This is an excerpt taken from the book WHOLE ASS: Stop living a half-assed life and enjoy an extraordinary existence by Maharani
Have you ever had to share a seat with someone, with half your ass hanging off the edge? It takes acrobatic abilities to maintain your cool. It’s effortful, distracting and off-balancing. That’s why I love the term ‘half-ass’. It is so pure. So descriptive.
Would you believe me if I told you that our natural state is to live every moment effortlessly engaged in what is happening in front of us, completely present and not being distracted by the constant stream of thought that pull us out of the moment?
Whole-assing every moment leads to a whole-ass life.
Remember a time when you fell in love, or when you really liked someone. Got it? Now, remember one of the first encounters, probably having dinner or hanging out on the couch at your parent’s house, wishing that your mom extended your curfew for at least a half-hour.
Were you distracted by the noise in the restaurant? No. Were you concerned about school the next day? No. Were you thinking about the political situation in Rwanda? No. You were fully there, delighted with the amazing human being in front of you and completely engaged with what was happening. If anything, you would get a bit distracted by a feeling of “how did I ever get so lucky?”
It may seem that the state of fullness you experienced in that moment was a product of having the object of your affection, but what if it was the other way around? What if the reason behind experiencing such awe is because you were completely and effortlessly attentive in the present moment?
Maybe in the previous case, your attention was so present because the object in front of you created such fascination. But in the same way that sometimes we don’t fall in love with someone until we fully see them, chances are we don’t fully see what is in front of us unless we are properly attentive. With that level of attention, most things will probably provoke a sense of awe.
I used to be an actress, and absolutely adored the rush of being in a play. I disappeared into the moment, and magic happened on stage. Life was full, exciting and alive, happening right there and then. I was constantly being put in a place where I had to be open, raw and vulnerable.
I was whole-ass about it. With all my heart, body and soul I’d engage that activity. The rest of my activities and endeavors weren’t like that, but it planted the seed. If I can live one part of my life wholehearted, can I live the rest of it that way?
It’s the nature of your heart to be whole-ass. The heart aches when it is not living fully.
But now, let’s cut to the chase…
ARE YOU HALF-ASS?
I don’t think anyone wants to brag about being half- ass. We probably hide it even from ourselves, justifying our half-ass existence with 1,000 different excuses.
However, I promise you, I won’t tell. If you are willing to look at yourself in all honesty and discover your level of half-assness, I won’t tell a soul.
Be honest, you already know the answer. The areas where you have been half-assing your existence are being smashed in your face constantly. It takes one moment of brutal honesty, one moment of stopping all those excuses you give yourself, and a willingness to not take any of them seriously any longer.
First step: Own it. If you are a half-ass, own it.
Imagine you are walking around with one eye open and one eye closed. That’s how you walk – or drive – to work, that’s how you talk to your best friend over coffee and that’s how you watch a film in the movie theater.
It’s a funny image that one, humans going about their lives with only one eye open. Try it for half an hour. You’ll notice that not only do you look ridiculous, but also that you miss out on many things, and that it is so effortful it will probably make you dizzy.
That’s the perfect metaphor for being half-ass.
You are half awake and half asleep.
Have you ever tried to have a conversation super early in the morning, after a difficult night when you woke up knackered and groggy? I’ll tell you what happens for me: I do not make sense, I don’t give clear answers, I don’t understand correctly what is happening and I don’t even know what the other person is saying. For Christ’s sake, I am asleep. Leave me alone!
My mom used to hate that. Before she went to work, she would ask me to run some errands, give me a couple of different instructions and then always ask me: “You got this?” Obviously, I did not, because when she came back from work, I forgot half of the instructions, and the other half I did wrong. Why? Because I was only half awake!
Unless you fuel this moment with all you got, you will only absorb half of it. What you give is what you get.
Here is the great news about being half-ass. Listen closely, and pretend I’m whispering you a secret:
It is only a habit.
And the magic of habits? They can change.
There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with having learned to live life half here. It is one of the most common habits of humankind, and we can help the collective consciousness to break it. We can pass on a different way of life to the next generation.
It’s not your parents’ fault, your schools’ fault, your society’s fault or your culture’s fault. It’s definitely not the fault of whoever broke your heart! You are not victim to any circumstances.
Ultimately, we decide, either through ignorance or wisdom, how we react to the events that occur in our lives.
And this is great news as well, because it means you can change how you approach life.
So, are you ready? Ready to stop half-assing your life, and to show up fully? Are you ready to be whole-ass?