Fully Alive: Seeing Life in High Definition

Fully Alive: Seeing Life in High Definition

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Cara Bradleyby Cara Bradley

As a fiercely independent child, I didn’t take orders well, resisted advice, and insisted on doing everything on my own. I needed to directly experience everything myself — and not because I delighted in being stubborn, but because I craved sharp and vivid sensory experiences.

I have to admit that, as an adult, I haven’t changed much. When I listen to music I like to close my eyes to really hear it. When I hug my daughters, I want to feel the hug. When I’m chopping garlic for fresh tomato sauce, I want to smell the garlic. I’ve realized that the reason I feel the need to thoroughly see, hear, taste, smell, and touch everything is quite simple: When I directly experience moments with all of my senses, I feel fully alive.

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Being fully alive feels like seeing the world in high definition. It makes everything taste, feel, look, smell, and sound more vivid and intense. Experiences go from black and white or analog to technicolor.

What Does High Definition Feel Like?

Dull or muted moments are transformed into high definition when you show up in this exact moment without expectation, judgment, or drama. When you get out of your own way, let go of trying, and allow yourself to simply be, life feels crisp and clear. Be here now and your senses will light up. Shazaam! You will feel a spark of energy, a shiver, or a pulsing aliveness that will turn you on and wake you up to the vividness of the world around you.
High-definition moments are free of charge and available to most of us every day. You don’t have to wait until the next time you are at the beach, on a mountaintop, or even in the middle of a crisis to feel your senses heightened. Believe it or not, high- definition moments are continuously available, even during mundane activities. Next time you’re eating, ask yourself what you taste and smell. When you’re walking, pause and notice the trees. When your driving, brushing your teeth, or in your spin class, pause and recognize what you notice. Tune in to the moment with all of your senses and you will encounter the variety of shades, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of a high-definition moment.

Recognize. Recognize. Recognize.

To strengthen your ability to see life in high definition in ordinary moments, start to recognize when you feel clear, bright, alert, sharp, strong, vibrant, fearless, excited, empowered, or courageous. To recognize these moments, you’ll need to be present for them. If you’re thinking about the past or future or daydreaming about your next vacation, you will miss the chance. Right here, in this moment, you have the opportunity to participate in reading these words, to feel the couch beneath you, or the sun on your face.

To experience more of your life in high definition, incorporate this simple practice into your day:

Stop. Take Five. Experience.
1. Set your timer for 2 minutes. Close your eyes.
2. Pay attention to your breathing by counting five full breaths. It helps to think, “Inhale, exhale one. Inhale, exhale two,” and so on. Listening to the sound of your breath will almost immediately relax you and begin to settle your busy mind.
3. After five breaths, open your eyes and sit quietly.
4. Now, with your mind calm and body still, slowly look around and actively notice your surroundings. What do you see, smell, hear, taste, or touch? Do you feel dull or awake? Are you tired or energized? If your mind is very busy thinking, that’s okay too. Whatever you notice is perfect.

Pausing in this way is the first step to connecting with your body and waking up to your naturally high-definition life.

What Were Your High-Definition Moments Today?

You have had your own high-definition moments, I’m sure of it. Can you think of a few? Perhaps it was the intense emotional high you experienced when you got married or the profound disappointment you felt when you didn’t get the job your heart was set on. Sometimes high-definition moments are easy to identify, and sometimes they’re not as clearly defined.

Try this simple exercise to recount moments during your day when the world became vivid or you felt a surge of energy:

Recall Your High Definition Moments

Before you go to sleep tonight, recall three times you felt touched by life. Perhaps it was seeing the sun hit the top of the trees in the late afternoon or hearing the giggles of the neighbor’s kids in the backyard. Maybe you listened to a friend in need or belted out a song during your commute home. List these moments in a journal or simply in your mind. Do this exercise regularly and you’ll soon recognize high-definition moments all the time.
High-definition experiences are available to you right here in this moment. It’s a matter of first recognizing them and then pausing to fully experience them. In other words, stop and smell the roses, taste the apple, watch the sunset. High-definition moments will recharge you in powerfully moving ways and light you up from the inside out. Don’t try to do anything special. In fact, don’t do anything at all. Simply stop, pause, and experience the brilliance of being fully alive.

About the author:

Cara Bradley is the author of On the Verge. She is a passionate teacher of yoga, meditation, and fitness who has been in the trenches of personal transformation as a “mental strength coach” for over three decades at her Verge Yoga Center, retreats, corporate training sessions, and with teams such as Villanova University football and Penn State men’s basketball. She lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Visit her online at www.carabradley.net.

Based on the book On the Verge. Copyright © 2016 by Cara Bradley. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com

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