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An "Alive List": Email Excerpts

I've got more email excerpts for you.

This may become a series! Ok, this is totally an informal series. If you want to email me and have a profound conversation*, maybe I'll ask if I can post a piece of it here, to bring others into the dialogue.

Here's the set-up:
I was alarmed to realize today that I don't know what really makes me come alive. I need to think on this more, because there must be a number of things, and I should be doing those things, but I feel like I'm not really doing much that I get excited about.... Some days I'll just feel inspired to do stuff, and on those days it feels like everything is what I was made to do: cycling, dishes, work, conversation, cooking, art, hiking, improv, anything. But I wish I knew more clearly what makes my heart come alive... do you know for yourself? Do you ever get into this with your SD**? Does this question seem important to you? I'm thinking about it a lot at this moment, so it feels very important to me.

And my response:  
Your questions are very much like the ones that I discuss with my SD. This question of what makes you come alive is so good. So big. A good one. A doozy.

I have thought about it a lot, and I have a short list (that I'm sure will shift with time). Partly, this came out of a book I read called Courage and Calling by Gordon T Smith. I highly recommend it.... I'm also reading a book right now called An Altar in this World, and there is a quote that I thought of when I read your thoughts on feeling like ALL THE THINGS ARE RIGHT AND GOOD (that is how I internalized this line of your email: "Some days I'll just feel inspired to do stuff, and on those days it feels like everything is what I was made to do: cycling, dishes, work, conversation, cooking, art, hiking, improv, anything.") 
My alive-list. Can I share it? I know it will be very different from yours, but maybe reading it will prompt a thought/idea/framework in your mind that will help you sort through your own self.
  1. Reading or writing something that is true & beautiful. There is a sensation of being struck that I KNOW. It is that awareness of being alive, a person of feelings and thoughts, and having them keenly activated. (I shared a piece on my blog recently that makes me feel this.)
  2. Art/photography that captures the world in a certain way. The kind of art I want to grab off a wall and hug (or sometimes throw violently onto the ground because it is sad and heavy).
  3. Conversations like this. The moments when there's no bs or need to present some front, and existential truths and struggles are out in the open to unpack in a gentle fashion.
  4. Walking in the woods/watching the sunset/listening to crickets. Being in silence, realizing it isn't silence at all, but that I'm wandering through living breathing spaces. The sense of awe that comes from the fact that other things are ALIVE and all around me.
  5.  Holding a sleeping child. (there is nothing more to say on that.)

What about YOU? What's your alive-list? And, a more difficult follow-up question I'd love to blog about another time: how do you incorporate that into how you live your life?

*I really like emails and snail-mails, and they don't need to be profound, if you don't want to. If you're reading this blog, you're always welcome to send me a note. 99% chance I'll respond, 1% chance I'll find you creepy.

**SD = spiritual director. The answer is yes, we do talk about this and so much more. I have been mulling over a blog post (or seven) on meeting with her for months now. I should get on that.


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