Tag Archives: Madeleine L’Engle

My Early Morning Read

It’s funny how sometimes a habit can change without you noticing it. I’ve been focused on waking up earlier (my early morning walk is turning out to be a great incentive!) and it wasn’t until this morning that I realized I’ve changed another habit: what I read first thing in the morning.

For a long time now, my morning reading routine has gone something like this:

  1. Check email on phone.
  2. Add interesting-looking items from email newsletters to Safari reading list on phone.
  3. Read from reading list.

The problem with this routine, though? There aren’t all that many gems. For example, I’m a sucker for articles about productivity, but unless someone is taking you through a new system they’ve developed, there’s just not a whole lot of anything new you can say about productivity. So even articles with eye-catching headlines (“This One Little-Known Technique Will Super-Charge Your Productivity”) usually turn out to be a rehashing of a productivity maxim I’ve already read about (and read about and read about …)

But still, it was my routine, and a while back when I was considering changing how I started my day, I felt very resistant to changing this part of my routine.

And yet …

It turns out I went ahead and changed things quietly, under my own radar. For the past four days, I’ve been turning to A Circle of Quiet, by Madeleine L’Engle, first thing in the morning. For some reason I’d brought it into my bedroom and placed it on my bedside table (I don’t usually keep any books on my bedside table, as I rarely read in bed).

circle of quiet

And every morning now, I open it up and I read a few pages. Not a lot of pages—I’m definitely not reading it like I would a novel. But the words are beautiful and some of the passages really speak to me. So much so, I’ve even taken to underlining sections (with a pencil—I don’t dare yet to mark up the book with a pen, even though I like using pens better).

It kind of feels like L’Engle is holding my hand, turning my attention to some things I really needed to look at. Here’s a passage I underlined recently:

“A self is always becoming. Being does mean becoming, but we run so fast that it is only when we seem to stop—as sitting on the rock at the brook—that we are aware of our own isness, of being.”

She’s one of my favourite authors (A Wrinkle in Time is a childhood favourite, but I’ve read most of her children’s fiction) and I find myself wishing I’d come across this book when I was younger, fresh out of university. I definitely could have used her perspective back then; I definitely can use her perspective right now, too, for that matter!

The funny thing is, I’ve had this book in my TBR stacks for ages. And I mean ages. Maybe five or six years. I never felt like I had the time to read it, but now I’ve carved out some time. It’s only ten or fifteen minutes in the morning, but that’s enough time to let me drink in a few more of L’Engle’s words and thoughts.

This is one habit I’m going to keep.