Being the first one up here at my retreat (Never happens, I can assure you!), I’ve come to sit outside and watch the sun rise in the Ojai Valley. The birds are barely awake; the cacti asleep.
There’s something about the early morning that makes me feel full. That if I just sit quietly here long enough, I, too, will crack open the sky and shine.
I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by Brendan Kennelly.
Begin again to the summoning birds,
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Being to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing through with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that forever begin.
It’s quiet. Everything is on the brink of something. Everything on the edge of sleep—one foot in the door of darkness and dreaming.
Still, for this moment, it is just me. I am alone and utterly connected at the same time. I am alone and unafraid.
You’d think with my hearing loss that I’d be in a constant stream of quiet.
This quiet is different. This is the quiet of possibility, the sound of the sun waking, the noise of the air stirring from slumber.
The sky is streaking, pink and yellow now; the night is gradually loosening its grip. There are signs of life all around. Koi in the pond, a bird, right here by my foot, some ants crawling on the Adirondack chairs, empty wine glasses from last night. There are signs of life all around.
I am not alone.
Still, this moment is mine.
I can feel the ghosts of the Chumash Indians.
Any place worth its weight lets its ghosts roam freely.
This place is no exception.
The Chumash Indians were the early inhabitants of the valley, and they called it Ojai, which means “moon.”
Here I am, sitting in the quietest quiet of moon.
I am alone on the moon.
I am watching the sun come up on the moon.
There are signs of life all around me here on the moon, although none have come to disturb me yet.
It’s just me and my coffee out here watching the day open up onto the world.
There must be a word for this. Ojai means moon. Watching the sunrise on a Sunday morning, somewhere north of Los Angeles, what is the word for this?
This, which means grace. This, which means everything.
So, in the words of Mary Oliver: “Good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”
May we all find our own peace everyday. May we start each day in possibility. Every single day.
May you always remember that you have the capacity and the right to begin again. It’s the theme of my classes right now. Remember that each day, each breath really, you get to begin again.
Sending love from the moon. xo Jen
Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter and take one of her yoga classes online at Yogis Anonymous.
Jen will be leading Manifestation Writing/Yoga retreat at Kripalu Center in Massachusetts in February 2014 as well as retreats in both Costa Rica and Tuscany in 2014. She travels around the country leading her signature Manifestation Workshops. She is also leading a New Years Retreat in Ojai, California.
*Image courtesy of Simplereminders.com.