Things which make you feel excited to be alive

Most of us get lost in drudgery from time to time. I know I do. Real life will not always be exciting, and Zen students in particular are encouraged to sit still for some time every day, as if letting leaves settle from the storm.

When we do, a vibrant aliveness emerges. However, being human, I’m not always good at letting the leaves settle. Particularly when hard times hit – maybe I won’t have seen sunshine for weeks, and I’m facing more challenges than normal – I’m prone to depression and a ‘giving up’ state of mind.

When this happened a couple of days ago, I listened and asked myself, is this really all I’m aware of? Perversely, I kind of wanted it to be. Depression is real – but it can also be a convenient story which puts my problem in a box so I don’t have to do anything about it.

But then I opened up awareness, and noticed a whole load of other things which complicated the picture. I’m thinking I’m depressed, but actually I’m really enjoying the sun on my skin, a connection with a friend, an idea I just got. So there’s more to the story.

These are the things which make me feel alive. What are yours?

  • A good story
  • A good friend
  • Sunshine
  • Groups of people coming together to make good things happen
  • Single-minded passion for a cause or subject, in me and in others
  • When I’ve made something well
  • When others want something I’ve made
  • Seeing other people flourish
  • Recognition
  • Meditation (the act of)
  • The breathless understanding that space is infinite
  • Fashion! Vibrant, creative, expressive
  • Dreams, which bolster me to dare to reach for the stars.
  • Exercise (the effects of!)
  • Good dub, electronica & ska. The beat runs through my hips.
  • The desert and the desert sky
  • Tropical air, like warm folds of fabric
  • Snowfall. Perfect silence


03rd July 2013

Comments (4)

  1. Here’s one
    ° Reading Mia’s life inspiring blog on a bleak morning.
    p.s. What is ‘Good dub, electronica & ska.?

    • Aww sweet :-) Ah yes that’s the problem with personal lists – they don’t always make sense! It’s just music I like :-)

  2. Make me feel alive:

    Feeling part of something bigger than myself, like a community and the values are in alignment with myself.

    Meditation and the dharma: gives me a ‘way’ and many things hard to put words to…has the potential to turn anything that happens, seemingly positive or negative, easy or difficult into gold.

    Gratitude – a practise slowly being developed – this can help

    Good quality music

    Playing music


    feeling free

    feeling spaciousness

    having enough free time

    studying (often)


    deep/sincere connection to others

    (sometimes!) family

    nature nature nature – sensory closeness with and timelessness with – kicks ass!

    food – mixed elationship with but I do like it!

    feeling of purpose and meaning

    feeling appreciated….and loved

    growth and expansion


    - Thanks, it was nice to do that today. It helped me to write these things. I have had a meditation practise since 2006 which has very gradually built over 6 years from 10mins per day to now 30mins in morning and 20mins in the evening. It is a pretty steady commitment but depending on circumstances it can become a bit less at times. Last night I didn’t sit for example as I was so tired and a bit down after a heavy couple of days working on difficult material (child protection). Also I wanted to go out to see music but was just so tired small number of friends were not up for it so I stayed in. It’s rare for me to reach out and in fact go out here due to busyness…so all things in was fed up. I just want to eat, blank out and sleep. I can get really lost in things sometimes, a bit down and hopeless. And then I pick myself up again….or perhaps am picked up…the cycles of life continue. So here I am writing when it’s time to meditate the next morning. This writing has helped to pick me up again. And I will sit as I finish this. Although my usual is 30 and 20 mins, I set a minimum of 20 and 10 so the get out clauses are less likely – hey…10mins can always be managed! That can help when times are tough. Oh and sitting with Sangha and retreats are supportive. Thanks for this, Naomi.

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