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4 WORDS // [4] ALIVE

4 words alive
1. having life : not dead or inanimate.

I wrote a paper once.  In it, I described the feeling of weightlessly floating in the South Pacific off the small island of Tutuila in American Samoa.  The ocean is both magnificent and cruel.  Anyone who’s ever been caught in a rip-tide knows this – there is no fighting – you must simply give in.  The sheer terror of knowing that you are powerless to it, while affirming your own fragility, at the same time, makes you feel alive.

Perhaps we are most aware that we are living when we are confronted with the possibility of our own death. That’s really severe.  But it serves as a great point of basis for this:

Do we feel most alive when we are presented with opportunities to grow – when we are propelled towards something that scares us – when we are challenged to move beyond what has become comfortable or familiar?

I want to feel alive.

There are easy things in life that bring satisfaction – carnal pleasures for instance: food, sex, drugs.  But satisfaction from these things is often fleeting – if not all together illusory.

A sustainable sense of feeling alive might only come from those things which actually deeply satisfy our innate design – our purpose – our destiny.  We come fully alive when we actualize all that stirs within us and beckons us towards free.

We say I want to live, so we chase longings, dreams, our deepest desires.  We know this is what we need.

And yet, so many of us don’t.  We shirk our call to courage – because we know it is big – scary – even dangerous.  We are not ourselves – we are not alive.

Do we dare to find it? It’s calling.  And take heart, for we are all in this together. Won’t you live out your design?  Won’t you come alive?

Run for your life.




  1. existing in act or fact; real.

The technological age has made this more difficult to decipher.

But I’m not even going down the road of debating the dangers of digital, pseudo-realities and how that’s killing off true relationship.  That argument has already been played – elevated to social crisis – only to become yet another philosophical pop-culture cliché.

Are we actual?

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve carried on with countless conversations – nodding in agreeable joviality – almost hypnotically.  Even the rebels, sometimes, cannot bypass the innate and subconscious desire to not disrupt the status quo.

We desire acceptance – we long to be understood.

But, what if, one day, you awake to the reality that your entire social empire and the commonality found within it was not cultivated from what you actually believe – how you truly feel – what you really want?

Even in a crowd we might still find ourselves alone.

I’ve been there.  In some ways, I am still here – having denied myself the pleasure of being fully known by not being fully open – not showing what actually makes me who I am – instead subscribing to what I believe I should be.  And what a terrible disservice this is to not only myself, but to those I love.

You see, we are designed uniquely.  Call it the universe – evolution – I call it God.  The earth and everything alive seems to have found a way of living harmoniously.  And perhaps we should take our cues from nature (natural).  We don’t see dandelions trying to kill each other – or ponies trying to be fish.  They are free in their design – without competition or jealousy.  We are moved by nature.  Maybe because we know, innately, that there is something pure – true – actual about it.

I wish to strive for this kind of freedom in my own design – to express my actual self.  The dismantling of the character is slow and painful.  I am thankful for grace.  I want to know myself better.  The obvious fruit of this will be the opportunity for true intimacy – where love thrives.

We have the right to change our minds – at any time – to become the actual version of ourselves.





  1. the middle point or part of something.

It’s from our center that truth flows – the truth about who we are.

But it isn’t so easy as simply knowing.  We know that we want to live from our hearts – instead we find ourselves living on the outside.  We fashion a character…pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Yet, we cannot escape the nagging sense that there is something more of us to offer – more than what we’ve constructed.

You see, we are longing to be known.  And we cannot be known unless we are living from the inside out.  For it is from here that our heart, our true identity is found.

None of this is easy.  None of us who’ve held back the best parts of ourselves have done it on purpose.  Instead, we’ve learned to protect those parts as a result of some tragedy, some betrayal that’s left us battered.

The risk is too great to put it out there again.

But in our efforts to protect, we’ve wounded ourselves only further by remaining isolated and denying ourselves true intimacy.

And courage is needed – when we finally realize what we have done…become.  Because we know it’s going to hurt – the dismantling.  We also know that we must.  For in denying our self, we deny others.

They need us.  They need what is buried, deep down in the center.

Dare to live from your heart.





  1. the period of time now occurring.

By nature, I am a thinker.  I am always 3 steps – 3 days – 3 years away in my head.  It would be unfair to say that this modus operandi has not served a useful purpose in my life.  Yes, I wear the Type A badge with honor.  Trust that if you ever go camping, you should probably have me along – because I will have thought of everything – I’ve got you covered.

Buried beneath this guise of preparedness, what you may or may not be shocked to discover, is a lot of fear.  What the preparation actually translates to is: This or that might happen and if it does I need to be sure I am in control.  Yeah – it’s all about control.

The trouble with this is that it doesn’t leave much room for enjoying or experiencing what is right in front of you.  And for every terrible thing that might happen – there are hundreds of amazing things that are actually happening all around us. However…

What we focus on is what becomes our reality.

I can’t tell you how many years I’ve wasted on fiction.

Control is nothing more than an illusion, anyway.  We can do our best to prevent catastrophe, but, ultimately, what’s to stop a human from spontaneously combusting?  Nothing.  It’s spontaneous.  Ever tried to outrun a SHC?  It’s kind of impossible.

I say all this to illustrate a simple point.

When we spend our time fixating on what we cannot control and obsessively prepare for what may or may not happen, we cannot live in the present.  We miss out.  And the people around us miss out on an authentic and fully engaged version of ourselves.

Rilke said:

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final

And do not the most beautiful things usually emerge from rubble anyway?

Let it happen – all of it.  This isn’t a hall pass to be foolish or flippant – we know the difference here.

I invite you to be present – with yourself – with the people you love.  It’s happening, all around us – beauty – love – creativity.  Create the space for it.  One day at a time.  One day.  One.

All we have is now.



Always when you least expect it – BOOM! – SMASH! – a revelatory idea – some thing that helps you regain focus, or perhaps find it for the first time.

I’ve lost focus, many times in my life.  This has usually come by way of taking on too much – busying myself up.  It’s good to stay busy – stay productive some people will say.  But the question is:

Are the things that are keeping us so busy bringing us closer to who we truly want to be?

How much of the space in our lives is filled with activity – obligations – which only leave us feeling drained and, ultimately, dissatisfied?

For some of us, the answers to these questions can be defeating. 

You realize you are living a counterfeit.  And you are tired.

A recent trip to the other side of a black hole birthed one of those revelatory moments for me – a sort of disruption to my slumber.  Just above the event horizon 4 words rose – words that have helped me begin to redefine my focus –  and pair back – prune – jettison – anything that is not serving me in BECOMING.

Over the next weeks I will share with you those 4 words – what they mean to me – and how they are helping me clarify my dreams and ambitions…






How do we distinguish from what is real – our inner dialogue versus words actually spoken – what we believe to guide what we do.

We desire things deeply – things so deeply ingrained in our senses we construct our world of ideals – fantasies.

And does the world bend to our will – or do we bend ourselves to conform to that which we desire – ever leaning towards want.

There is no spoon.

Can we seek to understand ourselves better – recognize what is felt on the other side of projection?

Can we no longer be ruled by what we feel to become what we truly are to serve us – others – best?

And can we find base – to then move beyond base to realized?

I am ruled by the moon – tide of desires – those waves beating me towards I.


there is nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.

in the letting go, you find that you must let a part of yourself go.

we made this – together – us. so that you feel that piece of yourself dying – making the walk-away excruciating.

this road’s been traveled, over an over. you know every pothole, every bump. you know where that path leads and what it has to offer.

and while the trees and rivers and lakes you’ve observed along the way are, no doubt, lovely, they live on roads you know will lead you to lost.

you’ve loved well, so you can now let go. hold yourself with grace – for missteps are inevitable.

you are lovely, and you found lovely in something, if only for a moment.

we move on.