Once upon a time there was a Princess. A jealous fairy cast a spell on her and she fell into a deep sleep. Many valiant princes tried to penetrate the thorny walls of the castle to wake her up. Alas, none of them succeeded, until... one day... a very steely, determined prince succeeded- and woke her with a kiss.
And so generations of young girls believed there was some tenacious prince out there, just waiting to save them and wake them up.
Now, we all know that fairy tales aren’t real. But… What if the prince isn’t “out there somewhere”? What if the prince is in front of our very eyes all the time? What if the prince is our practice? What if the prince is YOU?
We have the option in any given moment- on the mat, in a conversation, in an intimate relationship, with our kids- we have the option in those ordinary and sometimes challenging moments to go to sleep or wake up.
We have the option when faced with boredom or disaster to check out. To fall into all manner of addiction or escape in order to avoid it all and wake up when it’s all over. To run away from rejection or icky conversations. To flee people and things that make us uncomfortable.
We have the option to use our precious time meditating, practicing asana, going to church- whatever your practice is- we have the option to stay alert, to feel every moment, to dive into the tricky bits when we least feel like it. OR we can phone in our experience- sure, we are physically present (so we can check it off our to do list) but - we’re not actually there. Not really. Our minds are off, far, far away in another land.
Of course the Big Things can’t help but wake us up. The Big Things that show us with razor sharp clarity who we are and what we value. The heartbreaks and the losses. The break ups, and the makeups. The falling in love and falling apart. The illnesses and injustice. The accidents and calamities. The births and deaths in all their little Big forms.
But how to stay awake in the day to day moments?
Because the prince is kissing us in every moment of every day trying to wake us up. The little taps on the shoulder we get from the universe, from life. The little red flags. The open doors we never walk through and the closed ones we keep banging our heads against like mad people.
The practice is learning to harness our awareness so we CAN pay attention. And wake up.
To notice what our breath is doing. To notice when we physically tighten or contract. That tug or whirl in our tummy. The heart beating faster or aching with an agony we never imagined. Our jaw clenching so that whatever animal cry we’re feeling inside can’t possibly escape. The restlessness we feel when we suddenly STOP and take a moment from our insanely busy modern lives. The practice lies in noticing it all.
So many of us are sleepwalking our lives away. Don’t wait for the prince, people. He’s here. He’s the whisper in your ear. He’s in every waking moment of your existence. Waiting. Patiently. To wake you with a kiss.
The question is, can you see him, can you feel him? Or are you too busy swiping right on all the the other toads?
Don’t waste your precious time zoning out, Sleeping Beauty. Zone in. With fierce clarity. On what is in front of you.
Who knows, you might even see a Prince standing there. Staring back at you. Through the looking glass.