How to Live fully


For a year now, I’ve been feeling an intense desire to live more fully.

But how do you go from feeling in survival mode to living fully? The analogy my mind conjured up was of a large swimming pool. You are in a survival state when you dip your toes or maybe even stay out of the water. Living fully is the deep end. For someone who’s never even been in water diving in at a deep end may feel a shock to the system, I thought. Isn’t it better to take one step at a time, adjust to the temperature before taking the next one and the next one?

As I said that to someone recently, it didn’t feel quite true, but it sounded convincing enough in my head.

Well, I was wrong. On reflection, living fully is not about highs or lows. It’s not about full immersion into the waters of life. Nor is it feeling high and being always happy and positive with a big smile plastered on your face.

Yes, we can feel fully alive in a peak moment. But that’s because we are out of our depth and comfort zone and we ‘feel’.

Living fully is simple (not easy).

It’s your capacity to feel whatever is going in your life – the highs and the lows. If you shut down to grief, you shut down to joy too. If you avoid anger, your passion can slip away as well.

Living fully gives you freedom to be you and to speak your truth. You are not constantly self-editing to avoid an unwanted response from others, because that might trigger a certain emotion in you. Nothing is permanent, especially your emotions, if you let yourself feel them in the moment (by the way, feeling your emotions is different from acting on them; for example, you can feel your anger without shouting at someone). If you welcome it all, you get to have a much richer life. It’s moment to moment. No easy fix in one big go, like plunging in at the deep end of a pool.

I remember attending my grandmother’s funeral last February. It was a sad occasion and I cried buckets. And somehow letting myself feel the intensity of my loss opened me up to joy I had not experienced in a long time. I laughed so hard that the muscles of my face were scrunched up and at some point I was even rolling on the floor with my sister. It was the most alive I had felt in years.

Living fully is about being authentic and relating to your experiences. It’s allowing life’s beautiful messiness, connections and flow.

What’s your take on living fully, dear reader?

P.S. I’m sending a brand-new post on ‘Why Does Love (and Writing) Hurt?’ to my mailing list next week. If you’d like to read it, please sign up here.
P.P.S. I’m still working on my academic publications, so likely to be quiet on my blog for a bit longer.
P.P.P.S. I’m attending my grandmother’s memorial service in about ten days’ time.
P.P.P.P.S. I’m also celebrating a lot of good things this month – like my husband, sister, son and daughter all have their birthdays in February.

12 thoughts on “How to Live fully

  1. Lovely post, Gulara, and I agree. Living fully is being in the present moment with all the highs and lows. I hope your Grandmother’s memorial provides you with more opportunities to experience the richness of life. Best wishes for great progress with your professional writing. Enjoy the February birthdays. What a happy month. It’s my daughter’s birthday today – another February celebration. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, sounds lovely. I’m hoping to spend some time with my daughter on 27th of this month to mark her birthday. Birthdays all around this month 🙂
        P.S. By the way, haven’t got around to thank you for your note about the title. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Enjoy all the celebrations. Sounds like a fun, if expensive, month.
        No worries about thanking me. I didn’t think you’d like it as it was. We all help each other out when needed – that’s what friends are for. SMAG! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to censor my life, I think. My thoughts and my words. I still do my best to think before speaking because not having a filter can be disastrous but I used to “live” according to expectation and what’s acceptable, being a Catholic. My grand mother told me not to complain or to want too much. I was meant to be happy with what I had. Eventually, I learned to take risks. Life was better, despite the losses and pains, because I had the gains and happiness. Such way of life gives us an abundance of material for our writing. 😃 I know I live fully because I don’t fear death. I can go to bed and not wake up. No, I don’t want that to happen now but I wouldn’t mind. I just don’t want a painful or gruesome death. I fear getting old. My body and mind might fail me and being alive like that won’t be living fully, will it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your response, Anne. Thought-provoking, especially aging part. I’m reading a powerful book by Gay Hendricks. It’s called Five Wishes. Anyway, the idea is to imagine yourself on a deathbed and ask – have i done everything I wanted to do in this lifetime. My answer is – not yet! Hence, I’m not ready to die (yet). But body and mind failing can be challenging…. Still people adapt…. Hope you are keeping well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I need to do that exercise. 😃 Except for being published traditionally and my books being bestsellers and positively making a difference in people’s lives, the things I haven’t done are money-related; both are on my wish list. I am doing much better these days. The new job (boss, people, culture, everything…) is a huge difference. Thank you so much! I hope you are well, too. Much love and hugs. ❤🤗😘

        Liked by 1 person

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