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Life Lessons, Life Contemplations

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After an intense travel time, I finally find myself sitting quietly – overlooking a salt marsh on the Georgia coast.

White Egrets stand tall; silent predators as the tides fill and empty the marsh, offering up fish, frogs, small mammals, small reptiles and insects. Billowing cumulus clouds, blow lazily across the open sky and a soft summer breeze gently blows the marsh grass.

Yes, of course, mosquitoes buzz, sand flies sting, and the local airwaves are filled with crazy talk about the upcoming electoral candidates, viruses, refugee crises, terrorist bombs, Zika, and the shenanigans of the Olympic Games in Rio. People buzz too…..is the world getting more intense? Has the ecology swung totally out of balance – the hottest summer on record; hurricane season predicted to be intense this year, and on and on…..

How do we operate in the craziness without losing control of our daily lives? Without losing faith? If the total focus of one’s MO is to be safe and never feel pain, then you will find that life passes you by. Life is not about being safe although our limbic systems would have it otherwise. Life is about living on a complex, challenging and beautifully inviting planet all at once, and it’s important to hold onto that knowledge.

I remember when I was 10 years old reading the autobiography of the actor Anthony Quinn. He had a difficult childhood, with all the intensity of family members struggling with alcoholism and poverty. And yet he found a way to embrace life – to grab it in both arms and live it to the fullest. There was one sentence in his book that really stood out to my 10 year old self, and it has been a mantra for my life ever since. “Even worse that being afraid of death,” he wrote “is being afraid of life.”

Really it comes down to our ability to see the beauty and wonder, and to stay steady amidst the seemingly crazy and unsafe. Of course we might get hurt…we live on earth after all, and can’t control a lot of what goes on here. But our earth is also magnificently awesome, and our capacity to hold the paradox of light and shadow will define how vibrant we are in our embrace of our existence.

So as the tides ebb and flow, let’s remember to go with the momentum, to hold fast against the storms, and most importantly, to embrace the power and beauty of being alive on this incredible planet!

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