Survive or Thrive?

So often when I ask people how they are, the reply is “I’m surviving.” This retort always dismays me for obvious reasons. They might as well say, “Terrible! I am coping but that’s about the extent of it.” Alarmingly, the reply is not restricted to any age level. In the distant years of my youth, it seemed like only older folks, hardened by life, felt this way. Not so now, especially since the pandemic. Even our young people seem to be hanging on by their fingernails. This concerns me deeply as a spiritual director because all great wisdom teachers say the same thing: We are meant to THRIVE, not merely survive.

These days, I take lessons on thriving from my two-year-old granddaughter, Emmy. She spends a lot of time outside–observing every blade of grass, playing ball by rules she makes up, singing nonsensical ditties, skipping down sidewalks, riding her scooter, and laughing uproariously at silly things like hitting a ping pong ball against a ceiling fan. She also naps in the afternoon, awakening with a smile and ready for a snack. Boredom is absent from her repertoire. The more I age, the wiser it seems to imitate her embrace of every moment and engage in these non-utilitarian activities.

But how do we serious-minded adults go from surviving to thriving? Well, it may require some effort, but luckily, no special training, equipment, or clothing is needed. The main obstacle is procrastination which admittedly is daunting for some personalities. Essentially, we need to lead a more “natural life” according to experts Tessa Bielecki and Fr. Dave Denny in their new podcast, “Fire and Light.” This translates into getting closer to the earth, looking at the night sky, and creative activities. Listen here for more of their valuable insights:

As a wisdom seeker, dedicated to thriving, not merely surviving, I will also offer my two cents about this topic in forthcoming blog entries, centering on the active verbs: listen, read, write, walk, create, connect. Will tapping into life-long inspirational gateways and sharing them with others transform our wounded and anxious culture? I can simply try and then offer a few prayers of supplication.

Hopefully, some of you are lucky enough to have a two-year-old take your hand and say, “Are you ready? Come on!”

2 thoughts on “Survive or Thrive?”

  1. Thank you, Donna, for this encouragement to thrive, and for mentioning our podcast! Our second one will be available soon. I don’t have a scooter or a 2-year-old in my life, but I do have a bike and a basketball.


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