What to Remember When Waking Up

BY Paul C Pritchard
Remember, Remember ...

I am sensitive and I can be hard on myself. It’s a paradoxical feeling of wanting everything to be better (I am an idealist) and then getting deeply affected by the pain of this life and those things that I want to help change. Consequently, I feel like I play a game of peekaboo with life. And that’s okay too. I come out when I can be at my most effective. And I retreat to restore and gain more resilience when needed. However, I make a promise to never give up. I hear the Dalai Lama telling me this over and over again as he’s smiling and laughing in earnest:

Never give up — No matter what is going on. Never give up. Develop the heart … Be compassionate. Not just to your friends but to everyone. Be compassionate. Work for peace in your heart and in the world. Work for peace. And I say again, Never give up. No matter what is going on around you. Never give up — Dalai Lama

At the moment, there’s a lot to be idealistic about. I don’t want to ever lose that fire in my belly for justice and graceful right action. I want to be vigilant and participate in the collaboration of change that is happening in the world right now. It excites me when: the global energy is emphatically chanting for justice and for a collective means to make amends; when there’s a conscious alignment for rebalance and a shift in global consciousness; when the sporadic and independent voices start to harmonise with synchronised purpose and when consciousness shakes the apathy, the mediocrity and the resignation out of us — making way for our souls to sing.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” – George Eliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans)

I feel great comfort in my heart as I read these words, a respite from the relentless search for meaning in my life. Back in the 19th Century women were frowned upon as writers and simply were not as popular as ‘male’ writers. Subsequently, Mary Ann Evans wrote under the pseudonym George Eliot. In my commitment to truth and integrity, this fact feels important to share. No matter how big or small these gestures of restoration are, only by continuing to correct the order and equality, can we make an honest impact. And we can all make an honest impact in our very unique ways.

Alt text hereWork for peace in your heart and in the world. Never give up. Image: Christopher Campbell

Focussing on the Solution

I personally don’t like to focus too much on the past and the whys (although I feel it’s vital for our understanding). I have learned I am more useful in solution-focused energies. When there is a natural surge to make amends, the invitation arrives for me to enter the slipstream and make my voice and actions count. Some people are activists and generators. I wasn’t built like that. I’m a collaborator and support person. We are experiencing a spectacular wave of transformation energy right now and the invitation is for us all to get on board with our own personalised way of creating lasting change.

Sometimes it’s not possible to do everything. So, I like to give to causes where my contribution will have a greater impact and also an ongoing ripple effect. I believe in giving to education initiatives and also projects that support basic survival needs; clothing, food and safe-shelter. If I can make a difference in a child’s life and their education, I know I am helping pave the way for a kinder world by empowering them with skills to take care of themselves and also one another.

Other causes also grab my attention; especially when I see broken children walking around in adult bodies feeling lost and at odds with the world. All their pain and wrong choices like a snowball gathering momentum in a cold and unforgiving world. I am a great believer in reform and rehabilitation. Yet, I learned a long time ago I cannot be an idealist and a perfectionist in the area of reform and rehabilitation. I cannot click my fingers and make all the world’s pain and suffering disappear. These things take time, a lot of time. It takes generations of healing. But I am committed to at least make a start in helping broken adults now.

Planting the Seeds of a Better Future

I imagine I am planting an acorn for that big old oak to come forth. Perhaps I will never get to sit in the shade of that magnificent tree. But it does not stop me planting and protecting this acorn, this sapling, this young tree. Right now, I can find solace when I think about all the shelter this tree will provide in the many years to come.

I believe the energetic blueprint of kindness can never be destroyed — it ripples into Existence eternally. It feels humbling to know that my invisible hands and invisible work will continue to have a kind influence in the world. I plant to make the world a better place for even when I am no longer here. This is what I try and hold on to when waking up.

David Whyte, in his simple, yet deeply profound poem, What to Remember When Waking, reminds us of what is important. Not the destination but the journey. And more importantly what qualities we hold dear as we travel as a seemingly individual being. It is to hold steadfast that small opening of remembrance and to cultivate hope and trust. To foster a purer knowing and acceptance that we are not individual beings but a spark of the one Light. He states so eloquently, “To remember the other world in this world, is to live in your true inheritance.”

When I am too hard on myself and when my idealist cannot reconcile or make sense of the world, all I have to do is remember who I truly am, remember back to where it all began, that spark of light from the one true Light. And as I beacon myself out into the world, out into the universe, I must stay present enough to be amazed at the myriad of attributes of the exquisite light refractions I experience all around me. I must wait with curiosity, in childlike wonder at what shapes the seed of me is yet to reveal. My prayer is to keep shining and reflecting back into the whole — that one particular, unique and distinctive light that I call ‘Me’.

What to Remember When Waking by David Whyte

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?


What does this poem evoke in you? Can you take a breath now and recognise that spark of light that you call ‘you’? What are some of the qualities that you hold dear on this journey? What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?

As always, we look forward to you sharing in the comments below and as always we are with you and sharing our love with you.

Paul and Team UPLIFT

BY Paul C Pritchard



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Richard Henry Whitehurst
3 years ago

Pulled from the depths of your heart Paul ~ thank you so much for the kind invitation to read this!

David Whyte’s beautiful poem reminded me of this one by Kathleen Raine:

As you leave Eden behind you, remember your home

for as you remember back into your own being

you will not be alone; the first to greet you

will be those children playing by the burn,

the otters will swim up to you in the bay,

the wild deer on the moor will run beside you.

Recollect more deeply, and the birds will come,

fish rise to meet you in their silver shoals,

and darker, stranger, more mysterious lives

will throng about you at the source

where the tree’s deepest roots drink from the abyss.

Nothing in that abyss is alien to you.

Sleep at the tree’s root, where night is spun

into the stuff of worlds …..

3 years ago

This is so empowering!

3 years ago

Thank you so much .

zoli zoli
3 years ago

I’ve never had such an eloquent description for what I do. Much to think about

Shelley Kenigsberg
3 years ago

This is beautiful reminder of the sweet beauty of power. I’m, of course, not talking about might, or abusive power which is neither sweet nor, in any way, welcome. But here you remind me that just being, with love in my heart, awake to how much light and goodness there is in the world, matters. That in me, in people, in nature there is a yearning for light. Just as that plant strains toward it and pushes through dirt to see sun. Planting and tending. That’s a good thing for today.

Jude Maleski
3 years ago

I loved that article and poem and it really resonated with me. Like the butterfly effect, everything we do, think, pray for has a ripple effect. As I was planting a butternut squash plant in some horse manure today I thought how paradoxical that manure can help things grow and I link this to the negative events that occur in our lives and world all can be used for growth and solutions.

3 years ago

I was surprised at how young the writer is in the picture, to be so wise. That is encouraging!

Manisha Roy
3 years ago

It’s as if this poem came to me from my son, who passed away last year at 15. He truly sparked a ripple of hope that will leave an incredible and lasting impact for the world. I needed to read this today to remember that our journey is not to be analyzed and overplanned but experienced for everything it is. Thank you.

Amanda E Thomas
3 years ago

Right on time for me. Thanks!

3 years ago

It is enough just to be. I am in peace and light. And LOVE. When I manage to LOVE myself as I am. Then there is LOVE in and around me. If everybody would do this, there would be LOVE, LIGHT & PEACE all around. That easy it is. So: start with yourself. Be happy with yourself. And start planting trees. Thats very important. Mother/Father earth needs them. I will start to plant every month 1. I will make a plan for my wood/forest to come.

3 years ago

Thank you for this article and poem. I am touched deeply in my heart. Thank you ❤️

Irene Ong
3 years ago

A deeply, moving piece. Right from the title which caught my attention; as to what else besides feeling gratitude upon awakening daily. And this expresses what.
Heartfelt thanks!

Stephanie Simon
3 years ago

Thank you! Thank you!

I feel filled, fueled, and uplifted by this honest piece of writing by Paul C. Pritchard – he acknowledges the power we have AND the weakness we have, and he reconciles this, showing that to be human is to have both.

I love the poem, and the thought that we are sparks of the ONE light, that we plant seeds and are seeds ourself, invited to this wild and charmed life.

Thank you for this gift.

3 years ago

I’m brought to tears from this verse
“Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?”
I’ve been struggling with not being able to do “enough” to make things better. Now I feel like I can move forward doing what I’m meant to do not compared to other people. I’m going to be enough after all.

Cherry Hicks
3 years ago

Thank you so much for this amazing uplifting article and for all the others you bring to UPlift us in our lives. Especially in these unsettled times.

Janice Miller
3 years ago

Thank you for re-energizing me
I’ve been feeling sad and scared about the anger hate and divisiveness in the country now
Not for myself but for the soul of the country
Thank you for reminding me to do my best to be a spark of light and that the seed doesn’t see the flower
May you be well may you be happy may you be peaceful
Jan Miller

3 years ago


3 years ago

Thank you for this article. It was very up lifting.

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