notice. No judgment, just noticing.
- Then, intentionally invite your awareness to the areas of your body which actively engage with the world: e.g., your feet, hands, skin, nose, mouth, eyes, ears, breath, and mind. In any way that is comfortable for you, offer gratitude to all parts of you that seamlessly allow you to navigate the world.
- Pause. Slowly, shift your awareness to your breath. Perhaps, for a couple breaths rest both hands on your chest to support your awareness of the gentle expansion of your ribs on an inhalation, and softening on an exhalation. Notice this movement is like wings rising and falling.
- Then, for several breaths, invite in a sense of gratitude for the reciprocity of breath with the trees: as you inhale, invite awareness that as the breath enters your body, the trees are exhaling; and, as you exhale, invite awareness that as the breath moves outward, the trees inhale.
- If you have a particular faith or connection with a divine presence, take a few moments in loving prayerfulness.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Arise. If you have time, sit quietly for a few moments.
- When you are ready, move into your day with a sense of reverent praise.
This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 51, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The photo is by Tom Bradley on Unsplash. The practice is a modified excerpt from “Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry” by Kate Vogt, page 141-43, available through Bookshop, or order through your local independent bookstore. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2021.
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