Conscious Living

Subsistence Living

September 13, 2020

About a year ago I started to feel like my life was passing before me. Slowly, yet somehow also in the blink of an eye. I would find myself at the end of the day, at the end of the week, or month and ask, “what happened?” without a satisfying answer. I woke up, meditated, walked my dog,  went to work, watched a TV show, looked at the internet, found 10 minutes to read before bed and then did it all over again the next day. Occasionally this was broken up with a yoga class or a social outing but for the most part I started to wonder, “Is this it? Is this that boring middle age life I always heard about but swore I would never fall into?” If I had to name it, it felt like something called “subsistence living.”

I’m sure I wasn’t the first thirty-something working a 9-to-5 job to have these thoughts. The repetitive nature of my routine made it easier to coast – going on auto-pilot without deeper awareness or intention. Did my husband Alex and I need to sell our possessions, renovate a van and hit the road? We love the outdoors, and those nomad couples on Instagram seemed pretty happy doing it. But no, we also loved hot showers and being in separate rooms. We love to travel. Should we find work abroad and move to a foreign country for a while? No, our dog Liza and cat D’Arcy indicated an aversion to overseas flights – plus we wanted to be near enough to our families. I found myself recalling this worn but wise phrase, “Wherever you go, there you are.” My thoughts of relocation were simply an outer manifestation of the restlessness within.

Truth be told, I love my job. I work as a motion graphics designer and I spent several years working towards this career. I love my marriage and I love where we live in Maryland. Close enough to the beach and the mountains, with a delicious cycle of the seasons changing. So I decided to embark on a deeper quest – how to live my everyday life in a way that aligned with my values. How to reach the end of the day with a deeper sense of purpose, knowing that my actions matched my intentions. This blog is intended to be an exploration of that practice. “Alible” is an obscure word that means “nourishing or affording nourishment.” Besides starting with my name (Ali) it also encapsulates the kind of life I want to lead: one that nourishes my mind, body and soul. One that supports my community and my beloveds, and serves to advance a better world for all.

It’s no small task, but I look forward to documenting my discoveries and sharing what has and hasn’t worked for me. And also connecting with readers and other writers, learning from you and creating an online community around intentional living. In the past year since that realization about my “subsistence life,” I became a certified yoga teacher, received life-changing surgery for endometriosis,  bought a house and became a mother-to-be, expecting my first child, a little boy, in just a few short months. I’m excited to use this blog as a place to process my thoughts on mindfulness, lifestyle design, women’s health, parenthood and more. The world is a wondrous place, and even though we only have a short amount of time to spend here, there are so many ways we can make that time meaningful and in service of others. I am reminded of a Mary Oliver poem about the end of life. How will we remember our lives when we look back on them? As subsiding or thriving? As always, she says is best:

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”

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