What is it that we all crave? What are we looking for? You might think there are many answers. Maybe it’s adventure, or the desire to contribute to the world. Some might say they want a nice house, a new car, to never have to worry about money, to be healthy. A few might tell you they just want to be happy. But I’ve had a couple of experiences lately that make me think that we what we really crave is to feel alive, really alive.
Last Friday night, along with 8 others I was invited to a dinner by my exquisite homeopath. It was a beautiful evening full of warmth, good food and connection. She shared her stories of visiting Greece and Iceland, of experiencing old cultures with a strong sense of community, with simpler diets, more connected to the land and an appreciation for the unseen elements of our world. We talked about how broken so many of our major systems in North America are: health care, education, democracy. Her enthusiasm for life and the passion for these issues was contagious. By the end of the evening, though most of us didn’t know each other, we felt connected and alive.
I have been listening a lot to an online course by Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul) and at one point he recounts a story of some prison work he did. He was chatting with a prisoner who was always getting into fights and he asked him, “why do you do that?” The answer was something like it, “it’s the only time I feel alive.”
Another morning my partner recounted a story about a billionaire spending vast sums of money and time over a squabble about how the tennis court in his condo was being run. And it struck me, “he is doing this to feel alive.” We do some pretty strange, misguided things out in the world. And many would say we are all just trying to be happy. But I am coming to believe that the deeper answer is we want to feel alive. Drama makes some of us feel alive.
Part of that craving for aliveness includes wanting to feel connected to others. We need to feel we are part of the tribe in some way, that we matter. Part of feeling alive includes a sense that we’re making a contribution. I think if we felt those things there would be many other things we would no longer crave. As a culture we would be happier and healthier.
I can remember years ago my father-in-law talking about his experience of the war over Sunday dinners. I can remember how he came alive when he talked about it and it had this strange quality of “these were the best days of his life” which seemed pretty odd. Even 25 years ago I could sense this feeling of aliveness based on the fact that life could be over at any time. Every dance, every dinner, every encounter with strangers was savoured in a way that was out of the ordinary. He remembered that aliveness for the rest of his life.
So what is it then that makes you feel alive? It’s not a question for the mind to contemplate but something to sense in our bodies, in our energy fields as we go about our days. And how can we bring more aliveness to each day? Because a world full of people that feel alive with awareness would be a beautiful place. Not a world full of people desperately acting out their “mishigas” (that’s Yiddish for craziness. When someone did something that didn’t seem to make any sense, my mother used to say “everyone has their own mishigas”).
I invite us all to explore our aliveness. After all, the opportunity to do that won’t last for ever. And your aliveness will be the best contribution you can make to this world. This holiday season BE a gift to the world.
As always, I love hearing from you.
I don’t know about you butI feel bombarded by all the holiday sales and emails clambering for my attention and so I am not doing any of that but I did want to say, if there’s a piece that’s been calling to you, just send me an email and I’m sure I can work out a little holiday sweetness for you.
Things I’m loving these days: