How do we bring meaning to our daily lives?
This simple question has inspired a 20-something woman from Nigeria, now living in Oklahoma, to connect with people from all over the world, and ask them the same question.
“What makes you feel alive?”
Her work has been published in places like the Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society and most recently a series on the Huffington Post, titled The Art of Being Alive, which she plans to produce into a book.
A complete embodiment of the Wild Child spirit, Adedayo shared a little bit with me about what prompted her to begin this project, and her plans to create a book from her discoveries. She’s our latest guest in the Portrait of Wild Child series.
Q: Can you tell us more about where the inspiration for the Art of Being Alive, came from?
Yes, it was very simple actually. I joined an on-line 30 day journal challenge, and committed to writing every day for a month. I woke every morning at 5am, and wrote before anything else. I found that this simple act of committing to myself, to something I love, heightened my senses and awareness. I didn’t even realize that before I started this activity, I had been almost depressed. It made me curious, what would it take for other people to awaken to themselves?
I believe all of us have greatness inside. And I asked myself what does it take to awaken that greatness? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture like Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Eat, Pray, Love. For me, it was a simple as a showing up daily in my journal.
And so I began to ask questions to those around me. How are they making sense of their existence? What are they doing to bring meaning to their daily lives? What makes them feel alive?
Q: To turn the question, what makes you feel alive Adedayo?
I’d like to say it’s easy, that this work has made it easier. But the truth is, I have to work at it too. I have to put myself out there. Many times I come from work, and I’m tired and disconnected, just like everyone else. But I have to put myself out there. Accept invitation from friends. Travel. Connect with friends and family.
I also connect with myself through projects, like the art of being alive. Being engaged in meaningful work, helps me stay awakened. The biggest challenge for me, is being away from my family.
For me, just exploring myself and the world around me, connecting with other people, is what makes me feel alive. We are all artists. We all create life as we go along. The world is our canvas.
Q: Putting your work out into the world is scary, was there something or someone that gave you the courage or inspiration to bring this body of work to life?
My mom and my dad. They believe so much in me and my dreams. They supported my decision to come to the US when I was only 15 years old, because they believed in me. It’s that belief from them, them telling me, ‘you can do anything you desire, anything you want, you can accomplish.’
Their belief in me, makes me believe in myself. Whenever I’m down, I can call my mom and she gives me strength, even from over the phone.
Q: If you could give your 20 year old self one piece of life advice, what would it be?
Don’t let anybody tell you you are unworthy of love. You are enough.
There is an African saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, “what an adult can see sitting down, a child still couldn’t see, even if they climbed a tree.”
There is wisdom in the elders.
You want to stay true to yourself, but don’t dismiss the wisdom of the elders in your life. I realize as I get older, my younger self was sometimes arrogant, and I took things for granted. I realize happiness comes from being grateful for the simple things in life.
Thank you Adedayo, your enthusiasm for life is infectious!
Here’s to being alive!
And in the words of Mary Oliver, what is it you plan to do with this one precious and wild life?
Don’t let them tame you,