Being Alive

What does being alive feel like? Are you alive right now?

Silly question, yes, as if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this, of course.

But the important question is what else wouldn’t you be doing?

 No, this is not going to be one of those morose ‘Wanted a life, ‘live or dead’’ posts which encourages you to be reckless or, worse, ruthless, with your time, your heart, your responsibilities, your health, or most importantly, those you love, while in pursuit of your dreams.

It’s more tender than that, I hope.

It’s about what ‘alive’ feels like and how to fit feeling it into more moments, like the yummy jelly that, when one slathers it on a little too generously, a little too joyfully, a little too delightedly, it squishes out the sides of the peanut butter sandwich. That kind of feeling alive, licking it off, smiling at the ‘mistake’ and the utter sweetness of this moment overflowing with just a little more than is judged ‘necessary.’

That kind of alive.

 

There are a lot of “last looks” in my life right now. Those times when one looks and knows that it will be irretrievably different the next time.

Like the ‘last look’ at the ocean the night before flying home to a land-locked desert.

Or a last look at a garden in October.

 

Last night, I walked circles in my yard, accompanying a beloved companion who is in her last hours and moments alive here on Earth and is feeling restless. We walked through snow, through heavy snowflakes on the wind during a Spring storm, through star-studded night when the clouds suddenly lifted, through cold wind filled with frozen blossoms from our trees, and then slowly back into our warm house, only to repeat the journey every hour or so in the wee hours of the morning till dawn when she finally rested.

I was tired, yes, but she was more so. She knows her time is near; it’s obvious to all of us. So I couldn’t begrudge the time spent with her doing exactly as she pleased, or the cold night. It was full of ‘alive’ things to feel, to smell, to notice, to feel, I say again.

Instead I wondered what I’d do if, like her, I had the luxury of such knowing that life is lived moment to moment, not in years or in business cycles, just moment to moment living. (We all do have that luxury.)

Would I too stop and breathe deeply, aware of the depth of cold flowing inside my chest? Would I mind or marvel at the snowflakes thick on my eyelashes?

In watching her, I was shown how to be alive in this moment, for actually the snowflakes were cloaking my lashes as well, but I was observing, not necessarily feeling. I was observing her, alive, rather than feeling the wonder as well; I was feeling the cold under my coat and the sadness of the moment. She, beyond care for such things as time, simply lived the moment fully. It was then, in realizing this, that I too began to feel the wonder of the moment and the fullness of ‘alive’ and what it means, breathing cold air and seeing through cloaked flakes with her, nearby, together.

So are you alive? As you read this, Is there something sensual that awakens in you to the experience of just right now?

What does this have to do with being one’s best in this moment, or on one’s life path, or of feeling here for a purpose and a heart-filled task to do?

 

Everything, I think.

 I can’t say it was my purpose to be in outside in the night with her trapsing through ever more snow, hour by hour, but there is no one else to be so or to do it. It is just us and this time and this place. So no doubt it is my purpose and no doubt in memory it will be my honor, a call out of dense blank sleep to be at my best rather than cranky about the cold wind or the hour.

 

We are each called to moments in which to be alive, whether alone or with someone or something else, in which to feel a heart-full of love and gratitude, wonder and awe.

This is one now.

Blessings on you as you live it.

 Elizabeth Darby