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What Old Saying Did Melissa and I Resurrect? And How Is It Changing Our Lives?

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.

[Update: We’re still going to bed early! We’re still loving it! For all the reasons mentioned in this post.]

How about you?!

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

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24 Responses to What Old Saying Did Melissa and I Resurrect? And How Is It Changing Our Lives?

  1. Linda Robinett January 14, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    Does this mean that prosperous people are morning people? Seriously, this could be because our society is still based on sunlight hours. I don’t know if your blog collects time stamps but this comment is being typed at 6:20 am. I have been up about an hour. I was usually bright and cheerful when I arrived at work and I do not drink coffee unless it has booze in it.

    But back to your statement about the donors. Instead of calling it practice church, that means, that I has a choir member need to be on my top performance level, not my dress rehearsal level. Thanks for the reminder. The early service deserves excellence. BTW, the Z produced piano music always sounds great.

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Linda,

      Yes, the timestamp on this post shows up as 6:23 am. Lots of early morning posters on this particular blog post!

      The musician who made the comment on the donors was definitely alluding to the importance of doing our best in every service. I try to do just that. Staying alive and awake to the present moment helps in this regard. Even when it’s early early early early! :)


  2. Angelica Jayne Taggart January 14, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    What is considered early? I get up when the sun does — so some parts of the year it’s earlier than others :)

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      Hi Angelica,

      Yes, it’s all relative. I need lots of sleep, so my “early morning” isn’t going to be nearly as early as other people’s. It’s about finding what works. Getting up with the sun sounds quite nifty to me! :)


  3. Kat January 14, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Dear Z,

    I’ve always been an early riser, awake around 5:30, relishing the quiet of the early morning hours, and as you mentioned the spaciousness of the day.

    When I tell people I go to bed by 9:00 p.m. they think I’m bonkers, yet I find I have more energy, creative ideas, time, and less stress because I never have to rush.

    Living in the high desert I can see the light of the sun tiptoeing up from behind, then over the mountains in the east, while the western sky slowly awakens.

    I appreciate the day more because I get to see it from it’s new beginning. It’s by far the most grace-filled part of the day!

    As always, a wonderful piece of writing! Thank You!

    Many Blessings,

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Kat,

      I love all these descriptions of early mornings by early morning risers. All the morning people who read this blog have contributed some wonderful comments, you included. Thank you! I love being in such great company, and remembering and reinforcing the power and beauty of rising early. :)


  4. Becka January 14, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    What a cool post!

    I mostly get teased for going to bed so early (last night I was asleep by 8pm) so I really appreciate hearing this. I started doing this soon after I realized that getting enough sleep was the #1 contributor to my emotional health and stability. Waking up at 4 or 5 am and meditating before everyone wakes up feels so natural and peaceful. My whole day feels slower and easier.

    Now we need to come together to get people to have concerts and parties that start at 5pm instead of 9pm! :)

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Becka!

      Yes for getting enough sleep! I agree with you about the emotional health and stability. When I’m tired, everything is more difficult. When I’m well rested, everything is awesome. Pretty simple.

      I used to go to bed at 8 and it was great! My current schedule doesn’t allow me to go to bed quite that early, but that could change. More power to you, sister!! :)


    • Melissa January 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      Hi honey! (Miss you! You’ve been SO on my mind! Love you…)

      I would LOVE for concerts and parties to end at like 7 or 8 – I’d go out more! And I’d be WAY less wasted after GIVING a concert.

      Ah well – – still love them….and you! :-)

  5. squirrel January 14, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Z! :)
    i’m a nyctophile, but when i do go to bed early and get up early, i find that i feel good. i also notice that time seems to move more rapidly. not sure what that’s about. i’m trying to readjust my schedule again so i can get up early and do stuff before i go to school. :)

    <3 xos

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Squirrel,

      I know what you mean about time moving differently when you get up early. Weird, isn’t it? Well, squirrels are, by nature, early risers – aren’t they? Except for the nyctophilic ones. 😉


  6. Jo Lauer January 14, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    My dad was a strong advocate of that saying. His version was to come into the bedroom I shared with my sister in childhood, on a summer’s morning when other kids were “sleeping in,” open the curtains, gently wiggle our feet and say, “Wake up, wake up. You don’t want to miss the Golden Hours.” Somehow, rather than resenting that, we’d wake to a magical event of sunshine and the smells of fresh morning wafting through the window. To this day, early waking brings a smile to my face, and I often whisper to my dad (on the other side now), “Dad, Dad…it’s the Golden Hours.”

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Jo,

      This is so beautiful. As you describe the summer morning and your father waking you up, I can see it clearly in my mind. I love that you still connect with him during this magical part of the day. Beautiful!


  7. Antonia Albany January 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Up at 4:30 – 5 am every day without fail…to bed between 8-9 pm, generally. Everyone knows I’m healthy, wealthy and wise … generally. Nice post, Z. xo

    • Z Egloff January 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      Hi Antonia,

      I love it! Another VDL early riser. It’s beautiful here in the morning, that’s an added benefit! :)


  8. Connie Phillippe January 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    This has really made me laugh…When I think of all of the years we tried to get Melissa to go to bed early (by 10:00p.m.) and UP (at all!) I wish her Dad were here, It would crack him up too. Just proves if you wait long enough all things Improve with age.

    • Melissa January 14, 2014 at 2:25 pm #


      YES! I wonder how much happier I might have been if I had only listened to you! (Of course, we could say that about so MANY things! tee hee her)

      This has RADICALLY changed my life. Even just a consistent time for bed makes my whole body so much happier. And you know what they say – Happy Body, Happy Mind

      I love you!

    • Z Egloff January 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Connie,

      I’m making it my mission to prove to Melissa that everything her parents taught her is true. :)


  9. Jerrine January 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    well you know we live 60% on the Eastern edge 100 feet above the sea facing east when the first rays come over the edge…we are up and at it…then we come to Sonoma we are still on Eastern time… so we are super early..the office in Massachusetts opens at 8…the bookkeeper arrives at 7:30 this translates int 4:30, 5 AM …when we are back East we always have a morning date time too…before we get ensnared … hey it works for us…40 years now this May..we have been prosperous…he likes that ball games which you know he is fond of start and end early in California, the Academy awards are not torturous late as they are back East….if I stay up until 10 i get mocked for being a night owl.

    • Z Egloff January 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Jerrine,

      I always love it when a time zone jump allows me to switch to super early hours. That’s cool that you and Bill get to do that regularly.

      I also like the idea of an early morning date – Melissa and I do that sometimes too. It’s all about priorities! :)


  10. Karen January 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    You all make such a nice case for getting shuteye earlier and getting up earlier. I’ll file it away for future reference! I DO believe it (in theory). :)

    • Z Egloff January 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Next thing you know, you’ll be getting up at 5 am. Your new kitty would probably love that! :)


  11. Leon March 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Hi Z-
    Love your blog!! I’m a member of CSL and just found you online. I agree that early to bed and rise gets my mojo working best. Marjorie and I love your music on Sunday’s, although the 10:00 am service is early enough for us.

    • Z Egloff March 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      Hi Leon,

      Nice to “see” you here! Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad to know that you are another early bird. It really does make a difference, doesn’t it?!


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