Practice: Times of Day

beach at sunset

Photo by Moyan Brenn

Both traditions I am trained in have a way of acknowledging various points of the day: the beginning and the end, and also midday and dusk.  The practice of bookending my day with a moment of connection is one that feels uncomplicatedly lovely to me.  While these times could benefit from twenty or thirty minutes of practice, they also benefit from one or two minutes of acknowledgement.

The midday and dusk times, on the other hand, often come while I’m in the middle of something else, and so pulling away, even for a minute, can feel hard.  When I do, sometimes I rush through, but when I am able to pause for long enough to feel connection in my belly, they inevitably help me realign my day with what’s truly important to me.

One simple way to engage this practice is just to look for something to say thank you for at each time.  I don’t believe that forced gratitude is good for us, so I’d suggest staying away from the things you think you ought to be grateful for and instead acknowledging things you are able to appreciate in the moment you’re practicing.  Tiny things are good choices: these soft sheets, this steaming cup of coffee.  Big things are another one that’s often easy to connect to: gratitude for being alive, for friends or family, for shelter, warmth, and food.

I find the phrase “thank you” especially evocative and so prefer it to “I am grateful for,” although you may feel differently!  If you have a devotional practice or set of beliefs about who you might be thanking, you can address your gratitude more specifically, but I also find that it works well to just say “thank you” without any specific idea about who you are thanking.

I’ve also used taking three deep breaths at each of these points as a very brief way to take a pause and acknowledge the cycle of the sun in the sky, and I’ve used specific prayers — ones that come from traditional sources and also ones I’ve written — at other times.

Do you acknowledge daily cycles?  I’d love to hear about your practices!

About Sarah Twichell

Sarah Twichell is a witch, writer, foodie, musician, semi-competent knitter, aspiring runner, and all-around logistical wizard.

  • Tracy W

    This is a great reminder. I have two practices that help me stay oriented, one usually done around dusk and one usually before bed (much later, generally). The first is similar to your moment of thanks, but I try to include thank yous for the lessons that were hard, as well. This is especially helpful on tough days. Saying thank you for the lesson brought by the very difficult person, or for the stomachache that reminds you of your body and privilege of having food choices can be great in reorienting perspective. I also have a prayer-
    May my thoughts always be of others.
    May my words always be filled with compassion.
    May my heart be open to new possibilities.
    May the work of my hands always be in service to others,
    and May my feet always be on the path that is meant to be mine.

    • Sarah Twichell

      That’s lovely; thanks for sharing it.

  • diane

    thank you, the world is beautiful, and so grateful to be sharing it with you, and learning with you all too.

  • thalassa

    In the morning, we light a vespa to remind us to tend to our inner fire, and we use it to light three candles for the sea, sky, and land, as a reminder to stay tuned into them and make a place for them in our day.

    At sunset, we take a moment with the kids and say the following:

    From the east unto the West
    The Sun has traveled and has blessed us
    I give thanks to this day.
    I give thanks to every Rock and every Tree
    from the Desert to the Sea
    For the Moon and for the stars,
    for you and for me

    • Sarah Twichell

      Those are both beautiful rituals; thanks for sharing them with us!

  • Amanda

    I’m a huge fan of book-ending the day with something connecting meaningful to me. They’re often the only two points of my day which are consistent day-to-day.

    I’ve had various practices and prayers over the years for bookending but the things I come back to — and keep as my foundation — are the simplest: a few breaths of connection before I even get out of bed, and the same in the evening. I also like to start my day by saying good morning to my gods and good night to them in the evening; sorta like what most of us do with family or house-mates. Sometimes I have entire conversations with one of them.

  • Annette

    I love the idea of a short, simple beginning/ending to the day and would like to add that to my mornings/evenings. Other than those above, can you suggest/recommend some (or sites)?