Grateful for it all.

I awoke and the thought was there. If you’re Grateful for it all then you must be grateful for all of it — that includes the unwanted, uninvited, unintentional.

Like fear and aging. Be grateful for the fear.

Grateful for fear?

Why? How? What’s the purpose.

Because fear is part of the journey. Trying to pretend the fear isn’t there is kind of like trying to ignore a two-year-old determined to ‘Do it myself’ – which I encountered a lot last week while visiting with my grandchildren, daughter and son-in-love.

Ivy is committed to doing it herself. Pretty well everything. Which is great until it involves precision or timing.

And even there, my worst fears never materialized. There was always a work-around. Always a way to make it work for her, and me. No matter what we were doing.

Perhaps that is the lesson in aging. Fear is part of the journey. At least, it was/is for me.

As I got older, as 60 and then 65 and now next year’s 70 approaches, fear creates this delicate ripple of awareness of time’s fleeting nature.

Fear has a way of turning up when I want it least.

And, the more I try to pretend fear hasn’t ridden in with a side-order of anxiety, the more fear holds sway over my thinking.

The secret…

Say hello to the fear, and be grateful for its presence. It brings with it awareness. And in that awareness is the foundation of growth without fear.

It is one of the hardest parts of this thing called aging when you’re already older — certainty diminishes as the unknown becomes more and more present.

Because let’s face it. There are a lot of unknowns and a whole bunch of uncertainty in this thing called aging.

Of course, the biggest unknown… when will my last breath be drawn? Will it be an inhale or an exhale? Does it make a difference?

And that unknown is always followed by the other — what happens after that last breath? Is there a Heaven? An afterlife? Do we return to dust? To spirit? To nothing?

Perhaps that is my fear. That I will come to a final fear, obstacle, hurdle and there will be nothing beyond. Not even bliss. Happiness. Joy. Contentment. Just nothing.

I smile as I write that. It sounds so existential, so empty of the promise of possibility, or as my father would say, referencing the Irish at the root of his being, ‘so James Joyce’.

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainier Rilke writes, “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  (emphasis mine)

Perhaps, rather than questioning “when will my last breath happen?” or, “what happens after my last breath?” the question is, “how does fear limit my living fearlessly in this moment right now?”

Or maybe, “What is in it for me to hold onto fear?”

Or, “How does fear stop love flowing freely?”

You get it.

The questions are limitless.

The gift is found living into the questions to that place where the answer simply leads to the next question and the next until one day you discover you are living the same answer over and over and over …To live fearlessly….

Breathe in Love. Exhale Kindness. Live in Gratitude. 

4 thoughts on “Grateful for it all.

  1. Youngster LG … not to contradict, but to add: rather than live in fear, live with caution. Rather than live with fear, live with fearlessness. There is nothing more severe in terms of consequences than dying – nothing worse can happen. So, at this stage of life, anything we do which does not end or shorten our life is ‘complete freedom to say, to do, and to manifest anything we want. I don’t advocate recklessness or outrageousness just to make a point, but nothing other than death stands in anyone’s way. While that has always been true, we’ve been so caught up in living our lives and seeking the point of our lives that it’s hard to see the fullness of opportunity we now have. We’ve always had it, and so little encumbers or restricts us now!

    Mark (71, looking 51, feeling 39!)

    Liked by 1 person

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