How to live fully in the present moment

To Be Fully Alive

Aliye Cullu

As I've watched my mother go through her agonizing stroke recovery, I've thought of how she has lived her life. And how I've lived mine.

Mother was widowed at 35 years old with three children, never dated nor remarried, and worked almost all of her life to support us. She sacrificed her life to be a stable influence and model mother, putting her artistic talent and dreams on the back burner. While our needs were always taken care of, I
remember having few luxuries and fewer vacations. For thirty years or so, she worked 9-5 jobs, saving for retirement. After having battled a rare form of cancer, she finally retired five years ago at 68 years old. Since then she has had heart challenges and a debilitating stroke. Now she spends her days at
home, dependent on others, and feeling very frustrated most of the time.

I first read Ram Dass's Be Here Now in 1971, when I was just beginning my conscious spiritual quest. I have since lived a patchwork-quilt life, seizing rare opportunities as they've come along. I lived in a spiritual community in Wisconsin in the early '70s. During the '80s I was a studio potter and painter,
taught art and crafts to deaf and blind children, and took a working sabbatical on a mountain top in Alabama. Last year I took off for the summer to be arts & crafts director at a camp in New England (I live in Florida, where the summer was brutal). As I was driving home, I received word of Mother's stroke. I've spent the last five months pondering the meaning of life from a new vantage point, reconfirming how crucial it is to live life now.

I've paid the price, scrambling to find jobs and living on the edge. I've gone with the moment, trusting the call to live life as fully as possible. As I sit writing, I feel the keys under my finger tips, and the hazy afternoon light illumines the room. I am here now and planting the seeds of my future as I put myself "out there" for the next golden opportunity to savor life in new ways.

© Aliye Cullu 1999

Aliye Cullu may be reached by email at

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