Don’t Go Back to Sleep

don't go back to sleep
Sebastian Gabriel 

This poem by Rumi, the Sufi poet, is centuries old but its message is still clear, urgent and timely amidst today’s global pandemic.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill,

where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.”

We are in the midst of the most life-altering experience most of us have ever endured. Fear of this virus has triggered feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and loss of control of our lives. We are in survival mode, yet yearning to return to the world we knew just a few short months ago. But Rumi’s message is clear:


So, we must use this sacred opportunity of time to reflect inward, to challenge ourselves to overcome this devastation of human life in order to create a new world that is kinder, healthier, peaceful and loving, a world that is rooted in justice and equality for all. In other words:


To achieve this, we must use this time to make changes. If we do not apply what we learn from this experience, we will surely face the prospect of even more world devastation due to disease, war, economic collapse, climate change or some other global threat. 

Ben White

I know what it takes to stay awake in difficult times. I know it is hard.


As individuals, we can make changes in many areas: our beliefs, our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, our work limits, our responsibility for our Earth home, our quality time spent with our families, and our service to others.

I agree: it’s easier to resist, deny, and stay unconscious while focusing on getting back to the life we enjoyed. But, we have a choice to make: remain complacent, or change. As Rumi says, the door is open. Some of us who have listened and learned will choose to cross that threshold to awaken our higher consciousness.


Wake-Up Call: It’s Time To Change

Wake-Up Call: It's Time To Change

Have you had a wake-up call recently, such as an unexpected health crisis, a separation or divorce, or the loss of your job? Perhaps you just feel stuck or restless? Are you yearning for change?

These situations and emotions come with midlife, and this transition can be like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole: frightening, yet at the same time invigorating. Some people come out terrified while others are transformed. Some people renew their passion for a new life with gusto, and others ease along, making small but notable changes.

There is no right way or wrong way to transition through midlife. At some point, you may know you want to change your life, but you may have no idea where to begin and feel stuck. Yet, you simply have to do something!

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you take some form of action! Do something to shift your life.

Get a new job, clean out your closets, retire a relationship that’s draining your energy, schedule your trek in the rainforest, move to a new city you love, join a group of like-minded boomers, volunteer to help people in another country, go back to school for fun or for a new career, take a dance class to learn to tango.

The unrest that occurs at this period is about sorting out and separating who you are becoming from who you have been. It is a time for deep introspection, and for exploring how you want to live this part of your life and how you want to become more authentically who you are.

These suggestions will help you get unstuck and get to your next step:

Step One: Schedule a quiet time to think about some of the questions maturing boomers must confront as they approach middle age, such as:

Do I want to spend the rest of my working life in my present career?

What would a career change mean at this point in my life?

What changes can I begin to make now to ensure better physical and psychological health for the rest of my life?

Am I really happy and content with my daily life now?

Step Two: Get clear about what you want for your life.

Develop a personal profile that highlights several areas: Your pleasures, your dream job or career, the subjects about which you want to learn more, your strengths and your areas for improvement.

Here’s a way to make your personal profile come alive: put together a picture board that displays all the things to which you are drawn or for which you have a passion, such as: a healthy body, gardening, resting at a spa, sailing, or a peaceful landscape. Cut photos from your favorite magazines to illustrate your passions and paste them on your “dream board.”

Give yourself permission to get in touch with your suppressed vision of who you truly are and how you want your life to actually be.

Step Three: Identify Obstacles and Outdated Beliefs

Do you have limiting thoughts that are holding you back?

Your set of beliefs, thoughts and lifestyle habits, which include your food choices, your form of exercise, your sleep patterns and stress level, can be an obstacle for living a healthy lifestyle. What are your thoughts and limiting behaviors?

Step Four: Take Action to Make Permanent Change

It is not enough to just verbalize or visualize your goals. You must have a plan and take steps to create what you want!

Action Steps: Write down your goals and action steps to achieve them during the next 3 months. Identify your strengths and areas for improvement in following up with your plan.

Step Five: Get Help to Hold Yourself Accountable

To help you manifest your goals and dreams, I recommend that you create accountability by finding a buddy, hiring a coach, or joining a group with like-minded people to help you reach you goals.