July 23

Security is mostly a superstition. It doe
not exist in nature, nor do the children
of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding
danger is no safer in the long run than
outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller


Today's Meditation:

I know many, many people who make "security" their highest priority.  In fact, as a culture we've even made it one of our strongest cultural values.  Many people want to set up a life and lifestyle that will be "perfect" for their kids--no changes of schools, no moves, no changes of jobs--for their entire childhoods.  For the people who succeed in doing this, their children often leave home to find life overwhelming, for they find that the "security" that their parents so carefully crafted for them truly is a myth, and that the real world often demands us to make changes quickly and forcefully, and not at all gently.

Some parents don't allow their kids to take chances, to do many of the things that kids must do if they're to learn many of the dynamics of real life.  I know that in my life, I've been blessed by having to take risks and make changes regularly, and I'm fortunate that changes that come about now are never overwhelming.  I also had the foresight of joining the military for a four-year stint while I was younger, and that experience also has helped me to keep in mind that there really is no security, and that life will throw changes my way.  What's important is how I react to those changes.

I remember being told over and over again at one particular job that with my degrees and experience and the amount of work I was doing, there was no way that I would be let go.  I always reminded people that those exact factors were what made me more expensive than a teacher straight out of college--and I was among the first let go so that the school could hire teachers who would cost the district less money.

We've seen how the lack of economic security plays out in the last decade or so.  How many people lost their jobs and had to re-establish or re-define themselves?  The security that they thought was there didn't abandon them--it simply wasn't there to begin with.

Acknowledging a lack of security isn't fatalism or pessimism--it's a realistic way of looking at the world that keeps us aware that things can change very, very quickly in many areas of our lives, and that perspective can help us to function well in situations that otherwise might overwhelm us.

Questions to consider:

In which areas of our lives do we most desire security?  Does it really exist for us?

How might we be sabotaging ourselves if we spend much of our time and effort seeking security?

What do the words "life is a daring adventure, or nothing" mean to you?

For further thought:

There's only one form of security we can attain during our
lives.  It's inner security--the kind that comes from courage,
experience, and the ability and the willingness to learn,
to grow, to attempt the unknown.  Security isn't what the
wise person looks for; it's opportunity.  And once
we begin looking for that, we find it on every side.
You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that
measures the risk involved.  They go together.

Earl Nightingale


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