There are times in my life when all the facts seem to coalesce into a greater truth. Normally I find that this truth is also an ancient truth, an ancient wisdom, and that I am never the first person to encounter it. That said, it is very important to me that I come to this wisdom for myself. Otherwise it always is just facts & knowledge but never truly my own wisdom.
I recently had that experience with wellness. I have written about why I chose FWTFL. It was the best decision I have ever made health wise. It is an amazing set of “what’s” and “how’s”. It has given me the tools to get back to a healthy state. But I am a “why” gal. I like to know, no — I need to know, why. So I read a book called “The Four Pillar Plan” (UK title) / “How to Make Disease Disappear” (US title) by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. It reinforced the “what” and “how” of FWTFL and went deeper into the “whys”. Then I began listening to his podcast. A particular episode really struck me as something that I wanted to know more about, something that was the big “WHY” behind all the little “whys.”
The big WHY is the circadian rhythm.
After listening to the episode(s) on circadian rhythm, I purchased the kindle version of Dr Satchin Panda’s book “The Circadian Code” then I read every article he referenced, then followed a rabbit trail of links and articles. It has been very enlightening. Very interesting. Very intriguing.
What makes us think we can just unroll thousands (and thousands) of years of living, being, and observation? This is the question I have to ask myself often. This is the crux of my endeavors going forward. It all came together for me when I sat down with my Book of Common Prayer to do Laud one morning and Vespers later that day.
Laud — Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring to your holy hill and to your dwelling . . .
The very definition of Laud is praise, public praise so it is very fitting that my first intentional (conscious) thought is that of praising God. I notice that laud (praise) is tied to and acknowledges the rising sun. That first morning light that is filled with blue light, that light that alerts our body to awaken and prepare for the day . . . and so I complete the prescribed prayers while lacing up my trainers, downing a glass of water, and heading out to walk in the new day, with the rising sun, and continue to focus my thoughts on God.
By the time my walk is done, I’m warm, hungry, and feeling quite alert and ready to tackle the day. I spend a few extra minutes outside watching Jasper caper about and weeding the gardens. This gives me nearly an hour out in the sun, moving my body, wakening my mind, and enjoying the peace and quiet.
The rest of my day falls into place with meals, plenty of water, a shower, light housekeeping, reading, writing, and learning. By 3 pm, I am brain-tired and ready for a change. Some time doing yoga or resistance training helps re-focus my day from mental to physical — now is when I do any heavy cleaning or other physically intensive housekeeping chores, along with a quick dip in the pool to cool off, and my last meal occurs about 5 pm.
At 6:00 I sit down with my prayer book again and I find these words . . .
O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are workday at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
Vesper means evening (and Venus, as in the evening star) and I am reminded again to praise and I see again that it is tied to the changing light pattern. Now the sun is sinking, the day is aglow with reds, oranges, and purplish-gray. This is no time for glaring white/blue lights, screens, and exciting activities. This is a time to be be quieted, to prepare my body for rest and healing. This is a time for fireside (or candle-side) story telling, family chats, books, and audiobooks. Even in the summer, when here in IN it can be light at 9 pm, it is easy to make this a quiet time — and sometimes another dip in the pool is needed to help cool down our bodies and make it easier to fall asleep.
There is so much more I’ve learned, and so much more I’ve remembered, but this is the gist of circadian rhythm and these are the keys to wellness: Sleep, Eat, Move, and Relax.