One of the things I love about this time of year is how the sunrise and sunset (cue the song from Fiddler on the Roof…) aligns so closely to when I wake and go to sleep. This year I decided to build upon that and surrender a bit to the cycle of day/night.
Yes, cats are so the masters of solar alignment in their own magical way.
One of the first things that I’ve been doing is using no electric lights. When I awake (which is just around sunrise) I open the blinds throughout my apartment. Then they stay open all day long – only being shut for the night when I go to bed (which is technically a little more than a half hour after official sunset.)
The hard part about that is actually the loss of control. We’re so used to using our artificial light for our convenience that we grasp hard to that control over “the light.” When it is cloudy and dark there simply may not be enough light to read and I have to adjust my activities indoors accordingly. The same thing happens during that time from when it is before sunset but it is no longer quite light enough to read and when I actually go to bed.
I’ve begun listening to audio books or dramatic podcasts (I use a voice controlled device for this so I don’t have to deal with computer/electronics lights.) Which is actually kind of nice since its restful for the eyes just listening rather than watching something or reading. Plus, there’s something particularly cozy and comforting about being read to.
One of the nice things is how substantially calming it is to let the light gradually dim into darkness (well, as dark as it gets in the city which is why the blinds are finally shut.) During the wintertime, I still shut off the lights and electronics a few hours before bed and use candles – which is nice but not quite as impactful for me as just the natural setting of the sun.
It is amazing how much it improves the quality of my sleep and my mood and allows me to feel more the real cycle of things that we so disconnect from in the rush of our daily (especially urban) lives.
Let the sunshine in and follow its lead…
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