Are You Being Fully Alive?

What does it mean to be fully alive?

How do you know you are really being fully alive?

I mean you are here and breathing?

Does that not count?

Over the years, I’ve moved thousands of people through a mix of trendy workouts and ancient practices — and each of them arrived with expectations of getting fit, losing weight, building six-pack abs, and finding peace.

I’ve always sensed, however, that there’s a deeper reason for all the striving and searching than just having a great body and a stress-free life.

I’ve sensed that at the root of the search is our innate desire to feel fully alive.

On the Search to Feel Fully Alive

We go to great lengths and great expenses to feel fully alive.

We’ll jump from fad to fad searching for the next best way to feel more empowered or energized.

We open our hearts and wallets to what the hippest experts recommend.

People are concerned about what the hottest celebrities are doing.

I know this because I’ve been on the same path.

Always searching for ways to feel better, look better, and be better.

However,  underneath all the forcing and fixing I’ve really just longed to feel more alive.

After a few decades with no earth-shattering results, I called off the search.

I let go of needing to feel any different or look any better.

It was as if I had given myself permission to live my life, raise my daughters, teach yoga, and enjoy my husband and friends.

Perspective is a Life-Changing Tool

It was an incredible relief.

My shift in perspective—from seeking to allowing, from doing to being—was empowering.

It enabled me to experience space in my life beyond ‘busyness’ and drama, a space where I experienced an incredible sense of freedom.

It felt like falling back on my bed and resting my head on my pillow after a long, busy day.

I began to pay attention to my direct experiences.

I began to glimpse a more natural and authentic way of living.

Shifting my perspective from searching to simply living allowed me to get crystal clear about what was necessary to fully participate in my life—and not to waste one more second doing anything less.

The trees looked greener, the food tasted better, and I felt happier.

In this space, beyond the search outside myself, I unleashed a new sense of joy that touched every area of my life.

Letting go of the need to figure out my life liberated me not only to show up and experience everything but to feel fully alive.

Beyond the search, I became familiar with how to live my life in high definition and with high-voltage energy.

Seeing Your World in High Definition

This is your moment to participate in reading these words, to feel the couch beneath you, or the sun on your face.

Show up right now and pay attention! 

By doing this, you directly experience more of, well, everything.

You feel awake to what’s happening around you and alive to what’s happening inside you.

High-definition living is a way to engage in the world with all your senses.

It feels crisp and clear.

It’s like seeing life as if you were a child again, when you stared at clouds in the sky and devoured books and movies with gusto.

You recognize the smallest details of life—the touch of wind tickling your neck and the smell of wood burning from the fireplace next door.

It has been decades since my final college race.

However, I still vividly remember the details.

I stood calmly in the starting line waiting for the gun to go off.

The smell of spring was in the air.

My spikes dug into the track.

Recognize your own high-definition moments

Perhaps it was the intense emotional high when you got married.

Or, the profound disappointment when you didn’t get the job.

Sometimes these moments are easy to identify.

Other times, they’re not as clearly defined.

Strengthen your ability to recognize direct experience in the ordinary moments of daily life and they all go into high definition.

The practices you’re learning will help you refine and expand your ability to recognize such high-definition, high-voltage experiences all of the time.

Trying to explain what it means to directly experience life in high definition is like trying to explain how it feels to swim in a cold lake or sing in front of a crowd.

It goes beyond words and explanations.

As you become more aware of these experiences, you’ll ultimately recognize high-definition moments from more of a visceral place, in your body and beyond words.

Being Fully Alive is a Total Body Experience

This is important.

Remember: your body always experiences the moment directly.

Your body senses life firsthand beyond your beliefs, judgments, and conditioning.

Your body reveals what’s real and true.

When something is off, your body may react with stomach pain or clammy hands.

Too much stress, you will find yourself with a headache.

Listen to your body and learn your cues.

This is why direct experiences feel precise and complete, and why they often emerge with a resounding “aha!”

Cara Bradleyis the author of On the Verge. She has taught yoga, meditation, and fitness internationally for more than thirty years and is the founder of Verge Yoga.
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