Don’t go back to sleep

Forest Road Under Sunset Sunbeams. Lane Running Through The Autumn Deciduous Forest At Dawn Or Sunrise. Toned Instant Photo

Don’t go back to sleep

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.

From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.

Unable to see, I heard my name being called.

Then I walked outside.

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 (Translation by Coleman Barks)

This poem captures everything I am trying to do in my personal and professional life: stay awake and help wake other people up to themselves and all their possibilities.

It’s so easy to sleepwalk through life. To not be in our bodies. To not be present to ourselves and the world around us. Particularly these days, it can be exhausting to stay awake and witness everything going on in the world. Switching to autopilot, maintaining the status quo, and numbing can almost feel necessary to survive.

It takes conscious effort to give ourselves the things that make us feel alive and awake as often as possible so that we can be less asleep the rest of the time.

Just like in the poem, I’m a big believer in dawn. I wake up early every day and my morning routine wakes up my body, mind, and heart. It prepares me to stay awake in my day; to have more resources to respond to whatever comes up. And to feel less inclined to rush to sleep at the first sign of stress, conflict, or sadness.

I find myself staying awake most when I am connecting with others. I come alive when I am listening deeply to someone and holding up a mirror to help them wake up to themselves, which in turns wakes me up more fully to myself. The questions come through me but they don’t feel like they originate with me. I feel connected to the other person and to something bigger than both of us. When this is happening I am at my most creative and attuned. My body gives me clues about what the other person is feeling. I may get goosebumps or feel a tightness in my chest or throat.

There is a euphoria that happens for me when I am in an atmosphere of growth and discovery. It’s impossible for me to be asleep in these moments. I am completely present; the laundry list of thoughts is quiet.

The world needs us all to be awake. Find what it is for you that wakes you up and keeps you up. Please don’t go back to sleep.

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About the author

Sara Smeaton

I help you discover the joy and power in midlife and navigate the transitions on your own terms. I am passionate about changing the narrative about aging and am trying to fill the world with profiles of real life people who are thriving and more alive after 40 than ever before. The best is yet to come and there are role models all around us. Book your free 30-minute connection call.

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