speech: sleeper, awake!

SPEECH: Sleeper, Awake

[Open with Reveille]

Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and Honored Guests. My name is JNET and this is my 4th speech which I have named “Sleeper, Awake”.

Do you remember making forts out of bedsheets, climbing trees: exploring?

Maybe you can still remember fascinations with caterpillars and a once unwavering belief in fairy circles. Money paid from the tooth fairy, M&M’s melting color into your hand, and a sky full of stars. And maybe it feels like a dream away.

Does growing up make the trees less green as we worry about rainforests or does aging make sunsets undazzling by the constant repetition of days followed by another day? Is life an overwhelming influx of color and information that either bogs or bores one’s attentions from thoughts to smell flowers and feel happy.

You’d rather smell coffee… Now THAT’S peace of mind to you.

Your days of fireflies and butterflies are now mad blurs of work and holidays. Does that cup of coffee really wake you up? Do you feel like an eternal explorer and this moment an adventure? Or have we fallen asleep? Maybe suffering in the silence of a noisy life. Lulla-lies; lulla-byes.

Some sleepwalk. Maybe many of us and we have bruises we can’t clearly explain.

How do we best name a word that speaks of the trance of indifference or distraction that we find ourselves woken from? What is it called to be returned to mindfulness from the challenging yet sometimes dulling drama of life? What is it called to figuratively pace around in a half sleep arms outstretched but not feeling the wakefulness of wonder?

What wonder is there worth being wakeful of beyond the bliss of childhood? The world has war, greed and injustice. But what if you can be captured by your imagination again and look at the world with refreshed eyes?

[play “sleeper, awake“, cantata 140, 4th movement]

“Sleeper, Awake!” Specifically the 4th movement of Bach’s Cantata 140. Familiar melody? Sometimes played at weddings… it is a processional piece. With the chorus, the tenors sing against an orchestral counterpoint. It is a joyous piece, the text is a call to mindfulness. The procession is approaching … Are you prepared to join in? This is different from hearing Reveille.

Allow me to be a tenor here bearing a message in the procession of life. Allow me to also share that I understand the rigor of life can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Are you awake?

Am I awake? I keep in mind, Bach’s joy.

What is it to suffer from sleepwalking? In its observed clinical sense, the subject does normal things that one does when awake; cleaning, walking. Their eyes are open but their minds are in a different place. Memory fails due to an unconsciousness of behavior. Sleepwalking is more commonly experienced in people dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety and it can affect people of any age.The disorder can go unnoticed unless brought to the attention by someone else..

Sleeper, Awake!

Who here has dealt with stress in unwise manners and yet has climbed a tall tree and came down safely? In one situation there is a perhaps regretful fall and in another situation, a happy return to the ground for a further adventure.

Are we sleepwalking? I pose the question to give you a perspective to play with and Bach’s, Sleeper, Awake as a lens. Are you bumping against things and not exploring? I don’t think you’ve outgrown yourself. I don’t believe being a sensible adult is to leave wonder for small children. Perhaps, we doze off sometimes.

Reveille is not the call I bring to you. I wish to wake up the dreamer in you in this procession called life. I will close with a few lines I wrote in a poem named, “Awake, Dreamer.”

POEM: Awake, Dreamer!

How many times will you look at the blue sky
before you forget to notice it? 

At what point will you say you are satisfied
with seeing enough full moons?

You have an imagination
that has built castles in your childhood…
What do you build now, Dreamer?

From a cry you now speak…
What have you to say, Friend?
You are someone with a story
and you are the hero in every one of them.

Awake, Dreamer! Speak, Friend!

Sleeper, Awake…. Thank you Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and Honored Guests.



~ by jnetsworld on February 1, 2009.


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