How Alive do you feel? Is your AQ or ALIVENESS QUOTIENT a 10? These were the questions raised by Sacred Hunger, a program I stumbled upon on the Internet.

They told me I could have more energy, more passion, feel more alive, and express my fiercely alive and authentic self in the world.

Wow, it sounded good. They talked about increasing your AQ through “Radical Self-Care”. They said that underneath compulsive behaviors such as binge eating, there is often a vibrant aliveness trapped in the eating patterns. This grabbed my attention. I do feel drained at my job and in other areas, I do use food to numb out, but is there really a way out? The first step is to take the Aliveness test:

Test Your Aliveness Quotient

Imagine yourself on a scale from 0 to 10 with 10 being the most alive you could be and 0 being the most dead you could be. What number would you rest at most of the time? Make an attempt at defining your Aliveness Quotient as it stands now in your life.

My AQ is: ________________.

Everything that stands between the above number and a 10 represent how you are NOT living in alignment with your Essence, because your Essence is your most authentic, alive Self and it wants to express itself in the world.

My AQ was close to a 5… not so good… I didn’t know what ESSENCE was exactly, but I signed up for the online course “Unleashing Authentic Aliveness”… I began receiving emailed lessons every Monday and joined Teleclasses (group classes on the phone).

Sacred Hunger’s founder is Jane Latimer, a psychotherapist and author, living in Portland, Oregon. Jane teaches that many of us our disconnected from our “ESSENCE”, the real Self that desires to express itself in the world. She states: “When we’re dreaming, our Essence is communicating with us. This ability to communicate with our Essence through our dreaming, and our fantasizing, was not encouraged in school frequently. We learned that fantasizing was ‘wrong'”. (Remember being told to stop daydreaming)? Essence is felt through the body as an expanded, open sensation of JOY.

How We Disconnect

We learn to disconnect in a number of ways.

  • The most popular and acceptable way is to live from our heads, not our hearts. We learn to put our feelings aside.
  • We numb out and become “nice.”
  • We sabotage our truth in order to be accepted and fit in.
  • We learn to accept not feeling good as “real.”

Well, I recognized myself here… I do accept a certain level of “blahness”. But how do I learn to connect more? The next lesson gave me “The Feelings Formula. They wanted me to notice when I felt bored, drained, disconnected, half-present or not very alive. Gulp… I discovered that I wasn’t feeling alive very much of the time. As I became more aware, I was more intolerant of boredom and negative conversations.

We used a technique called “The Sting Process”, which uses the discomfort we feel (the ‘sting’) as a leveraging tool to get us “out of the rut” and into the right path instead of staying stuck. Our feelings of discomfort are like “informants” telling us when we are out of alignment.

Aliveness Checklist

  1. What is presently draining my energy?
  2. What am I feeling angry about? Why am I feeling angry?
  3. What meaningless things in my life are taking up valuable space?
  4. What is my greatest yearning and longing?
  5. What needs to happen for me to connect with the vitality of that yearning and not be pulled off course?

This program advocates the self-strength to act with courage on our own behalf, to take actions that support the Self. It means learning to say, “No,” to the demands of an outside world that don’t mesh with our own aliveness. It means learning to say “Yes,” fiercely to our inner values and calling. It means developing strong boundaries, setting limits and courageously moving in the direction of our inner dictates.

This was really a great experience and fun. I haven’t quit my job to climb Mt. Everest; that’s probably not the desire of my Essence anyway. I have been taking baby steps and getting clearer. I finally admitted to myself that I need to be near nature more and am taking more trips into the woods. I am examining closely what does make me feel alive and what doesn’t. Some changes may be just around the corner. This was a great course. You don’t have to get in your car or travel anywhere. Just sign up and wait for the emailed lessons and teleclasses.

Here is a great quote from Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which expresses this fierce wild aliveness:

“[Wild woman or man] resides in the guts, not in the head. She can track and run and summon and repel. She is the Life/Death/Life force, she is the incubator. She is intuition, she is far-seer, she is deep listener, she is loyal heart. She encourages humans to remain multi-lingual; fluent in the languages of dreams, passion, and poetry. She whispers from night dreams, she leaves behind on the terrain of a woman’s soul a coarse hair and muddy footprints. These fill women (or men) with longing to find her, free her and love her.”

I haven’t found muddy footprints yet on my pillowcase or soul, nor started howling at the moon, but I now actively seek this wild aliveness and awareness that I lost somewhere along my life path.

Sacred Hunger has retreats and an online curriculum:

Experience your Aliveness!: Distinguish truth from pretense in your relationships with others. Prosper through impeccable and utter self-care.Live infierce integrity with yourself.

It’s Not About Food!: Enter a realm where food is no longer an issue. Step outside the wound into a new aliveness.

Divine Magical Journey: Learn the skills of Intentional Creation. Work with the archetype of your innocent, playful Divine Magical Child.

Embody your Magnificence – Permission to be You!: Find yourself Be yourself Believe in yourself Adore yourself Give Time to yourself Create Space for yourself Express yourself Support yourself Voice yourself Show yourself Promote yourself Hug yourself

Jane E. Latimer, M.A. aliveness coach, artist, author and entrepreneur has transformed years of dysfunction into joy. “I believe,” says Jane, “we can leverage our sufferings into our greatest joy, IF we are shown how.” Her passion is creative play and transformation. Her mission: to show the world how to live beyond the wound, how to live our most alive, authentic self-expression.

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