“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”― Howard Thurman
As I grow older and approach the afternoon of my life, I see things much more clearly. I’m finally getting it that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I truly understand the meaning of spirituality and the need for it in our lives.
Spirituality to me is different from being religious as I see it as my direct relationship with a supreme being–the source of all life. I understand the inherent worth of all religions and accept many of their wonderful teachings, but I’m not tied down to any of their dogma.
I can connect to this source through my soul as long as I learn how to listen to my heart. In my mind, I have simplified the whole meaning of spirituality into one phrase-Awakening my aliveness.
This awakening or spirituality means I believe in something bigger than mankind. I believe in a supreme power with some worldly order. A power that has created us in such perfection, as proved by the fact that we consist of trillions of cells all going about their work in perfect unison.
It means that life is more than mere chance and coincidences. Everyone and everything is connected in this universe like the cells in our body. It means that we believe in living and more importantly, that there is a meaning to life and that our life matters in the grand scheme of things.
I see my life here on earth as a journey of self-discovery, so that I can remember my connection to the source while living as a physical being. The more I learn and experience in that manner where I am aware of my connection every time I am being human then the more I evolve as a being.
However, most of the time, I can’t remember my source all the time. Or I can’t awaken my aliveness all the time, regardless of what the best gurus and teachers say. Nobody can be 100% enlightened all the time.
I remember my source in some moments, like when I’m meditating or when I’m engaging in some activity that I love so much. Then I lose it again as some dis-empowering event appears suddenly without notice like someone cutting me up in traffic or a final warning letter to pay some bill.
Life is so fast now that many things distract us from our aliveness. We forget the big picture of what matters most and the connection we had with the source or the feeling of aliveness easily disappears.
I have developed several habits and practices that Ido consistently, which have proved invaluable for me to stay connected and close to my aliveness.
1. Waking up early
I love getting up early to allow the sound of silence and the view of the sun rising (when I’m privileged to witness it) to permeate my soul.
Sitting in stillness or meditating for 20 minutes first thing in the morning cultivates peace and calmness in my life to help me in my path to authenticity.
Again, I do this in the morning just after my meditation, and I write and write without stopping about my feelings, reflections, and current thoughts. I also mention three things that I’m grateful for that day.
As simple as it sounds, taking up reading again after I stopped for so long, during my hibernation, has led to my awakening. This has helped to take me out of my closed-box mentality and show me that there are many other worlds out there. It also led me to many of the things that I love today, such as writing, learning and keeping my mind open.
I was always involved in sports when I was at school, but somehow forgot all about movement and exercise when I settled down in the “normal way of life.” Don’t ask me why. I have no real answer.
Running has become a passion and going to the gym and playing soccer raises the level of my endorphins and enhances my general mood, which trickles into the rest of my life in all kinds of ways.
6. Being Mindful
I have chosen specific things I do during the day when I immerse myself in doing that activity without allowing my thoughts to wander or be interrupted.
E.g. when I’m drinking my only coffee in the morning. This has become a sacred ritual, as I would make it, let it sit for a while, and then inhale the strong, rich aroma before taking the first sip. I continue drinking it for about few minutes without thinking of anything but the coffee.
I can’t say enough about how this has helped me in my life. I have learned to enjoy myself alone, reflect and analyze what is right for me.I have learned to distinguish between the noises that torment me from the music that enliven me.
I have started appreciating nature and being out in the open more often than not. I now love to stare in awe at the beauty of life that is around me, whether it’s a 100-year old tree or a flock of seagulls flying just above me.
8. Don’t Follow Society and Its Rules
I look at what matters the most to me when deciding how to spend my day or what to do with my energy. I’ve started using Steven Covey’s principle of “begin with the end in mind” in many situations, using my authenticity and fulfillment as the goal I’m moving towards.
I’m finally realizing that most of us live like sheep, not because we are happy, but to avoid disrupting the status quo of our lives.We fight day and night to stay in our comfort zones. We crave the sense of belonging that society gives us.
We are all unique individuals, and it’s through our creativity that we are able to express our true selves and allow our real voices to be heard.I grew up assuming that creativity meant being born a Hemingway and producing a book like The Old Man and the Sea or becoming Picasso and painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Since I started getting more creative, whether it’s expressing my passion through writing or doing small things–creating picture quotes on Instagram. I have found inner satisfaction that has flowed into all areas of my life.Again, the more I practice this muscle of creativity, the better I get and the more inner joy I feel within me.
10. Finding Your Tribe
Our Family and friends are our balance, the bedrock of our lives but sometimes we don’t think in the same wavelength. As such, I have found my own tribe online and they stimulate my thinking and expand my horizons.
I have also found a few people in my journey who have proved to be muses and coaches showing up for me time and time again to guide me to my rightful path.
Aliveness is something that is unique and different to each one of us, and it need not be a revolution that would change your life completely. It very often is a slight tweak where you add certain things that make you come alive.
However I do believe that we need self-growth and contribution to our fellow mankind before our lives can become meaningful as only then can we be awakened to our aliveness.
So have I awakened to my full aliveness?
Am I who I must be?
No, I’m not even halfway there.
I am sure in the coming years I will uncover many new aspects of my self. I will expand on the practices that I’m doing now.
However, I know I’m on the right path and am enjoying the journey to my authenticity.
Every day, I look forward even more to what makes me come alive, so that I can participate fully in this wonderful game called life.