Last night, I went to see The National in the O2. They were amazing. Matt Berninger’s voice sounded just like it does on their albums. And he really got into the performance.
The person with me commented: “They don’t write songs for the public, they write songs for themselves.” This really rang true. The lead singer appeared to let go when he was on stage. It was like he was losing himself in his passion, exposing his darkest thoughts and deepest emotions, sharing his heart with all of us. It felt raw and honest.
We could only get seated tickets, which was fine as The National’s music is quite relaxing. But there was no dancing or jumping in our section of the arena. However, after a while, the energy of the musicians rippled into the crowd. The woman in front of us started raising her hand and standing after each song. The man beside me played air guitar. And I swayed and roared in appreciation.
I gazed at a beautiful visual behind the band of the ocean and a sun-streaked sky. I was brought back to times when I swam in the sea or bobbed on a boat. I had felt free and alive.
I thought: How often do we experience these things in our everyday lives? When do we allow ourselves to let go and become one with that joy, that aliveness?
Perhaps when we drink alcohol, take drugs, have sex or go on holidays. Or when we attend gigs like this one. We connect with that passion when we witness someone living their dream, when another human being lets us in to the honesty and depth of their authentic selves.
We become truly present. We enjoy all of our senses. And we give ourselves permission to be free, even if just for one day, one night, one moment…
Posted in Random
Tagged alcohol, aliveness, authenticity, beauty, concert, connection, dancing, darkness, dreams, drugs, dublin, emotion, freedom, gig, heart, holidays, honesty, ireland, joy, letting go, life, living, matt berninger, music, ocean, oneness, passion, presence, raw, relaxation, sex, song, soul, spirit, summer, sunshine, swimming, talent, the national, the o2, thoughts, truth
Have you ever read something that’s changed your life? I have. After bawling my eyes out at Tuesdays With Morrie, a moving memoir about a dying professor and the important life lessons he shares with author Mitch Albom, I vowed to do one thing each day that makes me feel alive. I even purchased a colourful journal that I have dedicated to writing about all the wonderful things that fill me with energy and enthusiasm.
This doesn’t mean that I complete daily bungee jumps or declare my lust for every passing handsome stranger. But what it has done is push me to seize new opportunities, try different and exciting things, and appreciate the present moment. It has also made me more aware of the things, places and people that spark something electric inside of me as I go about my day-to-day activities.
Today, I flick through my handwritten recordings. Here is a sample of the delights that have jazzed up my days so far:
- The sounds and smells of the countryside as I freewheel past giant trees.
- How my entire body tingles as I speak to my Positive Living group about something particularly inspiring.
- That pleasant surprise when a random man tells me how gorgeous I am.
- Driving in the sunshine, windows down, stereo turned up loud.
- A sudden, heavy downpour as I race home, feeling fit and strong (and completely drenched!)
- Roaring laughing when a friend or family member says something that really tickles me.
- Ducking head first into a crashing wave.
- A procession of ants. Butterflies. Grazing sheep. Gangly calves. And how my heart melts when a dog looks up at me with his hopeful, brown eyes.
- Twin babies chuckling and gurgling in a language only they understand.
Reading back on these entries, I realise that nature features strongly. There is just something about the miracle of nature that stirs the life force that inhabits my body. Physical activity also plays a huge part in what makes me feel alive. And connecting with animals and other human beings reminds me that I am alive and part of something bigger. Something incredible.
Another thing I observe is that I struggle to come up with reasons to feel super charged on the days when I’m tired. This has shown me the importance of rest so that I can enjoy life to the fullest.
I set down the journal. The sun is shining so I lie on the grass, amongst daisies and buttercups, and gaze up at the sky. The clouds sail swiftly towards one another, joining to blot out the sun. Instead of cursing them, I am amazed at this spectacle that I am privileged to witness.
Recently, I came across the Rocking Chair Test. I remember it now as I stretch beneath the clouds… Imagine that you’re old and frail. You’re sitting on your well-worn rocking chair, pondering the span of your long life. Are you happy with all that you’ve experienced? Or are there still things you wish you had done? The beauty of this exercise is that you still have time. Time to really live. Time to fulfil your potential and follow your dreams. Time to live each moment in gratitude and aliveness.
What makes you feel alive? Could you commit to doing one thing each day that gives you that feeling? Try it for a week. I’d be delighted to hear how you get on.
Posted in Health, Positive Thinking
Tagged aliveness, animals, appreciation, awareness, beauty, body, change, dreams, enjoyment, enthusiasm, exercise, family, friendship, gratitude, health, journalling, laughter, life, living, love, miracle, mitch albom, nature, opportunity, outdoors, positive living group, potential, rejuvenation, relationships, relaxation, rest, rocking chair test, tuesdays with morrie, zest