What makes you come alive?

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What makes you come alive?

How many people are failing to come alive?

I am a curious person, and I love to people watch. I happen to live in Japan where 99% of the population is Japanese. I mention this because the observation I’m about to make could come across as being critical of Japanese culture. But my point is not to stereotype or suggest that English culture is superior. It’s hard not to imply those things when discussing a foreign culture though.

My observation may well ring true for other countries. There are some unique points of life in Kanto that make this particularly true. This is an awfully long preamble…I need to hurry up and get to the point.

Zombie Apocalypse?

My point? I watch people a lot. In the supermarket, at the park, on trains and buses and when we visit playrooms. I am often struck, when I look at people around me how many of them look like zombies.

People look tired, checked out and like they’ve lost all joy in life. Long commutes; lack of options; lack of agency and the inability to imagine things any other way. They all seem to leave people going through the motions without actually living life. Or that’s how it seems to this observer.

This is not only true in Japan of course. People everywhere get trapped in day-to-day obligations. It is easy to forget we need to make conscious choices about what we are doing and why.

What holds us back from coming ALIVE?

The quote at the head of this article talks about the fact our world needs more people who have come alive. Who doesn’t want to be vibrant, energetic, genki and more alive? But in practice, it’s not always that easy.

Life often conditions us to ask what other people need. It can feel easier to let other people make our choices for us. Asking what it is that lights us up inside can seem like an alien concept.

But we all know deep down what it is that makes us come alive. Perhaps we feel like we don’t deserve it. But all we need to do is strip away all the stuff getting in the way of doing that thing and loving life more.

A lot of advice out there is focused on looking for the positive. But if we don’t face our demons head on then we can’t overcome them. We need to know our enemy. Then we can know what it is that is holding us back and rob it of its power to control us.

We don’t need to try to be more positive. Or try to do more of what we love. All the trying can be part of the problem.

Our natural state is aliveness. Just look at a small child.

So what gets in the way? Here are three of the big ones for starters.

1. Comparison and Keeping up with the Joneses (or Suzukis)

How much time do you give in a day to comparing yourself to other people? Have you ever bought something just because your friend bought it or a celebrity endorsed it?

Nothing good can come of comparing yourself with others. It makes us judgmental and critical. It also makes us more likely to blame ourselves for not doing enough or being as much as other people.

The Internet age has made this tendency even stronger. All of us post the good parts of our lives and tend to keep the less than idyllic off Facebook. In itself that isn’t a bad thing. No one wants to read posts full of complaining or see photos of ugly stuff.

The problem is that we forget other people only post the good stuff and can feel like our lives don’t measure up. For some of us, a Facebook break might be necessary from time to time to regain perspective on some of that stuff.

It can be hard to get free of the cycle of judgment and self-blame. Recognizing when you are doing it is the first step. Re-writing the stories you tell about yourself and others is the second step.

2. Guilt

Where do I even start with this one?! It is important to remember that shame and guilt are not the same thing. And we can learn important things when we own our feelings of guilt. Feeling guilty could be a sign we need to change something.

{Check out my article: How to Make Your Mom Guilt Work for You on Parent.co.}

Often when we are feeling guilty we have a long list of should have, must do, ought to running through our heads. The list may not match the time we have available or the reality we inhabit.

Guilt weighs us down. The number one thing we need to learn when we are feeling guilty is that we need to have more self-compassion. It’s not our job to be super human.

Guilt may also be tied to past behaviour. We focus on all the ways we failed to do things which contribute to our current situation. But we can’t change the past.

We need to learn how to forgive ourselves and know that our past and our future are not the same thing. We can make different choices here and now.

3. Fear of the unknown

Sometimes I can be a little unique. Sometimes I find the unknown less scary than what is known. A new country or a new project can seem more exciting and challenging than being where I am right now.

But what we can get comfortable with our day-to-day routine. We might not like the job we do, but it is familiar and easy. Better the devil you know, we say.

Breaking old habits and routines can feel like a risk. What if we end up getting lost by

taking a different route home? What if we suck at that new thing we want to try? But the reality is that new things are rarely are scary as we think. The chances that the experience might just crack us open and make us more alive are huge.


Want to know more about getting greater freedom and coming more alive? Join me in my Facebook Group:¬†JOURNEY ESSENTIALS. This week I’m discussing Beth Kempton’s book ‘Freedom Seeker’. Her “Freedom Keys” will help you get free of the cage you are in and learn to fly high.

Click here to buy in Japan.


In my own journey to living a life I love discovering, using and now sharing Essential Oils has been well, essential! My journey went something like this: I started a blog. I made reading and writing and self-care a priority in my life. I worked hard to judge less and stop comparing myself to others. But there was still something holding me back.

I went looking for meaningful work I could do in my available time while I still have a small child at home. I didn’t like any of the options I found. At the same time, my whole family needed to find ways to sleep better. I got neck pain from sitting typing too long. I needed a community to help support me but writers, though very supportive, tend to be a solitary bunch.

Everything kept leading me back to Essential Oils. And the various needs I had were all being met. People started telling me how alive I look when talking and learning about oils. I was starting to see greater wellness, more abundance and a renewed sense of purpose in my life.

Essential Oils can help you with everything from sleeping better, to eliminating toxins from your home, to goal setting and achieving your dreams. Curious? Intrigued? Want to know more?

Click the image below to learn more about my first 5-day Facebook event. When you sign-up you’ll get all the goodies shown below. Sign up today and you’ll have them in plenty of time before the class starts on Sept. 4th.

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