What was your Wake Up Call moment? I’m talking about that moment where time stood still, when the meaning of it all crystalized for you, and you knew you would never forget this moment. These are hyper-real moments, like the birth of a first child, or the death of a parent or someone close to you. Perhaps it was a profound communion with nature or a rare encounter with a wild animal, and you felt something stir deep inside of you. You knew you would never be the same again.
Often the Wake Up Call comes like a tsunami crashing down upon our lives, a wild and tragic thing we did not ask for and could never have imagined. This could look like a close call, a brush with death and a stark look at your own mortality. Illness and disease, whether life long and chronic -or sudden and sweeping, whether highly researched, funded and known -or rare and even more rarely discussed, these conditions of struggle usher in profound Wake Up Call lessons.
For me, the ego-slaying, life altering Wake Up catalyst came in the form of being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer while still in my mid-thirties. I could no longer thrive from a place of doing, doing, doing and had to slowly dissolve all the things that I had used to define myself. It was from this place that I had an intimate look at what the real stuff of my life is made up of. While I can write pretty sentences about it now, it was not at all graceful or beautiful in the process. It was the hardest thing I have ever survived. It was also from this place that I began to rebuild and invite back in with softness and gratitude the elements of my life that I could not live without.
So this big thing happens, and we feel this mark upon our lives. This communion with our true nature occurs, unobscured by outside influences. How do we then seal in these experiences, so they exist as a touchstone for us later in life? How do we let these impactful moments shape us for the better and hang on to the lessons that come with these moments? Here are a few ideas I’ve been playing with and would like to offer to you.
Memorialize It: Once you identify what that Wake-Up Call moment was, once you have named it, you can memorialize it in various ways. I am a writer and this is my favorite way of memorializing nowadays. Writing helps me process. I am able to unpack and sort out the nuances of my experiences. Some people may prefer painting, sculpture or photography. How can you capture the essence of not only what happened, but who you became as a result? What was the profound impact that this experience had upon your life?
Celebrate It: It is easy and common to celebrate a birth, or have a memorial for someone whom we have lost. In what ways can you honor the anniversary of this event that so impacted your life?
Witness It: Who can share in this experience with you? Perhaps there was someone important in your life at the time who was similarly impacted. Maybe there is someone new in your life, and the sharing of this important story will weave richness into the tapestry of your friendship. When we are seen and witnessed in our struggles and triumphs, we not only build intimacy and community, but we give others the space and permission to share their own struggles and vulnerability.
Reframe It: Who are you now as a result? Here are a few ideas to get you going. Please reword these writing cues to best fit your unique story or circumstance.
Before this happened, I never would have…
Before this experience, I had never realized…
Ever since this experience, I have…
Now that I know this about myself, I will…
If you have found resonance with this blog post, if this has helped you in some way, please shoot me a message and let me know. I love to hear from my readers! Also, if you feel that this may be of service to someone else, please share away.
Melissa Eppard lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY area with her young son and talented musician husband. After overcoming breast cancer in her mid-30's, she knows that nothing is guaranteed in life. As a Personal Life Coach she has made it her mission to ignite the spark of purposeful living and creative fire in everyone she meets. www.MelissaEppardCoaching.com