"The only thing you have to do is to feel alive."
It's difficult to begin the New Year without reflecting on that tearful and tragic morning of September 11, 2001. Many of us wish to escape the memories in search for life as it was when we felt peaceful and secure. But, the stories about ground zero and troops abroad remind us that these events are not history; they are today's news headlines and human interest stories about our neighbors, families, and fellow citizens.
Those directly affected by the loss of loved ones that day continue to grieve in ways many of us find unimaginable. Those of us not directly affected by 9-11, deemed "the lucky ones", continue to live normal lives to the best of our abilities yet we still feel deeply affected by the repercussions of the terrorist attacks. We were not really spared because we are lucky but, because in the randomness of life, what is...just is. For some of us it's easy to feel guilty about feeling happy during these times. I was engaged within a month after that tragic day and initially it felt inappropriate to celebrate our upcoming marriage, but, our family and our community reminded us that we needed to celebrate, and they appreciated that we gave them something to celebrate. Recently while watching an interview with the Women of Ground Zero I felt obligated to listen to their stories since I had not watched the news or given much serious thought to September 11th for several weeks. I forced myself to watch and listen to the reenactment of a graphic September 11th account and I felt guilty that I needed to change the channel within 2 minutes of the story.
In the midst of my guilt, and maybe in an attempt to rationalize my choice to avoid these stories, I recalled a piece of wisdom about guilt and suffering from several years ago. In the Bible we are told to laugh with those who laugh and cry with those who cry but, this does not necessarily mean to suffer with those who suffer. When the world is suffering, it does not need one more person to suffer out of guilt, and thus adding to the world's suffering. Compassion is a hug, empathy, chicken soup, a prayer, a warm smile. I admit, I am one of the "lucky ones", but, I do believe my best response to being spared is to be compassionate, be charitable, and to appreciate this life I have as a gift. Becoming depressed and addicted to the drama of tragic stories benefits no one. Life is easy. We make it complicated. The only thing you have to do is to feel alive. When you are the happiest and most fulfilled, don't you simply just feel grateful to be alive and you just feel alive? Think about it. Boredom, depression, being unhappy - they all have an element of feeling lifeless. Start with just appreciating that you are alive then make choices which give you that feeling of aliveness. "I am alive and I choose to feel alive!".
With due respect, yes, there is a time to grieve. And, yes, those feelings of loss and grief are very real and they deserve to be acknowledged and processed. But, just don't forget to choose life.
This issue's featured author, Jim Whittaker, has chosen life several times despite getting knocked down by physical, personal, and professional hardships. A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond imparts inspiration through Whittaker's perseverance and stubborn refusal to let life's challenges defeat him. His resilient spirit urges us to keep climbing the mountains of our lives, to have faith in humanity and to believe and draw upon the strength and courage of our inner spirit.
Each contributor of this issue has a life story including strife and struggle followed by success. Glenn Williams continues to climb despite his physical ailments. For Williams just having the strength to try to climb another mountain is a success. Eleanora's contagious enthusiasm and passion for cooking reminds us to enjoy the little things like cooking and savoring a comforting home-cooked meal with loved ones. For each of this issue's published authors the struggle of many years of writing before becoming published has been a difficult path to travel. They choose to follow their dream and heed a creative calling. The single most difficult and impressive accomplishment is to allow yourself to dream, follow your heart and stay true to yourself. The contributors in this issue inspire us all to follow our dreams, believe in our gifts and talents, and choose what make us feel alive.
I am thankful that my dream to publish this webzine remains alive. I am grateful that we continue to attract more readers to enjoy the stories we bring to you about how the citizens of our global community stay spiritually fit.
Thank you for visiting our webzine. In return my wish is that these these stories will inspire and speak to your soul and that you find inspiration in the everyday miracles of your lives. Namaste.
We enjoy hearing from you and reading your stories. If you have submitted your stories we will notify you if your story has been selected. We have received stories which will be used in future issues so don't lose heart if your story has not yet been published. Use our submission form and keep us all inspired by your stories! Email us with your comments or send us suggestions.
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Volume 3, Issue 1