Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Things First

Here is something to ponder, I guess. In AA's Big Book there is a section which offers a model of good living in one day. That whole section begins, "upon retiring at night..." Ever since this was pointed out to me as prescriptive I have pondered and tried to think of my life that way. This means my day is about a third over when I am getting up in the morning. It means that my day is nearly over now as I write. It also means that sleep is not separate from my day but is the start of it. As such sleep is not in the way but an important first step. Sleep itself as a practice. I rather like this upside down way of looking at the day. I think Bill Wilson had something when he organized the day like that. I wonder if he was carrying a tradition forward, since there was a Christian group practice (the Oxford Group) where he spent some time before and in the early days of AA. AA began in association with the Oxford Group, though that association did not last long.

I have never heard of anyone offering this way of looking at a day anywhere else. It is not overtly offered that way in the Big Book either, not specifically said, do this. It is just written that way. That, my friends is how esoteric knowledge may sometimes be transmitted. It is offered in the open but not emphasized. As Jesus said, more than once, "those who have ears, let them hear."

First Things First

You say, First Things First.
They say sunrise, noon, sunset
midnight then sunrise,
But I say sunset,
that is first for me by far,
or moonrise, Venus
as the evening
star, that is first in my life,
descent into sleep,
then dreams of places
further than my breath, then all
the others follow.

February 20, 2009 8:35 AM


  1. Whichever way I do it, I seem to start my days tired :(

  2. Interesting... I believe the Hebrew Sabbath begins the evening of the day before.

  3. Yes, I believe at sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. I had not thought of that.

  4. I like that!
    It's kind of hard to put my mind around it, and seems indeed; upside down.
    I'm going to live it for a while, which makes a lot of sense, as i go to bed most nights a bit before midnight, falling asleep as the new day starts. Thanks

  5. That's to me even more weird, that the new day starts in the middle of the night as we time it by clock time. I don't think very many people actually think of their day that way. I believe most of us time the day from waking up in the morning. I wonder now why I didn't remember the Jewish Sabbath. I knew that.

    Some of my worst times was when I had graveyard shift going on. I felt exiled. An upside down day. That's a different thing from this sundown start that leads to sleep first.

  6. That is an intriguing idea. I'm going to try it. I don't think it negates the new beginning the morning offers, as perhaps the sense of that comes from the awareness of the sleep and dreams we've just left behind. I read something from Transtromer once where he was likening sleep and dreams to a forest, and that i waking we come down out of the treetops, which is counter to the usual idea that waking is an emergence up out of...

    Also, Christmas Day here and in much of Europe starts after the mass of Christmas Eve - the Reveillon, and really, that's the peak moment of Christmas. The following day is really just getting over that and not doing much.

  7. Lucy, it has worked for me, remembering that day's end is dinner time. It is subtle but real.

  8. Christopher, I just spent a series of days without order. Moons for breakfast, tooth brushing beneath a mid-day sun, dinner at 3am and sleep...was there sleep? I felt a child like that. I couldn't have felt more alive!


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