Learning How to be AWAKE!

Learning How to be AWAKE! 1/13/18
Every once in a while you have what is termed as an “a-ha” moment. I don’t get them really often, but I had one this morning while I was reading a book entitled, The Hidden Lamp. It’s a collection of stories or koans about Buddhist women. Here is the sentence that gave me my “a-ha” moment:

“A human birth is supposed to be an advantageous birth because only as a human being in a human body can one awaken.”

Now, I am not attached to the concept of reincarnation. I am not attached to any concept of life after death. The reason for my lack of attachment to any conceptualized idea of life after death or what happens, et cetera is that I personally just don’t know. And honestly that has been okay with me most of my life, that is until my mother passed away. She was the first person in my life that I watched take her last breath. It changed me forever, and I have not been able to let some things about that event rest. From that moment on almost three years now my biggest questions have been, why are we here?, where did she go?, and what is the point of all the suffering in the world if we just die?
Now, I am not trying to be all down and negative, although I have had my moments with these questions for sure, but I think over time I just gradually gain some acceptance of the fact that I won’t know, I can’t know….it just is. For me, that is what it’s been like so that I can continue on, survive and thrive as a human on this planet. I think I really came to a point that I am here to just do the best I can and help people whenever it’s possible. That means whether it’s mothering or grandmothering or being at work or being a good friend or a good sister. Helping people because we are all going through this together. We are all suffering in some way or another so helping each other with whatever we can is the reason. This thought and belief has gotten me through. It has helped me continue to try to grow and evolve with time.
And then there was this sentence…

“A human birth is supposed to be an advantageous birth because only as a human being in a human body can one awaken.”

Now, leave out the part about human birth and all that could be associated with that and just look at the part where it says…..CAN ONE AWAKEN. This is what got me. It dawned on me that the reason I am here, the reason I am human, the reason I am on this planet right now in time as a tiny little miniscule person in the galaxy is so that I can WAKE UP! Wake up to life, wake up to possibilities, wake up to suffering, wake up to knowing how to walk through suffering to the other side, wake up to other people’s suffering, just wake up to everything!!!
Zen Master Seung Sahn famously said, “What is it? Don’t know.” This is a koan that some Zen students study for years, even a lifetime. We meet each moment with exactly what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Being present, really present is part of being awake. When I read that sentence this morning, many of the painful moments of my life flashed before my eyes, and I had a new understanding about them. I had a sense and a feeling that they happen to help me become more awake. Each moment I have been through that has been painful, my natural instinct is to ask, WHY????? That word (why) can literally drive me insane. I want to know. I want to know now. I want all the details. I want answers. The not knowing is painful. But when I saw those moments this morning and realized that after walking through them, I am still here. I am still thriving. I am still trying my best. I am still living, taking my breaths that I am becoming awake. I am coming out of my birth fog. I am spreading my life wings and learning with everything that is. I am learning that becoming awake is life. That is the reason. For me the answer to the koan, “What is it, don’t know” is “BECOMING AWAKE!!!” Everything I go through…good, bad, indifferent is about me becoming awake. There is no other reason. We are all dying. There is no getting out of it. Learning how to live this life with love in our hearts and for others is what I think it’s all about. The more awake I become, the more love I will have in my heart for myself and for others.
Every little step I take in this life is a choice. I am human, and sometimes I make the wrong choices. Sometimes I am asleep and don’t notice I am still breathing and can make a difference today even if it’s a little one. I want to be AWAKE!. I want to make a difference. I want to leave behind the message that we are here to help one another, all sentient beings, spread love and peace, and take care of ourselves. With this knowledge, I will hopefully live fuller, be more open, and give more. Today I realized that the reason I am here is to BECOME AWAKE! Peace and Love, Everyone!



So on May 25th, 2016, at 6:39 p.m. my world got even fuller.  My grandbaby, Emmitt, or as he is also known as (My G-baby, my Squishy baby, Grunty Baby or “him’s the tootest!”) was born!  Words really can’t describe what it’s like to be a Grammie, but I’m going to try.  He is the perfect blend of my son, Ethan, and his momma, Ashley.   They are great parents who love that little one so much!  They are handling their new roles like champs and with a great deal of ease, maturity, and poise.  I am so proud of them.  You know, it’s such an amazing thing to have children, to know that “this little human” is a part of you, but then when you get handed your grandbaby, well, that is a whole new level of life and awesomeness!!!  It’s legacy!  It’s spectacular!  I didn’t really know what that love was until that moment.  I remember getting the text from my son saying he was here, and I could come upstairs to see him for the first time.  I literally jumped up out of my seat and yelled in the middle of the hospital lobby.  It’s surreal.  The absolute two best days of my life happened on October 24, 1993, and October 20, 2005, when MY two babies were born.  But now I get to add a third best day, May 25, 2016.  Ten pounds, 14 ounces and 23 inches of the sweetest, most precious, most cuddly, preciousness ever!  I already have my next tattoo planned!  I love you, Emmitt!