Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Sunrise in the Soul


My writing room faces east. I’ve seen a lot of sunrises this winter, because suddenly I’ve become an early riser.
I wake up in the predawn darkness, make a cup of Italian or French roast, and come into my all-glass room. My shades are drawn for privacy, so I turn on the light and open my blog.

When the sky overhead lightens to a purple-blue, I turn off the light and raise the blinds. My desk overlooks the northeast and a huge oak that’s 500 years old or more. I watch the oak become visible in the twilight of dawn. I watch the sky over the eastern hill change color.
I’ve seen fluorescent red dawns, purple and pink dawns, yellow dawns, dark gray dawns.
Several times I’ve tried to describe in a poem the transformation I see. I keep trying, because there’s something deeply spiritual about the inexorable journey toward dawn. The breakthrough moment of sunrise, when that ball of fire lifts its face over the horizon, always feels like a victory.

When I was a practicing alcoholic addict, I saw a few sunrises when I had stayed up all night partying, as we called it. I can remember the sense of exhaustion and chemical tweaking that went with it.
Usually the nights ended with me collapsing on the bed, hoping to be dead to the world for a few hours, at least until the world stopped spinning. At the end of my drugged career, I was often sick with the poisons I had pumped into my body.
Dawn meant misery.
Last night I got some material ready for a woman who wants to begin work on her 4th Step. She’s like me, someone who was clean and sober for years and then relapsed when she stopped practicing the 12 Steps in her daily life.

In an inventory, we uncover the causes and conditions that led us to drink and use. That step allows us to begin work on the resentments and fears that drive us to do what we do.
I thought my childhood caused me to self-medicate. I thought maybe I was mentally ill and doomed. Whatever, it was not my fault, and I was hopeless.
That wonderful 4th Step inventory showed me that my problems originate in my mind, in my way of viewing and interpreting experiences. If they originate with me, then I can do something about them.

The 12 Steps give me a sunrise in my soul. With each step I take, the dawn grows brighter, transforming my world. Each morning, I am new again.
Dawn brings hope. As long as I practice recovery in my life, my hope is renewed daily. It’s a spiritual hope that just for today I will dwell in the sunlight of the Spirit. And the Spirit never disappoints.
*****

23 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful capture of the sunrise. The colors are amazing. I am an early riser and for scenes like in your photo it is definitely worth getting up early. Keep up your good work, it sounds like you are doing great.

Collette said...

The pic is gorgeous! It truly does give me a feeling of rebirth.
everyday I wake up & thank God for a new day! (((HUGS)))

Brian Miller said...

beautiful transformation chris...it becomes easy to blame our trial on others or the world around us...we all need those sunrises...

ps. you writing room sounds spectacular...

Susan said...

Every dawn does bring new hope. Everyday is fresh, new, and filled with promise. What a wonderful way to remind people that it is OK to fall. Just remember to pick themsselves back up. Very nice :)

Madison said...

This is one terrific post. 'I thought maybe I was mentally ill and doomed...my fault and hopeless.' For anyone who feels that way, you lead the way to a better life. There is hope of recovery and watching sunsets.

Woman in a Window said...

It always amazes me just how powerful perspective is. Dawn always comes, but it is up to us to recognize the renewal in it. You've a tight hold on your perspective, but loose enough too, to allow it to rise.

xo
erin

Marion said...

This should be in the AA material and handed out to newbies. There are so many of us who disliked the Dawn, when drinking. It meant another day of trying not to drink; another day of feeling sick; another day of giving in to the bottle...

I'm so glad I'm not there anymore...and that the Dawn is something I look forward to every morning. Because, as your photo shows, Dawns are really bright and beautiful and ever so hopeful.

♥ Braja said...

The dawn is the most conducive to spiritual practice, according to Eastern philosophies and spiritual traditions, so it's not surprising you feel something "deeply spiritual" about the dawn's approach. Pre-dawn is called "Brahma-muhurta," and is my favorite time of the day....

TechnoBabe said...

The sunrise is more than an eye opener isn't it? For me, it reminds me that I have grown into a woman who appreciates the spectacular sight I am healthy enough to wake up to each day. And it also reminds me that we all share it. We are in this together. All the disputes and anger and hatred are such a waste of the energy we could generate together. I like your post and I could picture in your work space looking out your windows.

C.M. Jackson said...

what a beautiful room to create in and how special each morning must be --we all need to be reminded to set aside the slights and excuses we make for our actions and move on with our lives so we can grow--thank you

Kim A. said...

I have experienced that moment, in the still of the morning, that can't be reduced to words. I never stopped long enough before Alanon to just "be". Each Day a New Beginning..yep--I like that.

♥namaste♥

Scott said...

whew, exhaustion and chemical tweeking... now there are two states of mind I haven't experienced together in a long time, thank God!

beautiful post!

Magpie said...

What a beautiful sunrise and post. Your words are always inspiring and comforting. Thank you.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

How glorious to awaken to such beauty each morning.

Secretia said...

I understand you, sunrise used to mean that the party was ending. Now it means it's beginning! The party of real living.

Secretia

chitowngreg said...

I love the metaphor of the sunrise for each day being a beautiful new beginning in our lives. Thanks for the reminder!

Monkey Man said...

I love sunrises and sunsets. There is a certain peacefullness that comes with the colors. Love the inspiration.

RNSANE said...

For almost my entire life, I've been a morning person, rising with renewed energy about 5AM...I don't know if it's the nursing thing or not. I am my most energetic and can accomplish the most at the dawn of a new day. I wind down in the afternoon but, with a short cat nap, I am good into the wee small hours.

e said...

Gorgeous photo...I hope you got my e-mail?

annie and katrin said...

you dwell in the sunlight of spirit, in that beautiful dawn, how blessed we are with steps we can take:)

Steve E said...

Two years ago I began going to a 6AM meeting EVERY day. Riding my scooter I got to re-acquaint myself with the breaking dawn.

I recall years ago camping and seeing that "darkest before the dawn"
which I had never known was REAL!

Now, I look for those moments...right before the celestial light is turned on, and feel as one with the universe.

Your program of recovery sounds like "right on track". LOVE to read that stuff!

PEACE!

Syd said...

Dawn means a new day to me. A chance to do God's will and to be the best that I can be. It means that I can be happy or sad if I choose. I can do something good for another person. Lend a hand. It means a fresh start. I like the dawn.

LadyFi said...

Beautiful words and thoughts. Hope you find hope renewed every day!

Albert Einstein Quotes