Gentle Wake-up Calls

In February 2018 filmmaker Kevin Smith (aka “Silent Bob”) suffered a massive heart attack and underwent emergency surgery. He’s less than a year older than me, so he was only 47 at the time.

Afterwards he switched to a vegan diet and dropped more than 50 pounds. In his latest film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, he also made his character Silent Bob vegan and weaved that transformation into the plot. It’s great to see how much healthier and younger he looks now. Life gave him a major wake-up call, and he accepted the opportunity to make some real lifestyle changes.

I’m glad he’s sticking around since I love Kevin Smith movies. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to people who don’t. 😉

In framing the coronavirus situation, I’ve noticed that many people are also framing this as a wake-up call, but usually not for themselves. They see it as a wake-up call for the world, for politicians, for voters (other than themselves), for the healthcare system, for people they’d label as idiots, etc. So the invitation isn’t personal most of the time.

While this is understandable, I invite you to look for the personal wake-up call in this situation even if you don’t think you need one.

I don’t feel the need for a personal wake-up call right now either. My life and business were humming along nicely when this virus came onto the scene. And even after it appeared, the disruption to my own life has been minimal relative to how it’s affecting others.

So my temptation is also to overlook the wake-up call aspect of this situation. It doesn’t appear to be a personal wake-up call, especially since I don’t feel that I need one right now.

And yet I still find it worthwhile to ask the what-if question: What if this is a personal wake-up call for me too?

Does a wake-up call have to take the form of a personal threat? Does it have to be your own heart that has the heart attack?

If you’re surrounded by other people having wake-up calls, especially about their health, finances, and relationships, couldn’t you still interpret that as a personal wake-up call? Is it possible that life is trying to get your attention without necessarily doing it in the form of a personal threat?

Instead of being jolted awake like you’re being tossed out of bed by a violent earthquake, what if there’s another form of wake-up call where reality sits gently on the side of your bed and whispers, “Wake up, sleepy head”? Could a wake-up call be more like a tap on the shoulder instead of a smack across the face? What if Silent Bob delivers your wake-up call instead of Jay?

Just consider the possibility.

Are there any areas of life where you may still have been sleeping?

Are there any areas of life where you could wake up a bit more?

What happens if you pause and ask yourself, Where do I need a wake-up call? Do any areas of life come to mind?

This is your reality. Are you sure that the wake-up call is meant for millions of other people but not for you? Or could it be that reality is just trying a different approach to see how you’ll respond?

What happens if someone tries the “wake up, sleepy head” approach, and you go right on sleeping? They have to increase the intensity, right? Do you think reality might be starting out gently but with a willingness to keep upping the intensity till you acknowledge that this wake-up call is actually meant for you? Maybe it’s testing to see where your threshold is before you’re willing to frame this situation as a personal wake-up call. How close or intense does this have to get before you’ll tip?

Even though I don’t feel like I need a wake-up call, I’m going to explore that possibility. When I saw the people around me labeling this situation as a wake-up call for others but not for themselves, that struck me as odd. It seemed a little too convenient. It made me wonder enough that I feel I should at least consider the possibility of a personal wake-up tap on the shoulder and see where it leads.

If this line of thinking resonates with you, then I invite you to consider the possibility as well. And if not, no worries. Maybe this really is just a wake-up call for others and not for you. Maybe for you this is an invitation to experience more gratitude and appreciation while everyone else is being tossed out of bed.

Or is that a Cop Out? 😉