is it vital to be alive?

alive vitality

Take a moment to reflect on your year so far.

On what occasion, in what scenario, did you feel most alive?

I mean truly alive. Alive in a whole body way. Physically and emotionally buzzing, an energy coursing through you like you were plugged in.

Maybe you achieved a work goal, maybe you experienced an adrenalin rush on your first parachute jump, maybe you were walking alone in the forest at dawn, maybe you had a deep realisation about yourself, maybe you completed your first ever triathlon and felt on top of the world, maybe you presented to a group something important to you and won them over, maybe you had a tender moment of love with someone close to you…

Vitality.

If you can’t find something. Go further back. Look for it like it’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Seek it tirelessly. If you can’t find a single experience, look to understand components, smaller parts that provide clues to where your vitality rests, then build, add, try, experiment.

Maybe you find it easier to locate the opposite? A sense of fatigue, of being drained, of a kind of deadness? Somehow we have become conditioned to notice this more. The drudge of the commute, the dull but necessary task, the unfulfilled aspiration, the tiresome social gathering…

It’s a useful exercise to list down how you spend your time and then reflect on what nourishes you and what depletes you. Simply getting better balance in your life will improve your state of mind, your sense of happiness or fulfilment, your well-being – swap some draining activities for ones that inspire you, lift you, nourish you.

But more than that, be curious about the nature of that nourishment. Score them. Look at ones that deliver most. Why is that? What properties do they have that align with who you are, what matters to you, what gives you pleasure, what gives you meaning and purpose?

Here lie clues to that vital experience, that vitality, that sense of aliveness experienced in a whole body way – psychologically, emotionally, physically

Never stop looking. It’s vital.

You think you are alive because you breathe air?  Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way

Rumi

how are you spending your life … literally

spending time
If you were given £750,000 the day you were born, and knew that was all you would ever get, how would your choices be different?

At home the other week, we were discussing changing our carpets upstairs. I’m sure you have such conversations in your lives too … can we afford to replace the car, should we re-do the bathrooms, where shall we go on holiday this year, can I afford that training course I’d love to do?

Often a factor in such conversations is money and a choice about what we can afford. We play one thing off against another. Money is a currency we understand.  It gives us choices, informs our priorities.  We strive to acquire more, so that we can have more choice.  But what if there was a finite sum?

Time is a currency too.

The offer of £750,000 reflected the fact that most of us, living a full life into our mid 80s, will have around 750,000 hours on this planet. You can’t buy or earn any more.

Yet time, we fritter away with less conscious attention than a handful of small change.

We allow others to spend it for us.  Especially in work.  I’m required to be in that meeting. I need to travel to Glasgow. I have to finish that report this week-end. I must spend a few hours this evening getting on top of my email…

Even worse, we do this with our energy.

Our lives become dominated by things that not only eat into our time on this earth, but also which drain us of our energy.

That dull meeting you wish you weren’t in. The hours commuting. The dinner party with the couple you don’t really like. The hours in the gym you hate, but tell yourself you ought to do. The tedious job you wish was different.

Meanwhile, the simple things in life that energise us, we find less time for. Reading a book. Playing with the children. Enjoying an amazing view. That hour of yoga. Baking some bread.

You have around 750,000 hours in your life. It’s your choice how you spend it. Spend more of it on the things that inspire you and less on the things that are other people’s choices or that allow your energy, your very life essence, to leak away.

photo credit: BramstonePhotography via photopin cc