Being Alive

I’m so tired! It’s been an incredibly busy week, and in addition to all the busyness, I’m sick. Yesterday, I had no voice left.

I’ve been thinking about exactly what to do with this blog, because I don’t want to stop updating. But I’ve been so tired lately! I’m going to try to update very other day, and answer comments on the days I’m not blogging. That may or may not work, I’m not sure.

And this is a strange day to be writing the particular blog post I want to write, because I am so incredibly tired. But it’s on being fully alive.

It’s inspired by a blog post written by Marjorie Liu, who is another lawyer turned writer. Marjorie links to a blog post by a friend of hers, written I just realized exactly a year ago today. (What a strange coincidence! I didn’t realize, until I started writing this post, that it’s her post’s anniversary. That’s one of those Jungian synchronicity things, isn’t it?)

Her friend writes about dedicating the next year of her life to becoming unstuck. She says,

“I start this year of becoming unstuck with the premise that the sole purpose of my life is to be alive. Everything else is just a dance.

“Whether I work from a laptop in a café in Paris or from my home office, whether I could lose 30 pounds or whether I’m a size 6 . . . I am going to show up to life anyway. And while I’m here, I might as well do the best I can, for no other reason than it just feels better.

“Where I used to get overwhelmed by all that needed to happen in order to ‘get where I wanted to go,’ not even knowing where to start (so why not just put that off until tomorrow?), I am just showing up to my life. Not the one from my dreams, but the one I have. And turns out I like it far more than I ever realized. There can always be dreams of ‘more,’ but not at the expense of enjoying today. Over it.”

I spent the last year of my life becoming unstuck: from the PhD program, primarily. I changed so many things about my life, and I feel as though I’m in a place from which I can move forward. It’s a scary place, sometimes. It feels both free and sometimes as though I’m not entirely sure what I’m standing on. Maybe I’m not standing on anything, just sort of floating in space. Maybe I’m flying, I don’t know.

But I like what she says about being alive, about showing up to the life you have. Sometimes, when I’m anxious about the future, I try to just stop and be in that moment — see that it’s a beautiful day, with white clouds in the sky, the leaves lying red and yellow on the pavement.

She continues,

“Showing up for life is a different strategy than I’ve had for a very long time, and the results so far have been incredible. Funny thing is? By letting go of my dreams a little, and becoming more awake to life in this moment, I have begun the process of becoming ‘unstuck’ and I’m moving toward those dreams. They are now something I feel entirely confident I will achieve and I don’t put off the things I need to do to achieve them until tomorrow, I do what I can today. And if they don’t come true that’s okay too, because I’m still alive and that’s all I need to be.

“Who knows where I will be a year from now, maybe updating this blog from my macbook in a café in Paris, or maybe still right here in this chair — doesn’t really matter. Life will throw me curve balls and it will twist and turn and there will be suffering and unexpected joy along the way, but that’s part of life too and I’m going to show up for it either way. That way, I won’t ever become stuck again.

I only have to be alive, the rest is just a dance.”

I checked her blog recently (remember that this was written a year ago), and she is indeed currently living in Paris. What a wonderful example of someone who came unstuck! So this year, since I’m unstuck already (and maybe floating or maybe flying), I’m going to focus on the being alive part. And maybe, just maybe, my life will take me in unexpected directions too. I hope so!

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5 thoughts on “Being Alive

  1. I remember when you began to be unstuck from the PhD program because it was the first I figured out to make comments on blogs, and yours was the first I wanted to
    connect with. You had so many perceptions and beautiful ways to speak of them and
    I felt a little shy about commenting. I have that “I grew up with jackrabbits, sagebrush
    and cowboys” beginnings. But also bookish and devoted to fairy tales. So no matter
    how we begin, all of us who love myth have a wide rich array of kindred spirits. It is
    a strong feeling the world is and can be a better place when we learn how to live
    in harmony with our calling.

    • Phyllis, I love this so much: “It is a strong feeling the world is and can be a better place when we learn how to live
      in harmony with our calling.” And I absolutely believe it, although sometimes I begin to doubt it when faced with the skepticism of what seems like most of humanity. But the people I listen to and respect the most are those who have found their calling and ended up in magical places . . .

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