On Being WOKE

Posted on April 5, 2021

Sometime in early 2017, I was in a hair salon with my daughter, Nitasha, and her hairdresser asked my opinion on a challenge she was facing. As we got deeper into a conversation about “the right thing to do”, K turns to Nitasha and says, “Oh my! Your Mom is soooo woke!”. Having never heard that word before, it took me a minute to connect the dots: Woke, Sleep, Awake! Ah! I got it! She meant awakened or conscious or aware or mindful.

I researched a bit on the word “woke” and believe it or not, it was first published in print in 1942! Initially it was a term used with awareness of issues that concern social and racial justice. In June 2017, it was actually added into the Oxford Dictionary! Today, in this age where wisdom teachings are everywhere, this word has found its way mainstream and is even trending. The current social and racial justice movements that have been in the spotlight during the pandemic have further popularized the use of this very cool word. If you look up the synonyms of this word, there is a lot of inconsistency among the different trusted resources that we usually lean into:

So, what does this word really mean in relation to our daily lives? In the mindfulness context, being woke simply means paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and a willingness to be with what is. It means to be attentive and aware of whatever has caught your attention. Being “woke” to anything is a practice! It requires us to build a specific skill that finesses our ability to choose to …

  • respond instead of react
  • to be calm instead of chaotic
  • be peaceful instead of anxious

You got my drift. It is a space within us that we can go to check in – albeit momentarily – before we respond. It is a space within us that we can also return to when we feel reactive, chaotic or anxious. It is a space that we….no wait! I can’t give it all away!

For more, I’d like to invite you to join me this (and every) Mindfulness Meditation Monday to learn more about being woke and to experience your own wokeness and actually stay woke through your week, month, year, life and most importantly with your children and family. I’ll be holding your spot with open arms and a wide-open heart.