"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Security does 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 exposure."
How do you feel?
How. Do. You. Feel?
When I ask how you feel, I don't mean the temporal, elusive, day-to-day, fleeting, superficial, paint-on-a-happy-face, answer-I'm-fine-when-someone-asks-how-I-am-when-I'm-really-not-doing-that-well, "I feel happy" feeling, which probably isn't really true "happiness" at all.
I mean in what ways do you allow yourself to feel. Do you allow yourself to experience all that life has to bring or do you try to shut it out?
On my cross-country journey, I saw broad blue skies that would break your heart. I saw mountains so high and valleys so deep and expanses so wide that they would make you cry. I saw open roads and sunsets and rushing rivers and barren deserts and wildlife that would make your heart pound and your soul sing just for the sake of singing. It's no wonder that "America the Beautiful" was written after Katharine Lee Bates' inspiration from visiting Pikes Peak.
I met people, places and things that have changed me forever. My path crossed with people, places, things and situations that can only be experienced by stepping out and allowing God's "coincidences" to unfold.
We spend time and effort to create a perfect box for our lives so that we don't ever actually have to engage the real "stuff" of life and all of the feelings that come along with that.
We spend time and effort in attempt to insulate ourselves from the fear, insecurity, terror, sadness, pain, unhappiness, feelings of loss or loneliness, and every other feeling in the entire range of emotion that is tied to human existence. And if we don't allow our lives to be opened up to that entire spectrum, if we don't open up our lives proactively, we're not really living. And oh how short the life really is.
Because the truth is, you can try to create that hermetically-sealed, sanitized, life-box of emotional safety, but you're never going to be able to completely insulate yourself from life's trials.
So. Would you rather have allowed yourself to experience emotional and situational diversity so that you can better handle the slings that life throws? Or would you rather attempt (futilely) to shield yourself from any harm and then self-destruct or shut down emotionally and withdraw from life when a bump (a brick wall even) appears in the road?
I've felt pure joy, elation and freedom. I've felt complete and utter loss that I would equate with the feeling of losing a limb (even though I've never lost a limb thank God) or even deeper. And I've felt everything in between.
I've felt (on more than one occasion I might add) the sick-to-the-stomach, nervous, I-want-to-curl-up-into-the-fetal-position-on-the-floor-throw-up-and-then-rock-myself-to-sleep feeling when big change was coming in my life. I embraced it, as difficult as it was, and the good things that have come out of my life through those periods of growth are innumerable. Why can't the feeling associated with all of that just be a happy-go-lucky feeling to make it easier and to let you know you're doing the correct thing?!??
Because you're being tested to see if you will really do what you say you will do and to separate yourself from those who never really allow themselves to LIVE. Because if things were too easy, then you wouldn't grow and you wouldn't know the satisfaction of knowing you stuck it out and made it through.
And what of my temperament, countenance with others, personality and psychological make-up if I hadn't experienced, nay, allowed myself to fully experience those things? Bland. Dull.
If people are interested in my thoughts, opinions, advice or input, its not just because they might like me. They may feel that way on the surface, but the real nuts and bolts are that they know I've been through some stuff and how much better is it to get input from someone with experience and wisdom and that's what draws them in whether they realize it or not.
I certainly know that I want input from mentors and elders who have some dirt under their fingernails. Those who have lived, loved and lost. Not those who have lived an antiseptic and sterile life.
Because the thing that matters most in life is living.