What brings you fully alive? This past week as I’ve been reading about nature, running in the woods, enjoying the Taste of Edmonton and cooking classes, asking “what could be fun about this?”, and honing in on what I have to offer, I arrived at a model that intrigues me. I’ll be curious to hear what you think.

In The Nature Principle, Richard Louv makes a compelling case for how connecting with nature awakens our senses, improves our thinking and health, and has us feel more alive. In our increasingly high tech world, it seems we need the balance of greater connection with the natural world (and probably high touch, too) to sustain and promote life. Nature is all around us, like the element of air. Let’s place it in the north of our picture.

What I’ve studied and pursued most is how fun/joy/play/laughter/humour enhance our lives. It’s evident to me that positive emotions and the expression of our creativity are key to our aliveness. When we tap into exploration and adventure, whether with new foods or artistic endeavors, we wake up. Our emotions are like the element of water; let’s put this dimension in the south.

Without our foundation of wellness, we have little resilience and we can deaden our experiences and reduce our feeling and sensation. When we fuel up well with enough water, good nutrition, proper rest and recovery, and physical activity, we take care of our basics. We are then grounded like the element of earth, solid in the west.

Finally, we are most alive when we are on purpose. When our deepest essence allows us to connect to serve and to contribute we are energized and moving powerfully in a direction. Carrying our torch, we bring in the element of fire, like the sun rising in the east.

So what best to call these factors? dimensions? components? For today, they are four friends of aliveness to help us to be Psyched for Monday.

Update & Question: As I reflected on this work in progress, a missing piece that is foundational in my thinking about aliveness is human connection. It’s there implicitly in our purpose and serving others; it’s a central part of the joy of life; and wellness may include our connection with ourselves. Perhaps seeing ourselves as part of nature vs. connecting with nature is the best fit there. So is human connection a fifth friend of aliveness (wreaking havoc with the compass metaphor) or is there a better way to include it? What do you think?

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