photo: latteda on flickr

photo: latteda on flickr

What’s your favorite old saying?

A penny saved is a penny earned? Haste makes waste?

Or how about this one:

It’s better to have bowlegs than no legs at all. (I did not make that up. I swear!)

Recently, Melissa and I dusted off an old saying that is proving to make a prolifically positive effect on our lives.

It’s not about pennies and it’s not about bowlegs. It’s a sentence that manages to combine prime physical fitness, sharp intelligence and financial prosperity, while also giving a method with which to achieve all three of these states.

Know which saying I’m talking about?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

photo: Vinoth Chandar on flickr

photo: Vinoth Chandar on flickr

A few years ago, I heard something that has stayed with me ever since.

Melissa and I frequently play music at spiritual Centers. One of these Centers is the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa.

CSL Santa Rosa is such a big place that they have three services on Sunday morning –  8:30, 10:00 and 11:30. The musicians often joke that the first service is like a dress rehearsal. Getting to do the music three times allows us to have it down by the third service. 

One morning, after one of the musicians made a comment along these lines, one of the other musicians said, “Did you know that most of the biggest financial donors go to the first service?”

No. I did not.

The musician pointed out that the generous givers don’t come to the first service because there’s a rule stating that this is how it’s supposed to be. There’s no rule.

The generous givers just happen to come to the first service.

When I was at other Centers, I heard the same thing.

The more I heard this, the more I began to wonder. What was going on?

Why do the big givers consistently come to the first service of the day?

Are they coffee addicts? Are they insomniacs? Are they vampires, adverse to the bright sunlight of the later morning services?

vampire done

When my theories about sleep-deprived, heavily-caffeinated vampires proved fruitless, I focused on a more practical idea.

If they’re coming to the first service, they have to be getting up early.

For a long time, this as far as I went. And given that I am a huge fan of sufficient sleep, I figured I would never be in this early-rising category.

Until recently.

In the last month or so, Melissa and I have been noticing how good we feel when we go to bed early.

When we go to bed early, we wake up earlier. When we wake up earlier, having gotten enough sleep, the whole day feels magical.

There’s so much time! The day feels so spacious! The sun is shining and the trees are singing and the birds are swaying in the wind. (I know, you thought it was the birds that sing and the trees that sway, but I’m tellin’ ya: Getting up early turns everything around!)

photo: Pedro Szekely on flickr

photo: Pedro Szekely on flickr

After a few days of this early bird practice, I remembered the wealthy donors at the Center.

And I finally got it:

They get up early because they go to bed early! That’s why my sleep-deprived, heavily-caffeinated vampire theory never took root!

And that’s why the old saying about bowlegged people didn’t make it into the 21st Century, but the “healthy, wealthy and wise” one did. It’s as true today as it was back then:  

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Or, in this case, makes a Goofball healthy, wealthy and wise.

And when the Goofballs of this world start getting healthy, wealthy and wise – watch out world!

photo: djsspl on flickr

photo: djsspl on flickr

Melissa and I are now committed to a practice of going to bed early. I’ll keep you posted on our progress. And I’d love to hear from you:

Any other early risers out there? Share your comments below!

(I currently respond to all comments on this blog. If for some reason your comment does not appear on the blog, it has been trapped in my gigantic spam folder. Please try again!)

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