On Coming Alive

Source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/899394
Source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/899394

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
— Howard Thurman

I’ve been a little quiet here this past week. In part, the silence was simply due to a lack of time with work-related deadlines and projects piling up. But, honestly, that’s just a small part. Whenever I really want to write or really have something to say, I seem to find the time.

The real reason for the quiet is that, given the current state of our government, I’ve been afraid of what I might say if I open my mouth (or, rather, if I let my fingers run rampant across the keyboard). I try to be honest – yet positive – here on this blog and, in light of what’s going on in our country right now, I just didn’t think that I could do both right now.

So, instead, I stayed quiet. And I didn’t write. Even though I desperately wanted to. I tried to come up with ideas that had nothing to do with politics, disagreements, and differences, but each time, I came up short. Topics and ideas seemed silly, uninteresting, and not good enough. I wanted to be able to come up with the perfect post – anything short of that just wasn’t worth writing. And then there was the whole finding the time problem.

As a result, I didn’t write for a full week. And do you know what I realized?

I really, really miss writing when I don’t do it.

Writing has become my outlet – a way to sift through thoughts and ideas and questions, a tool to open the lines of communication and reach out to others. And it has also become my link – a way to connect more deeply with others, the world around me, and with myself.

In that absence of that outlet and link, the world looked less colorful and a little grayer. The bad stuff seemed a little worse and the good stuff seemed not quite as good. My mind felt a little jumbled and jittery. I felt a little more disconnected – from others, from myself, and from some kind of cosmic “whole.” I felt a little slower and a little more anxious.

I felt a little less alive.

A few of years ago, before I fully realized this writer’s spirit of mine, this all would have been a non-event. But if there is one thing that I have realized, wholly and completely, during this journey, it is the supreme importance of doing – consistently and imperfectly – what makes you come alive, whatever that thing might be.

The truth is some people spend their whole lives looking for their passion, for that thing that makes them come alive. If we are fortunate enough to find our passion, our joy, that thing that makes us come alive, we are one of the lucky ones. We shouldn’t squander it away with excuses and apologies. We shouldn’t wait until there’s “enough time.” We need to find the time, whether it’s two minutes or two hours. Whether we have the time for daily hour-long yoga sessions or we can only fit in a weekly five minute run around the block. Whether we are able to take a weekly painting class or we resort to borrowing our kids Crayolas for a few minutes at night.

And we shouldn’t save up our coming-alive-thing until we reach that illusive state of perfection, when we consider ourselves to be “good enough” and worthy. We need to embrace our perfect imperfection, the kind that comes when we throw our whole heart into something.

Because, really, we will never have enough time and we will never be perfect. So, sing off key, bake sunken soufflés, write messy poems. Waste entire photo disks on shots that are too dark or too light. Do sloppy yoga poses, meditate for 30 seconds, train for a marathon. Play the piano, journal, or take a child (any child!) to a baseball game. Make scrapbooks, play golf, throw impromptu parties. Cook, volunteer at a soup kitchen, make floppy pillow forts with your kids. Sing in the church choir, read juicy romance novels, or dance badly in your kitchen at night.

Because, while perfection and enough time may never be within our grasp, if we’re lucky, we can get a taste of what it’s like to feel completely and fully alive.

*****************

Thank you all for your continued support. Please help me continue to grow this website, by sharing this post or another one via the buttons below, or by recommending my Facebook page to others. Your comments, emails, tweets, likes, and shares all mean more to me than you could possibly know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Truly.

Tags from the story
, ,

8 Comments

  • Me too. I mean, the having trouble writing with the whole mess in the government going on. I want to say something about it, but can’t find the words to cover the complexity…I also don’t want to just add to the noise.
    And I love that quote. I have it pinned to my mirror, just so I don’t forget to do what makes me feel alive.
    Natalie DeYoung recently posted…A Trip to the Hospital: Part IIMy Profile

    • That quote is just the best. Covers so many things. I’m trying to stay away from writing about the govt thing because I’m afraid to unleash the fury that I’m feeling right now.

  • I’ve been trying to think of words to use to write something about the state this country is in, and what is going on in Washington, but words are failing me today. In part because I’m furious, but the other part is that I am completely fried from 4 weeks of straight holidays, and need a little break to re-form my thoughts. But I completely agree with you. Lets all do the things that make us feel most happy, and most alive.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…26.2: May 4, 2014My Profile

    • I find that the longer I stay away, the harder it is to get back into the swing of it. Good luck getting back into it. I’m excited to read more of your words.

  • I just came across your blog and really love it. I have not been able to write for the past few weeks and your blog reminded me that it is not all about perfection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.