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the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde

The Spirit of the Dawn: Lessons from 426 consecutive sunrises

One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘what is my daily practice?’ These days, it changes depending on my inner enquiry and what my system needs. However, I remain true to one principle that I have upheld since I started regularly meditating around thirty years ago, and that is, I stick to any new practice until I have mastered it and it becomes familiar, loved, and enables shifts and changes.

Around February 2020, like many of us, my sleep patterns became disrupted. I have always woken early, but this was a new kind of early, around 4.30am every morning. Rather than resist the change, I decided to make the most of my disrupted sleep pattern and go exploring on my bike, allowing intuition to guide my travels in the dark, whilst the city slept. An extremely beautiful window opened up for me which I wrote about in my blog post, ‘The Art of Cultivating Detachment to Dance with Disruption’.

the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde

Speed, movement and adventure proved a fabulous balm to my caged spirit. There’s nothing like gliding in darkness, whilst the island still sleeps and before the day comes rushing into mind. Moreover, whilst the direction and areas I rode through changed each day, the consistent energy move was being up, aware and participating in the burgeoning light and promise of a new day. What transpired was a deep and abiding engagement with the dawn itself.

In Shamanism we acknowledge that all things, all phenomena, at their essence are a ‘Principle Idea’, a ‘Spirit’. There is an organising field of energy and information that informs everything we experience, including ourselves. In February 2020, I committed to connecting with the ‘Spirit of the Dawn’, every day.

At the time of posting this blog, I have met and energetically engaged with 426 consecutive dawns. So I think it’s fair to say that my daily practice currently and for the last 426 days is that, ‘I do Dawn’.

Sometimes it’s in the Botanic Gardens before my Qigong class. Sometimes it’s sharing a ride with my friends, sometimes it’s through a wild tropical storm, or at my altar in meditation. In the main, most days, I wake early, excited and expectant for what the dawn holds for me and ride the 37km round trip across the island to the East Coast and back. Coming from the East Coast in Australia, the sights, sounds and scents of the sun rising over the ocean make me hum. The atmosphere is charged with all the elements and this allows an incredible somatic, full-body immersion into my dawn meditation and energy practices. Dawn, on the sealine, is a double ‘Dragon Point’.

These junctures where different powerful signature energies meet are described in the Taoist tradition as Dragon Points. They are the point at which one form of Chi (vital life force) meets another. In nature, for example, it is where two rivers merge into one or the mountain peaks scrape the sky. They are where the ocean meets land or when the light emerges in the darkness at dawn. When dwelling on a Dragon Point, the awareness can easily enter into a deep trance state where intuitive guidance and revelation abound.

These areas and moments in nature are considered to be extremely powerful and if you recall those moments in the wilderness when you have been truly moved, and your consciousness spontaneously altered, when you have had a glimpse of the majesty and the mystery, I am willing to wager that you were dwelling in a Dragon Point. In most ancient cultures, the most sacred sites are either on or near natural Dragon Points like most ancient world temples, the pyramids or stone circles.  

In Shamanism, these ‘in-betweens’ are where the Shaman accesses ‘The Spirit’ of things, the ‘Principle Idea’, which also includes the day that is yet to unfold for me. 

the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde

How I greet each dawn when I am on my own varies. I usually engage in breathwork, some Qigong, Kabbalist energy practices, meditation, stillness and mantra. I find it good to have a selection of tried and true practices in my ‘medicine bag’ and to be responsive to what Dawn and my system are calling for. 

And I’m not alone! There are other dawn lovers out there, and whilst we’re all engaging in different ways, the one thing we have in common is a recognition of the moment and a mutual respect that The Spirit of Dawn has drawn us all there together. 

the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde
the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde
the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde

I have filled a journal with the revelations, insights and lessons that 426 dawns have given me and they are far too numerous to list here in this blog. So here are ten of what I believe are the most useful for everyone:

1. Commitment met with effort and then completion, is one of the best mental health hacks there is. 

In an extended and indeterminate time of holding patterns, pivots and shelved plans, creating a new and beautiful focus that requires some discipline and effort, and which results in personal achievement, is enormously satisfying and confidence-boosting. Just do it…whatever it is.

2. Regularity leads to familiarity which enables emotional/vibratory engagement.

The beauty of regular practice, especially one that engages the wilderness, reveals that even though the action seems the same, every single sunrise is not at all. I can honestly say that I have a deep and abiding emotional ‘love’ of the Spirit of the Dawn, and it is this vibratory state that allows the Dawn into my own Spirit, to stir, teach and guide.

3. Every single day is unique, and experiencing this uniqueness engenders deep-felt gratitude. 

426 dawns have leant me into the subtle differences in the feel of the waking day. All the elements of each dawn, down to the bird call, temperature, colours, and scents, will never, ever be repeated in that same combination again. This is true of every second of every day. That deep connection with the uniqueness of every moment opens the heart and floods it with gratitude. The high resonance of felt gratitude is proven to heal the body, boost immune function and lift the spirit.

4. Dawn air is fantastic for Pranayama (conscious meditative breathing).

As the first rays of sunlight touch the botanical realm, it triggers all plants to switch to their daytime breathing cycles, and they exhale a sigh of pure oxygen. The air at dawn is clear, light and highly oxygenated. Here in the tropics, it is also laden with the evening perfumes of frangipani, jasmine and ylang ylang, just to name a few. Bliss!

5. Wild beauty is medicine.

The colours, pheromones, light, sounds, scents…provide delight for the soul, unmatched by any architected man-made beauty, and it heals.

the spirit of the dawn and lessons from 404 consecutive sunrises daniellevandevelde6. It’s bigger than me…

No matter what worries, concerns, deadline pressures or client cases might be weighing in my mind, the massive energies of the Spirit of the Dawn put everything, every time, into perspective. Dawn short-cuts me back to humility and insignificance in the scheme of the wild, and there’s an undeniable peace that rises with this.

7. The reliability of nature is a balm.

Day always follows night. We know this, but to participate in the energy of it, directly and consistently, shifts paradigms of entanglement in a current state or the belief of being ‘stuck’ or ‘blocked’. Everything is always changing and ‘this too shall pass’.

8. Playing with the Dawn engenders mental agility.

Sometimes, in meditation at dawn, I play with perspective shifts. Rather than engaging with a rising sun, I will move my attention to the Earth beneath me and ‘feel’ the other truth of dawn, which is, the Earth turning on its axis towards the sun. These shifts provide an agility of mind that is super useful for life and work.

9. Dawn provides practice in detecting subtle energy shifts within the energy body.

At the true point of dawn, there’s a palpable shift in the atmosphere and a distinct, very light movement in the air. It requires stillness and an open heart, but it’s there. I have an app on my phone which tells me the true point of dawn each day. However, I have taken to not looking at it, but rather entering into a deep state of awareness and letting my body detect it. I have it down now and can pinpoint the exact moment of the dawn. This drill practice in detecting energy shifts within my energy body is key to perceiving intuitive information and my energy healing work.

10. Tapping the highest potential of each day.

Beneath and beyond words and thought, is a state of ‘beingness’ that the dawn slips me into, and I can locate and connect with the highest potential of the day. The day is yet to play out, but within that potentiality, at the dawn, it can be found, sensed and drawn in. On the days that seem impossible to pull off, that have me feeling tight and contracted, like for example overbooked healing sessions, or launching a new course (with new tech involved), I have been able to sense into the highest track within that day, before it has started, and stay pegged to that potential. It yields, every single time.

In May, my goodwill donations always support Mother Earth, through endangered species adoption and reforestation drives. This May, I am delighted to start sharing my Dawns with those who are eager to tap some of this divine magic. Dawn Dreaming, open-air meditations start in May. Once Twice a week, I will meet anyone who is keen, at certain locations around Singapore to greet the rising sun and guide a practice. Group sizes will, of course, be limited due to restrictions and we can swing the distancing via my Vox sets that allow you to hear my voice at a distance. $20, and all proceeds will be donated to the monthly causes…all Earth-loving initiatives. Email me here if you’d like to be notified of dates, times and locations. 

If you have any questions or thoughts on the Spirit of the Dawn or about Dawn Dreaming, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

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