Your Choice

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Bridger, age 3, has a genuine smile and is enjoying life.

How alive am I willing to be? How far am I willing to extend beyond my comfort zone? For me, the first indicator that something is alive is how it reacts to outside stimuli. Very sensitive or barely sensitive? A blink. Eyes or ears draw towards auditory stimuli. A mutter is attempted, an unrecognizable subtle vibration within the larynx. A chest rises and falls in breath but quivers and struggles with difficulty. A spring crocus wilted, spread prostrate, or not springing back with a nudge. All signs exhibited when life is barely hanging-on.

So what would the opposite be? What is extremely alive? A roar. A chest-beating Tarzan call. Flips, cartwheels, and dancing with a flowing rhythm. Eyes—large and bright—it’s all in the eyes.

Vitality.

As alive as the Irish fiddler that circles her bow, fingers a blur, and dances with high knees all like a whirlwind. Glorious singing exudes life. As alive as the black-capped chickadee singing on a subzero February morning. Where does this come from? No one else is singing. It’s wickedly cold outside and food is scarce. Chickadee, you’re not surrounded by like-minded individuals of your species; it’s only you that I see, alone.

Our attitude portraits how we see life. We are not just consumers, but transformers, from nothing, to beauty. As designers of joy, we must voluntarily extend our hands to the world and together spread beautiful living. Does not the twisted oak reach over you while engrossed in the noon hour, creating the ideal break?

Find the “aha” moments. I remember a time when I saw the light. A whole new perspective was shown before me. My attitude was in a slump and I was looking for answers. Later, I was refreshed on how everything around us is a miracle. Yes indeed! Alleluia! I’m certain that my realization of the miracles around us will again slap me in the face someday soon.

Life is meant to be filled with luminous experiences. We are not only given a “one per person” pass for “aha” moments. This labyrinth we walk, stumble, crawl, and skip through—called life—has holes in the ceiling everywhere to be found, skylights to guide us in a new direction. We must keep moving down the twisted corridor to find the next glowing moment. We can’t just sit down on the floor and expect experiences to move to us. It may require our family to go searching together, or a team, or to extend a hand to a stranger. We need to find those “aha” moments. They will regenerate. Satiate. Create. Variegate. The result: an immensely fulfilling life that sings at the top of my lungs, “I am alive!”

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