Falling In Love with Life

What does it take to fall in love with being alive?  Being willing to see the end of what you love.  – Stephen Jenkinson

 

I have spent most of my time on this earth taking life for granted.  I expect things to continue on; at least the things that I love and that are important to me.  Even though there are constant reminders, I forget about the fragility of life and that all of this is temporary.

I don’t think it is necessary to continually dwell on impermanence; that would probably keep me in a heightened state of anxiety or depression.  However,it seems that being out of touch with this reality has a tendency to put me to sleep.

I had a recent ‘brush with death’.  It was an infection that could have been fatal but for the intervention of modern medicine.  Throughout the healing process I developed a deep sense of gratitude.  At first I was grateful to those who helped me heal but the gratitude slowly expanded.  First to my wife and the rich deep life that we share; on to friends and family; and outward still to the very fact of being alive, to having this life.   I did indeed “fall in love with being alive”.

And still a few months later, i forget to remember how grateful I am.  I pause as I write this to look out the window at how the sun is illuminating the leaves of the forest; the play of light and shadow, the warm late summer air, the birds signalling. When I pause to remember, my heart fills with love all over again.

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Relating to What Happens

“It is not what happens to us that determines our experience, but how we relate to what happens”         – Lama Surya Das

 

 
We know that life does not always unfold the way that we would like.  We all have experienced loss and will continue to do so throughout our lives.  We all have made plans that ended up not working out.  This too will continue to happen.  We all have people and situations that we want in our lives and those that we do not. Somehow life continues to bring us both.  In the end, we do not have direct control over what happens to us in life; life is bigger than we are.

 

By choosing how we react to life’s situations we can begin to experience freedom and a deeper sense of who we really are.  We might not be able to avoid unpleasantness, but we can avoid harming ourselves further by how we react to it.  There is an old saying:  “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping that the other person dies.” We can learn how to stop taking poison and how to connect with ourselves in healthier ways.

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