What makes you come alive?


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.

essential oils class

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  • Notasoccermom

    For me, it’s not so much guilt but responsibilities. Working and things that have to get done are generally what stops me from doing more adventurous things day to day, although we do travel quite a bit and I’m a doer, so when I want to do something (something alive), we do tend to do it. #dreamteam

    • Thank you for commenting! Motherhood makes it harder to go on regular adventures for sure! It’s awesome that you do make time to do the things you want to!!
      Do you think you’d feel guilty if you didn’t take care of all those responsibilities?

      • Notasoccermom

        Not guilty exactly but OCD maybe. I pay for a maid because it’s the best gift I give myself so that I can do other things, but it’s me who really wants the house to be in order. I feel guilty when I have to work instead of interacting with the baby, but I have to work to pay the bills and I really have the best job because I work from home and whenever I want. Still have to work though. 🙂 We travel frequently though, and I just picked us up and moved us to a far more entertaining town, so I think we’re doing better than many of the people you are describing because I also think it’s important not to let life pass you by when you’re not looking.

        • That’s awesome! Definitely sounds like you’re several steps ahead of many people.

          I’m working with my business to be at a point where we can travel more. We get home to England once a year, but somehow that feels like it isn’t travel. But it eats most of our travel budget. I want to have enough residual income to take chunks of time off and still be earning what we need. I’m having fun working right now though, so it’s all good.

          I’m at this point though where making little day to day changes, and going on small adventures bring more life and laughter into our days than big changes. Moving isn’t on the cards for us right now, and I’ve moved more times than I care to mention and lived in 5 different countries in my adult life!

          But absolutely life is too short to sit around settling for less than what you really want!!!

  • LydiaCLee

    Interesting post – we just watched Hector and the Pursuit of Happiness (or something) last night. Made me think about this…I do think the affluenza has caused us a great many more problems than it should have. And the constant comparisons…good post

    • Thanks for you comment. Affluenza, good word! There can definitely be this moment when we have everything we want in life but we’re too busy to enjoy any of it! I’ve not seen that film but I’ve just watched the trailer so I’ll be adding it to much to watch list.

  • Nicola Hatch Lighterness

    Really inspiring post. I agree with you about the need to take a Facebook (and other social media) break from time to time. Although I find it a little unsettling, when we’re forced away from social media (such as when we’re on holiday with no wifi) it’s actually a blessing in disguise sometimes. Thanks so much for linking this up with #DreamTeam.

    • Thank you so much for commenting.
      I’ve tried deleting the Facebook app from my phone, but I never last long before I put it back!
      Why do you think it’s so settling to be without social media?

  • Lisa Cornwell

    It’s so true about everyone posting the good stuff on social media! Everyone comes across as having the perfect life when we all know that does not exist! Great post. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Thanks for you comment! I have to remind myself that every time I’m feeling not so great about my life that social media isn’t reality! We all just post the good stuff!

  • Chloe

    Hi, there are indeed a lot of zombie types out there. Trying to cram too much into a day #ThatFridayLinky

    • Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! Here’s to enjoying life and filling our days that make us happier not more zombie-fied!

  • topsyturvytribe

    Some very astute observations. We have packed up and left the rat race to avoid the zombies we were turning into and are definitely living again! #thesatsesh

    • That’s awesome!

      And thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Jacqueline

    I agree with you – people aren’t living in the moment but walking around like zombies. Often this is because people spend too much time in their heads, thinking about what they’re going to do next or things they’ve done in the past. Mindfulness teaches us to enjoy each moment as it happens. #thesatsesh

    • So true! Lots of people walking around with their head in a phone too! Leaving mine at home sometimes made a huge difference for me!

      Mindfulness is definitely a game changer!

      Thank you for your comment.:-)

  • Great post with so many truths. I loved: … we can know what it is that is holding us back and rob it of its power to control us… I totally agree that we cannot just focus on making ourselves happy without first facing our demons. #thesatsesh .

    • Thank you. Our demons are rarely as scary in reality than we make them in our heads!

  • Nige

    I suppose we all have different things that make us come alive fab read really interesting Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  • Mindful Mummy Mission

    You make a very good point about facing our demons to be truly alive and
    I think mindfulness is great at helping people notice that life isn’t
    always great and helping accepting these less positive moments as well
    as sometimes choosing to be take a more positive stance too. I also know
    guilt can be really crippling especially Mum Guilt! Thanks for linking
    up at #thesatsesh Hayley @ Mission: MIndfulness xx

    • Yes, I think mindfulness is about learning to be present in the good and bad stuff and know no of it lasts for long.

      Thank you for your comment.

  • Pen

    So true. It is so easy to get lost in the the daily grind of our routines – the commute to work, the chores, the admin and to forget why we are here, what we are striving for and what we need to live. Thank you for your post. Pen x #ThatFridayLinky

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Here’s to doing more of what we love and not getting lost in the day to day stuff.

  • Twinmumanddad

    An interesting read. I agree a lot of people compare themselves to others which definitely has an impact, as does fear. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky