Spreading positive energy in the world begins with our own personal vibration, something can each nourish in ourselves in special ways. Nothing has a greater effect, I believe, than how we start our day.

I rise softly so as not to disturb, as it pains me to tear myself from the cover’s warmth, and the spell of sweet slow breath. Dressed in layers of velvet and wool, I rise into the chill darkness, which is this morning not so dark – the wild canyon lit up by a waning moon above! I stand outside taking in all the beauty of the moment, breathing in the cold. A magically glowing mist moves through the mountain trees as the river shimmers below. I hear an owl, then only the wind, in that timeless eternity before the canyon birds awaken.

I walk the path to our little kitchen – a place filled with things feminine, old, hand-made, grandmotherly. I empty the ashes from the night before, start my fire in the century old cook stove…and in this way, each and every morning, start my life anew. With the door to the firebox open, I bring my face close to the first flames, and always this miracle fills me with profound gratitude:

"Thank you, fire, for your warmth and your beauty.

Thank you trees, for your once living bodies.

Thank you Spirit, for giving us life, and death, and warmth.

Thank you for the blessing of another day."

Mornings are not simply the launching of our daily schedule or the rote return to work. They’re a not-to-be-ignored opportunity for us to claim sacred space, and enter each day focused and refreshed. By affording ourselves a chance to embrace the early quiet with prayer and gratitude, we further open to the blessings, lessons and possibilities available to us. It’s important that we give ourselves the time necessary to feel who we are at the core, our unmet needs and evolving potentials, without the urgent demands of others pulling us from our center. And just as crucially, we need this time to take in the nourishment of Spirit and of the natural world, Gaia, our most direct source of inspiration, information and energy! Invested fully in this ritual of presence, beingness and connection, everything we do that follows is more intentional, heartful and grounded in the Source.

Although I’m naturally a "morning person," it’s still always a challenge for me to make what is essentially a leap of faith out of the bed and into the dark chill of "la madrugada": the early morning hours. But there are days, even weeks, when I just can’t bring myself to do it. As much as I love the morning, my sleep is precious to me, and my sweetie nearly always makes some adorable sound or gesture communicating how much it would mean if I stayed just a little longer. Most often I lie awake and still for a while trying to feel out how sleepy I actually am, and the odds of it going away once I get out into the air!

The sacramental morning is our chance to treat ourselves as holy/wholly beings, getting out of bed slowly and sensuously, feeling the sheets slide off of our bodies as attention, the first splash of water on our faces as anointment, the selection of our clothes as preparation for our splendorous coming out. By keeping the thermostat down, we can better enjoy the feel of a shawl on our shoulder or a dog at our feet. Rather than bombarding our senses with radio, TV or bright electric lights, we might light a candle as we pour our bath, set nothing into motion except perhaps a pot of coffee or the rubbing and purring of a cat. We greet ourselves with love when we first see our candlelit images in the mirror. We savor the subtle music of lovers or children breathing in their sleep, the breeze in the trees in our yard and the preciousness of the silence between.

At home in this river canyon, I feel like an ancient hearth goddess as I move through my morning rituals of tending. My favorite days begin with a walk outdoors in the brisk canyon winds or a dip in the chill river, followed by a comforting fire and steaming tea with honey. I make sure my belly is empty and truly hungering before I mindfully eat, basking in the glow of an antique, kerosene lantern, even though I have solar-powered electric lights. I like choosing the right-sized pieces of wood with touch alone, moving gracefully and deliberately in the semi-darkness of my home. I have my own songs of gratitude and self-appreciation that I sing, especially in the mornings. I love to take time to dress beautifully, to braid my hair, to wash with heated rainwater perfumed with essential oils like rosewood or lavender.

It’s funny, when the light returns it can sometimes feel too soon. It’s bittersweet knowing that the stillness, the sacred quiet must be broken again and again. But it’s always with us – this magic, an accessible state that we can claim for ourselves in a hushed corner of the office or house, in a spot under a potted tree turned through our intention and attention into sacred space. Besides, somewhere on Her beautiful body, the Earth is still robed in darkness. And at all times, there is a place where dawn is breaking! At every moment, we are her children, at once held in her close embrace…and thrust out of her womb, to be reborn again.

This is my prayer: Every morning, every moment of our lives, may we wake to our beauty, to the beauty of the Earth, and celebrate! May we wake up to our power, our passion, our unique abilities! May we wake up to our challenges, and know we have what it takes to make the hard choices and crucial changes! With each new dawn, creation shines like a reflection of our hidden potentials.

The rising sun seems to say: "Depend on a miracle. Be that miracle! Shine today!"

Copyright © 2005 Loba. All rights reserved.

Loba is a purveryor of sacrament and delight, counsel and columnist for SageWoman magazine, encouraging our process of living more intense, purposeful, magical and sense-filled lives. Loba and her partners tend an enchanted wilderness sanctuary and ancient place of power in the Southwest's fabled Gila Mountains, hosting host retreats, quests, sweats, wildfoods weekends, resident internships and the annual Wild Women's Gathering: The Sweet Medicine Women's Center & Earthen Spirituality Project. Write her at Box 820, Reserve, NM 87830. Visit www.earthenspirituality.org

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