“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive
and then go do that. Because what the world
needs is people who have come alive.”

~ Dr. Howard Thurman

Dr. Howard Thurman, NEH, Wikimedia.

So advised Dr. Howard Thurman, the philosopher and theologian who was a source of inspiration to the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King and many others.

Dr. Thurman’s incredible invitation is timelessly relevant, even moreso as we see the great polarity and divisiveness so regularly stirred up and emphasized.

But ‘coming alive‘ isn’t the same as being synthetically stimulated (or over-stimulated), which tends to draw us away from what’s truly alive and worthwhile in (and through) us.

What makes us come alive?

If the world — and the organizations that are influential in it — need people who have come alive, then there must be more than a fair share of those who aren’t truly alive, but are sort of sleep-walking through the days. The walking dead.

Yet everyone has dreams and moments in waking time when we’ve ‘come alive’. What are some of those ‘come alive’ examples?

What happens when we attune to the clues and patterns that these moments point us to, and live into those?

The Garden of the Hesperides (1869-73), by Edward Burne-Jones.
The Garden of the Hesperides (1869-73), by Edward Burne-Jones.

We may find ourselves feeling more and more alive, and as a result, we’re more and more effective, influential in positive ways, and finding more joy and meaning in what the poet Mary Oliver called, ‘your one wild and precious life.’

When we’ve ‘come alive’, we’re in the moment, where joy, creativity, inspiration, genius and true flow are possible. When we’re alive in that way, we connect more deeply, enjoy more thoroughly, and reach out more genuinely and compassionately.

It changes our presence.

And likely, we only recognize the ‘come alive’ clues when we are actually presentan interesting practice given the ‘Age of Perpetual Distraction‘ in which we live, with myriad ‘stimulations’ attempting to seduce us out of attention and presence.

A practice. A creative adventure. A worthy experiment. Seeing it that way makes it a bit easier, and more fun, for me anyway.


Big Love,


Featured Image Credit: Bacchante, c. 1892, by Frederic, Lord Leighton.

In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia.
In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia.

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