Halloween day I set out for an early morning jog, opening up my creative brain to sit and write this article about FEELING ALIVE. I realized after about five miles of pounding the pavement that it would be impossible to write about anything other than what has been on everybody's mind: the devastating Hurricane Sandy and the destruction she blew into the East Coast.
Let me start by saying my thoughts and prayers go out to every one of the JOL readers who have been directly affected by the storm's fury. I have been fixated by the images on the TV and the stories of tragedy and triumph this storm has left in it's path. I only imagine the range of emotion that I feel through listening to the radio, being on the internet, or watching television is pale in comparison to those who are living in the reality of the storm's destruction.
So as I write today, I write to remind everybody about something that I tend to forget. Feeling alive does not JUST encompass those "Kodak moments" portraying joy, elation, and harmony. Feeling alive means giving yourself permission to set aside external appearances and demands of society and getting real with yourself.
Feeling alive is embracing the fear of the unknown.
Feeling alive is acknowledging sadness, loss, and crying tears of sorrow.
Feeling alive is giving your neighbor a hug when there are simply no words.
Feeling alive is sometimes saying goodbye to people who have left the earth before their time.
Feeling alive is picking yourself up when it seems as if the odds are against you.
Feeling alive is society coming together in times of need, despite great differences in opinion.
I want to remind you today that it is okay to feel fully alive, embracing all emotions that are humanly possible. The difficult times really do help us cherish the small moments that are glorious, like a jog in the woods. Today I find myself with mixed feelings of guilt and gratitude.
Guilt, because I sometimes complain about such petty events in my life (my children bickering, the crazy Montana weather, a crazy busy schedule!)
I feel gratitude because when something as big as Sandy occurs it is a reminder that every single moment of every single day is precious, even during times of great sorrow and disaster.
And with that I am reminded to trade out the small petty distractions for the small snippets of wonder and joy.
So go ahead. Feel with every fiber of your being. Feeling everything fully is the true definition of being alive!
"Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough." ~ William Saroyan
by Jen Slayden