Waking up early this morning, one of my first thoughts was that my brain must be full. It was 6:30 a.m. and usually I don’t begin to stir until closer to 8 a.m. About thirty years ago, I turned my bedside alarm buzzer off and since then, I have depended on my body clock for morning wakeup. I’m a firm believer that I’ll awaken when I’m fully rested.
Psalm 127:2 offers a good guideline: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” I especially like the last clause because I look at sleep as one of the Creator’s gifts, confirming to me what various experts have discovered: sleep is important!
When I awaken early − with a full brain − I think it’s because I’ve been so rejuvenated in the night that fewer hours of sleep were necessary. However, my sleeping habits can be erratic. Sometimes I wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep for a couple hours; when I eventually return to bed, I may sleep until 9 a.m. Thankfully, my Beloved understands and accepts my idiosyncratic habits!
Once I scoured the emails for today, I clicked over to a blog post at Modern Mrs. Darcy where her post was titled Making a fresh start (and ditching my alarm clock). Needless to say, I was amused. When I ditched my alarm clock, it was about the same time I’d begun home educating my children. We still had appointments and some ordinary time constraints, but the clock ceased to be our master. I hope it works out as well for Mrs. Darcy as it has for me.
You might call that Secret Number One in the Wiseblood Guide to The Secrets of Life. Turn off your alarm clock! (In his uniquely droll manner, my Beloved would cast a pun my way: it’s alarming!)
Yes, I know. Very few of us have a valet to come in and raise the shades while gently urging us to wake. A wake-up call from the front desk is also unlikely. Train your body clock! And when you absolutely, positively have to be somewhere before sun-up, use your smart-phone as a back-up. (Mrs. Darcy admits her reluctance to take the phone to bed. We have a waterbed and I stuff mine down in the crevice until morning. No temptation but it’s always close at hand.)
Let’s talk Secret Number Two.
Self-help books overflow bookstore shelves. Life coaches and motivational gurus hold seminars and hawk their products online to convince us they have the formula to improve life, capture more time in the day, help in juggling the various responsibilities and commitments we’ve made. What’s the outcome of all this after we’ve spent a wad on their wares? Oftentimes, there are one or two takeaways, but generally, attendees are more exhausted for having made the effort to attend a seminar or listen to multiple podcasts for the “secret.”
Do you enjoy juggling your purse, your laptop bag and three WalMart sacks full of groceries while trying to open a closed door and trying to corral multiple children through that door as they fumble with Happy Meals and drinks?! Something is going to hit the ground … maybe several things! I’ve been there, you’ve been there. Leaving the groceries in the car until the kids are settled at the table with their Happy Meals … well, you get the picture. That’s just way too many extra steps in an already step-weary day.
But balance is simply an impossible task, right? BALANCE … that positive-sounding buzzword that hangs like a gold ring as the carousel circles; the gold ring stays just out of reach. Feel like you’re on a tightrope? Yep, you’re looking for balance. A baby on one hip, a mixing bowl on the other as you feverishly mix cookie dough for the second-grade party? That may resemble balance, but it’s a maddening way to live.
Ditch your notions of balance and begin instead to contemplate HARMONY. You want harmony with your spouse, with your children … with your in-laws, right? Harmony involves working together to create a beautiful piece (whether music or any other endeavor). Harmony is like having a 1000-piece picture puzzle set out on the dining room table: whenever a member of the family has ten minutes free time, he or she sits down and works a few pieces into place. Pretty soon, everyone’s participation has resulted in a breathtaking picture! Nice going!
Secret Number Two in the Wiseblood Guide to The Secrets of Life is Harmony. When a family works to create harmony, it’s life-changing. Six-year-old Johnny sees two-year-old Jenny struggling to get her boots on. He can let her go “solo” as she becomes increasingly frustrated, or he can furnish his more capable hands (as a “duet”) and harmonize efforts to get the job done.
Is the Wiseblood Guide to The Secrets of Life too simplistic? I invite you to try this new way of thinking. See if it works for you … and I’ll look forward to your feedback.