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On Feeling Alive

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Nihil Loc
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Posted 11/10/09 - 7:45 PM:
Subject: On Feeling Alive
A simple Q and A: What do you folks do to feel alive?

Granted we are all technically alive according to a textbook, so we must always feel alive as long as we feel, but there must be a minority of people out in the world who actually wake up every morning with a tremendous energy, focus, enthusiasm for whatever they will encounter in the course of their day. These kind of people are really alive. The external world is a reflection of their own drum banging, dancing, spitting, penis swinging and vagina moistening spirit (aliveness). I imagine the day for such folk is brimming with the anticipatory excitement of all kinds unknowns and novelties. My day by comparison, and probably that many others, is lacking this highity.

There is always a bit of a gnawing ache to engage myself in a way that makes me feel something more than whatever I'm feeling at the moment. Even when I'm doing what makes me feel good there is an intense ache for more, as if I haven't achieved the level of thrill that my body desires. I'm think I'm addicted to this feeling I rarely achieve (addicted to being alive, longing for spirit).

Last weekend I was so bored I went camping by myself way up in the mountains in rainy weather. When I got up I was lonely and wet and so decided to hike back down in the middle of the night. My lamp broke and I stumbled and slogged down a muddy trail in the dark. It was suspenseful and mildly masochistic, falling down into mud every now and then, sometimes not knowing if I was following the trail or not, afraid of how long it might take to get back. I felt an adrenaline swing but it did not make me feel alive.

How do I pump up my spirit?



Zum
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Posted 11/10/09 - 11:05 PM:

Yeah, Nihil, I've had trips like that one.

Thinking about things I've done that actually worked.

Certain people. Actually: about three people. These are the drum-beating, dancing, spitting ones you talk about. Just being around them is great.

Percussion.

Dancing.

Writing when I'm in the zone.

Walking straight through cities.

Working out.

Poetry. Right now it's famous Seamus Heaney.

Laughing.

Coffee

There are some other things we just won't talk about.

Marc Chagal. Bigtime.

Charly Garcia. The Nigerian Brothers. Youssou 'Ndour. Crazy old Heifetz. The music of the Andes.

A place in Berkeley called Ashkenaz Music and Dance Center. Place in SF called Red Poppy Art House. The Mission in SF. The ocean. New York.

Abrupt, dramatic changes of weather.

Rowdy celebrations.

Doing any work and doing a good job, if it doesn't involve sitting down all day.
Zum
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Posted 11/10/09 - 11:13 PM:

Oh, yeah... And loving beats all of it.
libertygrl
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Posted 11/10/09 - 11:15 PM:

i spent a large part of my twenties not feeling alive, i'd dare say almost all of it. and not only not feeling alive, but struggling to feel that i existed. (before my twenties i wasn't really aware of the absence of feeling alive.) i used to express to one of my exes that i was trying to exist, and i never felt that he understood what i meant by it. to be honest, i don't think i understood it fully myself at the time.

i remember feeling alive when i went to my first rave. i had grown up as a jehovah's witness, which was, for me, a highly oppressive conservative lifestyle. i was also married to a JW for 7 years. so when i left him, and the church, and started getting involved with new social groups, i eventually got invited to a rave. went to some warehouse in the middle of the night where thousands of people were on drugs, dancing, dressed in UV-reactive clothing, and the music was so loud and intense it blew your mind. laser lights flashing mad patterns everywhere. but it wasn't just the music or the people or the circus-like nature of it all, it was the radical disillusionment and realization - discovery - of this whole other world from which i had for 27 years been sheltered.

subsequently i did a lot of drugs, and had a lot of profound experiences as a result. but still, i often had the strange sensation of waiting for my life to begin, thinking at some point it was actually going to happen, but also feeling that i had been waiting such a long time, and wondering if it ever would.

when i quit doing drugs, and started meditating, my experience and perception of life profoundly changed. in retrospect, i think that caffeine was the most damaging drug i've ever done. especially since i got hooked on it at the age of 7. during my withdrawal process i came to the gradual realization that life was what was happening to me all along, from day one. and it's still happening. and nowadays i really feel the truth of that. it's hard to forget, in fact. there's so much i want to do, and my life is getting shorter and shorter by the second.

nihil, you mention that we're all alive in a textbook sense, but for so long, i had such a hard time feeling that i was. during that time it was hard for me to even grasp that concept on an intellectual plane. and i don't know if i can exactly put a finger on why. meditation was helpful, but i think it was the culmination of a process that had slowly been awakening in me once i got away from the culture of JW's. a process of distancing myself from people who didn't care to listen to what you had to say, who didn't respect your autonomy. a process of self-discovery and self-empowerment.

i think for you to be thinking about this question, and searching for ways to feel alive... i think these are steps that will inevitably lead you to finding out what makes you feel alive. maybe there's something affecting you chemically, like caffeine was doing to me - me and 20% of the population - what's known as "caffeine sensitivity". it made me feel anxious all the time. i really feel so much better now that i'm away from it.

anyway. to answer your question, i feel most alive these days when i'm writing music or film-making. i also find travel really stimulating, learning new languages. good conversations with interesting people, such as i find here at the couch. but i often enjoy the little things too, a hot shower in the morning, crawling into bed at night. maybe it's just a sign of getting older.

heart
libertygrl
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Posted 11/10/09 - 11:15 PM:

Zum wrote:
Oh, yeah... And loving beats all of it.

indeed hug
muse
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Posted 11/12/09 - 1:04 AM:

today i decided to stop avoiding life - found some new ways to observe my situation outside of the emotional sphere and was able to experience it and not just react to it. does that make sense? it comes and goes, but in the last 5 days i've decided to embrace the parts of my life i've been running from. i don't have any answers, and i'm a young 40 something who is naive and vague ... but this was a step for me - it is difficult when trying to function in a toxic relationship. someday i hope that i can express myself as you all do - for now i can only sneak in here for a peak, hoping to overcome the fear of being found out by him ... or by you.
Monk2400
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Posted 11/12/09 - 1:23 PM:

I skate the city with the beats in my mind leave the bullshit behind and just streak through the air, wind in my hair, or stream past my hat, wherever I be, that's where I'm at. With no direction and no finish line, forget meditation cause I don't have time. I gets my ass outside and give praise to the Most High. Why ask why? The answer's there in the clear sky. And the green grass. And the blonde hash. Forget the mass, but I love the midnight. Clad in black tights creepin through the black night. Let the mind take flight on whatever it fancy. Duck down the backlane so no one can see me. Overlook the vista hope to see some water, up on the cliff side where I won't be bothered. TaiChi at mid-day feet in the sand, bare flesh in the sun, connected to the land. skimboard on the edge of the breakwater line, fresh surf splash up just to clear the mind. Leaping out of work everyday at Five, and that's what I do when I feel ALIVE.

*peace*
Zum
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Zum
Posted 11/12/09 - 7:48 PM:

clap
Nihil Loc
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Posted 11/12/09 - 9:38 PM:

Lib wrote:
i had grown up as a jehovah's witness, which was, for me, a highly oppressive conservative lifestyle.


It's a good thing you got out (what better way than raving your way out!). JWs are an odd bunch. Just the other day a JW tried to persuade to attend a seminar and added 'you know we're near the end of times.' I took this to mean it was my last chance for salvation, a mild threat. disapproval

I appreciate your honesty and openness, Lib. hug

Occasionally writing makes me feel alive too.
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 11/13/09 - 3:27 AM:

I skate the city with the beats in my mind leave the bullshit behind and just streak through the air, wind in my hair, or stream past my hat, wherever I be, that's where I'm at. With no direction and no finish line, forget meditation cause I don't have time. I gets my ass outside and give praise to the Most High. Why ask why? The answer's there in the clear sky. And the green grass. And the blonde hash. Forget the mass, but I love the midnight. Clad in black tights creepin through the black night. Let the mind take flight on whatever it fancy. Duck down the backlane so no one can see me. Overlook the vista hope to see some water, up on the cliff side where I won't be bothered. TaiChi at mid-day feet in the sand, bare flesh in the sun, connected to the land. skimboard on the edge of the breakwater line, fresh surf splash up just to clear the mind. Leaping out of work everyday at Five, and that's what I do when I feel ALIVE.




It's always a better day when Monk gets in his flow. grin



Impressive tale, lib. It ties together many smaller things you told us before. You seem ok now, though.

Riding through a strange country on your own with bad directions, no map and no mobile phone to go find a friend you've never even really met seems something that only a very alive person would do. smiling face


Cheers!

Edited by smokinpristiformis on 11/13/09 - 3:36 AM
libertygrl
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Posted 11/13/09 - 4:57 PM:

Nihil Loc wrote:
It's a good thing you got out (what better way than raving your way out!). JWs are an odd bunch. Just the other day a JW tried to persuade to attend a seminar and added 'you know we're near the end of times.' I took this to mean it was my last chance for salvation, a mild threat. disapproval

yeah, my mom's been telling me that for years, trying to get me to go back to the JW church.

NL wrote:
I appreciate your honesty and openness, Lib. hug

hug

NL wrote:
Occasionally writing makes me feel alive too.

if i may say so, your creative writing seems very alive. very colorful and vivid.

smokinpristiformis wrote:
Impressive tale, lib. It ties together many smaller things you told us before. You seem ok now, though.

thanks, i feel i'm doing much better these last few years. will have lots of interesting stories for the grandkids someday, if i ever have some of those.

smoki wrote:
Riding through a strange country on your own with bad directions, no map and no mobile phone to go find a friend you've never even really met seems something that only a very alive person would do.

i did have a highway map remember! of course, that was not too helpful in downtown antwerpen. or in moerzeke (where my english and french could not help me), or in hamme, lol. it was an adventure, a fun one at that. and definitely worth the effort hug
libertygrl
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Posted 11/13/09 - 6:28 PM:

muse wrote:
in the last 5 days i've decided to embrace the parts of my life i've been running from

embrace is good thumb up
Paroxysm
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Posted 07/13/10 - 9:08 AM:

Excellent thread. I relate to Nihil Loc’s first two paragraphs entirely.

You are all such remarkably positive people—dancing, laughing, Chagal, meditation, fucking beachside Tai Chi.

So, now that these posts are a little older than half a year, where do these once aspiring revisionists find themselves?

Edited by Paroxysm on 07/13/10 - 10:02 PM
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 07/13/10 - 9:40 AM:

JUST MARRIED hugtakes a bowpeaceheartgrinlaughing
Nihil Loc
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Posted 07/15/10 - 5:11 AM:

Congrats smoki. Having someone to love and share one's life with is definitely up there in the category of "Being and Feelin Alive."

I find myself stuck in kind of work that leaves me a bit anxious about where my future is headed (mindless work). I'm skateboarding now (yeah I've gone more superficial and retarded) and can do a power slide on an incline (while still looking like a noob). I feel like one of the self-indulgent and useless of the masses.

My soul aches for some life burgeoning that I don't think will ever come (if I could be said to have a soul in the first place).
libertygrl
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Posted 07/15/10 - 9:32 AM:

i've always been impressed by skaters.
Thinker13
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Posted 07/16/10 - 11:05 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
i've always been impressed by skaters.


I have never been impressed by skaters.nod
Thinker13
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Posted 07/16/10 - 11:06 AM:

smokinpristiformis wrote:
JUST MARRIED hugtakes a bowpeaceheartgrinlaughing


*nerd*thumb uppeacetakes a bowhugcryingcrying
Thinker13
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Posted 07/16/10 - 11:08 AM:

I do not do anything to feel alive.
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