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Wake Up Different

By Christine O'Brien

Wake Up Different from Circus McGurkis 1997
Wake Up Different illustration by Christine O'Brien from Circus McGurkis 1997
I have often been asked what I believe in. That is a hard thing for me to express in a word or two, so usually I say "compost". Looking around me, I think that all of this is passing. A flower is more ephemeral than a human is. A human is more ephemeral than a mountain. But all are changing every second. Life, death, rebirth are all happening all of the time. Everything is composting down here on the ground. Earth. Dirt. Food. When I eat, creatures, plants and microbes die so that I can live. This is part of a cycle that is sacred to me. I worry that many people have forgotten, or never knew, that most of our food comes from dirt. Dirt is where we usually end up when we die.  

I often hold in the Light an idea of my life and how it is unfolding as a metaphor, a poem, a phrase, a commandment. Each one marks a birth for me of a different life intention. Most of the thoughts stay with me as others arise. The first one I remember is from my childhood. I told myself over and over, for the future, " Don't forget, Christine, don't forget." A decade ago a friend gave me the phrase "Wake up different."  I love that idea! Re-birth to the extreme! Once, my metaphor was surfing, standing tall and calmly while the wind and waves passed. Then I got quite ill for some years and my thought was "Changing the world." I appreciated that everything I did, no matter how small, was changing the world. Later my commandment was more demanding: "Right action." Attempting to live this is a terrible and important challenge at which I do not always succeed. Just now, writing this, I've decided I need to "Lighten up." A new intention is born! I know that many of us, maybe all of us, have the power to be re-born at any time. As it says in the Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood "You have within you the power to make your days brilliant."

I do not understand the mystery of death and I do not know what happens to these pieces of God in us. I do know the importance of waking up and appreciating that I am alive now; the importance of remembering that all is change and that one day I will not be here working on being Christine.

Published in What Canst Thou Say? in Spring 2003