Living Life Fully

Can you remember a time when you felt like life was never-ending? I can remember feeling this way as a kid. It didn’t matter how long I was mad at my sister, or how long I had to wait to do something I really wanted to do, time was unlimited and there would be plenty of days to get stuff done.

Ah the mind of a child…

I think at some stage we all realize that life is happening right NOW, that’s the only thing we can really count on. This understanding is more than academic knowledge, you finally ‘get it’ when some how you experience it.

This understanding comes with experience. A loss. A tragedy. A decline in health. For me that realization came in 1999 when I was 36. I had two, major and life-altering surgeries within 5 weeks of each other, my dying marriage breathed its last breath, and my mom died totally unexpectedly at the age of 59. It isn’t until you come to terms with the fact that life is really very short that you begin to consider NOW a precious commodity, and begin to seek ways to live more fully.

We all want to live in the pleasant parts of life all the time, but the truth is that the emotions we view as ‘negative’ are as much a part of the fullness of life as the ones that are more positive. Life’s challenges can produce tremendous revelations of spirit. And painful times have a purpose:

  • Grief tells us we connected to others and that we have loved deeply
  • Fear alerts us to protect and sustain life
  • Despair asks us to grieve our losses, look at ourselves with fresh eyes, and alchemise our souls

If you’re living only within the confines of what’s comfortable, it’s possible you may only be experiencing a portion of what you’re capable of as a human being. Muscle is formed when you push your body beyond its normal limits. Strength is built outside of your comfort zone, and in many ways, we are the most alive when we are least comfortable.

The challenges in life are the ingredients for a life well-lived. Your comfort zone is, well, comfortable. Not a bad thing, but generally not the most fertile garden for deep growth. It takes tremendous courage to live life fully; to be as present in the challenging moments as you are in the joyful ones. To take risks. To embrace failure for the brilliant teacher it is.

Our time in these bodies is a gift. May we use it wisely, compassionately and without regret.

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