It is dark outside and I am awake ... too early.

This is happening more and more and I have decided to relax into it rather than wishing it were different.

There is a sacred hush at 4:30 in the morn, the only sound the shuddery breath of our old chocolate lab, Stella.

I re-heat a cup of coffee from yesterday, light a candle, and settle myself into the silence.

Body quiet and still, my overactive brain calms a bit. I breathe, slowly and deeply, paying attention only to the filling and emptying of my miraculous lungs.

The almost imperceptible chill in my nostrils as they pull air in, the expansion of my belly first, then my chest. The sense of being full, full, full ...

And then the release, my shoulders drop from my ears, the air escaping my nose is warm now from being inside of me, my entire torso sinks into peace.

Next, my favorite part: the very end of the out-breath. The sense of complete rest, of sliding into a deep, still pond, no sound but my heartbeat, sinking slowly down, down, down 'til my feet touch the very bottom.

I find holy rest at the end of a breath cycle.

I stay there awhile. Then, I start again ...

I am an embodied soul. You are, too.

As my body finds peace through breathing, my soul follows. The whack-a-mole thoughts that pop up in my mind lessen, drift away and I find clear skies, space, pure being.

Ahhhhh ...

I am awake too early. And I am grateful.