I look forward to going to bed every night. I am a deep sleeper and I love the process of falling asleep, feeling myself slowly let go of the day and sinking into the night. My natural clock has always told me to wake up early and, besides the early parenting years when I was nursing or doing some other care for my daughter, the early hours have always been my own. For the past several years this first part of my day has started with writing.
I write to clear my thoughts, to get myself emotionally organized. As a non-linear, disorganized, multi-tasker, my brain is almost never quiet. Writing helps me feel grounded in some way before I begin my day. So, every morning before I do anything else, I write. Before I speak to anyone or look at my email or phone, I write. This is when I have a clear channel to my truest thoughts.
I always write first, consult later. If I have an idea, I know not to speak it out loud to another person before I write it on my own. If I share it first, more often than not, I lose my inspiration to write about it. Once I share it, my inner idea feels tainted, weighed down by another perspective. My morning writing hours are like time in a helium balloon. As long as the thoughts or ideas are still in my head, there is a feeling of floating and weightlessness. The voices and perspectives in my mind are ever-changing. It is as if reality is suspended and I am somewhere else entirely. I am on a mental adventure, my mind floating above the earth, noting the details of the world around me. And then, when what I've written I feels complete, when my thoughts are clear, I am ready to come down.
I've tried to write at other times of the day but it doesn't work. For me, the flow comes in the very early morning. Early morning is the space between asleep and awake. It is the time between night and day, the last few hours between dark and light. It is the neutral ground where the unconscious and the conscious greet each other and come together to create a magnificent blend of truth.
In the neverland between sleeping and fulling waking, my mind is neither one nor the other. The gift is in the quiet reverberations from the night before and the comforting awareness that the day ahead is coming soon. There is energy and creativity in the space between the two worlds. I always begin writing by listening to the voices of the night. I might not remember my dreams, but I have a sense of where I've been in the hours behind me. I write what I feel in each moment. Like a sunrise, the ideas, images, details, rise up out of the darkness into the light, making their way onto the page in the form of words and phrases.
For me there is a limit to my time writing and so it is sacred. Many days it is my morning meditation. And when I skip my writing time there is a feeling throughout the day that something is missing. I long for it throughout the day. I miss the floating, the freedom that comes from lingering in the middle ground for that short time every morning.
But then, faithfully, the night comes again. The sun sets, the day winds down and it is time again for bed. And I know, as I tuck myself into the familiar cocoon of sheets and blankets and my favorite pillow, that sleep will come soon. In the morning, I'll have another chance to step into the early morning darkness and write.