As Dawn Breaks…

I go about my daily routine;
Giving thanks for the night that was,
the sleep that overcame,
but most of all,
the serenity that lay beside my dreams.

The first buses are rolling past my window as the students and workers alike stumble unwillingly and sleepily into them, reluctant to face the day. The streetlamps are still on, and the air has an arrogant nip to it, daring us to chase it away. It is this hour before sunrise that I love the most, when I bid farewell to the night and greet the new day with courage and expectation. To think that there was a time not too long ago that I dreaded, even feared sleep and resented the dawn for reminding me that once again I had not managed to succumb to slumber.

My life has changed irrevocably and I never know what or who will come my way. There is definitely no shortage of surprises in my days, just like the Uber drivers who take me to work. Yesterday’s driver was delightfully cheerful from the get-go. The moment I buckled in, it was happy chatter, that is, once we determined what language to speak in – Portuñol of course. His English, he claimed, was just enough to pick up and drop passengers, not have a conversation. In spite of having lived two years in Dublin, he couldn’t wrap his head around the language, and came to resent it. The young Brazilian was happy to practice his Spanish again, having shared a flat with a Mexican and a Colombian for a while. He misses those times, but was happy to tell me stories about the first years in Portugal after he moved here. “You at least a job waiting for you when you moved here,” he says. “I had nothing but a dream and grabbed the first job I could find, which was as a barista. I worked hard, never knew how much I would have left over at the end of the month, and had a difficult time finding a place to live. Portugal is expensive when it comes to rent, but it is a great place to party.”

As the stories developed and progressed, the good man sometimes forgot to step on the accelerator, or the brakes, but it was a fun drive. In true Brazilian style, he said being an Uber driver is the perfect job for him – he gets to be around people, doesn’t have to work all day, which leaves him plenty of time to party or sleep. Extremes much? Eventually we fell into the topic of buying used cars in Portugal, something he strongly encourages. I am not 100% sold on the idea, but it was definitely a learning curve. Meeting this young man full of life and positivity was the inspiration I needed for the day. What a joy to encounter someone whose primary goals in life include travel, dancing, and saving up to visit Brazil again!

Once again I am reminded that true joy is in the simple and small things that money can’t buy. It’s not about how much you have in the bank, but what you emotionally invest in the people that matter most.

A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread from the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer,
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
– John O’Donohue, from Benedictus

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