I was thinking of this line the other day, when talking to a friend who had — over the course of many years — first weened herself off illegal drugs, and then, almost as painfully, weened herself off prescription drugs. Numb for decades, she was describing what it felt like to finally FEEL — all of it: the beautiful, the painful, the lonely, the lovely. For too many years, she had been breathing just a little and calling it a life.

Reminded me also of the great Andrew Solomon's statement that "the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality." To really live is to feel…hard as it can be. The alternative is numbness, which is nothing I would wish on anyone…

Breathe deeply, breathe sharply, take it all in.

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall