Signs, messages, prompts, signals - they’re everywhere. Some we choose to ignore and some we allow to wake us up. Earlier this week, I broke front door lock with my key. Standing on the front porch with our daughter in sub-zero weather, a tsunami of rage engulfed me: I had THINGS to do, DAMMIT! Had to get things DONE before I went out with a girlfriend for cocktails. HAD to get reading done with my daughter. Had emails to return and couldn’t get them done on my iPhone with frozen fingers. I didn’t have time for this crap…and being cold SUCKS!

Then this thought stilled me:

Being cold and having no place to live sucks even more.

As I fumbled around in the relative warmth of my neighbour’s garage searching for the spare key for another door to my house, I became painfully aware that there is an unacceptable amount of people without heat, shelter and hope…everywhere. No neighbours, locksmiths and spouses on the other end of the phone, intending to make it all okay.

This is not new information…this is awakened information. Within me.

Twenty minutes later, I was in my warm house, hot chocolate on the stove, and sniffly noses blown. I didn’t know where to put this all so I logged on to Tweetdeck to share:

Broke door lock. Wait in cold w/ kid for 20 min for locksmith was reminder I needed to do my part for TO's homeless. Hate that I needed it.

That prompted a message from a Reverend letting me know about a need for volunteers in her church’s Out of the Cold program. Which prompted another friend to commit to volunteering there. And the messages, emails and invitations to collaborate on programs haven’t stopped. (More on what I decide to do in a later post.)

Here’s what I’m learning:

Any time you hear yourself saying “this was the kick in the ass that I needed” to:

  • start volunteering;
  • get my finances in order;
  • sort out my trouble relationship with my mom; or,
  • lose weight,

what you’re really saying is: I was sleeping, and I’m awake now.

If you’re feeling done with stumbling around, sleepily looking for the keys in your life, and waiting to get your ass kicked into gear, here's a less painful way to wake that I intend to heed with greater attention. Keep the important things top of mind (like these things and your values).

You'll awaken what needs attention.