A Jewish mystical teaching suggests that as we sleep, our soul leaves our body and spiritually “recharges,” returning to our body in the morning. This is reflected in a brief but powerful morning blessing: Mode(a)h Ani…”I am grateful, Creative Source of the Universe that you have protected my soul and renewed it for another day of purpose and compassionate living. I am happy that I can depend at least on this.”
What if there was no sleep and life was an unbroken awakeness – we would lose so much. The joy of surrender to sleep, with the release that comes with letting go … letting go of the day and its cares, its failures, its disappointments. Just the physical slowing down and sinking into the mattress and the pillows. And if there was no sleep we would lose the possibility of a new beginning each day, of a renewal, of a do-over.
Nonetheless waking up is a two-edged sword and we may not feel like giving thanks. Each day we wake up to the reality of our physical limitations … aching bones, a need for more sleep, and we wake up to our own story once more with all its pain and loss. But we also wake up to all the joys of our life and our story and the possibility of experiencing new joys and adding wonderful moments to our story.
Each day we are given the opportunity to not only improve but also transcend our yesterdays, to open a new chapter in life that is neither predicted nor determined by what we did and were up until now. We have the opportunity to free ourselves of yesterday’s mistakes and build a new, recreated self. The prayer Mode(a)h Ani – affirms that there is something of Divine significance for each of us to do in this world every day. It also reminds us that we have the power to overcome yesterday, and not let it defeat us.
And so let us give thanks …