Living Awake

“I wonder if my experience of life wouldn’t be richer if I engaged all of my senses in this process of being … eyes and heart fully open.”


Article by Mary Bea Sullivan


Jenny sees funny things the rest of us miss.  Her humor is never mean-spirited, she simply sees irony everywhere.  One time, she was in church and the fire and brimstone minister was exuberantly singing, “When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there!” … all the while, jabbing his pointed finger toward the ground. That one, it makes her laugh until she cries!


Jenny is at college now … and the other day she sent me a text message I only half understood about the guy in the cow suit for Chik-Fil-A who was waving in the wrong direction.  What I did understand was the end of her message, “Tell me this is not the funniest planet ever!


My reply was, “It is if you live awake like you do.”


A couple of weeks ago one of our friends brought over his 18 month-old and 2 1/2 year-old daughters.  His wife was out of town and he wanted to watch a football game with Malcolm.  I got to play “auntie” for a couple of hours.


It’s been a while since small children have blessed this house.  I took the girls into Brendan and Kiki’s rooms and they picked out two huge stuffed St. Bernards to play with.  We laid the dogs on the carpet. One of the adults would count, “one, two, three!” and the girls would jump onto the stuffed dogs, clinging to their necks, rolling and laughing.  This process was repeated innumerable times … each jump followed by squeals of glee as if it was the first one.


Their joy was infectious … Malcolm and I were making silly faces, grabbing the camera … energized by their ALIVENESS!  Little children remind us how to live awake … wonder, joy, playing until you need a nap, making funny faces, dancing, loving, laughing, LOOKING.


At what age do we stop seeing that we do in fact live on the funniest, most beautiful planet?


Is it a gradual or sudden process?


When was the first time I mindlessly drove home, ignoring the sun setting on the pasture of white calves near Miss Stella’s house?


What would it be like if tomorrow morning, instead of “getting out of bed,” I decided to “wake up?”


Even if my day isn’t filled with stuffed St. Bernard’s to jump on; even if there were a few Rottweilers nipping my heels, I wonder if my experience of life wouldn’t be richer if I engaged all of my senses in this process of being … eyes and heart fully open.


I hope I will be inspired by Jenny and the girls and LIVE AWAKE.


“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
-Gail Sheehy


Our days are a kaleidoscope.  Every instant a change takes place in the contents.  New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort.  Nothing ever happens twice alike.  The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects. The most tranquil house, with the most serene inhabitants, living upon the utmost regularity of system, is yet exemplifying infinite diversities.
-Henry Ward Beecher


Mary Bea Sullivan is the author of Dancing Naked Under the Moon – Uncovering the Wisdom Within, a compelling story about her pilgrimage toward wholeness.  She facilitates spiritual retreats and workshops for women’s groups and faith communities.  Mary Bea lives with her husband, Malcolm Marler, and their yellow (white really) lab, Daisy on Smith Lake in Alabama. For more information about Mary Bea Sullivan and her work, please visit


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Posted on 14 October, 2009 in Gratitude, Inspirational Stories, Parenting
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