April 11


Today's quotation:

One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms.  One has to embrace the world like a lover.  One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.  One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.

Morris L. West

Today's Meditation:

Morris tells us something very important for our lives:  that we have to stop trying to avoid pain and unpleasantness if we're going to get the most out of life.  Freud claimed that the avoidance of pain was one of our greatest motivational forces (along with seeking pleasure), and that we spend much of our time doing our best to avoid the "negative" things that life can bring our way.

If we follow this path, though, we can say good-bye to learning.  We can count on not growing any longer, not changing, not becoming better people than we were yesterday.  Our best and deepest learning takes place as a result of the difficult moments and periods that we make our way through.  Our next relationship will be stronger because of what we've learned from the failure of this one.  My next attempt to start a business will be more successful because of the mistakes I've made this time.  I took a great risk and it came up short, but I least I didn't just sit around doing nothing, waiting for life to bring success to me.

"Total acceptance of every consequence."  Boy, does that sound difficult.  I know that he doesn't mean acceptance to include the concept of approval, but just an acknowledgement that this consequence has happened, and that fact can't be changed.  If we can act this way, then nothing in life can broadside us unexpectedly and take away our will to live and learn and continue--we'll know that doubt and darkness are just as much a part of our lives as anything else, and our lives will reflect that knowledge in the way that we respond to the risks and the setbacks with acceptance and a willingness to continue reaching out to embrace life.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things do you tend to avoid?  Why?

What are the hardest things for you to deal with?  How might you make them easier to accept as a part of your life?

If we can't banish the doubt and darkness from our lives, how might we make them important parts of who we are?

For further thought:

If your life is ever going to get better, you'll have to take risks.  There is simply no way you can grow without taking chances.

David Viscot

more thoughts and ideas on risk



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