Grrrreeting the Day

Some moons ago I was in a yoga teacher training in which one of our “home work assignments” was to linger in bed and wake slowly, allowing time for wriggling and stretching and languid breathing, gliding in and out of consciousness, snuggling if your bed happened to be shared with another being, savoring the first moments of bodily awareness, all before going about the busy activity of one’s day.

This simple and sensuous practice was, at that time, surprisingly difficult to do — to allow — in practice.   Upon waking, my thoughts would begin to churn and I would feel the urgency, real or imagined, of all the stuff requiring my attention and energy in the hours to come.  My mind would start to herd me toward “getting going” with the day, toward doing at the expense of being, planning at the expense of pleasure.  Of course, waking in a zestful manner, launched with ebullience into the day, can also be pleasurable,  provided one’s motion is embodied and sourced in purposeful happiness.  Prioritizing this kind of sensuous waking, I discovered a tendency to greet, engage and conduct the activity of my day from a more embodied, more grounded, more present and connected sourcefulness.

Over time the practice became intermittent.  Sometimes I would remember and sometimes I just didn’t take the time to linger, even though in general I still endeavor to launch myself from that source-full place of breath and awareness  I have to say that changing the alarm to something less jabbing makes the practice much easier.  Many alarms are utterly anti-sensuous methods for being roused. If one has to use an alarm, I highly recommend ditching those that thrust one roughly into the now moment — definitely not conducive to pleasure!

Now, I have a new spiritual teacher and alarm system sharing the bed.  Macy, our 9+ month old puppy, has been inviting us into a new level of sensuous waking that is deliciously irresistible.  She begins the process somewhere between 5:30 and 7:00 a.m., depending on the previous night’s activities.  First, she wriggles onto her back, her legs reaching skyward and waggling, paws dangling in the space above her.  My eyes peek open to see her happy eyes waiting for me to notice her, wide doggy smile inches from my own face, nose pressed against me.  When she notices me noticing her, her whole body comes alive with wriggling happiness, little  sounds of pleasure accompanying her motions, drawing my hand like a magnet to rub her belly, which magnifies  her pleasurable wriggling. Then, I start wriggling and stretching and making sounds with her which again magnifies her happiness which in turn, magnifies mine.

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We fall back asleep for some moments, her head in my hand or tucked into the covers, paws still dangling above us, belly exposed to the growing light.  Then one of us stirs or I stop rubbing her belly, causing Macy to shift positions and begin the process again.  More wriggling and sweet squirming, paws reaching and then pushing against the body of my lover as she twists so that her body is pressed tightly against mine, or draping and leaning weightily across the curves of our blanketed bodies, mouth open and whole body smiling. We roll and wriggle and snuggle in this way until I know it is time to slide out of bed and begin the activities of our day.


Waking alongside this dog-being has been a wonderful reminder to begin the day emphasizing pleasure: the pleasure of warm snuggly companionship, the pleasure of the morning sounds of birds and rain and wind in the chimes, the pleasure of opening the sleep-stagnation of the body with lavish, voluptuous movements, accompanied by pleasurable vocalizations and a smile.

Whether or not you have a puppy in your bed, try allowing some time for waking a little more slowly and sensuously.  If you find your mind beginning to spin about the events of the day, try turning your feeling-attention the simple rhythm and sensations of your breath, filling and emptying.  Move each limb and appendage slowly, honoring the body’s own process of becoming wakeful and mobilized for what the day holds.

To amplify the effects of this practice you can always get a puppy. : )

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