Feeling Fully Alive
by Robert Bloom
One of the 2008 Oscar nominees for Best Picture was the critically acclaimed, The Hurt Locker, starring Jeremy Renner. In the flick, Renner plays Staff Sgt. William James, an Army bomb squad specialist addicted to the adrenalin rush of life in a combat zone. Again and again, Renner’s character volunteers to return to the battle because these are the only moments when he feels fully alive.
How about you? What does it take for you to feel fully alive? When do you know that you’re really, fully alive? What are you doing? What are you feeling? How intense is it? What does it feel like within your body? Answering these questions can be a real eye-opener! I know it was for me.
This question first began to form itself during a period when I was in intense emotional pain. In the midst of this experience, I asked myself, “What am I getting out this experience? What do I know?” I’d been creating painful emotional experiences for myself again and again, and I wanted to know why.
The answer, surprisingly, was that I knew I was alive. There was no mistaking it! The intense, searing pain boiling through my veins informed me beyond any reasonable doubt that I was alive. It wasn’t pleasant. It didn’t feel good, and I didn’t want to feel that way, but the payoff was that I knew I was alive. Unfortunately, at that time it didn’t occur to me to inquire further. In other words, I stopped short of identifying the other moments when I also experienced myself as feeling FULLY ALIVE!
When it did occur to me to inquire, I asked the following questions:
- When do I feel fully alive?
- What am I doing?
- What am I feeling?
The answers proved to be enlightening on many levels.
- When I am in intense pain.
- When my ski tips are pointed downhill and I’m bombing away!
The first thing I recognized in answering these questions was that the only time I felt really alive were in moments of extreme thrill and pain. The second thing I recognized was that a wide gap existed in my emotional wholeness. I hadn’t really experienced the multiple states of emotional experience available between these extreme points – not consciously, anyway. I hadn’t filled in the gaps. Thus, it took extreme experiences to satisfy this longing.
When I noticed this, I chose to fill in the emotional gaps. It sounded like this:
I will embrace each and every moment and feel fully the emotional quality it offers. I will resist nothing and seek to change nothing – not by activity, substance abuse, avoidance, busy-ness, or by any other means. I will welcome and embrace each and every moment as it is, without escape. I will allow them to flow through me without resistance.
This decision impacted my life in ways I hadn’t foreseen. Filling in the gaps brought insight, understanding, and clarity. It brought inner peace and self-understanding. It made life less stressful and more enjoyable. To be sure, I can’t tell you what the end result might be should you choose to practice being present as I did, but I can share my experience. Unlike before, I now sense that feeling of aliveness most of the time. I often feel happy for no reason whatsoever. I rarely feel sad, depressed, or angry. Life tastes sweet! Why not give it a try yourself?
Author Robert Bloom is an ordinary guy who surrendered to his spiritual calling and gained a few powerful insights along the way. He believes that the difficulties we face in life aren’t meant to brutalize or defeat us; rather, they’re meant to liberate our spirit. Understanding forgiveness is the key. Learn more about Robert and his book at his website, TheUniversalKeys.com.