What I learned from watching sunrises and sunsets

I am not sure exactly how I got onto watching the movie “Wild” based on Cheryl Strayed’s book, but it came at a time when I had started my practice of mindfulness and daily meditations. The movie is based on Cheryl’s memoir of her solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail starting at the Mojave desert and finishing at the Bridge of the God’s in Washington. As we are avid hikers and backpackers, watching Cheryl prepare for her first backpacking trip of 1100 miles was both hilarious and audacious. During the movie there are flashbacks of Cheryl’s life (building the reason for her crazy solo journey) and her epiphany after spending those many days on her own in reflection and introspection.

One quote stood out to me in the movie that is said by Cheryl Strayed’s mom:

“There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it…Put yourself in the way of beauty.”

Cheryl Strayed

In that moment I realized how I had been so busy through most of my adult life that I had very rarely stopped look at the sunrise, sunrise or even the moon. I had taken all of this beauty around me for granted. Depending on the time of the year, I get the opportunity to witness magnificent sunrises and sunsets on my commute to and from work. This quote, inspired my daughter and I to go out to a nearby park bench by our house and sit and watch the sun actually set.

So here is what I learnt:


It is not instantaneous – rise and setting of the sun is a process.

There is a peak of sunrise and sunset each day – I don’t know how they determine it but the Weather Network ascribes a specific time each day for this event – but really it is a process, just like life. The colors come in and out from the hint of yellow, orange sometimes purple, pink to the bright blue sky.


We can all want thing to happen this instant…but it is a process. Growing a rose flower, starts from the seed, to the leaves growing to the bud forming to the flowers blooming. It is a process to start a new habit, to lose weight, to change my mind, to find a job, to slow down.


Each time I observe the process of sun rising/setting, it reminds me to be patient and give room for the process to occur not just in watching the sun’s movements, but in everything in life.

Each sunrise/sunset is unique – there are no identical sunrises/sunsets.


The dust particles in the air, the ambient temperature, the moisture in the air, the amount of cloud cover all create a unique combination of a melody of colors, moods and display.


It reminds me of my dog Chase who waits with eager anticipation everyday at mealtimes, a drop or two of drool as he watches my daughter grab the bowl, and fill it with the same amount of the same food he has eaten over the last two years for every meal – that is over 2,000 meals and counting. But he never fails to be expectant!

How many of us look forward to each day of our lives? Vacations, special occasions, of course we look forward to them but for most of us, we drag ourselves out of bed to do the same thing every day – go to work – do the same thing we did yesterday – get home – go to bed and start it all over again.


These sunrises/sunsets remind me to start/end my day with expectancy.


You cannot see the subtle differences day to day if we don’t slow down; if we are not looking for it. Its just like losing weight – yes one day your pants may hang loose around your waist, but to really stay motivated, you weigh yourself daily, take the measurements around your waist religiously and you start to see the numbers go down, a half a pound here, another pound, back up, and then down.

Photo by NO NAME on Pexels.com

Here’s a practice I recommend…and would love to hear what you thought of it:

– find out what time sunrise/sunset is in your area

– find a park bench, a balcony, a porch, or just go outside about 30 minutes before the time and just BE!

– perhaps you will make this a regular habit.

Published by Priya Denton

I am a professional engineer, a wife, mother of two and discovering new meaning in life over the last few months. This blog is to share some of the learnings in my life journey in the hope that it will encourage and empower you.

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