Life to the full
A couple of things I've experienced recently have made me question what it means when people talk about living life to the full. It's often used as a warning in case your days left are short and, for me, it used to provoke images of skydiving, wild partying and endless holidays. I used to panic that maybe I wasn't living my life as fully as I could be.
Now though I have a completely different stance on this phrase. While parties are great (I am first up for karaoke after a few wines!) and travel is a mind-broadening and important part of life, I believe it's also about taking notice of the ordinary.
Going for walks and actually paying attention to the beauty of your surroundings, cooking good food and eating it round the table with family, walking on the sand and hearing it move under your feet, watching a film with your kids without a phone in your hand.
I previously wrote about Tom and Jay, two men I cared for in a hospice, who still found things to look forward to and enjoy despite their illnesses. And patients who often talk to me about the small details of their lives that really matter. Because, as nineteen years of yoga has taught me, this present moment is the only time we are truly alive. Not in the past or the future. In this technology-mad world where everything is instant and nobody has any patience it's easy to get swept away in the frenzy and rush through days without taking them in. I've loved being a yoga teacher for the past year and giving people a chance to be still. To focus on nothing but the breath that is feeding their body and mind and feel the connection between the two. My favourite part of my class is the end when my students blink their bleary eyes open and reluctantly move from their relaxed state. They've achieved this by taking time to restore themselves.
Living life to the full for me is about appreciating it right there in the moment. There's a line in a Take That song that says 'Breathe deep, who knows how long this will last'. That often comes to mind when I'm looking at gorgeous scenery, or when I'm with my family on a holiday beach, or when I've had a good day at work. Or even when I'm peeping through a crack in the door to see what Miles and Remie are laughing about together. We must take time to absorb life as it happens or it will trickle away while we're not looking. We owe it to those who couldn't stay and had theirs taken too soon.