The other day while I was driving my daughters to school the song “Return to Innocence” by Enigma came on the radio.
Chills thundered from my knee caps to the top of my head, as goosebumps erupted in my ears to my toes. I was 15 years old again. Rollerblades strapped to my feet. I wanted to be an ice skater. I found the sequined leotard, nude panty hoes and alpine white skates the epitome of grace.
I would pretend to be in the finals of the Olympic Games — the lights dim as I skate onto the ice, ankles crossed in position, arms frozen above my head. The sound of my blades slicing the ice, like a samurai severing the air in two with his sword, echoing through the arena. Around and around I go, creating lyrics with my body as I turn, jump and spin.
As the song ends, I open my eyes, my skin baked by the desert sun, now the same color as the brick patio, sweat drenching my neon capris. I’m out of breath with a giant smile on my face, goosebumps swallowing my skin. Four minutes of surrender to the music and my dream brought me happiness — freedom.
I could have changed the station that morning. I could have ignored it, rolled my eyes and dismissed the overplayed synthesized spiritual twang of ’94, but I didn’t.
Instead, I dove into the feeling that arose, I listened to what my spirit needed. She needed to smile, reminisce and play. She danced through my skin, leaving behind blisters of joy — goosebumps, an ear to ear grin and watery eyes.
I gauge a good day by the number of times I get the goosebumps. Why? Because it is a sign I am listening to my spirit, being guided by her. Goosebumps are the smile of our spirits — we can never smile enough.
So, here are 101 ways to get the goosebumps.
1. Listen to a song you love and sing along.
2. Watch a movie that moves you.
3. Pay attention to the animals, to the trees, to the birds. Talk to them.
4. Hug someone you know and love.
5. Hug someone you don’t know and feel the love.
6. Go to a park and watch children play.
7. Listen to what children have to say.
8. Play with a child.
9. Play like a child.
10. Roll down the windows of your car, stick your hand out and waltz with the wind.
11. Turn up the music in your car and sing as loud as you can.
12. Sing in the shower.
13. Make eye contact with everyone you pass. You never know when your eyes will meet a connection.
14. Sit still and observe. You will see an interaction that makes you break out in the bumps.
15. Recall your favorite memory and tell someone about it.
17. Have someone you trust tickle your back or your arm.
18. Hold hands.
19. Slide down a slide.
20. Hang upside down on the monkey bars.
21. Swing on a swing.
22. Lay in a hammock.
23. Drink lemonade with a straw.
24. Have a lollipop.
25. Eat food that reminds you of your childhood.
26. Watch Lady and the Tramp.
27. Watch The Wizard of Oz.
28. Listen to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
29. Listen to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (any version).
30. Listen to Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.”
32. Give away something you love to a stranger.
33. Buy a meal for a person who is homeless.
34. Give your time and attention to someone who needs to be heard.
37. Pick flowers and smell them.
38. Buy someone flowers and surprise them.
39. Buy yourself flowers.
40. Say I love you at least three times a day.
41. Look yourself in the mirror and say, I love you.
42. Call your mother, your father, your siblings, your friends to tell them: I love you.
43. Smile at someone, smile at everyone.
44. Go to the beach.
45. Get your feet wet, at least.
46. Read the obituaries.
47. Listen to music from around the world, especially the songs with children singing.
48. Say the Pledge of Allegiance or any pledge or song of loyalty.
49. Have a conversation with God.
50. If you don’t believe in God, talk with the sun.
51. If you can’t see the sun, talk with yourself.
52. Take the trip you have always wanted to take.
53. Take a sick day from work or school and go to the pool, to the movies or to the zoo.
54. Go to a cemetery and read the headstones.
55. Go to a maternity ward and sit in the waiting room.
56. Have a conversation with a senior citizen.
57. Have a conversation with someone who is sick.
58. Have a conversation with someone who is no longer sick.
59. Go to Toys R’ Us and walk the aisles and play with the toys.
60. If you’ve wanted to ask someone to marry you, ask them.
61. Say yes.
62. Say no when you really want to say no.
63. Stay up all night just to stare at the stars and watch the sun rise.
64. Do a cartwheel.
65. Go to a race and stand at the finish line.
66. Cheer for someone.
67. Clap your hands and go anywhere there will be a standing ovation.
68. Go to Disneyland.
70. Read poetry.
71. Read The Diary of Anne Frank.
72. Read any book about bravery, injustice, courage and resilience.
73. Keep a journal and read it back to yourself.
74. Look at pictures of your family and your life.
75. Go for a walk and take each step like it is your last.
76. Suck on a lemon — it will remind you of your taste buds.
77. Go for a drive, just to drive.
78. Pet a dog or a cat (if you aren’t allergic and don’t hate them).
79. Go to Sea World and watch the Shamu show.
80. Skinny dip.
81. Go to a major league baseball game.
82. Visit the Grand Canyon.
83. Water ski.
84. Surf, even if it’s body surfing — catch a wave.
86. Watch someone give birth.
87. Give birth.
88. Hold a baby.
89. Go to funerals.
90. Go to weddings.
91. Go to any function that celebrates a beginning and an end.
92. Have an orgasm.
93. Hold the door for someone.
94. Read the inspirational emails your mother sends you (sometimes they really are inspirational).
95. Stand in the rain and don’t move until you begin to shake.
96. Go to concerts — any type of music. Listen and watch.
97. Take a hike and sit at the top of the mountain.
98. Ask people to share their love stories.
99. Fall in love.
100. Write a letter to someone you love and read it to them even if they are no longer alive, especially if they are no longer alive.
101. Speak the truth. The goosebumps will always follow.
First published on elephant journal.
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