I am getting ready to go to bed when I am struck by the view outside. I open the window, inhale the night air and gaze at the awesome sky.
A sprinkling of stars beam down at me, some glowing brighter than others, all sitting quietly, brilliantly, in the silent sky above me. Their presence both humbles and reassures me.
How could I ever question or take for granted the miracle of the universe when these billion year old luminous spheres dazzle me with their presence?
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
I am lying in bed when Johann Pachelbel’s Canon starts playing. Tears spring to my eyes at the sheer happiness that emanates from this orchestra. In these five beautiful minutes, I marvel at how music must have been discovered. At how a violin is carved out of wood. And how someone decided to add strings and a bow and a chin rest. I marvel at the hours of practice, passion and dedication of the musicians. At how they all come together to play this magnificent piece of music. And how they must be feeling to be part of this wonderful creation. I marvel at how one man in 17th century Germany was inspired to compose such a masterpiece. And finally, I marvel at how all the violins and bows and musicians and passion and discovery and inspiration all sum up to this…
I met someone at a festival recently, who made a few interesting observations about what it is to be human. As we walked by groups of animated festival-goers, he remarked: “Everybody here has paid money just to be around other people. Humans love being near other humans.” As we passed strings of coloured fairy lights, he added: “Humans are always drawn to the light.” He then urged me to scream: “I’m alive!” We both did, like an aural, two-man Mexican wave: “I’m alive! I’m alive!” Each declaration stirred the life inside me. “It’s true,” I thought. “I am alive.”
A week later, as I drove towards my home town, a great tune came on the radio. I’d love to be on a night out so I could go mad to this song, I wished. Then, I reminded myself that there’s no time like the present. So I howled at the moon and fist-pumped at the oncoming traffic.
And just tonight, as I lie in bed, the wind whipping outside, I grasp a whisper of that evasive peace I felt as I listened to the nocturnal sound of the sea once upon a time in Utila, in Antiparos, in Ballyferriter. I can have that peace right here, right now, I decide with a smile.
Really living doesn’t have to be reserved for the weekends or when you’re drunk or high or on holiday. Each breath is a reminder of the life that courses through you. Your life is a wonderful, miraculous gift. You can enjoy every single moment. Every slurp of tea. Every unexpected chuckle. Every splash of colour. Every chord, caress, aroma and flavour.
You know that you’re alive when your body bounces to a beat, arches into a kiss, nuzzles into slumber, twitches in a dream. You know that you’re human when you shed hot tears of rejection and loss. When your insides glow at a compliment or a pleasant exchange. When you feel the excitement of a flirtation or the nervousness of a new challenge. And you know that there’s more than all this when you feel that magical intimacy with another human being and the world opens just a fraction wider to accommodate the growth of the budding bond that you share.
You feel how spectacular the world is with every glimpse of the sky, the clouds, the trees. With every field, flower, and blade of grass. With the wind that keens and moves amongst it all. With every breath that revives you and moves you… Allow yourself to be moved.
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged breath, colour, connection, dance, enjoyment, experience, festivals, gift, here, holiday, human beings, intimacy, joy, life, light, loss, love, miracle, music, nature, now, passion, peace, present, rejection, relationships, soul, spirit, vacation, wonder, world
Life is miraculous. From pregnancy to childbirth; fingernails and eyelashes, involuntary muscle action and the healing process; sleep and dreams, tears and laughter, memory and pain, pleasure and love…
Miracles abound in plant life and in the world beneath the ocean; from sleeping flowers to deep-sea bioluminescence. In the moon’s effects on the tides. In the stars and the planets that glow. In the ever-changing, ever-moving clouds and the simple strangeness of a rainbow. In rivers and mountains and volcanoes. In the mere 62 miles from here to outer space.
Miracles can be sensed in the steady growth of a seed, in the sweet scent of yellow furze, in a silent snowfall. A miracle can be witnessed in every lamb, lion, peacock and panther. In every earthworm, elephant, foal and firefly. In the astonishing metamorphosis of frogspawn, caterpillars and eggs to frogs, butterflies and soaring eagles. In the transformation of chunks of wood to keening violins, the deep tones of a cello, the heartbreaking ambience of a piano and the flamenco dancers invigorated by the passionate plucking of guitar strings.
Miracles can be felt in the beauty that arises from sweeping paintbrushes, from words that tumble from vision to feeling to pen to paper, from a voice that channels raw emotions. Miracles can be found in mathematical genius, geometry and quantum physics. In spirituality, creation, destruction and creator.
A miracle is born with every breath and birdsong; when the leaves dance in the wind, the weeping willow sways and the cherry blossoms fall. Miracles rejoice in the delightful chuckle of an infant, in a lover’s touch, in the awe-struck appreciation of a sunset…
The miracle of life is found in the searching, in the connection, in the bliss and in the discovery of self. In the present moment, in the here and now, in the being beyond language and analysis and definition, in the space between everything else; this is where magic happens. This is life as miracle.
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged amelie soundtrack, animals, art, beauty, being, birth, bliss, comptine d'un autre ete, connection, creation, creator, destruction, discovery, emotion, flowers, growth, life, love, magic, mathematics, miracle, music, nature, now, pain, plants, pleasure, present moment, quantum physics, science, searching, self, spirituality, yann tierson