Today is a great day to be alive. Not just because it’s New Year’s Day, but because of the simple fact that we are alive. I don’t believe we celebrate that as often as we should…breathing becomes second nature, gravity is taken for granted, and we slip into routines and rituals that sometimes leave us feeling anything but full of vim and vigor.
Last night, before we watched the ball drop in Times Square (from the comfort and warmth of a cozy living room), I spent time with my husband and my in-laws (mother, father, brother, sister). I don’t know what compelled me, but I asked my father-in-law about the scariest thing he encountered while he served in the Air Force. Then I asked him about the most beautiful places he had seen in his lifetime (interestingly enough, they were all in the United States: the Rockies, California, and New Mexico…we really do have some natural treasures that we need to preserve and protect, but that’s another conversation).
We talked about life experiences and beautiful places. We talked about the state of the world. And then we watched a movie called The Mountain Between Us (starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, two terrific actors and beautiful people I always enjoy watching). I’m still thinking about it this morning, particularly the feelings it stirred in me, most powerfully this: it feels incredible to be alive. Furthermore, it’s incredible to feel alive. It’s more than just gratitude for today…it’s intentionally taking stock of this amazing ability we have to listen to our breathing, to listen to what our body tells us, to listen to the deep emotions of our soul. It’s making life-changing connections with other human beings, animals, and the earth around us. Honoring that which sustains us. Moving forward in life with purpose and truth and hope and strength and courage.
We all enjoyed the movie, and I smiled to myself this morning when I was practicing yoga and the instructor said, “notice what it feels like to be alive today.”
I will. And I hope you will, too.
Below: pictures from a camping/hiking trip I took with my sister and friend in the Colorado Rockies (Rocky Mountain National Park) in May, 2012. There’s nothing like connecting to nature to feel more alive.