Don’t Go Back to Sleep

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“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.”

– Rumi

 

One day…

There was no going back to sleep.

I woke up, and I could no longer skim the surface of life.

I woke up, and I stopped seeking fulfillment in the wrong places.

I woke up, and I lost interest in the activities that exhausted or betrayed my soul.

I woke up, and I understood the ways in which my suffering was purposeful. It allowed me to ease another’s pain from a place of deeper understanding and empathy.

I woke up, and I couldn’t unsee the goodness and potential I saw in every human being.

I woke up, and I saw my humanity as an opportunity to express, to feel fully alive, and to experience the full spectrum of emotion.

I woke up, and I saw the way that pain was inevitable and inherent to the human experience. However, it could be used as a tool for growth rather than simply a point of suffering.

I woke up, and I stopped clinging to that which no longer had space in my life.

I woke up, and I came to terms with being different, with feeling misunderstood. There was so much beauty in being different.

I woke up, and I started to trust – myself, my gut, my path, my struggles. I always ended up in the right place, and if the path became dark, there were lessons embedded along the way that made the journey worthwhile. There were also lanterns that illuminated the path.

I woke up, and I worked genuinely to be the kindest, truest, most authentic version of myself.

I woke up, and I forgave myself for the times I fell short of the person I wanted to be.

I woke up, and I viewed my ‘flaws’ or weaknesses as areas for growth, and I gave myself more credit for my strengths.

I woke up, and I began saying no, without guilt, when the timing was wrong, pushing through my innate fear of disappointing others.

I woke up, and I began to say yes, to experiences that healthfully pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone.

I woke up, and I came to a peaceful understanding about the transience of life. While I had lost some of my favorite souls, I felt the ways in which they were always with me, and I lived more purposefully because of them.

I woke up, and I was okay. Life was not perfect, but I was breathing, I was alive, and I knew I would always be okay in the end.

I woke up, and I no longer needed to apologize, nor offer explanations, for who I am, for my decisions, or for my way of life.

I woke up, and my lifetime commitment to humanity came into clearer focus.

There are few things I believe with absolute certainty. But I know that we are here to live – fully, truly, passionately – in our human skin. We are here to help others in their suffering, because we too are familiar with the darker side of life. We are here to be human, beautifully and messily so, with every possible joy and sorrow. To pursue every curiosity and every avenue of interest and passion. To give life to our dreams. To love like love is all we know.

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