Do you ever notice how you feel when you first decide to wake up? Before your eyes are even open and you’ve lifted yourself out of bed do you feel anything or does it take a moment? What’s present for you as you roll from the comfort of your bed and into your morning routines? Are there any feelings or thoughts shaping your experience from the get-go?
When I wake, whether by alarm or naturally, my first thought is about waking. The transition from sleep to wakefulness is either painful or easeful. Either slow and luxurious or swift and on purpose. I’ve got to get up or I choose to get up. It’s one or the other. This moment comes and goes quickly.
Within seconds my feet hit the floor and I’m wrapping my cold body in the comfort of my morning robe. I shuffle to the bathroom where I catch wind of lurking feelings. Have they been there all along? Did they arise from my dream state and hitch a ride on the hem of my robe as I slipped out of bed? Was it the jolt of awareness as I re-entered the atmosphere of my present reality from the dream world?
How I feel as I make this transition from sleep to wakefulness, from the bed to the bathroom, often reflects my life circumstances. I’ve learned these feelings are as pure and unadulterated as fresh snow on a winter day. They’re my morning feelings. A signpost for where I’ve been, what’s present, and what’s to come.
It’s easy to wake and forget, to wake and not notice, to wake and move on. It’s easy to flush the toilet and my feelings all in one go as I move on to brush my teeth and plan my day, especially when these feelings are reminders of the difficulties of the time. I’ve wanted many times to wake and feel something different. Something other than sadness, grief, or pain. Something other than the distinct feeling of change.
Change has a feeling. It’s uncomfortable in all the ways that challenge me. It pushes at my edges with keen curiosity and a tinge of doubt, wondering if I’ll pull back and retreat. Will I resist the change, succumb to old behaviors and patterns, attempt to stop the transition, or cover up my choices? Will I undo what’s been done and revert to who I once was? As though it were possible.
Change is cheeky. Pushing, pushing, pushing but never in a way that harms. There’s an endearing edge to change that stokes the tender flame of love even when I know love feels nothing like this at all.
I acknowledge their presence. An indicator of my circumstances and this transitory phase of my life. I make my requests of these feelings each morning. Wishing, hoping, desiring for them to be different than how they are. Each day waking and wanting to know of a new experience.
Many times I’ve sat on that porcelain throne, shrouded in the darkness of the tiny room, peeling crusties from my eyes, and wondered, “When will I feel different? When will I wake to feel happiness and relief, inspiration and excitement, enthusiasm and joy? When will I get to lay aside the discomfort of change and transition, the pain of goodbyes, and the challenges of flux?”
It’s not that I’ve always felt such great discomfort when I wake that I’m aware of my tender morning feelings. It’s that I’ve known so many mornings of pure joy and anticipation, love and sweetness, pleasure and excitement that I can’t help but notice the exact moment my feelings changed. When I changed and life around me began to change.
One phase of my life came to a distinct end. And as I slipped one toe, then a foot, then an arm, and then my whole body through the portal of change I began to wake with such consistent feelings of glum. The novelty of the experience shocked me into awareness. What is this scary, trepidatious experience I’m encountering so bright and early in the morning?
I opened my heart with reverent curiosity. As I sat, I leaned forward on my knees with my chin in my hand. I felt my heart. I felt my life. Feelings. Natural impulses in response to change, to the unknown, to the disturbed, to fluctuations in life’s routines and patterns. Expected even. Completely understandable. And – difficult to feel.
But nothing to do. I gather myself from the toilet and step to the sink. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and mosey for some coffee. My journal comes next. She’ll catch my heart. She’ll catch the mindless thoughts that need wasting and the acknowledgment of feelings uncovered in those precious moments between sleep and complete wakefulness.
Maybe, in the presence of pen and paper, my morning feelings will speak of insight and clarity. Maybe they’ll guide me. Or, maybe they’ll keep quiet, only present to nudge my heart open in that brief encounter before I plunge into my day. A sacred glimpse at my untainted heart.
This morning I felt different. I notice now when I don’t feel so down. I notice the neutral, the joy, the excitement, and the anticipation. I notice them and give thanks. So much gratitude for each feeling as I’m now aware. These feelings have been there all along. It just required a jolt to wake me up.