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What makes you come alive?

Just about one year ago our family moved. We moved from a house we thought we’d be in for twenty plus years. This morning as I was reflecting I realized there was something I really missed about that house. You want to know what it is? Our wall calendar right in the entrance into our kitchen.

Why don’t we just hang it back up, you ask? Well, for two reasons. First, we don’t have any walls in our kitchen that are not covered in cabinets. In our house renovation, my husband decided it was important to get rid of as many walls in our downstairs as possible. So, we have no walls to hang anything. Second, we were getting in too many fights. Yes, marriage therapists fight with their husbands, too. I would always ask him why he doesn’t know what’s going on with our schedule. “Don’t you look at the calendar?” No, he didn’t. But now we have a digital family calendar, which means no more fights. AND I can still color code it.

Ok, but this post is not about our family calendar saga. Because truthfully it’s not actually the calendar I miss, it’s the spot on the side for “notes” that I always filled with quotes. I am a quotes person. Today what I want to do is share two quotes. Quite honestly, I may very well have shared them before. Yet I’m sharing because I find that I often have to revisit lessons. In our life right now, Alan and I are revisiting the topic of goals related to our family, career, and personal areas of interest. So today’s post is about discovering, or rediscovering, what makes us come alive.

Let me share the quotes. The first one is by Howard Thurmon. He was an author, philosopher, theologian, and involved in the civil rights movement. If you ever need some encouragement, check out his quotes. He said,

The second quote is by Allen Raine and says,

“It is possible to reach the top of the ladder and then discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

I want to share just a few thoughts on these quotes, then we can try a small activity. The first quote makes me think about author Brene Brown. In her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” she talks about the need for Rest and Play as a top ten guidepost to living a wholehearted life. So, whether you’re in a spot where you need to readopt the ability to play or you’re in a position where you’re going to actually change your job to be more life-giving, we will take a few minutes to discover what it is that makes you come alive. I think many people in our society struggle with the concept of play and restorative leisure time.

The second quote, although often applied to jobs, can be applied to anything in life. What in your life has that deep whisper inside tried to tell you is wrong for you, but you keep trying to force the issue? Our bodies can tell us when something is wrong. We may not sleep, may be more sick than usual, find ourselves in a depression, or just have an overlying sense things are not working. We can’t lie to our bodies for too long. The hardest and most courageous thing to do is to listen to that deeper spot within ourselves.

Ok, so let’s try two quick things.

1. Write out each quote on a piece of paper. If you can, write in a color that you like. As you write, see if there is a particular word or short phrase that stands out to you.

2. Spend a minute with each quote. Close your eyes. Place your hand on your heart if it helps you focus. Allow the words to (especially the stand-out word or phrase) to float in your mind.

3. Now, go back to your piece of paper and write down anything that pops into your head that makes you “come alive.” Again, add color to the page if you want. It can be people, places, things, activities. If you’re trying to use this activity to see what career fits who you are, don’t feel like you have to add a certain job title, like “doctor.” The things I wrote that are career related are, “teaching, speaking, writing, going deeper, helping people find connection to God, self and others.” You can add whatever you want in this section. I certainly didn’t have all career ideas on my list of things that make me come alive. I also put nature, making our home beautiful (I always notice I’m greatly affected by my surroundings), and small family trips.

This activity is just the beginning of discovering what makes you come alive. Asking the question is like giving yourself permission to dream again. Sometimes we get lost in what we feel like we should be doing in life we forget to really ask what we truly want. And just as Howard Thurmon said, the world needs for you to come alive! Happy rooting, everyone!

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