You feel it when youíre skiing down that mountain at lightning speed while listening to your favorite song on your iPod.
You feel it when youíre walking through the park with the object of your affection and every flower and tree is splashed with Technicolor, imprinting every detail of every moment with millions of pixels of data youíll replay for weeks.
You feel it when you travel to exotic locales, far outside of your safe comfort zone and far into the realm of the sublime and surreal.
You feel it when youíre brave enough to†open your heart, even in the face of serial heartbreak.
You feel it†when you risk everything and donít die.
When You Donít Feel It
You may not feel it when youíre schlepping off to that cubicleÖ again.
You may miss it when youíre home on your comfortable sofa with your comfortable people living your comfortable, safe life.
You may crave it when youíre doing it missionary style for your regular Friday night date with the person youíve been with for twenty years.
You may wish for it when youíre at the pool with the children you love who keep you from skiing down the mountain, strolling in the park with your crush, and traveling to exotic destinations.
What Is IT?
So what is this feeling, this addictive, seductive, thrilling experience?
Itís a sense of being radically present and momentously alive.
Itís that feeling of being so connected to All That Is that you forget, for just a moment, the illusion of separateness that typically plagues you.
Thereís nothing like it. Itís like crack. Once youíve felt it, you want to feel that way all the time.
This is why people jump out of airplanes.† Itís why they get hooked on extreme sports. Itís why they have affairs.† Itís why they travel the world.
So they can feel that way all the time.
You Can Go Overboard
If youíre not careful, you can take it too far. You can be constantly seeking the next rush. You can fail to appreciate the quiet moments. You can fall into depression when youíre not risking everything.
This quest for feeling alive can drive you to ski down a mountain too steep for your skill level, to betray someone you love in search of the next hit, to try Ecstasy.
In trying to feel alive, you could die.
So Whereís The Balance?
If too much radical aliveness can harm you and too little can leave you feeling blah, whatís the solution?
Hereís the kicker.
Radical presence is a choice you can choose any time.
To feel alive in the moment is easy when youíre risking life, limb, the state of your heart, or your comfort zone.† If you havenít practiced being in the everyday moment or†radically noticing the mundane, getting out of your groove helps you remember what it feels like to be present.
But hereís a little secret to happiness Iíll clue you into.
When you cultivate the ability to feel radically alive, present, and connected anywhere, anytime, you triple your happiness. And that quadruples your health.
Right now, for example, I am lying on my perfectly firm but still squishy Tempur-pedic mattress, and my Bichon Frisť†pup Grendel is lying next to me. Grendel needs a haircut, so sheís bushy and fuzzy. My fingers get lost in her when I pet her, and she purrs like a kitten when I stroke the downy fuzz on her underbelly. (To read about how I lost my beloved Grendel not long after writing this post,†click here.)
The window is open, and outside of it, itís so unusually quiet today that I can hear the ocean waves. I can feel the breeze wafting in, kissing my ankles, which are a little chilly with no socks on.
I lit sage incense earlier and I can still smell it, mixed with the lavender oil I put on as perfume this morning. My milk oolong tea scent joins the party as I sip.
My heart feels full of the knowing that I am deeply loved and never separate.
It is an ordinary day and doesnít leave me with that same rush I feel when Iím flying down the mountain on skis or falling in love. But all the same, it is extraordinary because I choose to let it be.
And then I forgetÖ and I get lost in the past or start planning for the future, remembering or fantasizing, missing out on what is right here.
You Can Feel It Now
While itís easier to tap into that feeling of radically alive presence when youíre out of your comfort zone, the reality is that you have the power to feel the same thing on your meditation pillow, on a hike through the woods, while tucking your children into bed at night, or while making love with the same person youíve held in your arms for half your life.
You donít have to seek that feeling of presence and connection anywhere outside yourself because itís always yours to be had.
But go ahead. Ski. Stroll. Jump. Risk your heart. Fall in love. Leap.
Itíll wake you up and remind you of what you can choose to have every day, in every moment.
The Power Of Now
If you havenít read Eckhardt Tolleís masterpiece†The Power Of Now, get thee to a bookstore. Or listen to this song my friend Dave Carroll (of†United Breaks Guitars fame) wrote after being inspired by Tolleís book.
Do You Feel Radically Alive?
Tell us what triggers these feelings in you?
Trying to be here now,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities†LissaRankin.com and†OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013),†TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary.†Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on†Twitter and†Facebook.