I Woked Up Today –

I know nothing about enlightenment and I do not pursue it.

I have, however,  read about it so I am aware that it has  something to do with waking up. As for myself some days I am more awake than others but never in the way I have read about it. However, I came close in 2008.

It happened like this. I was going through an extremely difficult part of my chemo and my son from Vancouver and my daughter and two year old granddaughter Sophie from Ottawa, flew out to spend a week with me.The first morning after their arrival, I woke to the sound of Sophie calling out: Nana. Where are you?

I stumbled out of bed and padded across the hall to where she was sleeping. I opened the door and there she was standing up in her crib and practically vibrating with joy.

Nana! Nana! I woked up, she exclaimed, her sweet face ablaze with happiness. And in that instant I woke up too with a surge of joy, laughter and love that has carried me through ever since.

My enlightenment was not the kind the mystics describe but it was oh so perfect for me. After all these years, when I wake up I already know my day is off to a good start no matter what else is going on.

This old memory arose in my heart today as I was out walking with a friend. The sun shone and the great blue heron lifted off across the canal with his majestic wingspan in all of his glory. And I remembered that moment when Sophie declared that she woked up. And I am grateful now as I was then.

Everyday that we wake up we have an opportunity to do at least one lovely thing for ourselves and for another.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

author, distinguished professor of Psychology and Management, and thought leader, had this to say on “waking up.”

“Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to. Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day. This is not because they are cheerful, enthusiastic types. Nor do they necessarily have something exciting to do. But they believe that there is something meaningful to accomplish each day, and they can’t wait to get started on it. Most of us don’t feel our actions are that meaningful. Yet everyone can discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. It could be meeting a certain person, shopping for a special item, potting a plant, cleaning the office desk, writing a letter, trying on a new dress.

It is easier if each night before falling asleep, you review the next day and choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting. Then next morning, open your eyes and visualize the chosen event—play it out briefly in your mind, like an inner videotape, until you can hardly wait to get dressed and get going. It does not matter if at first the goals are trivial and not that interesting. The important thing is to take the easy first steps until you master the habit, and then slowly work up to more complex goals. Eventually most of the day should consist of tasks you look forward to, until you feel that getting up in the morning is a privilege, not a chore.”

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1934-2021)

Please carefully note that Mihaly is not talking about the treadmill or just being more efficient and productive. He speaks of something to look forward to.

Children and certain adults are great examples.

Sophie at two was aware, in her own way of the joy of waking up. My friend John who died twelve years ago was also aware of this great privilege. In a phone conversation shortly before his death I was telling him about a particularly great day.

He gently reminded me that they are all good days. “You woke up,” he said. And I agreed. When I hung up from our talk, at that time, I thought about Wu Men’s little poem written hundreds of years ago that I love. I pass it on once again. A little gift for today.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
Wu-Men (1183-1260)

Notes:

Note 1:) The seminal work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  You pronounce his name like this: (Me-High  Chick-sent-Me-High) Once you know, it’s easy.

Note 2:) Rumi has a special suggestion for what to do with a day. I think of it as an invitation to mend our fences when appropriate. “Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Note 3:) For those of you who enjoy landscape photography here is a link to this year’s winners I spotted this first in The Atlantic but I prefer the original site where you have more options.

Note 4:) Thursday is American Thanksgiving. To all of my friends, family and my American readers. May you have a lovely day with family and friends and may you take the time to celebrate with each other and count your blessings. I send all of my dear readers my best wishes and so much thanks. Warmly, Trudy

16 replies
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Judy. I appreciate your kind comment. Tomorrow I am looking forward (unexpectedly) to my booster. May we all enjoy the gift of another day. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  1. Sabine
    Sabine says:

    Thank you so much Trudy, for this “reminder”:-) Each day I feel the joy of just looking outside the bedroom window into our wonderful nature, no matter of the weather or the circumstances – each day is a wonderful gift. Even if I just feel it for a short moment, sometimes…
    Love
    Sabine

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      You are so right Sabine when you say “even if I just feel it for a short moment, sometimes.” Life is tough. Yet that recognition of waking up – another opportunity – is a gift. May you continue to wake up for decades to come. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  2. Jean
    Jean says:

    Just a tool i need just now and it is so true to be a ble to say “i woked up”is the start of a wonferful daythank you trudy,for helping me through these difficult days. .

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Dearest Jean: how kind of you to send a note during these difficult times. Waking up everyday doesn’t mean it’s easy. I like the idea of planning something small and wonderful to do each day. One thing to look forward to and one thing you get to do to brighten someone else’s day. You are that spark of joy for many. Just like the seasons, we know that spring follows winter. It gives us all hope. Take heart, Trudy

      Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      And Janice I woke up yesterday to your beautiful poem. For some reason I can never leave a comment and I love your site. I will go now and plunk the link once again on my blog (in the notes) for my readers who love poetry.thank you for your continual encouraging words. Big hugs, Trudy

      Reply
  3. Terri Thomas
    Terri Thomas says:

    I was having a particularly bad start to my day until I read your post, Trudy. You have such a wonderful gift of framing things in a positive light, without being saccharine. As always, thank you.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      What a lovely thing to say Terri. Thank you. It is a special sweet gift to me when I hear my words are helpful now and then. Warmly, trudy

      Reply
  4. Pat Scanlan
    Pat Scanlan says:

    Good Morning from Wet Again British Columbia. Trudy, I have been forgetting to “wake up” and your timely reminder has helped reset my inner spirit. I woked up this morning with a very specific and fun goal in mind and now, after coffee and a brief zoom chat with my daughter, I am eagerly looking forward to getting started. Thank you for all the words, the poetry and your grace. I am grateful you are in my life. The vision of your tiny grandchild just made me smile out loud!

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thanks so much Pat. What a lovely note to receive. Happy to hear that you had a reason to get up this morning. I hope this rain will be less treacherous than the last one.Best wishes, Trudy

      Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      We all need reminding I think. I wonder what right we have to expect that we will just keep waking up each morning? When we recognize our finitude it can change everything. Not all the time. But more often. Thank you.

      Reply

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