The importance of Sunday mornings
The earliest of our senses stirs awake and begins to break through the morning haze. Auditory. The birds chirping, a sound not likely to be noticed on any other day of the week. A melodic string of notes unassuming to human ears, not unlike the pleasure that can come from listening to music sung in a foreign language.
If it were a weekday, you'd be out of the house by now. But today, your eyes momentarily flutter behind their lids. They have the time to spare. Where there is normally darkness to your mornings, the light shines in differently. It shyly pushes itself through the curtains, careful not to disturb too suddenly. Slowly it begins playing off your walls and catches minute glimpses of your life: tall candlesticks, your current reading material, the sweater left on the floor.
It is not difficult to muddle through our weekdays without noticing anything - without any time for ourselves to think and ponder. And on Sundays, there's a real danger in continuing to fill up the day with distractions.
It'd be easy to vanish back into the digital life that accustoms weekdays - to answer emails, to perform administrative tasks. But Sundays are an opportunity to re-engage in the wider horizons of one's life. To contemplate the questions that matter but continuously get marginalized. What is my purpose? How do I be a better partner? A better daughter? A better friend? Where do I find meaning? What do I believe in?
While Sundays allow time for contemplation, they also exhibit the freedom to enjoy simpler pleasures. To drink your coffee slowly. To listen to a loved one. To get lost in a book. To watch the fish in the pond in your neighborhood park. To take a walk in the forest. To let go of the noise.
In music, a caesura is a pause between the notes. It is what makes the piece so anticipatory, so invasive - and ultimately so beautiful. Our brains prefer the contrast; the silence is what makes the following notes burgeon with impact. To quote Claude Debussy, "Music is the space between the notes.”
Instead of letting Sunday slip by, remember that it is not merely a pause between the things that 'matter' (see here), but it holds volume in itself. It's remarkably easy to squander the day away as we rush on to the next big note of our life. But its always the pause is that has the most impact.
In 2006, Henrik Brumm published a research paper that further demonstrated how noisy our world has become. His study showed that because of the ambient noise in our cities, birds actually have to adjust the pitch of their songs in order to make themselves heard now. The noises concentrated within a city tend to fall on the spectrum of lower frequencies - cars, motorbikes, airplanes, lorries. Because of this overabundance of noise, birdsong that is of a lower frequency became drowned out. This creates difficulty protecting territory as well as attracting perspective mates; and therefore, could ultimately lead to fewer eggs being laid, and an overall decrease in the bird population. In order to adapt, birds now have to sing at a higher frequency than they ever had to before. While the rise of noise and impact of it in our world is a subject that continues to be studied, it nonetheless signifies that silence is a luxury to all living things.
The constant hustle and bustle can easily drown out the delicate frequencies of your weekdays. But Sunday should be a day where you can slowly take it all back. To find silence in an increasingly noisy world.
Is your world quiet enough that you can still hear the birds?
Malinda Meadows is an Ohio native who was letting grief blanket her life.
She found healing through traveling and nature. She discovered changes of location led to changes in her mindset. It helped her process grief and forge a new path with greater optimism and happiness. Realizing the benefit of deliberate change, she now leads a more balanced and mindful life inspired by simple changes.
She blogs regularly at malindainthesnow.com to help others find change, however small, outside their box in order to live a happier, healthier life.