When I was a little kid, many of the games I played were active, "get up and do something" games. Everything from Red Rover to Red Light, Green Light, to Simon Says, to Gray Duck - all involved actual physical movement along with thinking.
We also sang a lot of songs in my childhood. I remember combining the two in some of the games, most memorably "Ring Around the Rosy" where you actually sang while holding hands in a circle and falling down.
One song I remember singing was my first exposure to learning the French language: "Frere Jacques," or, translated into English, "Are You Sleeping?" It was a round, so when the first part was sung, the second and third parts would come in, forming harmony in an endless loop. (Maybe that's why I love a cappella singing so much today!)
So today I'm thinking about that question: Are you sleeping?
I taught a graduate course called Influential Leadership this past winter and one of my students was originally from India. He frequently shared wisdom his father taught him, and one phrase that got me thinking today was this: "It's easy to wake a sleeping man. But it's impossible to wake a man who doesn't know he is sleeping."
How much of the world is sleeping right now, and doesn't even realize it? The minutes and hours and days and months and years seem to be zooming by, and sometimes it feels as though my life is happening to me instead of me actually LIVING my life.
Have you ever felt that way? Do you frequently feel that way? The good news is that if you recognize you have been sleeping, it means you're aware enough to know the difference. Awareness brings more choices and you go from being a man (or woman) who is sleeping and doesn't know it, to someone who is ready to wake up.
I am inspired by these words, attributed to Jack London:
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
Are you ready to wake up? There's no time like the present!