The Central Search for a Person is for those Moments When You are Most Alive


Those Moments When You Feel Fully Alive

You know those moments when you feel fully alive? … those moments when you are fully in the moment and you want the moment to last forever?

This quote puts the search for these moments front and center:

“There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town a building, or a wilderness.

This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.

The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of a person, and the crux of any individual person’s story.

It is the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive.”

— Christopher Alexander, A Timeless Way of Building, 1979

Photo by Sara.Nel.


  1. I’ve had these rare moments where I almost felt like I was on fire. I had lots of energy and confidence in what I was doing and it all just seemed to flow effortlessly from me. I can remember some of them quite easily even now when the moment happened months ago and I’m not sure how many others would remember that situation as I seem to be talking during most of them. They are a reminder for me of how I can leverage some of my strengths and how relationships may yet be a big deal in my life that I still have to figure out in various ways.

  2. wow. very empowering and refreshing post! I enjoyed this read as it was uplifitng and true for my spirit.

  3. Those moments are the best….I experience it during dance (Argentine tango only!! :)) and yoga and with my closest friends and family….and I cherish the memories….

  4. Such a moment came for me when I jumped out of an airplane 2 miles high, tethered to an experience jumper whom I inherently trusted for some reason. I only did it once, nearly 20 years ago, but I’ve never forgotten how I felt from the moment I decided to do it, through the free-fall to the parachute opening to the soft landing. Fully alive indeed.

    There are many fully-alive moments over my lifetime, and your short post has set my memories bursting!

    There’s a secret that, once discovered, sets us free to be, I think. That secret is learning how to be present in the present.

  5. Some of those moments when we are most alive…might be when we are angry or sad – as well as delighted and lifted up….sometimes it is the pressure against what we do not want and recognizing that which opens the door to a positive aliveness.

    Very nice quote…and thank you for putting this together and for writing so carefully and positively on my blog – I appreciate your good efforts and form – you are alive!

  6. Hello J.D.

    The quote is very inspiring. Yes, the quality of lives is in those moments. Thinking of such moments sometimes bring a Shiver in the veins but at the same time the moments are always worth it.

    Bye for now,

  7. Awesome awesome quote and I just had one of those moments. It was such a bliss and state of flow. Amazing really.

  8. @ JB — I like your reflection and insight. I think a big part of success in life is knowing how to unlock our own strengths and unleashing more of our best moments.

    @ Positively Present — Thank you!

    @ Baker — I found it very invigorating and insightful.

    @ Farnoosh — I best dance is a great way to be in the moment and truly feeling alive.

    @ Barb — Yeah, I guess once you jump out of an airplane, you truly know what it’s like to be alive. I’m glad you landed safely 🙂

    @ Patricia — Recognizing what we don’t want can be very revealing, clarifying, and empowering.

    @ Cheryl — Beautiful precision — “the quality of lives is in those moments.”

    @ Lana — Bliss and flow are beautiful moments to have. I say the the more the merrier.

  9. Hi JD!..A very interesting quote indeed! To me it rings the bell for a story: Once in a very tight corridor the Sad Truth met the Fairy Tale.
    The Fairy Tale smiled, but The Truth was sober and made a face.Then both
    looked at each other strait in the face.They watched each other intently.And the The Merciless Truth for the first time in her life(for the first time ladies and gentlemen!) moved her stare and also smiled.
    And said:”Alright…”
    And added : “So be it! Let it be!”
    I think I should quote : …”If I were to list the most important learning experiences in my life,there come to mind getting married, discovering my life work,having children, getting psychoanalyzed, the death of my best friend,confronting death myself, and the like. I think I would say that these were more important learning experiences for me than my Ph.D. or any 15 or 150 credits of any courses that I have ever had. I certainly learned about myself from such experiences. I have learned,if I may put it so, to throw aside many of my “learning’s”, that is,to push aside the the habits and traditions and reinforced associations which had been imposed upon me. Sometimes this was at a very trivial, yet meaningful,level.
    I particularly remember when I learned that I really hate lettuce.
    My father was a “nature boy”, and I had lettuce two meals a day for the whole of my early life. But one day in analysis after I had learned that I carried my father inside me,It dawned on me that it was my father, through the my larynx,who was ordering salad within every meal.I can remember sitting there, realizing that I hated lettuce and then saying, “My God,take the damn stuff away !” I was emancipated,becoming in this small way me rather than my father.
    I wish that I had made that statement,but it was -A.H. Maslow.

  10. I am pretty lucky to pursure my artistic endeavors and I often feel alive and swept away while creating.

    And sometimes just enjoying a cup of coffee on the back deck in the early morning can make me feel so alive I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

    Very interesting that all good things have an objective quality to them. Very interesting!

    Have a great week-end, J.D.!!


  11. JD, great photo choice, and this portion resonated most with me: “This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named.”
    I am focusing on value and quality so much these days and my writing projects, and wow! It does make me come alive living from my heart + soul and following the spirit of life itself. I am trying to encourage that flow and constancy and stay connected to it like a gentle waterfall or even a gushing stream. thanks for sharing this inspirational reminder today! It keeps it at the front! blessings, Jenn

  12. @ Michael — Pushing aside the learnings for getting more out of life is a great insight. I won’t forget the Sad Truth and the Fairy Tale, or your Father through the larynx lesson. Thank you.

    @ Jannie — The beauty is your are lucky and you know it. Some people don’t. You make the most of what you’ve got and you lift others up. Way to be. Thank you.

    @ Jenn — The quote knocked me on my heels … so simple, so elegant, and so powerful. Thank you.

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