How are you staying awake to life?

January 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Creative Risk | 3 Comments
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“Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking. We should amass half dressed in long lines like tribesmen [or women] and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.”

In the above quote Annie Dillard (in her book, The Writing Life) is referring to the capacity of a good writer to rouse us from the mundane and infuse our hearts and minds with a sense of fresh possibility.

Reading is a wonderful way to shake up your perspective, one of my favorites. But what else can you do to juice up your reality? Sometimes the smallest change — like taking a different route to work or trying a new recipe — can transform how you think and feel. It doesn’t have to be a major shift, like learning a foreign language or becoming a political activist or moving to a new town . . . but it could be.

The point is to do something — hopefully, every day — to stay awake to life . . . so that you’re not caught off guard by death or love or crisis when it shows up in your life.  These elements are part of all our lives.  Fear can make us avoid people or situations that make us uncomfortable, but it’s our willingness to embrace drama and break away from the ordinary that keep us truly alive.

How are you staying awake to life today?



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  1. …oh yes! …so many tasks, so many friends to see or call…so many surprises…so many opportunities to take part…or rest at home to replenish the energy and enthusiasm that make up our lives…

  2. I stay alive by acknowledging nature. Look around you. Notice the little things. Smell the smell of the trees, watch the birds, listen to them. Listen to the wind in the trees. Feel the sun in your skin, feel the lake, river or ocean water caressing yourself. Take your shoes off and feel the grass, the sand, the mud. Get dirty, play. Be yourself ! Excercise, feel the sweat in your face, taste your tears. Scream, be a child again. Follow as few rules as you can, I mean enough to fit in society, but when alone, when in nature, be yourself. Respcet nature of course, but be yourself. Smell the tree bark, watch that ant. Watch the small tiny wild flowers. Play. Don’t let the child inside yourself die. He\she is just sleeping, and most of all : be good. There’s no better satisfaction than to feel that we are doing good to the others, specially animals: wildlife: nature. They are all at our mercy. Live, feel alive , and let live.

    • Beautiful and encouraging sentiments, Angela. Thanks for the inspiring reminders.

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