I go to church every day from 4-7am. For me church isn’t traditional. There are no pews, no singing, no congregation. Sometimes church takes the form of a pool, a bike, a run, or wrapping my hands around heavy weights. On most Sundays it’s sitting on my window bench reading, writing, journaling, dreaming. Waiting for the sun to rise.
I don’t pray or receive communion at 4am. And 4am isn’t about miles or intervals, those kind of just happen. I guess they are the bonus.
4am is really where there is silence and stillness in my movement. That first push off the wall in the pool when time feels completely suspended. The noise of my cadence in the fresh fallen snow as my breath gains momentum and I can see it in the darkness hilighted by the moon.
4am is where I fill my cup.
I don’t know how to write this without sounding conceited, or sounding like I believe I am important in this world. If you know me you know I don’t feel that at all. So trust me if you don’t. I am often told I am a light for some, and that’s something I take very seriously and with great responsibility. I have stopped questioning why because there really isn’t anything special here. It doesn’t matter why, if I am a light for someone then I must be a good light for them. We all endure times of darkness and we all need to have something or someone to provide that light. Often that light doesn’t need to go deeper than just being bright. It doesn’t need to go deep.
I have been told that often enough that I must keep that light bright and from a place of truth, authenticity and responsibility.
Not too long ago my husband said to me “Everyone feels the need to relay everything to you. Their medical issues, their problems, their workouts. Does anyone ask how YOU are?”
I laughed and answered him truthfully. No.
But that’s not the point. I stay close to those who feel like sunshine and they are the ones who ask and who care. And they are who I count on.
I need those who don’t ask to always know they can count on me. It’s important to me to give to give, not because I need to receive. Life is not all give and take. We take from a lot of people that we don’t give back to. We give to those who are incapable of giving back. What we receive can never be the reason we give or love.
We have to love ourselves enough to be okay with that. It’s not easy. But it’s easier to close off because of it. Self centeredness is much easier. If you are a light for someone be a good bright light and be that light because it helps someone, not because you need something in return. It doesn’t make me some sort of martyr, it just is what it is.
That cup can get empty though.
4am fills that cup for me.
For some this whole movement thing is about capturing that perfect Instagram post. Running by the camera set on the ground time and time again to grab that angle that garners the most likes and fills the need that it fills. And that’s okay. Be ok with that. It’s just not me and for me to try to fit into that is not who I am.
Be who you are.
I have never loved meditation when it comes in the form of sitting cross legged on a pillow and imagining that I am the wind flowing through a purple sky. Meditation for me comes in the earlier described moments. There is this light pole I run to on the top of that one hill. Every time I run I stop there, turn around and just look at the world. The view from there is astounding. It’s quiet and it’s next to a farm. Two sheep dogs usually run to the fence and bark a few times. We are old friends those dogs and I. They know my voice.
Meditation comes form that moment before the sun comes up and sometimes later in the day. Where the world is just quiet and I don’t think about much except the feeling of being alive that movement gives me.
The outsider thinks this 4am thing is compulsive. To a degree it is. It used to be much more compulsive.
Over the years it’s become about filling the cup so the light stays bright. It’s become about feeling what I feel in the art of movement. It’s become about finding the edge of myself.
I call it my church because I don’t know what else to call it. It’s my sanctuary.