The Wake Up Call
by Susan Sheppard

Be conscious, aware, and alert. Pay attention. Remember when you were in elementary school and the teacher used to say pay attention now, this is important? Well, this is important. Wake up! What does it take to wake up an adult? Many people go through life on automatic, doing life as it comes along. What kind of things occurs that is considered a wake up call? The death of a loved one, a miracle, a near death experience, the birth of a child, a divorce, a marriage, a spiritual experience, a great accomplishment, a serious illness, an award, losing a job, winning the lottery, which of these would wake you up?

It seems like a joke to think of people living their lives asleep, but is it? How many of you miss out on a good part of your own life because you are not present? What does that mean? Present is a word that is highly overused and has become a buzzword for enlightenment junkies. So let’s look at what it really means. When am I present?
When I am fully in my body at full attention to what I am doing at that very moment. Noting of course, that moment to moment my presence changes depending on who is coming and going in my life. I had a spiritual teacher once who used to tell me to practice staying present while I was driving the car. I don’t know about you but my mind goes elsewhere the minute I get that seatbelt hooked and turn the ignition key. You know that commercial where the guy is testing the cell phone and keeps saying “Can you hear me now?” That to me is a great example of being present. It’s like constantly saying to yourself “Am I here now?”

Moment to moment presence is very difficult to achieve. Often we are seconds behind or ahead of ourselves. Seconds however are still past and future. In a conversation, are you thinking about your response? If you are, you’re in the future. Are you thinking about what you forgot to say or your tone of voice when you responded to the last statement? If you are, you’re in the past. So what does it take to be present? I think it takes giving up thinking about being anything. I think it means being.

That sounds very mysterious, but in the realm of living, what does it mean? I have coached many people in crisis to deal with their situation by being present. The only time one has to be in fear is if your life is in danger from something specific. Most fear and anxiety exists primarily in our brains. When someone dies, we immediately go to what will life be like without this person. Is that present? Not at all. Present in that situation is I am here breathing and seeing and hearing and experiencing grief. I am not in danger. I am not threatened. I am healthy and well and in my body. Yes, I may miss this person, even now, but most of the anxiety comes from the projections about what will life be like in the future or remembering all the great times of the past.

So what about awakeness in terms of relationship? Are things happening in your relationship that you ignore? Do you get intuitive flashes that your partner is putting his/her attention elsewhere? Do you ignore slights or subtle insinuations? Are you assuming that everything is okay because you don’t fight, argue, or disagree? Perhaps you don’t communicate enough to create dissension. Does your partner really hear what you are saying and is what you are saying what you really mean? Are you the husband who tunes out his wife’s nagging? And is she nagging because you don’t really listen to what she says in the first place? Are you the whiney wife who wants attention and complains about what a joke it is to have your husband get anything done?

Relationships are an entity unto themselves. Ideally wives and husbands listen to each other exclusive of outside interference. A time to decompress and unwind after work is optimal. What a fantasy it would be to have a little decompression chamber that you step into as you leave your work and it stores and detoxifies all of your work stress until you return the next day, leaving each of you free to be yourself with your partner.

What does it take to be awake and in relationship? A good start would be a real understanding of each other’s personality, knowledge of each other’s stress strategy, love strategy, and relationship strategy. The primary thing necessary to be awake in your relationship is a solid sense that no matter what, this person that you are in relationship with is ALWAYS on your side. Does that mean you can never disagree? Not at all. It does however, mean that you believe in that person and he/she believes in you. That you have an awakeness about each other that doesn’t allow you to buy into each other’s stories. That you can agree to disagree and still love each other. That your relationship is free of hidden agenda, secrets, and mistrust. There is a basic commitment to support each other and be honest and that you tell each other the truth even if you are the one who will be vulnerable in this particular situation. It is the ability to be wrong in this person’s eyes and still be right by virtue of being wrong and admitting to it.

One more thing! If you combine presence with passion you will rise out of mediocrity.

The essence of passion is love. Passion is what drives us and gets us up in the morning. In relationship, passion is a prime ingredient. Although sexual passion is vital, passion for living is what I am referring to here. Loving what you do. Being excited about getting up in the morning because you have something to do that turns you on. Someone you can’t wait to see. Work you can’t wait to begin. Somewhere you have never been before that you are about to explore. Dragging yourself to a job that holds no energy for you is mediocrity and just doesn’t cut it. In your life and particularly your relationships, settling for less than what you want is a sell out. It is possible to have a relationship that isn’t just about logistics, money, work and kids. So many people settle for longevity or security when they are in long-term relationships. It’s easier to stay in a mediocre relationship and settle for financial security than it is to confront the issues and risk having nothing. I’m not suggesting you quit, I’m suggesting you take action. Delve into your relationship. Find the gaps, the baggage, the ruts and the time bombs and start removing them. Get some help if you need it. Hire a coach. Get a strategy, don’t just watch it disintegrate. It is my belief that you have to be willing to risk losing whatever you think you have in order to get what you want, but isn’t it worth any price to have joy and passion and love and trust and true spiritual connection in your life?

In order to get what you want you have to know exactly what you want.
Design your life. Design your relationships. Think big. Do you think that anyone who has ever won an Olympic gold medal accomplished that without ever having decided to do it? I think the decision part is the hard part. Once a decision has been made and you have a clear outcome in your vision, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and take care of the business that shows up. The rest is up to God and the universe.

So, if you want a relationship, decide to have one. Design the person you want to meet and go out and do what’s in front of you. Decide if you want to get married. If you want to revive your relationship, decide to have it different. Then go do it. Passionately attack life and take risks, what’s the worst that can happen?

Relationship coaching is life coaching. Life becomes extraordinary when we discover that being absolutely committed to taking care of ourselves leads to abundance in every aspect of our lives.

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"I help people who want sacred intimacy in a hot relationship, get what they want from each other so that they can experience more fun, more sex and less bickering!"

Susan Sheppard
Getting What You Want

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Author's Bio: 

Susan Sheppard is the founder of Getting What You Want, a life and relationship coaching organization created for the purpose of promoting sacred intimacy in all personal relationships: romantic, parental, sibling, friendship and business. She is the author of the book “How to Get What You Want From Your Man Anytime”, a relationship book that tells everyone in romantic relationships how to have sacred intimacy, get what you want and have more fun, more sex and less bickering.