February 15

Security is not the meaning
of my life.  Great opportunities
are worth the risks.

Shirley Hufstedler


Today's Meditation:

Risk is a four-letter word to many of us, and one of the worst four-letter words of all.  After all, risk takes the safety out of our lives, even if in that safety we're not happy or content at all.  Taking a risk can put us in danger of losing whatever "security" we've built up, any "safety" that we feel in our lives.  I've come to learn, though, that most of what we consider to be safety is illusion, as the recent recession has pointed out to us so strongly--many people who never expected to be losing their jobs suddenly found themselves without work, myself included, because the organizations that paid them no longer could afford them.

And what do we do about that?  Does that mean that we all should run out and take risk after risk, just because?  Does that mean we should throw all our money at stocks and bonds in the hopes of becoming wealthy?  Hardly.

The people who consistently do the best with risks are those who take the time to analyze them, to consider them carefully before jumping into them.  The most important thing that they do is accept the fact that risk is an important part of life, and they act accordingly--they seriously consider taking the risk, but they also consider passing on it.  It's an important balance to maintain. 

I remember reading an article once about someone who died when his plane went down during a brutal storm.  The writer of the article made the statement that this person knew how to live life fully by taking risks instead of being passive.  I remember how much I disagreed with him--while I think that taking risks is a very important part of life, I also know that putting your life in danger--and this person had passengers who also died--in a foolish risk is not living fully at all, but being silly.

So is a risk simply a risk, or an opportunity as well?  Flying through a storm after having been warned shows no opportunity, but many of the other risks that we face provide us with great opportunities to make something more of the lives we've been given to live.

Questions to consider:

How do we get so caught up in the idea of "safety"? 

How can we possibly take risks with things like changing careers when we have family to take care of that depends upon our current income? 

When have you backed away from a risk that would have been worth taking?  How did it make you feel? 

For further thought:

One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen happened in a park.  There was a mama and a papa who had taken--actually taken the time from this mad, busy schedule of all these essential things to be done, to take their little child to the park.  Their little kid was walking down to the lakeside.  Papa saw this, and started to stop him.  Mama, who must have been a very unique, lovely person, reached out and grabbed him.  She said, "Let him go!"  And down toddled this kid, just barely able to walk.  This tale has a happy ending; the baby didn't drown.  I'm sure Mama's heart was pounding hard.  But all growth involves risk.

Leo Buscaglia

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