My excruciating headache woke me at 3:30 this morning. I used to wake at 3:45 for several years when I was training for a triathlon. It was the only way to train in the morning to beat the heat.
Now when I wake that early, I use it as an invitation. So many days when we wake up, we engage in a routine that may or may not include some time in quiet. On days like these, especially when I don’t have any particular place to be, I take the opportunity to embrace quietude. Besides, my headache wouldn’t allow me to go back to sleep.
After some fresh air helped open my chest, I sat in my meditation space. Mind you, my entire abode is 800 square feet, so my meditation space is a corner of my room next to my bed. The dogs have claimed my bed after their breakfast, and they engage in a chorus of snoring. My essential oil diffuser and portable heater supplement the dogs’ snoring.
Quietude is not about the absence of sound but more about the passive acceptance of sound. You can invite these sounds into your quietude without demanding they cease. You refrain from reaction.
Thoughts might bubble up. You might notice the birds beginning to wake. You notice them, accept them, then return to the inner quiet. You take a breath, and this breath might expand in places that have been closed off.
This morning, I felt a tightness in my upper chest, so I folded my hands behind my head and aimed my sternum high. This brought the breath to different places, and my headache would ease slightly.
In a few hours, I suppose the rest of my community will wake up and engage in their busy-ness. Some will walk along the path next to my apartment. I will join them myself in a little bit. Others might venture outside with their kids and blow bubbles. They will embrace the waking day the best way they know how.
Regardless of what happens today for me, I know at least it has started in quietude. Ok, it started with a headache, but it started with a sense of ease rather than panic. I hope, possibly, that I can offer a sliver of quietude as I see others today. That is all that matters.