Once Awake, Stay Alert…
How many of us awake each morning, drag ourselves from slumber, and slowly turn our gears in motion? If you’re like me, you have your set morning routine. It aids in bringing the body, and with it the mind, to alertness. The trick isn’t so much waking up as it is staying alert. This is the true challenge of life.
It never ceases to amaze how many people obliviously wander through their surroundings. We’re all guilty of it and sometimes intentionally so, and sometimes good so. It’s not without naught that England’s famed Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) upon being ordered to retreat from the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, famously turned his blind eye to the flag ship ordering him so. Thereafter, they promoted Nelson to commander of the British Royal Navy, effectively replacing the commander who ordered him to retreat.
Nonetheless, a strategy of moving through life without heeding wake-up calls (see The Anatomy of a Wake-up Call…) is not a strategy to be recommended. There’s a reason that red flags appear and to not give them their due can often lead to disastrous consequences. Consequences like bankruptcy, marital/relationship breakdown, and illness are often the result of not being alert to warning signs. It’s requisite of us to stay in tune with what’s happening around us at any given time, even if it means denying what we desire.
“No mortal is alert enough to be present at the first dawn of spring,” wrote American author Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). In other words, we’re all liable to not see things as they are when they first make their appearance. We’re clueless as to what could be stirring at any given moment. For all we know, new great things could be upon us and yet we can’t see or accept what might be otherwise. We dread leaving our comfort zone, which can irreparably leave us in a never-ending spiral of misery and despondency.
The saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” also comes to mind. How often have events repeatedly transpired to the chagrin of the participant? Are we not alert to what’s going on or are we living in a mindset of imperturbable denial, lacking courage to see otherwise? It’s incumbent upon us to be self-aware, if we are to overcome those moments of frustration and blocking. Without it there can be no rescue from endless setbacks. Self-awareness breeds alertness and alertness is the recipe to overcoming shock after shock. Otherwise, insanity is the end station of an unaware and non-alert mind.
Perhaps there’s no greater consolation we can gift ourselves, than to wake each morning with the goal of living an alert day. To consciously and generously choose to be alert, which at long last allows us to enjoy the fullness of life. To not do so fools only the jester, and the jester in this case is us…
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