Throughout my life, obstacles have taken me deeper into the meaning of my experiences and understanding of the world. I’ve had my share of rude awakenings, crystalline events around which the entirety of my life has shifted.
In January of 2017, life hurled a rude awakening of such force onto my path that it took me down. Literally, to the ground and bruised. I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder after suffering a grand mal with no preexisting condition or family history. The hawk, who first appeared to me in Austin around the death of a friend, reappeared in my life after a 20-year absence and has been a steady companion, which is why you’ll see hints of this great raptor throughout these pages.
I was riffing on the idea of rude awakenings with my husband and about the common term to be WokeAF. A few seconds later we hit on it. Like a one-two punch, I said “rude” and he said “woke.” It was one of those moments when an idea sneaks up and taps you on the shoulder. I knew it as soon as we said it: Rudewoke.
Now in recent years, the term woke has morphed into something quite beyond its initial definition which was to be aware of and no longer asleep to societal injustices, especially racism and marginalization. In 2017, woke was akin to compassion. Today, woke is all over the news and social media, often at the center of energized debates, sometimes used as praise and sometimes as insult. Some even say woke has been weaponized.
I return to my concept of Rudewoke which is not political and not cultural. Only deeply personal. Something we’ve all experienced because we’re human.
Rude is a way to awaken. To be Rudewoke is to have been through something. You can be 25 and have been through something or 85 and have been through something. It’s not how much you’ve been through but what you’ve done with what you’ve been through. To be Rudewoke is to have used life’s difficulties, illnesses and tragedies to create something better for yourself. It is to see these essential and personal life forces as the gifts they are.
Rudewoke is not a teaching. It’s not a map. It’s you intuiting your path and aligning with it. It’s learning to befriend, embrace and guide yourself. Shed what isn’t truly you and make space for what IS truly you. It’s seeing how everything you experience is meaningful and in service to you. To be Rudewoke is to live creatively and that includes living destructively. There’s room for destruction in the awakened life. There’s room for endings, for death and dying. These forces are in service to life and not the other way around. Life is not in service to death. Living does not serve dying, dying serves living. To be Rudewoke is to die a little bit every day, to yourself. It is to know that your path is an ongoing revelation.
The jolt to my sensibilities that my latest rude awakening caused drove this idea home: Don’t dwell on life coming to an end. It will happen and you can’t know when. Dwell on what’s still inside you that has yet to be admitted. Make a seat for that soul at the table of yourself.
Sharing who you are to the stars and back is a one-shot deal.
Entirely yours. And for all time.