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If you were to sit quietly for a moment and think of the times in your life when you felt most vibrant, alive, free and happy, what comes to mind?
What are your best and favorite stand-out moments in your life-time?
What are the qualities/attributes that these moments contained?
For me, it’s the moments when something surprising and unexpected happened outside of my normal routine – and this FORCED me to be present. It’s the moments where I felt connected, centered, clear and powerful. It’s times when I decided to take a risk, do something bold, reach for the stars. One time I was on a NYC subway (on my first week there in 1992) and someone threatened to kill me. I was standing in front of him and he was being quiet when he suddenly went completely and absolutely berserk, filled with rage and anger. Somehow he superimposed his ex-girlfriend onto me and talked to me as if I had left him and kept yelling he was going to kill me – stand out moment!
I think my most stand-out memorable moment – the one that takes the top prize – is when I made a decision to leave waitressing in 1988 and move from Stowe, Vermont to Boca Raton, Florida to go to college and get a bachelor’s degree. There are many MANY more stand-out moments because I choose to live my life in a way where things are constantly new – but this one takes the #1 top spot.
And my first semester in Florida stands out in my life like a bright shining star.
WHY IS THAT? What happened there that made that time so memorable?
It’s because I made a decision to do something completely brand new and wipe the slate clean.
AND THEN I WENT AND DID IT!
I didn’t just think about it. I took action. I was bold. I was fearless, even though I was terrified! lol. The Great Paradox!
Nothing was familiar … and that made me super alert and present which is a state of being of ALIVENESS.
My most alive moments are when I say:
I’M DOING THIS.
I DON’T KNOW HOW, BUT I’M GOING. I’M IN.
SCREW BEING STUCK. SCREW ACTING LIKE I’M WEAK & HELPLESS.
And then I go. I figure it out.
And once you access THIS PLACE and THIS POWER, you find out that you were the one keeping you stuck the whole time.
You discover that …
WHEN YOU MOVE, MOUNTAINS MOVE.
Everything you need suddenly becomes available to you.
When I moved to Florida, I didn’t bring the past with me. No one knew me. No one knew my history. No one knew my story. No one knew I was a party girl. I decided to start with a clean-slate and live life in an entirely NEW way – as someone who was an A student, who studied a lot, who worked out at the gym every day, who rode a bicycle everywhere and who didn’t drink (that did all change later, just fyi, and my party-girl ways did return, but for my first semester, I did everything in a new way)
Before then, I had gone to college in Burlington, Vermont and got as Associates degree in hotel/restaurant management. I didn’t take it at all seriously. I was a major party girl, with no clear-cut goals. I earned myself quite the repetition and everyone knew me as a fun party girl. I didn’t really want that life anymore, but I couldn’t seem to break out of that image, no matter how much I tried. I was known for being a drinker, a free Spirit, someone who goes with the flow. Everyone knew me that way. I slept late. I partied hard. I stayed out all night. I was hungover through all my morning classes. I did the least amount of work I could possibly get by with and I often had very little money, which I spent on partying, on drinks in the bar and on bottles of vodka with limes and tonic to go with it.
I had graduated from Champlain College by doing the least amount of work I could in order to get the diploma. I think my grades were C’s and maybe a few D’s thrown in there. I didn’t care. I was only interested in sliding by in life, doing as little as possible. That was my story and I was sticking to it.
So I graduated with an Associates Degree (which to me was nothing more than a piece of paper) and I moved in with friends in Stowe Vermont and got a job waiting on tables in a breakfast/lunch place. I wanted to keep my evenings free for partying. I didn’t have money for a car. Either someone gave me a bicycle or I bought a bicycle. I can’t remember which, but I know that my mode of transportation was a bicycle. I biked to work in the morning, about two miles away. I waited on tables until around 2pm and then I biked home. This went on for several months and I knew summer was coming to an end soon and that there would be snow and freezing temperatures and the thought came: Something needs to change.
I would either need to buy a car for the winter months and I was feeling like I was in a dead-end life with a dead-end job. I totally loved the friends I was living with – that part was great – I loved those guys – we drank and partied together and laughed a lot – but I was 20 years old – and I saw that this life I was living would not go on forever.
I had very little money, the few dollars every week from tips from my breakfast/lunch waitressing gig which went towards rent, and like I said: vodka. My grades from Champlain were terrible and I had zero credit. So I really felt like, how the hell do I move out of this situation? I had no idea.
But I got an idea one day that I could go back to college!
I got really REALLY excited. I biked over to the Stowe public library after my waitressing shift ended at 2pm and started looking around how someone goes to college to get a bachelor’s degree with no money and no credit and terrible grades. I thought: “It must be possible. Right?”
This was in 1988. Back before the internet and cellphones.
I found out that it’s super inexpensive to go to college in the state of Florida if I became a Florida state resident, which I could apply for after living there for 6 months! I could apply for student loans. I could get a job in Florida and go to school at the same time. I started to see that it was totally possible and totally do-able.
I wasn’t sure if I would get accepted with my grades, but I had to at least try!!
I knew that I would never get in if I didn’t at least fill out the application, write the essay and apply.
So the thing I needed to do was figure out WHERE in Florida I wanted to go. That part was easy – AS CLOSE AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO THE OCEAN AS I COULD GET.
So I found a map of colleges in Florida and I took my finger along the Atlantic, starting in the north and with my finger I traced the Atlantic ocean and BINGO: Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida!!
HERE I COME !!!!!!
And the rest is history. I got accepted to start in January 1989. I moved back home to mom and stepdad’s house to work a job with insane hours to make as much money as I could from September to December. Who was this girl??? Where was the slacker who was stuck? She was gone, gone, gone. I went to FAU. I had an A+ time. I got a job at the Marriott Hotel to pay for tuition, rent and food. I got student loans and I got a bachelor’s degree. And I got a stand-out memory!
I felt to share this story to get you thinking …WHEN IN YOUR LIFE DID YOU FEEL MOST ALIVE? Click To Tweet
What were some of the elements that the situation contained? Was it new and fresh? Did you make a decision to do something new? Was there an element of surprise? Was it a time of devotion and commitment? What makes it stand-out?
Post in the comments below and read what others have to say! Thousands of people come through this website each week and your voice and your story can make a difference in someone else’s life! So share from the heart and tell us how you show up! You never know who’s asking for prayer, seeking a change in their life and you can give someone the inspiration and encouragement to do things in a new way by your sharing.
So thank you for joining in this community and conversation!
And see if in remembering these moments makes you want to be a little more bold and curious and adventurous in your life now.
So that this next phase of your life becomes A STAND-OUT MOMENT FOR YOU.
Is there something you have been wanting to do?
Something you are afraid of?
Something you think is impossible?
GO FOR IT.
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!
I LOVE YOU.
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PS: Last day for jumping in on the this months Presenter Series is Tuesday 7.31.19. Click here to join.
Lisa Natoli is a healer, therapist and teacher of A Course in Miracles. She has devoted her life to healing, to inspiring people to reverse their twisted way of looking at the world and their twisted way of looking at themselves so that they know their True Self as One with God, as a co-creator with God.
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Today I felt really stuck and then came your email!! In the middle of reading I got a phone call where I was asked to be a shaman 😀 It was soooo fun! I have been into shamanism few years ago and then I really wanted to be a true shaman (but not anymore since I found ACIM). So I laughed and said, yes I can be 😀 That phone call was so great and brought me so much energy! Thank you Lisa for your valuable work!
One of the standout moments in my life has been getting into Master’s degree program after uni. Instead of leaving everything I knew and following a guy I barely knew who suggested I should start a life with him abroad. I never regretted my decision. The next two years were full of work – I was teaching during the week and studying at weekends but it was all worth it. I was doing what I loved – I have always had an inclination towards studying. That’s where I felt I was shining. My university years and then master’s degree were the best. Of course there were other moments before and after these instances in life but I loved these particular ones because I feel they filled me with joy. So grateful to be able to share this with you. I love you <3
I can relate to the early years of partying and getting by with a C average. I eventually upped my game the last 2 years of collage. I embraced all of the craziness at the time and felt alive!
I realize from your writing that when I decided to change things up and take some risk ( I always felt like I was risk adverse) Like go work with abused horses with zero equine background for example. I was happy and alive and never got hurt either!
So, in short we are here to learn and that is being alive, paying attention and enjoying the ride… without judgement.
Margaret reid says:
Hallo Lisa ,always for me it’s when I go out on a limb ,I call it waiting in the corridor .
Many years ago in a moment of pain and fear and anger I called out to something and I felt very alive almost unbearably so after that for a while .i think it was a higher power .now that is being alive I think .now I feel alive in the early morning and doing the course in miracles .im learning to express love now that is being alive ..lolol
Rebecca Johnson says:
Ok here goes, In 1986 I moved to a town Bismarck, North Dakota from a teeny town to go to school and get off of Welfare, my sister lived in Bismarck so I had a Bestie there too. I enrolled in School and it was called Power Plant Technology, I knew I could get a job with good pay and benefits and it would be Union, I knew I couldn’t get fired for no reason. So with a plan, sort of I started, my son at the time was 3 almost 4 and he went to head start while I was in class. Fast Forward a year later right before graduation we had a visit from a company from New Hampshire, PSNH looking for workers and they heard of this school so I said YES to the job after just getting a DUI, Yes the party factor hits most of us my age (60) and no drivers license, and not knowing anyone here really, but I buckled up and moved to NH best thing I ever did. 32 years later I still don’t regret it. Now a caveat is my sister also moved here 6 months after I did and we are still together, raising hell just not in the bars anymore…more Jesus like but she still is the one who makes me laugh the most, gets me to do things I never would otherwise and goes along with me. She is one of the smartest woman I know. I have felt ALIVE since November of 1987 and it goes on forever.
I love your sister. I had a cousin like that. Someone who knows your whole story and still has your back. I miss Connie every day. Give your sister a hug for me. Oh1 I loved your story.
Cookie Gilpatrick says:
Bravo lisa…love ur story.. I did something similar.. quit drinking and partying when I was 34.. I’m 68 now.. always worked but finally found my bliss in Pacific NW.. got licensed as massage therapist in 93 and been in school ever since.. am self employed for 26 years after quitting my job w fed that I had for 18 yrs.. I teach yoga, pilates, movement therapy, wellness, nutrition.. etc.. never stop learning.. been studying ACIM since 2007..
My latest challenge while I was doing the 40 day challenge last month… gave up antidepressants that I had been taking for 15 yrs.. I’m still not sure how that’s going to end up.. it’s been couple months and takes continuous thought management…yikes.. holding onto my butt and your teachings… love u and thnx for what u do…💕💕💕
Gracias Lisa. Salir de casa de mis padres fue un hecho trascendental como ir a la universidad tambien. La amo lisa
I work with a client who hires me to produce a “stand out moment” for their charity ball every year. It is an amazing charity and I love working for them. Each year I push myself past my comfort zone and allow God to produce through me. It is always a fresh and surprisingly experience. The vision will come and even if I think “I don’t know how to do that” I just make decision that God does. In the past I have produced shows and short documentaries (they usually only give me 4-6 minutes) this year I got the vision to do a music video. I collaborate with a very talented friend of mine and the words were given to me. I handed her the lyrics and she said the melody was just there. It was already written. It’s one of the most beautiful things that God has done through me. Like a new baby I keep going back and listening and thinking. “God, that is so good.” Lol but of COURSE! Now I am off to whip up the recipe you shared yesterday. Love, Maur 💕
Julia Sullivan says:
Thank you Lisa! Your blogs are a part of my morning routine and give me so much to think about. There are many moments of feeling alive: the day I got married, the day I acted as birth coach for my niece, the many opportunities I had to travel the world as a medical volunteer… thank you for tickling my mind to ponder all of this and feel gratitude and possibility.🙏
I love your story, Lisa. I can relate to this so much! I always feel like I’m starting over and trying new things. Embracing risks is part of truly living! I have felt the most alive when I started dating my husband. He’s the party guy and I was the A student. It was definitely a risk in my eyes, but completely worth every moment. Because of the crazy synchronicities and all-encompassing love I experienced with him I went really deep into my spiritual journey. I believe every word ACIM says because of my relationship with him. I definitely have some other stand out times when I moved places, started new jobs, school, etc. But, the times with my husband stand out most.
I feel the most alive when all the words and lessons have turned into knowing. The lessons sometimes take time ,but they do come. Last night, unconsciously ,I judged my friend and waitress and upon awakening this morning, I realized that the judging had created fear and negative judgement towards myself. I had to forgive myself and be grateful that I could see the lesson that was given to me.
The letting go of fear and opening to the next adventure is a way to become unstuck. When I was younger , I never question its outcome, and would move to wherever, be it California, Ohio, the places and the where to didn,t matter. I did not endllessly question decisions and choices, and always trusted my comings and goings and was always protected and cared for. As I age, I am experiencing a reversal of the carefree trusting spirit that I was, where so much pondering over all my decisions can be excruciating,,,so when reading Lisa,s story and to go out and just do, without so much fear of the outcome, I make a decision to pack up my car and head to Cape-Breton on friday.
I had lost a home there 3 years ago, so there was alot of grief and fear of returning without a home there to land. I had to learn to see a different way, that my home and identity is not in a house, an heritage, my ancestry, a place, and that I can go there and enjoy the island and people. I can be free where home is the place that God live and that God never compares. There is where I truely want to live, but I,m trusting and heading east on Friday .
thank you lisa for your insight and wonderful teachings…
so my most alive moments are when I am in the present….hugging my granddaughter, watching the ocean, feeling the warm breeze, etc etc
in the moment….clique but true!!!
Most alive moment in my life.
It was like 32 years ago. After giving birth to my twins I started to have anxiety attacks at night.
As soon as I lie down I started to cough non stop and it was hard to get rid of it. I did a lot of breathing steam, eating cough candy nothing helped. One night I was struggling with cough trying to survive, I felt cold, I couldn’t breath, and whole body was shaking violently.
Finally I got exhausted, and I said I am not going to fight any more. Take me. And I stopped doing anything to hold on my life.
The shaking become even more violent, and it was cold. I was simply watching it like from outside. Then shaking become less and my body felt wormer, I was not coughing any more. It was OK. And then shaking turned into tiny vibrations like my whole body was a cell phone on silent. It become so pleasant, I felt totally lightened and exquisite. A thought came into my mind – if behind all of that struggle is this experience, then there is nothing to fear. It was like revelation, total beingness as I can call it now. I was totally alive.
You inspire me. Most of the time when I get into crossroads – difficult situations/people I use what I have learnt on the Course and often ask myself, what would Lisa do and boom am back in the center.
Thank you for what you are doing its great. I cannot remember how you came into my life but everything and everyone I need for this journey is brought to me in miraculous ways.
You are light and I love you
I’ve had many standout moments in my life because I’ve made many changes, but the most recent is the one I’ll share. When I was in my 20’s, I was very adventurous and went on a year and half adventure in the South Pacific, starting with sailing on a yacht to Bora Bora, then kept going from there to New Zealand and Australia. But in my post marriage and motherhood days, and struggling with depression for many years, I had become afraid to step out on my own and travel to new places. So just last week I decided to take a solo trip to Scotland, to rediscover that adventurous part of myself that has been missing. As soon as I made the decision, I burst into tears of joy and relief because I was willing to give that gift to myself. Just making this decision has changed me profoundly, and for the first time in a long time, yesterday I found myself thinking, “I’m in love with life!”. I’m looking forward to the changes that my next adventure brings!
I can certainly relate to your story as I reflect back on my journey through life. Here’s a melody of moments in my life when I felt radiantly alive and they all had to do with new experiences and moving beyond my growing edge. In high school I decided to join the industrial education track (non-college) and took a job in a retail paint store while going to school 1/2 of the day. This created all kinds of new relationships for me and I discovered that I wanted to be in business and management. When I was a member of the junior varsity basketball team I played so well our first 6 games that the varsity coach come to me as said, “we are moving you up to the varsity team because we believe you can help us win”, I became alive and afraid at the same time but I will never forget that moment. I wanted to continue to play basketball in college but I had a greater desire to study business and start a career in the corporate world, so I turned down a basketball scholarship and attend an HBCU when I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Economics. This proved to be 4 of the best years in my life as I again stepped beyond my humble beginning as “project kid” and found myself in a world that I though was impossible for me. Everything I could ever need to succeed in college showed up as miracles during those 4 years including enough grant money to more than pay for my education. Wow, I remember how exciting those times were. While in college I joined a business fraternity and became the dean of pledges. Never had this kind of leadership role but I had the desire to mentor the new prospect. I was so afraid. Never had to stand before a group of my own peer and make a speeches so I was terrified. But I felt important and aliveness in that experience. Fast forward and I’m now a 38 year employee with a major corporation and have spent the last 15 years in sales and marketing. For the first 15 years of my career I have many different management positions but was very reluctant to consider sales because of an unhealthy image of myself. Of course now I know it was my allegiance to the “ego thought system” which kept me from fully expressing my true Self as an unlimited being of Light. Somehow the universe knew better and setup a situation where I got forced into a sales position and the rest is history. It’s been the most enjoyable 15 years of my career and made me realize that just beyond my comfort zone and growing edge is an extraordinary amount of freedom and happiness. I could go on to add such memorable moments as my marriage at the age of 22, the birth of my first son, the tragic death of my wife at age 29, the marriage of my present wife at age 30, the birth of 2 additional children, the ordination into ministry, the encounter I experienced with God in 1989, the introduction I had to ACIM in 2005, starting a consulting business, getting certified as a life coach, starting a coaching business and many more moments that have brought me to this present moment of actually sharing these moments in this beloved community.
In all these “Stand Out Moment”s, what was common in each of them was fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and fear of being supported. But what was really unknown to me was the Love that was inspiring me to move forward and take action. All of these moments could be described as adventurous, bold, new beginnings, firm decisions and commitments, devoted, destiny, and blind vision.
Recently, out of the blue, I was asked by a golf club member to officiate his upcoming wedding in about 2 weeks. This guy knows little to nothing about my spiritual past and wasn’t even aware that I met state qualifications to perform a marriage ceremony. Talk about “Stand out Moments” and surprises. I never realized how excited I would be to get to adore the crown of husband and wife to my fellow brothers. This is amazing to me.
Lastly, I saved the best for last like the miracle Jesus performed when he turned water into wine, at the beginning of this year I could clearly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, ” you have to go deeper in your relationship with God and Self” so lo and behold, I run across the Teachers of God foundation and the ever loving Lisa Natoli and her 40 Day Transformation Program. Talk about the ultimate “Stand Out Moment” and without hesitation I said YES and welcomed in this incredible portal and host of mighty companions.
This adventure has made me feel overwhelmingly joyous and complete in my healing. More importantly, My happy dream is being lived every moment of everyday to have the lived experience of being the CHRIST.
This is a Stand Out Moment for me and I feel my radiant aliveness like never before.