be ALIVE

"Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. " - Howard Thurman

I completely dissed my yoga mat this morning in favor of free movement.  I'm not sure I'd actually call it dance today... that might be too formal of a term.  Instead I put on music and moved my body.  I did it because I wanted to, because I feel so incredibly welcome and at home when I do it.  It is built into my DNA to move through space.  I am wired for experience and wired to take in, make sense of and translate that experience through the expressions made by my body. 

One of the great questions I like to ask clients when we first get started in coaching is: What did you LOVE to do as a kid?  (Yes, I realize this is assuming a relatively stable "normal" childhood).  What did you totally and completely LOVE to do?  I ask this because, chances are, the answer will hold at least one of the keys to how to bring more harmonious joy into their adult lives.  If you loved being muddy as a kid and you now spend 9 hours a day under fluorescent lights in a call center - I imagine your heart isn't going to be super happy.  If you loved playing "teacher" and you now work with small children for 9 hours a day, I'll bet your soul is pretty satisfied even if there are some other areas of your life that want tweaking.

For me, I LOVED gathering up as many of the neighborhood kids as would follow me to "Make up a Show."  The shows started as simple performances of completely improvised skits in my basement, then a tiny parade, that became dancing to the Flashdance soundtrack, which morphed into roller skating to Thriller and Weird Al, all of this eventually became more formal dance performances in imitation of what we were learning in the studio.  There were the elementary school talent shows singing numbers from The Sound of Music (notice I wrote: shows! This happened more than once) But I think our biggest hit was organizing and choreographing a 30 minute circus on the 4th of July.  I played a dancing bear and later a cheerleader doing high kicks to Stars-and-Stripes Forever.  The younger brothers were good sports and played our clowns (they also dressed up in lederhosen for the talent show -- so wish I had a picture to share)

As adults its easy to forget what made our hearts sing.  It's easier to get caught up in what needs doing rather than making time for what doesn't HAVE to be done but only wants to be done.  But I firmly believe in the need to make, to create... and to fully engage in that process.  I firmly believe in the power of the creative process for opening the heart and soul and for clearing away what just isn't helping.  Unrestricted creativity - the kind where you have no expectation and don't edit as you go - has the power to save your life.  I mean, on a soul level at least... but because I believe body and soul are intimately linked, pretty much one and the same, I think it can save your life in a literal sense too.

 I'm lucky that some part of that 'put on a show' mentality lives on in the process of teaching a yoga class.  I approach the class with a bit of a choreographers heart when it comes to the sequencing, I create an experience for the student to live through via the poses, the instruction, the ritual, the chanting, and the deep rest of savasana.  And though I know that teaching is about having a conversation, at times there is almost a performance aspect when I am in seat of teacher.  I'm not sure if any of this is making sense but I've been noticing a desire/need to get more deliberate about how my soul makes expression.

So if you're inclined to dance and to put on a show for real, you might just find me in the studio thinking about the same thing.  I'll be coming slowly back to life as I was meant to be in it.

Now the questions land in your lap: 

What did you LOVE to do when you were a kid?

What makes YOU come ALIVE?  

What are you feeling more of a desire/need for lately?  

(I'd so love it if you left a response in the comments below)

(Do you want some inspiration for making ART, or anything else for that matter? I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Elizabeth Gilbert's new book: Big Magic and the accompanying podcast on iTunes: Magic Lessons)