Dare to Live - Part I – The Vision
Many of us grew up being regularly dared! We were dared to take our first plunge in the sea, we were dared by our classmates to do something naughty at school and we have probably been dared by friends to ‘adventure’ outside one of our comfort zones. However, on the face of it, ‘daring to live’ would seem to be a somewhat uninspiring possibility. Are we not already living? Yes we are but are we living our life to the full? If we are not and we know we are not then what’s getting in the way of living wholeheartedly? Why might there be some and perhaps many areas of our life only receiving half our heart?
To answer such an introspective questions for our self it’s probably useful to get a sense of what living fully, living to ‘the max’, as some say, would look like and feel like. Then it may become clearer exactly what is sabotaging and blocking our capacity to live with gusto, with an unfettered freedom of spirit which no one and nothing can hinder.
How would you know someone who lives to the full? These might be some of the signs.
The purpose of life is so simple it’s easy to miss. It is to live! Which really means ‘enliven’. The first thing we enliven is our body as we animate the form that we occupy. While we are not our body (some may dispute that!) we are the energy that brings it to life. Sometimes referred to as ‘consciousness’. Someone living their life to the full recognizes both the gift and the privilege of being in a body without which life could not be lived at all. So they care about their dwelling and as far as possible ensure it is in good health. Similarly with the mind, as the mind is not the ‘self’, it is a faculty the self that the self uses to ‘create’. Each day we enliven our mind and use it to create our journey through life on earth. Living a full and wholehearted life will be built on the foundation of primary care for body and mind.
As conscious beings we are energetic beings and we are continuously radiating outwards. As ‘walking radiators’ we bring our energy into every scene and every relationship. Sometimes it’s called attitude. This is our nature. However if we ‘desire’ to bring to us the energies of the world, in whatever form, that’s a sign we have lost our awareness of our fullness. We are attempting to fill our self with something from outside the self. And when we discover that it’s impossible to get everything we want, exactly when we expect it, our attitude turns sour and our energy becomes week. Living to the full would therefore likely be a life lived in great simplicity.
The highest potential or vibration of our enlivening, energetic radiation is enthusiasm. Often mistaken for exuberance or passion, authentic enthusiasm is a sign that we are completely open and free and naturally pouring our light and power into the world. In any family, community, team or organisation enthusiasm is like sunshine. It has the capacity to energise, uplift and refresh whoever it touches. Hence one of the foundations of effective leadership in any context is a consistent enthusiasm. Something the Greeks called entheos or the divine energy of being.
The sign of a soul living fully is the ‘emanation’ of joy. They are always ‘enjoying’. This idea can be challenging for many of us as we have likely learned to associate and confuse joy with consumption. We come to depend on the world and others to ‘deliver’ our moments of joy. But it is seldom true joy, more often just a stimulation and/or an excitation. What is hard to see is that authentic joy comes from inside out and is the ‘felt energy’ when we put ourselves wholeheartedly into life around us. It usually happens most noticeably when we are ‘in the process’ of being creative. A sure sign is we will never look at our watch as we lose all awareness of the passing of time when we are in a joyfully radiant state. The more ‘time conscious’ we are the less we are bringing our joy to life and waiting for life to bring joy to us.
Being in the presence of someone who lives enthusiastically and joyfully and who selflessly shares both, is empowering. It rubs off as they invite is to join them and raise our vibration and resonate with them. If we then believe that they are responsible for our high energy state it means we have some inner work yet to do in order to sustain that state for our self. To live life fully is to ‘give off’ the sparks of inspiration that others can use to light their own fire. But we are each responsible to keep our fire burning.
Someone who lives fully will be seen to embrace and never reject whoever and whatever comes to them. In this sense embrace means accept others as they are and the world as it is. They waste no time in any form of resistance such as blaming or complaining or criticizing. They take nothing personally and are able to integrate and transform all the various forms of negativity that may appear to come their way.
Living fully also means being comfortable in our own company when no one else is there otherwise we would be needy of others and therefore back under the illusion that we are empty. But it would also show up as the ability to connect with and relate easily and openly to others. Building the rapport of an empathic relationships would come naturally if only because we are internally strong enough not to be ‘affected’ by and yet ‘sensitive to’ the emotional states of others.
There are of course likely to be many more internal signs and external characteristics of someone living life to the full. But what gets in the way? Why do we need to DARE to live our life to the max? Perhaps it’s because there is one barrier that we need to confront, one saboteur that punctures our power, drains our energy and makes us close up instead of open out.
Next week: Dare to Live – Part II – The Courage
Question: Who in your life demonstrates living to the full (not living recklessly) and what other characteristics to they display?
Reflection: Give your self a rating for each of the above – 1 is low and 10 is high
Action: Allocate one of the above to each day in the coming week and consciously look for opportunities to use your energy in each way. Observe the effects internally and externally
© Mike George 2010 / Notes extracted from a talk at Global Retreat Centre on 1st July 2010