12 Ways to Come Alive!


By Keith Varnum


What’s the purpose of life? 

What an age-old, persistent question of humankind. Why is the answer so elusive for so many people? Because we allow our mind to complicate the issue.

The mind will always complicate any issue. That’s its job. That’s its nature. That’s its joy!

The mind has to complicate every aspect of life that it can. So that it can separate life into parts. So that it can do what it loves to do—analyze, contrast, compare, categorize and judge!

And if we allow our mind to complicate every activity of our lives, we’ll keep looking to our mind to figure it all out. And we never will figure it all out. So, we’ll always keep thinking and struggling—seeking and not finding!

As Lester Levenson, one of my dear teachers enjoyed saying, “The mind will never assist you to free yourself from the mind!”

So, the answer is to not consult the mind. Rather, consult the heart. “The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.” (Blaise Pascal 1623-1662)

So, then, what is the purpose of life?

The heart has a simple answer. The purpose of life is to experience. Simply to experience.

Experience what? Life. Simply life. Explore. Enjoy. Embrace. Embody. Life.

I offer a menu of 12 simple ways to come alive. … To fulfill your deepest inner passion to fully experience life!

1. Find a Secret Special Place

Find a place that is easily accessible so that you can go there often. And a space where most people wouldn’t look for you to be, so you can have some good quality alone time. It might be a park, the roof of a parking structure, under a bridge by a river, an unused room at work, a friend’s apartment or cabin, or a secluded part of your own house or yard. Choose a space where you can be solely (souly) with yourself. Spend some quiet time with yourself every day.  It’s very important to have a place or time just for yourself. To re-connect. To relax. To collapse. To relapse. To freelance. To feel free. To be free.

As we claim our own time and space, our spirit is free to be restored and creative. Turn off your cell phone and pager. If we allow it, today’s technology can render us too accessible and vulnerable to other people’s agendas and demands. If noise and social pressure constantly bombard your space, you’re drowning out your inner guidance.

In your special place just sit quietly with no expectations. Do nothing. This may feel very uncomfortable and strange in the beginning. Persist. Give time and space for the inner voice to make itself heard. It will do so either during that quiet time, or through signs and messages during the events of your life. A synchronistic happening will occur. Someone will tell you exactly what you need to hear. You will get a sudden flash of insight. Become a quiet, clear, pure vessel for the higher self to fill. Listen to yourself and trust what you hear.

2. Immerse Yourself in Color

Every color is a unique aspect of the full spectrum of light (life). Immerse yourself in whatever colors call to you each day to allow each different frequency of Life Force to shift your energy--and expand your experience of life’s banquet. Touch a bright flower. Draw with vibrant crayons. Paint with subtle watercolors. Wear brilliant clothes. Dissolve into sunsets. Stand in the end of a real rainbow and let the array of frequencies dance through your being.

3. Connect with a Wild Animal

Embark on a Walkabout (ala an Australian aborigine). Anywhere outdoors. In a city park. Along a waterfront. In an empty lot. At the edge of town. In a woods or meadow.

Welcome a face-to-face encounter with a wild animal. Small or big. Furry or smooth. An insect in the grass or a fish in the pond. A bug on a tree or a mole poking its head out of the ground. Invite a butterfly to land on your hand. Feed a seagull. Pet a lizard. Talk to a snake. Go into trance with a bird.

4. Overcome a Fear

When you feel adventurous and strong, deliberately do something you are terrified to do.

A true leader is a person who makes friends with fear. Choose to feel the e-motion of fear as e (energy in) motion. Allow the intense sensation to flow over and through you as you wade through the feeling as you would bubbling water. Breathe deeply into the tightness in your body—and invite your muscles to release their tension. Allow the anxiety to exit through your exhale.

Start with a small fear and work up to more convincing “terrors.” End the tyranny of the fears and dreads that limit your options and aliveness. Love a fear a day. Keep the shrink away!

5. Take Mini Vision Quests Often

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it” is to simply have fun. Whether it’s 2 minutes, 2 hours or 2 days, quest for a vision of carefree joy. Devote bits—or bundles—of your free time to ventures that enrich your pure enjoyment of life. Pursue activities that make you feel fantastic and vibrant.

Take a stretch break. A bagel break. Take five for fun. Take a breather for your body. Take it easy for your heart. Take yourself on a date. Take a drive in the country. Go on a trek around the block, to Starbucks, or to your favorite store. Do something, anything, that is alive and energizing for you.

Shift your space. Move your body as much and as often as you can all day. Active, physical movement will center, balance, ground and revitalize you. The more you participate in life, the more life—in the form of love, money and health—will flow through you. Hike, jog, skip, swim, garden, cook, sing, skydive, quilt or paint. Let your body dance you. Play music that speaks to your soul.

Start every day with activities that are the most exciting to you, not the tasks you think you should get done. Focus on keeping and building your momentum as you flow through your day. You’ll have plenty of energy and time to accomplish all necessary chores.

6. Choose Innocence (Freedom)

Choose in-no-sense. Choose non-sense. Light some in-sense so you can enter into non-sense. Choose to be innocent—free—of preconception, prejudice, expectation. Adopt a beginner’s mind. Be a blank slate. “Become ye as a child and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Be open to unexpected sources of income, resources and support. Invite surprise. Welcome serendipity. Travel light—and journey in the land of delight.

Play on the ground like a baby. Fly a kite, roll in the grass, or build a fort like a kid. Laugh with delight for no reason like a child. Dance all night like a teenager. Sit on a mountaintop like an old sage.

7. Reach across Barriers

Be a “Doctor without Borders.” Your own doc. Treat yourself and others to the wide open spaces of acceptance and play. See people, not categories. Be colorblind and non-denominational. Play with whatever form of human being shows up in your day: Women and men. Straight and undecided. Kids and adults. Large and small. Rich and not-so-rich.

Find somebody on the opposite end of a belief spectrum from you and begin a genuine conversation. Seek to understand, not to convert. Find common ground, not battleground.

8. Make Friends with Birth and Death

Say “Yes!” to the transitions of life. Our Western culture does not prepare us to deal gracefully with the natural passages of life: birth, puberty, coming-of-age, leaving home, menopause, 7-year-itch, divorce, bankruptcy or death. Embrace the inherent changes that we all go through as human beings.

Attend with awe as many births as you can: human, kitties, puppies, lambs, horses, eggs-a-hatching! Also the birth of a new day (sunrise), a new business, a new product, a new idea! Embrace the end of as many cycles as you can: the “death” of a friend, a pet, a leaf. Also, the end of the day (sunset), a business, a familiar service, an old belief!

When we realize that all of life is one continual transition from one form to another, then each particular passage becomes easier to accept and even enjoy as the wondrous spiritual adventure that it is.

9. Go Natural

Be outside naked for no reason at all—in public on a clothing-optional (nude) beach, skinny dipping at the local swimming hole, or in the privacy of your own backyard or hot tub. Feeling the wind gently caress your whole body is invigorating—and liberating. To enjoy this natural benefit, there are now a growing number of naked races, hiking clubs, picnics, dances, meditations and gatherings all over the world.

Our clothes are the costume we feel we have to present to the world at all times. Being naked allows us to feel our natural worthiness and completeness just as we are!

10. Travel without Money

Just as our clothes can over-define—and confine—us, so can our bank account! Make a personal pilgrimage of liberation. Take a trip somewhere, anywhere, without any cash, checks, cards or other means of credit. And to a place where you don’t know anyone you can borrow money from. This personal freedom trek can be on foot, car or public transit. It can be for a mile or 1,000 miles, it can be for an hour, a day, or a year.

Every time we venture out into the world without our trappings—and protections (armor)—of civilization, we gain in courage, strength, self-reliance, and trust. Trust in yourself—and the Universe—to provide. Every time we act out this trust in the world, we increase our ability to attract and create Universal Support and Supply. There are people who have gone around the world with no money whatsoever. What freedom!

11. Practice Random Acts of Connection

Really. It works. Wave to a firefighter. Smile at a cop. Salute a soldier. Hang with a kid. Have a friendly conversation with the cashier. Leave an outrageously generous tip. Drop in a shelter. Volunteer at a literacy program. Show up at a community fund-raising event.

Serve others. When you give, you feel more connected to other people. And if you’re not naturally motivated to reach out to others, think selfishly: any altruistic gesture—from buying someone a coffee to letting another driver in front of you—puts you on the fast track to feeling good.

12. Cross a Body of Water

Water is archetypal. Crossing over or through a body of water is one of the most mystical—and profound—acts a person can pursue. Crossing over is a symbolic journey of growth and power. It’s a metaphorical act of birth, transition, new beginnings.

The form and scope of the water element don’t matter. Hop a puddle. Ford a stream. Wander through fog. Bridge a river. Swim a channel. Sail an ocean. Notice how expanded and enlivened you feel on the other side.

Boost Your Aliveness

You can either live your life regretting all the roads left unexplored, or you can start living the life you really want now. Shift from thinking of yourself as a victim to realizing you can be the source, cause, creator, of whatever happens to you in life!