Each moment you’re not fully embracing, your life is wasted and your aliveness is denied.
There are two ways this happens most often.
You’re grasping for something that’s already passed:
- A breath-taking view fuzzily reimagined through Facebook photos.
- The afterglow buzz of last week’s lovemaking.
- Adoration from the crowd as you rocked the stage last year.
Or, you’re waiting for something better in the future:
- Training your body in the hopes that one day, you’ll be able to do the things you really want to do.
- Obsessing about your finances, you imagine that someday you’ll really be free from worries to do what you really want.
- Planning and plotting everything you might say, wishing for the approval and love from others, so you can finally gain the love from yourself you deeply yearn for.
But grasping at the past is trying to preserve the wind. Chasing the future is like trying to bottle a mirage.
Both kill the aliveness available to you in this moment.
The aliveness you feel in this moment is vaster, richer and more satisfying than the most deliciously intoxicating dream. But only if you open fully.
Subliminal message: You can open now. Why not?
Why do we deny the only living thing?
The only living thing right now is the unfolding. This moment is the unfolding of the story — the labor of your life. Hopefully it’s a labor of love.
Everything else is a ghost. Yes, you can aim to achieve or be something or somewhere greater. But when you tensely wait to be alive until that something greater is reached, you perpetually cut yourself off from the only living thing — this moment.
Because once you reach that peak, you will inevitably see another, and another. The waiting never ends.
If you’re not opening fully now, you might as well be asleep.
The reason we deny our aliveness
Why do we live continually waiting to come alive? Like all animals, we are driven to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
But as humans we have the unique ability of comparing and contrasting. By comparing ourselves to others we can see that something better is out there, or be afraid of something bad that might happen.
So we resist what’s happening now, in favor of preparation or defense. We’re waiting for a myth: The Myth of Perfection.
But life is not perfect. Nothing is ever perfect in your mind. The only thing perfect is this moment.
If you’re waiting to live fully because you think that one day you’ll shape the perfect circumstances, you’ll be waiting until you’re dead.
Secret message bypassing your brain to your heart: Be alive in this moment, feel it, now.
You will never be done
“We have a right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.” —Krishna
The other big trap is waiting to be done. Our productivity-driven culture encourages this search for completion that never arrives.
- Inbox Zero? Already slipping away.
- A Completed To Do List? Rarely achieved, temporarily inspiring, and short lived.
- A Clean House? Not for long.
Clinging to the state of done is a futile, life-killing pursuit. You will never be done, so stop waiting to fully relax and open to this moment.
Relaxing = Opening to the truth and aliveness of what is. It is immediate.
Waiting = Tension and closure to the aliveness of what is. It never ends.
Stop fucking waiting, before it’s too late
“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
Wherever you are, in whatever circumstances you are in, you can embrace them fully and open fully.
This does not mean that you’ll stop wanting to change anything. You will always want to change things and grow. Always. Until you’re dead.
Whether things are total fucking chaos or completely divine, you have one choice:
Fully embrace this moment and your aliveness, or choke it off with your closure. The choice is yours.
Resisting never works
The real kicker is this:
The more you resist now, the further away whatever you’re trying to reach gets.
- Waiting to quit your job until you’ll be free? Then you’ll keep waiting until you express your true freedom in this moment.
- Wishing you had a better relationship, but always fighting the one you have? You’re gonna be on this merry-go-round a long time, darling.
- Saving up your energy and joy for vacation? You’ll be too busy worrying about when it’s ending when it comes around.
Plan, then open fully to the next moment
Does the mind, the visioning, strategizing, wishing part of us have its place? Absolutely, in a small percentage of our daily experience.
- Plan out your day. Then open fully now to the task at hand.
- Plot your project. Then forget the plan and take the next step with enthusiastic aliveness.
- Dreaming about being better at something? Great. Now with that vision in mind, give everything you have with your current capacity.
Use your mind. Compare. Contrast. Do not try to repress and resist your natural, ever-present planning tendencies.
That is just another trap.
Trying to kill your desire? (Hint: it doesn’t work)
Do not fall into the trap of trying to be “above planning” or “beyond seeking.” Do not try to kill your mind.
You will only create more resistance. Don’t do it!
Open to your planning. Embrace it. Appreciate and thank it for its wonderful job.
And then go back to this moment.
If you’re going to be neurotic about one thing, be neurotic about embracing right now.
Radical acceptance is the starting point of transformation
Whether you hate what you’re about to do, or are ridiculously excited; whether you’re anxious or giddy…
…start with aliveness.
What do I mean by that?
I mean, feel into this moment.
First you must… PAUSE.
Yes. I said pause.
What a crazy concept in our hyper-productive, constantly-hurried, never-stop, consume-more-energy-drinks-rather-than-resting culture, right?
Pausing does not waste time. Let me repeat that.
Pausing does not waste time.
Pausing opens you to the aliveness within your life, within your environment, within your heart.
When you pause and allow yourself to feel, you can open to what actually exists. When you are in relationship or aware of what is, you can affect what is. You can move with it, you can transform it.
If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere else, you weaken your ability to influence your life. Because you have no awareness of what is — no relationship to it — you have no ability to shift what is. You cannot creatively express yourself or do quality work when you’re trying to get somewhere else.
You will just create another situation where you’re trying to get somewhere else!
The price of waiting is your life
Do not stop working for something better. (In truth, you cannot stop.)
The true cost of preparing to live is your life.
How to awaken your true power in any moment
“What are we training for? It never arrives. We are always preparing and training. We want to do it! We want to move, you know?” —Ido Portal
The way to reconnect to your aliveness is not through your mind. Your mind is great at planning, strategizing and categorizing information.
If you live only in your mind, you cut yourself off from the ground of your being.
Your mind is a land of abstractions — it can be a fun, imaginative, or terrifying place — a useful tool, but not where you must live.
The body is your greatest source of feedback about whether you are living fully or not. Every day and in any moment you can practice opening into and feeling your body.
In fact, the very reason for the development of our large human brains is for complexity of movement (source). Movement of our bodies, the home that we live in.
If you are not in your body, you are disembodied, disassociated, dismembered — castrated from the neck down. You have no ability to affect or experience your life because you are simply not there.
Get back into the vehicle of your body, and connect to this moment, so you can start driving again and experience the pleasure of the road.
“If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life.” —David Deida
Start with your hands, human
Your hands are what make you different than all other animals. Our ability to manipulate objects and tools gives us technology.
But how often do you really feel your hands?
Spend a few moment right now feeling your hands. What do you notice there? Can you feel the pulse of blood pumping into them? Is there a tingling or vibrating sensation?
What gifts have your hands given you? What kind of feedback do you receive from them?
Starting with your hands is a good way to reconnect with your body, especially if you’ve been disconnected from it for a long time.
Embracing everything is the path to liberation
Whatever you feel in this moment, feel it fully.
When you feel pain in your body, open to it without resistance. When you feel pleasure, allow it without grasping.
Whatever you’re experiencing, feel it and say yes to it. That doesn’t mean that you tolerate things you don’t want, or become a victim. You simply accept what is, then move from that place of actually being in relationship to it.
The more you inhabit your body, the more embodied you become. The more embodied you become, the more you are open to the aliveness you experience as a fleshly being.
In your head, you learn. In your body, you live.
Stop waiting. Start living.