It refreshes and revitalizes me to be in closer contact with life.
I am a physical person, so for me this pathway easily gets activated by the elements. Skin to skin contact with life. Being outside in the brisk winter air with a T-shirt on, right now. It wakes me up.
The cold in particular is a teacher for my body. It asks for alertness. Part of me craves that state of attentiveness but doesn’t produce it until it is necessary. I respect the elements that demand my attention, for that reason. They remind me I am capable of adapting and surviving, that I don’t need always to be encapsulated in comfortable, safe bubbles, as we all too often are in the modern world. Life is for touching and tasting. Peel back the layers, now and then.
How do people deeply engage with life, these days? Less of us are out in the wild, hunting and hiking and making forts and fires. More of us are in the urban jungle. Why don’t I see people adventuring in the urban jungle? This too is a land fresh for exploring, a creature who is alive and new, something the world has never before seen the likes of. We get to be both creator and discoverer of the new world.
One of my favorite things to do in cities is go for long walks at night. The energy changes when the sun goes down, and especially when it gets late. Whatever happens there, while the 9-to-5’ers are sleeping, is nonordinary reality. It’s easier to tap into the magical-realism edge of life, in the middle of the night. Easier to find secret places, to have chance encounters with divine messengers, to happen upon buried treasures.
The nighttime is also my favorite time for visionary experiences, maybe for some of the same reasons. Creativity shines under the moon, howls like the wolf. The night is a blank slate; it asks you to paint over it, and see what grows from your painting in the daylight. Nighttime is the time for alchemy; daytime is where our manifestations are fully revealed in the light. This is one of the fundamental cycles.
We tend to avoid being out late at night, because we have been told there are dangers there; there are predators and creeps that emerge under cover of darkness, haunting the corners. And it is so much our pattern to just avoid the places we fear. We have forgotten that the dragon exists to guard the gold; that the heart of life lies beyond that edge of fear; that protecting ourselves from the places we deem unsafe makes us numb and apathetic and uninvested in our own existence.
So many people walk through the motions of life and think “is this all there is?” And small wonder – life is not complete, is in fact empty, if you walk only the proscribed path. We were never only meant to walk directly from point A to point B; hence the age-old advice to “stop and smell the roses”.
There is magic all around, all the time, but you must go looking for it. You’ll find it in the places that are hard to get to, the places that call you away from the crowd, that tug at your curiosity. Follow that white rabbit, now and then. See if it doesn’t transform you.