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.