The Secret of Early Morning
by Holly Varni
May 30, 2013


Quietness is something I love, seek, and most definitely treasure. The problem, however, is that I live in the real world, in a house of males, so quietness is rare, and that feeling of total serenity is only imitated when I pop a brownie in my mouth.

That mountain top experience, or laying on the beach relaxation, or inner peace from watching the rain fall are all achievable and readily accessible. But there’s a catch—you have to get up early in the morning. And I mean, early. Even mentioning that to some, elicits groans and grimaces. For those of you who hate that time of day and are unconscious until noon, I say you’re missing out.

These early morning moments of quietness before the rest of the world is awake are not new to me. When I was a teenager, I used to get up at 3:30 am to study. Early morning study times worked brilliantly for me. I would descend the stairs into the darkness of our house, find my way to the dining room, and then spread out my books on the large table. Between the dead silence and my mind having rested for a bit, I absorbed everything. The fuzziness of my brain cleared and by sunrise, I felt ready for the day.

When I was in high school, one of my teachers shared that he got up at 4 am every morning to meditate, enabling him to stay centered and to enjoy a long career in teaching without getting burnt out. His announcement was met with snickering and moans. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I still remember, all of these years later, how he spoke about what a difference the quietness and stillness of the early morning made in his life.

The same thing happened in college. One day, my absolute favorite professor shared that he woke every day a little after 4 am to gather his thoughts and have quiet time. This was a man whose classes were always packed because what he had to say was always worth hearing. That time, I not only listened but took his example to heart.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”  When I read this, I understood from where he was coming. Greeting each new day in the quietness of morning creates a moment to stop and breathe.

In the winter, I take my dog outside when the stars still dot the sky. Standing in that special light that’s neither dawn nor twilight feels sacred.

In the summer, waking to the morning cloaked in blue hues with the slow infusion of yellow uplifts my mood before my feet touch the floor. I used to think sunrise joggers were insane, but now I understand what pushes them. The mental benefits of starting the day in solitude far outweigh the physical gratifications.

I usually wake up well before my alarm and love to lay there to begin my day in peace. Its calm, and my thoughts are uninterrupted by children. It gives me an opportunity to pray for all those who I forgot the night before or to just think about my intention and wishes for the day.

The serenity of the early morning allows my soul to settle before the jarring noise of getting everyone ready for school, the music and arguing between the boys in the car, or rush of appointments and errands.

The secret that morning people don’t advertise is that something happens to the human soul in those early hours. We reset our mind to a new day, wipe clean of the woes of yesterday, and open ourselves up to endless possibilities. There is a gift that morning people are given.

Of course, there will always be mornings when the night has been long and difficult, and a couple more hours of sleep is what the body and mind most need. But the good news is…..there’s always tomorrow morning.

Wishing you a lovely dawn.