It’s been an incredible weather week here in the Byron Shire with sparkling, clear skies and just enough bite from the sun to be able to frolick in the ocean without freezing. This week, I’ve been in constant admiration of my boyfriend Steve.
Every morning since I’ve known him (around 18 months now), he has diligently risen at 4.30am. He spends an hour doing a yoga program I devised for his lower back which is almost now completely healed after major surgery. By 6am, even through the cold winter months, rain hail or shine he has hit the ocean with fierce determination to embrace the waves even while the sun is still rising.
His discipline saw him win his age division for the state surfing titles (over 40’s) last month and come second in the open division – beating boys half his age. He never makes excuses like ‘just for this morning, I’ll let myself off the hook.’ Even when it would be easier to sleep in and slack off, he pushes through and claims the rewards of a healthy body and spirit. Like he says, the ocean is like church in the morning.
I don’t claim to be half as disciplined as he is although I aspire to be. I just know that it always feels so worth the effort to see the morning sun. Research has shown that the 2 hrs after sunrise is the most beneficial time for women because when morning sun hits the retina of the eye, it stimulates the pituitary gland (located in the brain) to release serotonin which is the equivalent of the body’s natural Prozac for women. This is the best natural anti-depressant there is.
Someone once told me that the first few hours at sunrise are also a time when the veil between heaven and earth is thinnest. This is a time when prayers can be articulated and heard and answered more clearly. What a wonderful way to start the day, feeling heard and held in this space after dreaming. Ironically, it can be the most challenging thing to rise early when you suffer from depression or anxiety, and this diminishes the release of serotonin even more. This week I’m setting an intention to refrain from hitting the snooze button!