What brings you alive?

What gets your juices flowing and your heart pumping? Whatever it is my friend, are you honoring it?

So what brings you alive? Is it natural beauty, a big hug, taking a risk, driving music, a crisp morning, a touching moment? What brings you alive and are you honoring it often?

Do you know what brings you alive? Do you know what makes your heart sing? Not certain? Then look at the people and activities in your life that are way too small for you.

Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
David Whyte, from his poem, Sweet Darkness.

What definitely does not bring you alive? What’s killing the core you? Take an honest gaze at what’s killing you and you’ll find what brings you alive.

Another good trail to follow is to look for what you want. Then ask, “What about what I want is enlivening to me?”

Another hint is to look in the opposite direction from prevailing wisdom. Sometimes we’ve got to be radically bad to find the boldness of aliveness. I mean, the heck with what they say. They are way too small for you. Be radically bad and declare your freedom from all those cultural “shoulds” that are weighing you down.

What rocks you at the core of your being?

Here’s another clue. Answer this question about your dreams or big life goals. What matters most to me in my life right now and am I working on it?

Self-confrontation is one doorway to inspiration.

So, my friend, what matters most to you today and what are you doing about it?

Walking this brave path means heartily welcoming all of life. It shouts to life. Bring it on, I’m ready. I am here, I am now and I’m alive!

Often by frequently engaging in smaller aliveness activities we can nudge open the doorway to greater glory and the accomplishment of dreams.

Aliveness is a choice that could move your life from “ho hum” to “ah hah!”

Gratitude, inspiration and enthusiasm are life’s jumper cables. Use them to recharge your aliveness battery.

There is no good reason to refrain from simple pleasures that bring you alive. Rejoice in your peculiarity!

In your comment, tell us three easily engaged in activities that bring you alive.

Mine are:

  1. Laughing out loud
  2. Singing my heart out
  3. Anticipating the first big hit in a rugby match

What brings you alive?

(Image by Rey Nocum on Flickr, via Creative Commons license)


  1. Al at 7P says:

    This looks like a fun exercise. Here goes:

    1. Uttering the words “I love you.”
    2. Feeling the ocean breeze.
    3. Hearing or reading something that moves me and makes me think differently.

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..How To Work On Something You Hate

  2. Jarrod - Warrior Development says:

    Self-confrontation hurts. Pain is my friend. Success in self-confrontation leads to happiness. Nice 🙂

    3 easy activities:

    Paying attention to whatever I’m doing
    Swinging swords around (martial arts). Ok that one is not so readily available

    Jarrod – Warrior Developments last blog post..The Error of Positive Thinking

  3. Being at the lake under a star lit night

    Igniting kids understanding and love for science

    Seeing the fingerprints of God in my life and in nature

  4. Tom, your first two could be mine as well. I choose to laugh out loud at least once a day, usually more often.

    Singing along with my favorite songs makes me feel really alive.

    Hugging my husband and kids and saying “I love you.” every day.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..10 Things That Make Me Happy

  5. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says:

    Knowing I’ve overcome my pre-conceived notions of my limitations.

    Opening my kids’ minds

    Finding that perfect “hit” at a garage sale! 🙂



  6. Hi Tom! Three things are:
    1. walking in the local parklands
    2. talking and laughing
    3. looking at my partner

    Interesting exercise!

    Robins last blog post..A Magic Trick For Relationships

  7. rosalinda says:

    Three things are;
    walking through nature,laughing with my grandson,being creative.

  8. Anticipating the first big hit in a rugby match

    Hey Tom, thanks for the facebook friend add! I’m interested in your interest in rugby – being a South African born Australian resident (and Wallabies supporter) – but getting back to your question:

    listening to music, singing the lyrics (and I don’t care how my voice sounds)
    walking my girls home from day care
    preparing and serving food for my wife

    nothing too difficult there!

  9. Hi Tom,

    Good post and fun to consider. Here’s my list:

    Seeing the sunset at Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida

    Laughing til it hurts at some totally off the wall thing

    Feeling the pride of the actors at the curtain call brings me to tears of joy and gratitude for what they’ve accomplished

    Thanks for all you do,


  10. Jarrod welcome, your sword singing entry reminded me of one of my favorite stress busters. I totally enjoy going deep in the woods and selecting “Little John” type staffs and beating the deadwood against trees imagining foes falling left and right. Physical exertion is great fun!

    Laurie the lake sounds gorgeous. Any starry night is quite the show.

    Patricia yes laughing out loud can be manufactured as well. All I need to do is turn on conservative talk radio for less than a minute and I’m cracking up at the absurdity of what those folks say. 🙂

    Robin I also love the woods whether walking or sitting with my back against a tree. Isn’t it cool how so many of these aliveness activities don’t cost a dime?

    Al good to hear from you. The ocean breeze is quite uplifting. Any breeze is good but the ocean assaults all five senses delightfully.

    Rosalinda welcome, those certainly are three that invoke great feelings of aliveness. I don’t know how old your grandson is but laughing with kids of any age is a blast!

    Barbara welcome, the unexpected garage sale find at the perfect price is very delightful. I imagine that most surprises touch something alive within us. I still appreciate the day when I found a hand made, hand forged axe for three bucks.

    Dorothy laughing until it hurts is indescribably alive! I can still remember my last bout and the guy it was with. 🙂

  11. Hey Matt I played competitive club rugby from the time I was 19 until I was 45. I’m 58 years old now and coming off two ankle fusions last year but I’m still working on getting into shape for the annual old-timers versus young bucks match in August. I was born to play rugby; it’s an ideal fit for my nature.

    I also totally enjoy cooking for others. When you love them it makes it that much sweeter.

  12. I love riding my bicycle, swimming in the ocean, and spending time with my nephews and my niece.

    Marelisas last blog post..Six Steps to Creating the Life You Really Want

  13. Hi Tom – Definitely walking in the countryside, swimming outdoors, my kids, my husband – especially when he brings me coffee in the mornings.

    I’m going to reread your article and see how I can come up with some more, as I can see how it would be a really useful thing to do. Thank you.

    By the way – when are you going to tell us more about what Joe did to improve his life? I don’t mean to sound impatient but I’m really looking forward to the next part.

  14. Wow!

    “Self-confrontation is one doorway to inspiration.”

    ^ I never thought about inspiration in that way before, but it’s totally true. I notice when I corner myself and demand answers for the questions “What brings me alive?” or “What do I absolutely love to do?”, I’m always inspired to take immediate action towards my goals.

    For example, I have my personal development blog, http://www.faceyourfork.com . And it’s something I absolutely love – I love writing new posts, marketing my blog, and so on. When I ask myself “What do I love about my blog?” and I answer myself, I start to get inspired to make my blog even better for others to read.

    Other blog comment readers, take heed! It’s such a true and great quote!

  15. Leanne Magraith says:

    Hi Tom
    My three things right now would be:
    Long walks on the beach with my partner John.
    Having a good laugh & being silly just for the fun of it
    Helping people with their weight loss journey

    I was surprised how much food for thought you provided in this post Tom. I have book marked this post and will revisit it again on the weekend when I have more time to reflect.

    I am new here – have to say I am intrigued by “Joe” ……must rummage around and find out what this is all about.

    Leanne Magraiths last blog post..Take 2 – Storms

  16. Marelisa it’s good to know that you’re not one of those pool only swimmers. We’ll have to exchange riptide stories someday.

    Cath did you notice the common theme of the responses? Just about everyone spoke to nature and relationships. The adventures of Joe Part 2, will be published within a week. I just love accountability – thank you!

    Hey Matt I’m going to visit your blog soon but I’m afraid you’re going to tell me to go on a diet! 🙂 Glad you enjoy self-confrontation ias well. Telling the truth to myself, about myself is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..What brings you alive?

  17. Tom – it just shows that it’s the non-material things that make us the happiest doesn’t it?

    I’m really looking forward to Joe Part 2.

  18. Hi Tom.

    “What’s killing the core you!” That hit me big time!

    You know how you read so many self-help books and collect so much wonderful information over the years? But, sometimes there come those periods in life where nothing you try works? Or, you don’t even feel motivated to use the tools you have?

    Well, that’s where I’m at right now. It’s like being in a straightjacket! And… it SUCKS!

    So, now I’m reflecting on what is killing the core me. The answer? Fear! Now I have to figure out what I’m afraid of. And so the journey continues. Thank you for the opening though.

    What 3 things bring me alive?

    Dancing, a walk in nature, and a good belly laugh.

    Davinas last blog post..Core Value Statements

  19. Leanne welcome, I appreciate your comment regarding food for thought. That’s my intention on every post and it’s cool to connect and be understood in that way. Mindless silliness is pretty enjoyable and attractive. We could all use to lighten up more. Joe part 1 is this post http://www.delightfulwork.com/2008/07/17/the-missing-key-to-success/.

    Davina welcome, I’ll bet if you ramp up those three things you’ll change your luck. Sometimes we just need to shift into a radically different mode. if nothing’s working than try anything else. Also just take some random actions for the hell of it. I’ve found when stuck like you are that – any movement works. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

  20. 1. Being with my wife
    2. Writing
    3. Talking to my parents, brother and friends

    That was a cool list to write. I like when people make me think in a positive way.

    Thanks Tom!

  21. Evelyn Lim says:

    Thanks for the post. I like the fact that I’ve got to stop and remember the joy from some of my activities. Here goes…

    – A good meditation session;
    – Time with my kids;
    – Sharing a laugh with my husband.

    Have a great weekend!

  22. Karl you are a lucky man. The true measure of a fulfilling relationship is how you feel in the presence of another. If just being in your wife’s presence makes you come alive that is very cool.

    Evelyn you sound doubly blessed to have both a husband and children who bring you alive!

  23. Tom – I love the question “what brings you alive?”!

    In addition to the 10 things I listed on my post, I’d have to add:
    – The smell of earth (soil) just after the rain
    – The sound of drums
    – Falling snow that makes it seem like I live in a giant snow globe

    Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdoms last blog post..How Negative Can Equal Positive

  24. Bikes Road says:

    Recently I discovered this website and have been reading along slowly. I felt I might write my opening comment. Im not sure exactly what to write but that Ive loved reading it. Nice website. I shall continue coming back to this site frequently. I have also subscribed to the rss feed for updates.

  25. Mags – Sorry I missed you earlier, no doubt it hasn’t stopped you from feeling alive and adding to your aliveness.

    Bikes – Thanks a ton for reading and subscribing. Come back any time and ask some questions or tell us your point of view.

  26. Hey Tom, great post.

    What ignites me is conversations on life, spiritualty and seeing people suprised when good things happen to them. I love the Home Makeover show as it displays the essence of what I feel life is about. Giving

  27. Tom, grt post! wat brings me alive?

    singing my soul out
    laughing out aloud
    spending time with my boyfriend

    i guess we share the first two.

    • Agnes – Welcome. Now go forth and do those things often. The world needs more aliveness and specifically more of your aliveness. Thanks for the reminder – I’m off to sing my heart out!

  28. Tom, I so dig you. I can not wait to meet you at the Big Rally 2011…I have to wait a year…but I will!

    Okay…I pretty much love life 24/7
    what brings me most alive?

    Well, I did have this amazing car dancing session last night 🙂
    In seriousness—1. DANCING
    2.Hanging out with my kiddos and husband in non scheduled hang out play time.
    3.being with people the energize me which lately has been at The Levity project events…so many cool people and such electricity too

    And I also love a good chocolate chip cookie and sailing in 360 degrees of blue (no land in sight)

    very nice way to wake up Tom this morning. You are a dear.
    .-= Katie West/The Levity Coach´s last blog ..The Levity Project: Laughter Flash Chicago! =-.

  29. Tom! Hey…I just posted but I guess I forgot to push send…so here goes again!

    I love a lot about this life. It is really just fantastic and I ams o grateful to be here.

    1. Dancing….shakin’ it is so key. I had a great car dancing session last night!
    2. being with my special little kiddos and husband. Hanging out altogether without agenda is so vital for me
    3. Playing…recently The Levity Project has been energizing me incredibly…gathering all these amazing people together and laughing and playing together is a force. Believing that I can help create change moves me. Change through Play.

    Tom…count me in for big rally 2011—I will miss you this year. But it is too big for me to miss next year. Thank you fo rockin’ the planet…you are dear.
    .-= Katie West/The Levity Coach´s last blog ..The Levity Project: Laughter Flash Chicago! =-.

  30. Tom,
    I believe that I am doing the work that makes me come alive and is what I am supposed to be doing…

    I am still sorting out why the money to pay the bills must be gotten by “tent making” – in my case cleaning houses and stocking shelves all night long.

    I don’t even have any funds coming in from Amazon the last 2 months…no one bought anything via my site….I think this worry is literally the pain in my knee and stiffness.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..To Serve this Season =-.

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