Life creates living.
Just being here isn’t enough. Connecting to and living life is what makes us truly happy.
So what is it that can bring us to life and set us free to experience joy?
It’s been a challenging few weeks, we’ve had a lot of big stuff cracking off in the family. Stuff that makes you question life, death, existence; stuff that seems beyond your control. It is easy to withdraw into a cave in these circumstances, and to some degree I have. Self-care has been top of my list and I’ve had some time out but the things that have helped me the most have been joyful and full of life.
It got me to thinking how life affirming activity is really the only way to feel fully alive.
It doesn’t have to be the intense stuff either, like seeing a baby born, or going through an affirmation ritual, it’s sometimes the day to day stuff that really resonates with me.
If you’re feeling a bit thin, a bit ghost like or down then make the effort (and I know it s a huge one) to reconnect to life. I promise you it will make you feel the blood pumping through your veins again.
Here’s my top list of life affirming activities:
This one is so powerful and so personal too! Immerse yourself in something that makes you forget your troubles and remind you of our real self. For me this came in the form of a concert we went to - The Specials (a British two-tone/ska band). If I’m being really honest, I didn’t want to haul my ass off the sofa that night to go but I’d bought my hubby tickets for Christmas so off we went. The driving, parking, waiting bits all affirmed my belief ‘wish I’d stayed at home’. These were the effort bits, the housekeeping stuff, the boring bits.
When the music started and the crowd was moving, when the lights were on and the band were playing, my oh my! That’s the moment my cares melted away. For those couple of hours I was in the zone, in flow, happy, engaged. Not once did I think about the stuff outside the venue. It left me with a feeling of lightness and play. Like that tired feeling you get after a good swim.
My parents are also going through this tricky time and needed a bit of TLC, so we invited them over for supper. It struck me that afternoon, before they came, over that we might end up discussing our woes around the table and although support is great, we all needed to forget our cares for a while. So, I put my thinking cap on and I came up with some creative games. We played, we connected, we had fun and we forgot our troubles. The spark that lit us all up lead to a lovely dinner, followed by a relaxed end to the evening with TV on the couch.
Whilst we were refocused on being creative and solving fun problems we engaged our brains and recaptured our energy.
This one is all about magic. Maybe its the latest Game of Thrones episode, or a fabulous book, for me it was Motown the Musical. I love, love, love live performance. There’s something so immediate about it, so vital and alive. The spell was cast, the fantasy was created and I was transported to Detroit in the 60s. The characteristics of all these magical things is something different to the every day, in fact its usually extraordinary, something that creates a new world. It might be something real like a huge flock of birds in flight, or something imaginary.
Spectacle makes us realise there is more than us going on in the universe. It makes us stop and stare.
This one can be big or small - climbing a mountain and seeing the view, or watching a bug make its way across your foot.
Over the last few weeks I have been growing some herbs from seed. Not only do I love to cook but I want more greenery in our home. I have planted the seeds and watched them peep through the soil. I’ve seen them grow and track the sunshine. I’ve fed them, put them in a sunny spot and generally cooed over them. It’s been wonderful to see life come about in my own home. I’m going to enjoy cooking food for my family flavoured with basil, thyme, coriander and parsley I’ve grown myself. Nature helps us feel part of Life (with a big L). It reaffirms us.
What life affirming activity are you enjoying? Tell me I’d love to know!
Kelly Herrick is a creator & collaborator who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.