Monastic Strategies: The First Morning of November

Monastic Strategies: The First Morning of November November 1, 2022

Monastic Strategies: The First Morning of November

Waking Up on the First Morning of November

The first morning of November can be challenging for me. It is not because Halloween has kept me up late last night.

Our days are growing darker and cooler. We will soon change to standard time and squander all the daylight we supposedly saved over the summer. The sun no longer shines in the corners of our windows to beckon us into a new day.

The year is drawing to a close and we have only a few more weeks to go. Waking up on the first morning of November does not encourage us like a January morning at the beginning of the year. It is not a spring morning with the promise of fresh enticements.

It is certainly not Christmas morning.

On November mornings we stay in bed as long as we can, turning over and pulling the blankets around us. Putting things off for just a few more minutes will not really make a difference, will it?

In November, particularly this year, we have settled in and want to stay put. We need our rest, and prefer staying in bed to read books.

We get the feeling, this year in particular, jumping out of bed to embrace the day will simply create new challenges.

The beauty and potential of waking up on the first morning of November seem lost in a fog of concerns and anxieties. This year has been so full of sorrow and difficulties mornings seem to have lost their appeal. It feels better, possibly safer, to stay in bed under the covers and avoid waking up, even if it is for just one day.

What, after all, is so great about waking up on the first morning of November? Why are we working so hard to get up and get going, to accomplish something?

Today it feels like staying asleep might be the more pleasant option.

What is So Great About the First Morning of  November?

November can be a contemplative month.

Like contemplation, November is about letting go. Leaves fall from the trees. We let go of long, warm evenings and early mornings. The sounds of summer become still. Raking up the leaves which have inspired us, we prepare for the challenges of winter.

We exchange the colors of summer and autumn for the stark black and white of November. In Southern California, November is when it might begin to rain again.

The changes in our physical world prompt us to get in touch with inner spiritual life. Harvesting and assessing the fruits of the year, we prune back branches to try to become more productive in the future.

We have two months left in this year. Some of us will push to fit everything we can into those months. Others will prepare to make next year more productive than this one.

Each morning is a precious gift. Choosing how we use it is a significant responsibility.

We may have spiritual practices which demand our attention. Some of us are trying to make up time we have missed on other mornings.

The first morning of November is, like every morning, an opportunity to begin again.

We allow our sleeping and dreaming to clear away what we carry with us so we can start fresh. No matter what concerns or anxieties burden us, waking up on the first morning of November offers us hope.

Not all mornings unfold into happy experiences. Today may be the kind of day which is etched in our memories, which we cannot forget. While we cannot know in advance what will happen today, we do our best to make it a good day.

We Are Waking Up on the First Morning of November

Morning is when we wake up. We open our eyes, remember who we are, and embrace a new day.

If we keep our eyes closed, we will not see.

Monastic mornings begin early, with light from the stars rather than the sun. We wake up and gather, in person or in spirit, for early morning prayer.

O God, come to our assistance. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Slowly we open our eyes and light begins to appear on our horizon.

We open our eyes in the dark and gradually awaken to the light around us, and within us.

Before breakfast, even before coffee, we begin waking up to the first morning of November.

Monastic mornings are times to appreciate, to catch glimpses of the dawn. Light spreads, our eyes are opened. We wake up to ourselves. Monastic mornings help bring us alive.

Even on the first morning of November, we open ourselves to the possibilities of a new day.

Where will our celebration of today help us explore? How will our celebration of tomorrow morning be shaped by what we do today?

Each of us chooses how we will celebrate every new morning all year long.

We Celebrate the First Morning of November

Many celebrations are built on traditions and extensive sets of rules and expectations. When we choose to celebrate our new mornings we can celebrate each one however we want.

Not every day needs to be celebrated with fireworks or ornaments on a tree or enormous meals.

We may have particular ways of celebrating mornings in November which we change for December. The ways we celebrate Sunday mornings could be different from how we celebrate Saturday mornings.

Choosing how we celebrate each new morning is up to us. Some people celebrate particular mornings by eating special foods on those days. We may spend time with particular people to celebrate certain days.

Some of us mark the changing seasons when we celebrate. As autumn becomes more contemplative, we might celebrate more contemplatively. We greet sunlight differently than the dark.

Each day, each morning, is filled with potential and possibilities, including the first morning of November.

How will we celebrate the first morning of November today?

Who will we invite to join us in celebrating the first mornings of November this week?

[Image by blavandmaster]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is and his email address is

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