This is not about our morning alarm clock or a call from the concierge’s desk, this is about life waking us up when there is something that we’ve been ignoring that needs our attention. In hindsight we can see that this process started with gentle nudges, a soft whisper, or a feeling that things weren’t quite right. When we overlook the quiet calls, then life gives us a crisis that alters our life in a way we can’t ignore and forces us to address the issue we’ve overlooked. Wake-up calls can be large or small but both are powerful and give us the opportunity to reevaluate, dig deep and get to know ourself more intimately. This is a process of self-discovery, an awakening that offers transformative personal growth.

We can all look back on our lives and see the times of change that redirected where we were going. This is a helpful exercise because we can see all the unexpected circumstances we’ve navigated and how far we’ve come. We can see the almost car accident that taught us to slow down, the health diagnosis that confirmed the importance of going to the doctor at the first sign that something’s wrong, the relationship breakdown that showed us that communication is essential, or the work situation that made us redefine our goals.

Whatever form the wake-up call comes in, let’s acknowledge the tough emotions that come with it, avoid judging ourself and practice self-compassion. If we can embrace and surrender to whatever the difficulty may be, it loses its power to undo us and opens the door to waking us up to new choices, directions and priorities. This is how we make the most of our wake-up calls. There is a call in every calamity and we can recognize the voice and make needed changes or we can go deeper into the status quo and miss the point entirely. The choice is ours.

Wake-up calls can be gifts wrapped up in difficult circumstances. There’s the gift of saying “I love you” before we lose a loved one. The gift of realizing we don’t need any more than we have to be happy. There’s the gift of accepting that neither we nor anyone else is perfect; we all make mistakes and can seek forgiveness. The gift of paying attention to small things enables us to see how we’ve overcome again and again. We can see we’re different people than we were a year, or month or even a week ago.

It’s a gift to no longer lie to ourself and look at the consequences of our choices. By accepting the gift of this wake-up call we can see the opportunities we have to make our way from where we are now to where we want to be. It’s a gift to have the kind of patience that accepts present circumstances while we work on our dreams. Discovering that our judgements of others are often inaccurate is another gift that takes us out of our own limited perspective. Then there’s clarifying what’s working for us and what’s not so we can make different choices. Wake-up calls can change us from being self-critical to accepting ourself and treating ourself with kindness.

When we see our growth and reflect on how we’ve changed, there is gratitude for the struggle that brought is to this point. Life has helped us be more of who we really are which is healing and transformative. By embracing our wake-up calls we can evolve from being a victim of circumstances to feeling life is a purposeful and meaningful journey of personal growth. May we each make the most of our wake-up calls.

Until Next Time – Sylvia