A Time I Felt Completely Alive

“Give up all other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”

–David Whyte

Tell me about a time you felt completely alive.


  1. Michaela Beall says

    ~Mini Soul Spa
    Once in a while during summer months when I have a day off during the week I can retreat from my world for a moment in time- no one else is home, the neighborhood is very quiet, the weather warm and sunny. I will take thirty minutes to an hour and get in my backyard pool. First I’ll swim around a little- moving in the cool water is refreshing to these old bones and joints, it feels soooo good! Then I’ll lay on my pool raft and float around, dreamily drifting. The gentle movement and rhythm of the water beneath my body is soothing and comforting. The warmth of the sun is wonderful on my skin, giving me (much needed) vitamin D and also a little healthy color! As I gaze up into the vastness of the blue sky over me, I meditate on the greatness of my God and what beauty He has given us to see and enjoy with our eyes. I even giggle to myself thinking that the clouds are the dust of His feet. . .

    I also sense how small I am in this huge universe- just a speck in the big picture of things . . . what is man that You are mindful of him? Sometimes I hear a cardinal, a blue jay or other birds as they land on my bird feeder- their songs are sweet to my ears and give me pleasure. Often as the breeze flows I get a whiff of jasmine or gardenia from a nearby bush. Or, my Hindu neighbor directly behind me starts her daily cooking and the wonderful smells of onion, garlic and Indian spices fill my nose with delightful aromas! Now this is truly aroma therapy!

    I find that (for me) anything to do with nature has a “spa” affect on my soul. I think that when all five of our senses are stimulated there is a healing affect on the soul. When I am quiet before God in His creation- Be still and know that I am God. . . these are my most precious communion times with Him. He speaks to me here in these moments. My mini pool spa ritual is very relaxing and refreshing to my spirit, soul, and body. I come away feeling rejuvinated (even if just slightly) and ready to finish tackling the days demands and chores! Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

  2. Carol J. Colin says

    Floating down the river in Dangriga, Belize, with a ripe mango in both hands and my best woman friend beside me, we are both in inner tubes. I bite into the blue mango and the juice fragrant and sweet runs down my arm. The river is cool, the day is hot and I am smiling, laughing with my friend. Sighing and relaxing each muscle in perfect peace. My heart expands with love of all, ahhhhhhh.

  3. Jean West says

    The first night home from the hospital with my newborn baby, the fumes from the new coat of paint in the apartment were too strong. My neighbor across the hall, Sue, offered me her bedroom; she bailed to the sofa bed in her guest room. Even though I was tired, I was awake. I was literally and figuratively in the dark. I was responsible for my daughter. I was responsible for nursing her, changing her, trying to figure out why she was crying. She was so very tiny, even though she wasn’t a preemie. How could anything that tiny cry so loudly, so piercingly? I wasn’t too bad at changing diapers, I discovered. A quick sniff in the dark and jab of the finger to the diaper fabric told me if it needed to be changed. But breast-feeding? Oh my! I couldn’t tell if she was getting anything and I was panicked that she might be starving. I wondered if the whole breast-feeding idea had been a bad one. Sleep-deprived, confused, and frustrated, I had a Bill Cosby-esque exchange with the Lord, fussing over why He could provide instructions down to the cubits for Noah’s Ark, but not one single word about the care of babies. Noah got a rainbow, and I didn’t even have a single diagram that could disappear about the time teeth erupted. Lacking any Divine Revelation, I focused my weary attention on my newborn daughter. I never was very sure that she was getting any milk, but I kept at it. Sometimes feeling alive has nothing to do with exhilaration, but with being fully immersed in nurturing a life.

  4. Rachel Staples says

    The most alive that I have ever felt was the first time on the back of Sweet Significant’s Harley. I still had scars from the previous life and although the wounds were no longer open, they were still there like red thick squiggly lines across my heart. He called me up and asked if I wanted to go for a ride and although I really wanted to stay at home and have a pity party with a bottle of merlot, I said absolutely.

    He picked me up from my apartment, handed me a helmet and with his beautiful never ending smile, he said, “jump on baby.” The exhilaration that ran through my body, breath and blood was nothing that I have ever felt. We drove through the delta loop and as we rounded the swerves and curves in the road, I just threw my arms out wide and felt the wind the bike made blow right through me. I lifted my face up to the sky and felt the sun kiss my forehead and cheeks. The openness of the land flying by and the sweet smell of the country air made me smile. We stopped at a restaurant bar and had lunch, then back on the bike to my apartment. It was just what my soul needed, it was a good day.

  5. Lee Meryl Senior says

    It was a typical hot, muggy Arizona day. I was sitting in a chair on the car port in front of my house petting the black kitten that had recently began haunting my house. Perhaps it was this small black cat that set my thoughts in motion. Or maybe it was the cool breeze that appeared out of nowhere,
    inviting me to move out of the shelter and enjoy the weather.

    I placed the kitten on the ground and strode out of the car port’s protection.
    A nice walk around the block was called for. It wasn’t often that physical
    movement beckoned. I started slowly. Then, as the wind gathered strength,
    picked up my pace. It began to drizzle and, as the drops fell upon my
    head, I raised my face towards the sky and began to twirl around.

    “I’m a witch,” I cried, dancing in circles as the rain water cooled my skin.

    “I’m a witch,” I shouted, enjoying the moment, and thinking I shouled have
    brought the kitten with me. Then I would really be a witch with my familiar
    coiled around my neck.

    “I’m a witch,” I repeated, getting into the moment. I had never felt anything like it before. I was alive as I would ever be. Being a witch was exciting.

    Then the sound of thunder permeated the environmen and lightening flashed across the sky. I raced for the nearest tree and stood under it,
    a foolish action, but I wasn’t thinking straight.

    “I’m sorry. I don’t really want to be a witch,” I told my God, praying I would

    When the storm abated, I raced home, promising I would never pretend
    to be a witch again.

    But, the truth is, that during that short span of time when I truly believed
    I was a witch, was one of the most exhilirating moments of my life.

  6. Cathy Gabel says

    I had never felt more alive! I ran to the Wall and pressed my palm against the cool white surface. My husband yelled, “Are you crazy? The guard is going to shoot you! Get away!” So I touched it again with my index finger, smiling at the East Berlin guard high in his gun shack. It didn’t matter that his high- powered rifle was trained on me, that there was a strong possibility that I would die there. Even before we rode the train to East Berlin, I had yearned to touch the Wall and mock the guards.

    Perhaps the guards wanted to smile also, to jump down and join me. I was twenty four and very pretty on that freezing cold day. Momentarily I started shaking and I found myself crying for all those behind the Wall and all those who had tried to leave for better times in a far better country. Quickly, I stifled myself and laughed out loud, waving to the guard. I even took off my bright aqua silk scarf and waved it in the air so they could see me better. My husband walked away from me, pretending he didn’t know me. I felt no fear, at that moment in the Autumn of 1977, in East Berlin. The guard put down his rifle and I stepped back. My husband grabbed my arm, “You’re the luckiest person in the world. Don’t push it”.

    Two tourists were killed at that exact same spot two weeks later, the details were sketchy and sadly commonplace. Remembering this over thirty years later, a small part of me is shocked by my brash foolishness. But then I search my private memories and find intense pride, the thrill of victory over my fear of all things overwhelming and out of my control. I lived to tell the story, it is true, and I’m alive.

    • Jean West says

      I loved your story. I visited Berlin after the wall came down and one of the most emotional moments for me was to walk from the old East to the West through the Brandenburg Gate, and back again. And thanks for the kind comments on my recollection.

  7. Dianne says

    A couple of years ago I scheduled a vacation just for myself. I’m 51 years old and this was literally the first time in my life I had made plans to go on vacation with just me. I was nervous about all that alone time but decided that I really needed to confront my fears and do it. I headed down to Pismo Beach and spent four glorious days at a seaside hotel – nobody around but me, the water and the sand. I would awake early in the morning, put on my shoes and head out to the beach for a long walk. As I walked along the beach, admiring the beauty that surrounded me, I was shocked at how alive I felt. I felt like a giddy young girl. For the first time in a very long time, my mind was free of worry and I found I could just enjoy that moment on the beach. I was mesmerized by the birds swooping down along the surf; the sound of crashing waves; the sparkling blue water. It was literally one of the most perfect moments I had ever experienced. And for the first time in my life, I was not trying to run away from me.

    • Laura Davis says

      Dianne, I was very moved by your post. I’m 55 years old and have never gone on vacation by myself. I’ve done silent meditation retreats–for up to ten days–and that’s certainly being alone with myself (in a group of other people doing the same), but going on vacation alone would scare me. Probably for the same reasons it scared you. I feel inspired by your example. And it strikes that your post makes it clear that there’s a big difference between “lonely” and “alone.” I admire your solitude–and the freedom its given you. There are so many poor or mediocre of so-so choices we make out of the fear of being alone. Now you don’t have to make those anymore.

  8. Tempered Ashes says

    I’m not sure I’ve ever felt completely alive! You see, I’ve always dreaded things–pretty much everything. I was always “forced” into doing things growing up, i.e. “do this;” do that; do the other… In fact, “doing” was such a way of life for my life. We were an immigrant family and if we did not “do,” we would die.
    I suppose this is where I got my dread–always having to “do, do do.” My parents said they never put too much pressure on us–I say: “hah!” Well, now I’m an adult, and I guess I can “do” whatever I want. (Of course it took me living just over 20 years as an adult to realize this.)
    You see, I guess the pressure just got to me–do “this;” do “that;” “do everything!” I’m not even sure–at this stage–anyways, whether conquering the world would have even been enough for my parents. (somehow I don’t think so).
    Well, perhaps compassion is in hand. Perhaps the “do do do” (kind of like dodo(!)) mentality of my parents was about not slowing down enough to truly look at themselves because it would have been too scary. I suppose I can understand that…after all, you stop you die, right??
    No!!! I say, you stop–you live.

    So here I am–on S-T-O-P! Now what? hmmm, I suppose it’s time to look around (and perhaps see what might make me feel really a-live(!))
    Thanks guys–I liked that one!

  9. Tempered Ashes says

    Life has been a game to me–(I don’t know why–but it has.) I guess I say this because I am realizing that playing life like a game just means I’m a piece on a board–as opposed to a human. hmmm, what would life be like if I stopped playing?

  10. Tempered Ashes says

    life fell on top of me
    and I caved my way back…
    Life was a meteor that never stopped
    life stood still
    while I fell over
    Life has a way of reinventing itself
    Life–what a trip(!)
    life is a fire a drone a catapult
    life is freedom now
    scary then–time forever.
    life halts when you go forward
    life plays games w/you;
    Life can never conquer what never was
    and it can never live down what never heals.
    Life can control your destiny
    and amble your fears
    Life has a way of knowing…
    sit down, my dear friend, sit down…
    I must tell you now: I am afraid…
    please hear me, I must be heard…
    I am afraid to come thru–for I have been hidden
    a long, long, long time
    I am you and you’ve kept me safe. Now release me–the world is waiting

      • Ellen O'Neill says

        Yes, You are right. Good advice. Good for me to remember too.
        I also value the honesty of the posting, and the beauty of the telling.

    • Chianeng says

      You inspired me with your writing. I feel like I have been hiding away from life too. I know that life has given me a second chance to re-create the life I want now. What’s scary is that I still don’t know which direction to take. It’s time to release myself to the world and step forward to take a direction. Thanks.

  11. Ellen O'Neill says

    Skiing down Snowmass Mountain, my two daughters, their dad, and me — the girls, so young, flying past us like birds, light as the wind, ahead a vista wide open, skies blue, slopes white, wordlessly speaking of an endless future, limitless, rich with joy, possibilities, adventure, and love.

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