One of the reasons I have been so completely M.I.A. from all virtual spaces is that there has been a lot happening, and I've had to practice what I preach.
To narrow down my focus for a bit, I had to cut things out completely. I needed to direct my energy towards building Gather Forest School. Y'all know how I've consistently written about the need for play-based forest schools/outdoor spaces for BIPOC children? (i.e. Mother & Nature: WFH, Pre-Colonization Parenting, Mothering & Nature, & Nature-Deficit Disorder) Well, along with Ashley from Afrocentric Montessori, we are creating a space where children can play, wander, explore, and learn in nature 75-100% of our school day in all weather. Our school takes place in urban community gardens and lush forests. It's been this fantastic pouring out of work, passion, and focus. And so, to keep up with homeschooling and to be an active wife/daughter/sister/friend/mama, I had to have a singular "work" center.
Because let's be honest, it's all about energy - we only get so much in a day. Energy is absolutely finite for ALL of us. High energy humans know how to take advantage of their energy highs and know when to rest when their energy is low. Think of my favorite example, the Cheetah - and now, my puppy Nina. These animals sleep most of the day, but they're boundless and energetic when they are up.
Now, don't get me wrong - there are ways to increase and zap our energy. Some of the zappers include binge drinking alcohol, poor sleep, sitting in one space for long periods of time (tricks your body into going into "sleep" mode), and overwork - legitimately EVERYTHING Shalom & Polepole preaches against, lol. Then for energy givers: water, sleep, stress relief, exercise/activities, and whole foods.
Another MAJOR energy giver is SUNLIGHT, which leads us to our story.
Morning Air & Nina
Outside of Gather, the other HUGE change in our life is Nina. Nina is our German Shephard puppy. She is charming, super cute, and beyond loveable, and like my human babies - she wakes up ridiculously early. But, unlike my babies, she does sleep through the night, and when she wakes up - outdoors, we head. So, instead of nuzzling under the covers, breastfeeding, and falling asleep, I typically meet Mike & Nina outdoors for cuddles and a bathroom break.
On the first day of this early rise, I was confident. I used to be at the bakery by 5:30 am and at teaching by 6:30 am. I wake up early - it's what I do...or better yet, did. I've read the articles (25 Benefits of Waking Up Early), the blogs (get up and get outside), and the books on successful people.
Or so I thought...
I finished the day with Law & Order: SVU and tons of ice cream, Oreos, and whipped cream. My body ached from being jolted up at 5:15 am - exercising, a hike play date, and then trying to sit at a computer to work. I flew past my energy surplus and ended up with sneezes, an ice cream hangover, and sleeping on top of clothes I was "folding" (in between SVU breaks). All before 10 pm. It was an epic night, but not one I want to repeat for some time.
Seriously, EXCRUCIATING. The next few days, we woke up, went outside, and then went back to sleep. The air actually made me feel so relaxed that when I wasn't trying to mimic the habits of "the most successful," - I was able to fall back into such a deep and cozy slumber. One of the effects of fresh air is that it provides relaxation (stress relief) and tranquilizes the mind and body - hence, an evening walk or sit.
And then today, I couldn't get back to sleep by 5:45ish, and so I woke up, put on the coffee, did my devotion by the fire, and still didn't feel sleepy. Now grant it, I was out cold (sleep) by 9:30 pm last night, so I checked on Nina - who was also awake. So, with my coffee, work boots, and puppy - I was once again outside. This time the morning's new sunlight and fresh air provided a hit of energy, while I was also getting all the benefits of morning sunlight: mood elevation, bone growth (Vitamin D), stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, and risk reduction of certain cancers.
And, of course, you don't need a puppy to get out of bed and into the morning air/sunlight. My friend DeeDee's summer rhythm includes allowing her boys to naturally rise and then going outside to do positive affirmations. So each morning, they bask in the sunlight, fresh air and indulge in positivity.
Here's to reveling in the morning sun!