"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
— Howard Thurman
In To Life! A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking, Harold Kushner says that a key Jewish teaching is to live life to its fullest, which we call the spiritual practice of zeal.
"To life — these two words represent so much of what Judaism is about. They suggest first that Judaism is about how to live, not just what to believe. They convey an optimistic attitude toward life, investing our energy in living rather than in worrying about dying, asking us to enjoy the pleasures of this life rather than noticing all the things that are wrong with it, emphasizing life in this world rather than pinning our hopes on finding satisfaction in some world to come. As the traditional Jewish toast over a glass of wine, To Life conveys a sense of exuberance, a readiness to enjoy the pleasures of this world. It removes from wine, and from other pleasures, that taint of sin and self-indulgence, and invites us to look at all that God has created and find it good. The sages teach us that 'in time to come, everyone will have to account for all the good things God created which he refused to enjoy.' "
Plan a "Toast to Life" celebration for your group. (This would be a good way to end your work with the program plans on the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy.) Have each person come prepared to talk about a vivid experience of being fully aroused by life. Also have each person bring a special goblet, glass, or mug to the gathering. Gather in a circle, bless your goblets, and fill them with celebratory liquids. After each person shares his or her story, all raise your glasses and toast "to Life!"
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"The noblest joy of the senses, the holiest piece of the heart, the most resplendent luster of all good works derives from this: that the creature puts his or her heart wholly into what he or she does."
— Mechtild of Magdeburg quoted in Meditations with Mechtild of Magdeburg edited by Sue Woodruff
To Practice This Thought: Start your day with the affirmation "I am vibrantly alive!" Say it enough times so that it sinks into your consciousness and seeps into your body. Whenever your energy feels depleted during the day, repeat the affirmation. In the last hours of the evening, let your "I am vibrantly alive" extend outward to support others through your prayers.