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A wake-up call is our own Self, signaling the beginning of transition, and It wants us to be conscious as the transition occurs.

By Dara Fulkerson

Click on the title to go to the Sparker of your choice (Feel free to reprint our Sparkers (intact) in your newsletters or send to clients just be sure to include the resource copy at the end of each sparker with copyright info and the live link)

The Wake-Up Call - Starting Over
The Wake-up Call – Seeking Purpose
The Wake-Up Call: Global Warming
The Wake-Up Call: Addicted to Change
The Wake-Up Call: Confusion
The Wake-Up Call: Crying
The Wake-Up Call: Debt – Part 2
The Wake-Up Call – Debt - Part 1
The Wake-Up Call – Living on Hope
The Wake-Up Call – Trapped
The Wake-Up Call: Failure – Part 3
The Wake-Up Call: Failure – Part 2


The Wake-Up Call - Starting Over by Dara Fulkerson

If a life-changing wake-up call has rocked our world, then starting over in some aspect of life is inevitable. There are several typical approaches: re-create what we had, loved and enjoyed; do the opposite of what didn't work that led to the wake-up call; or create something we always wanted that we believe will make us happy.

There is also an unconventional option: letting go of all ideas, beliefs, hopes, dreams, wants, desires, shoulds, self-images and visions of the future – and allowing life to choose what's next. In our pro-active, make-it-happen culture this is heresy. But for most people, some of the best things in life happened spontaneously without advanced thought or planning. Without our agenda at work, life delivered delightfully.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Make a list of all the things you think should or shouldn't be happening in your life, your beliefs and ideas about the way your life and the world should work, everything you know for sure, and a detailed description of your dream life. Now, be willing to be wrong about everything you just wrote and for none of it to ever happen. See if you can relax and trust the creative source of all life to bring what's next.

Quote:

“Imagine that you were able to completely and absolutely give up control on every level. If you were able to give up control absolutely, totally, and completely, then you would be a spiritually free being.”

from Emptiness Dancing
by Adyashanti


The Wake-up Call – Seeking Purpose by Dara Fulkerson

It's a commonly held belief that our lives need purpose. We seek meaning in what we do. We want to contribute to the greater good and feel our time on the planet is well spent. We make decisions based on what is deemed worthwhile, makes a difference, adds value or is aligned with our life's mission. We don't want our lives to be wasted.

These are all beautiful intentions. On the surface they sound noble and by all means desirable. What could be better than a ‘purpose-driven life?'

But what if our seeking is simply an avoidance of the ego's inherent sense of worthlessness? Since the ego is terrified of its dream of importance and meaning being discovered, it keeps us moving with the hidden drive to have ourselves and our lives be something they are not. It is radical and scary to do nothing, be nothing, contribute nothing, accomplish nothing, seek nothing or become nothing more than who we are in this moment. Who, then, would we be? Why would we be? What would be the point of anything at all?

Self-Inquiry Exercise:

Make a list all your thoughts and beliefs about your life's mission, purpose, meaning, vision, goals, contributions or anything else you feel you must do, have or be to live a worthwhile life. What if nothing on your list is true? What if you stopped all seeking and striving for just a moment? Can you be with the feelings that arise as you let go of everything you perceive gives your life meaning and worth? How would you live if nothing else was ever needed? As an experiment, for one day, remain still until action arises by itself.

Quote:

The happiness we are seeking is nothing but our very own self, our very own beingness.

~ Lester Levenson from The Ultimate Truth About Love & Happiness - A Handbook to Life

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2006 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Find more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Global Warming by Dara Fulkerson

Be Worried. Be VERY Worried , a recent Time Magazine cover story admonishes.

Yes, the problem of global warming is massive and dire. One reaction may be to distract ourselves with the business of living and hope the problem doesn't get too out of hand before we die, or hope someone else will fix it so we can continue our comfortable existence without interrupting the flow of whatever it is we want so much of.

If, on the other hand, we are called to help reverse the damage that's been done and create a sustainable life here on Earth, what can we do to make a real difference that goes beyond obvious energy saving efforts?

Be awake. Be VERY awake.

As Einstein taught us, we can't solve a problem from the same state of consciousness that created it. How do we raise our state of consciousness? By waking up from the ego's unconscious trance wherever it is operating.

Self-Reflection Exercise:

Without doing anything, including meditating, sit still, alert, and in silence. Notice the space that everything arises in. If your mind is racing or providing its normal commentary, notice the awareness that is aware of the thoughts. By becoming aware of the Beingness that everything appears in, you can begin to separate automatic, egoic thought from alive, awake, aware consciousness. It's our only hope.

Quote:

In any situation and in whatever you do, your state of consciousness is the primary factor: the situation and what you do is secondary. “Future” success is dependent upon and inseparable from the consciousness out of which the actions emanate. That can be either the reactive force of the ego or the alert attention of awakened consciousness. All truly successful action comes out of that field of alert attention, rather than from ego and conditioned, unconscious thinking.

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2006 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Find more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Addicted to Change By Dara Fulkerson

We are taught in our self-improvement culture that we can always be better, that we should never be content with the status quo and that we should certainly never accept the notion of “good enough” or just being comfortable.

Yes, we are told, push yourself beyond your limits, make things happen, move forward in life and never let any grass grow under your feet. The advice for how to “be all you can be” is endless. The one consistent message is that something needs to change in order to be happy.

Sometimes making a change is the right course of action. But what if we are happy and content with the way things are? What if we have finally reached a point in our lives that we know we are good enough just the way we are and we are at peace with who we are and the life we are living? What if nothing needs to change? Then what?

Self-Awareness Exercise: Play a game and imagine that you are happy and at ease with everything about you and your life, just the way it is in this moment. No energy is needed to change a thing. There's no state to attain other than the one you are in right now. Pause, and feel whatever arises. Can you let yourself relax and just be? Now, take an inventory of the mental, emotional, financial and physical energy you may have been spending on changing something about yourself or your life. From this perspective, choose what, if anything, you want to expend energy to change.

“We carry on our practical life based on what we have read and heard. Forgetting our true nature, we act like a king who behaves as a beggar in his dream.”

- Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2006 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved. Find more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Confusion By Dara Fulkerson

When confusion is present instead of clarity, we have an opportunity to discover how fear tries to run our lives.

Sometimes, it is simply not time to make a decision – and clarity cannot be forced. It emerges on its own terms, in its own timing. What is required is patience, trust, and the willingness to be in a state of unknowing. To the mind, uncertainty and unknowing is equated with death. How can I survive if I don't have all the answers?

In other cases confusion is fueled by a perceived fear, which sets our minds into a spin. Fear is a natural emotion designed to keep us alive, but it's the fear of the fear that keeps us confused. If true clarity is what we desire, the only thing to do is feel the fear – meet it head on – allowing ourselves to feel as if we might die in that moment. When we welcome the fear without resistance, it drops its hold on us. Then, when it's time, clarity emerges.

Self-Awareness Exercise: The next time you are confused, stop for a moment and inquire into what you are afraid of. Feel the fear that arises as you tell the truth. Be with all the layers of fear without doing anything about it or believing it is true.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

Tao Te Ching

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Crying By Dara Fulkerson

When was the last time you allowed yourself to cry? So much of the time we are simply too busy to feel what we are feeling. Or we fear if we ever started we might not stop.When we ignore our feelings we are cut off from our truth and inner wisdom. Feelings are a portal into that deep part of us where wisdom is born and without them we cannot be true to ourselves.

And even when we don’t have something to cry about in our own lives, if we allowed ourselves to feel the suffering of the world, we might never have a dry eye. Why should we cry over people we don’t know, animals we’ve never met, or places we’ve never visited? Because we are part of the human family and separating ourselves from the victims of hurricanes, hunger, wars or sweatshop labor separates us from ourselves.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Turn on the news and imagine the people you see are your siblings, the animals your pets, and the cities your own. Let whatever separation you feel dissolve and allow yourself to experience the full range of emotions that arise.

Quote:

“Remember that love is the only power that lasts, that passion is most clearly experienced in a ground of silence, and that it is okay to live with a broken heart. Beyond all of life's joys and sorrows, there is a point of peace in each of us. It is our only true sanctuary, recognizable at any moment one gives attention to it. Resting in the sanctuary of our own peace, we are free to experience the aliveness of existence and let our hearts break as needed.”

Catherine Ingram, Dharma Dialogues

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Debt – Part 2 By Dara Fulkerson

What do you owe yourself? What have you promised to do for yourself and then failed to follow through? We all have these things dangling out there – things we'll get to one day. Why don't we give to ourselves what we know we need, just as we pay our mortgage or car payment when they come due?

It can be a change of career, a weekend of silence, a promise to simplify life, or finally taking care of our body. Whatever it is, ignoring it doesn't work any better than ignoring our financial obligations. They always come due.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Make a list of all the things you've committed to do for yourself. Next, go through the list item by item and tell the truth about whether or not it is still important to you. If it isn't, then simply cross it off the list. If it is, inquire into what is holding you back. What does that reasoning cost you? Whatever the cost, you are financing it with your life force.

Quote:

Contentment is perhaps the most underrated aspect of happiness in our culture. Mostly we are conditioned by advertising and society to equate contentment with boredom. From an early age we are inducted in the message that happiness means wanting and getting things.

Catherine Ingram, Passionate Presence

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call – Debt - Part 1 By Dara Fulkerson

There are many kinds of debt. The one we're most familiar with is financial debt. But what about when our emotional and energetic bank accounts are overdrawn? Do we just keep going, turning to external sources to fill ourselves back up, without addressing the underlying reasons our inner resources are drained?

When we're feeling needy, exhausted, empty, powerless, depressed, bored or lost we are conditioned to seek comfort from the external world – eating, shopping, working, reading, exercising, helping – there are an endless number of things we turn to for solace. These can appease us for a while, but sooner or later the deficit catches up with us and eventually shows up in our bodies.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Just as you balance your checkbook, conduct an audit of the energy coming in and going out of your life. Look for feelings of being drained, stressed, resigned, depressed, bored and exhausted. What people, activities, experiences or substances do you depend on for a sense of security, belonging and love? Who or what are you “financing” with your energy?

Quote:

“Sabbath time can be a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork, mindless accumulation, and the endless multiplication of desires, responsibilities and accomplishments. Sabbath is a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know, and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity.”

Wayne Muller: Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call – Living on Hope By Dara Fulkerson

Hope is a good thing – right? Sometimes. When we are going through a dark time, the hope of a brighter future pulls us through. But what if we are avoiding ourselves and the current state of our life by hoping for an imagined future or the return of the “good ‘ole days?”

When we live on hope, we miss the truth of our life today – as it is. And telling the truth about who we have become and our current reality is the only path to living a life that is true to who we are.

Self-Awareness Exercise : Imagine you are a stranger observing your life for the first time. What do you see? Describe in detail the current reality of each area of your life, including the motivations behind the choices that led you here. As you see the truth, what emotions arise? Just be present with how you feel. Simply experience and “meet” the layers of emotions without doing anything to change them. From this place, notice any clarity that arises about what is needed in order to be true to yourself.

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call – Trapped By Dara Fulkerson

It’s common to feel we have to do something we don’t want to do. We make commitments, start on a course of action, and then realize we don’t want to be where we’re headed. Or we are so externally referenced that we can’t follow our heart because we don’t know it. To cope, we learn to rationalize living in a way that isn’t true to who we are and our innermost longings.

We complain, rebel, get depressed, feel angry, become fatigue, or simply lose interest in life. We wake up one day and wonder whose life we are living. We’re mostly unconscious of believing we are trapped, living as if we are and have no choice in the matter.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Each time you feel like you don’t have a choice – no matter how big or small – notice the assumptions you are making about life and how it works. If what you believed to be true isn’t, what would you choose?

Quote:

If we are living lives that are all wrong for our spirits, and if we say no to the calls that could put that spirit to rights, then we are lost souls. If the earth calls to the apple and it doesn’t come, it tends to rot on the tree. In the Afghani tongue, the verb to cling is the same as to die.

Gregg Levoy
Callings

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Failure – Part 3 By Dara Fulkerson

Why do bad things happen? There are many explanations for this perennial question. Which is true?

Try on the perspective that our Souls have a completely different agenda than our personalities and egos. That while we (our mental construct of “me” and “my life”) try to control and manage what happens, the Intelligence that created the Universe is really in charge. What if life is smart enough to deliver exactly what we need, when we need it, and failure is our Soul’s way of leading us back home to our Self?

Self-Awareness Exercise: Using unlined paper and different colors of pens, begin a dialog with your inner, sometimes buried source of wisdom. With your dominant hand, write a question you have about your life or a recurring problem you are having. Now, with your non-dominant hand, answer your question – with words or pictures. Allow a different part of you to speak. Continue this process – back and forth – and see what you learn about yourself and the deeper truths of your life.

Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

~Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


The Wake-Up Call: Failure – Part 2 By Dara Fulkerson

When we fail, the time is ripe to examine our concepts and definitions of who we think we are and are supposed to be. This inquiry can free us from the hamster wheel we are all born onto – chasing success and avoiding failure. Mostly we are running fast and working hard to do, have, and be “enough” to measure up to what is deemed acceptable – to ourselves and others. If we stop this exhausting, futile pursuit, we are free to simply be ourselves – just as we are – without further improvements or achievements. This is what we ultimately want and ironically, who we already are: whole, relaxed, peaceful, at home in our own skin.

Self-Awareness Exercise: Examine each area of your life and make a list of what it would take to do, have, and be enough, finally, without ever needing more. What if you were guaranteed to fail? What if you simply step off the wheel? Then what? Experiment with being content just as you are.

Quote:

Most people’s lives are run by desire and fear.

Desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. All fear is the fear of losing something and thereby becoming diminished and being less. These two movements obscure the fact that Being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already within you, Now.

~ Eckhart Tolle
from Stillness Speaks

Sparkers - Wake Up Call © 2005 Dara Fulkerson for Coaching Toys Inc - Sparkers, all rights reserved.Read more Sparkers by Dara at www.coachingtoys.com/wakeupcall.html


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Dara Fulkerson

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Disclaimer

Sparkers Creative exercises, while mostly fun and enriching may occasionally tap into unresolved issues or discomfort. This may signal some healing to attend to. If this should happen for you and you feel you need help contact a professional counselor. Coaching, while powerful it is not a substitute for therapeutic intervention.

 

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