to be alive

From SARK's The Bodacious Book of Succulence:

When considering choices in your life, the "most alive choice" feels like a bit of a risk, makes you giggle, or makes the hairs at the back of your neck stand up. It can be a simple and tiny shift, such as taking a new route. Or as large as moving your whole life somewhere you haven't lived before.

We are consistently presented with choices. Often, our inner critics run the whole show, and we use a lot of language with these words:

have to


I'd better

or else

(these can be bullies of the language world)

Sometimes we have to wonder who is making our life choices! We might stumble from one obligation to another, lost in a series of have-tos. People buy wedding gifts they don't want to buy, attend birthday parties out of guilt or fear, spend time with people they don't even enjoy, or push their children into unwanted activities. (And then we all get crabby!)

I remember moving succulently as a young girl in Minnesota, from bike flung to the ground, to deep lawn, to creek bulging with turtles, to eating rhubarb for breakfast and fat, vine-grown tomatoes for lunch. The most alive choice was a natural step -- one to another.

I think that as adults we become rigidified, encrusted with grudges, wounds, and protective devices that don't work anyway. We walk carefully along, checking our purses, pockets, and car keys. Gone are our bamboo walking sticks and flags for countries that we've made up. I think those things are only gone because we've stopped calling them. We've stopped counting fireflies at dusk, standing naked in the rain, fingerpainting with our feet and stuffing a bag full of costumes and making our "poet's corner" in the backyard, with lanterns and tents made out of chenille bedspreads.

We deserve to be the caretakers for our spirits and dreams, and this means truly sensing and listening for our most alive route. It may not be a common path, or a popular one, yet it will be clearly ours.