No matter what we are facing, I’m noticing a greater degree of quietness in myself and in my friends. I don’t know if it’s universally true of most people in their sixties and beyond, but it seems that at this age we have come to terms with the lives we have. We are not striving to achieve, to get ahead, to prove something about our worth and status. We hold life with a looser grip and think more kindly before we speak. We let each other be who we are more easily and more often. We defer to younger people – especially to our own children – and marvel at their skills and accomplishments, the lives they create with passion and intention. We laugh more. We know we don’t know as much as we thought we knew, nor do we have as many certainties and hotly defended opinions as before. We value people more than things, time together more than obligations that distract us from each other. We have gained some wisdom and usually know when to share it and when to let others find it in their own way, in their own time.
One friend who came to see me this week said: “It seems like your home has wrapped itself around you to keep you safe and comfortable.” Her words echoed what I’ve been noticing recently. I am more conscious of being embraced by life. It’s hard to put into words. It’s like a baby in the womb, whose life is possible because it is one with its mother. Like the seeds of a pumpkin, alive within an enclosure and holding promise of new creations once they are planted. Like a kernel of corn, embedded in the cob, surrounded by the husks, alive because of these connections. Like a leaf floating because of the movement of air. Like a brook singing because of the presence of rocks. Like a brilliant sunset made possible by the slant of sun rays, the curve of the earth, dust in the air. Likewise, I am because of all that embraces me – air, light, food, water, sunsets, birds singing, a home, loved ones. I would cease to be if life were not embracing me, holding me in place, giving me pleasures and necessities. It is an awesome, incomprehensible gift, this life that surrounds us, that sustains us, allows us to be. We are inseparable, contained within this living matrix, this embrace.
How do you conceive of life at your present moment in time? What does the embrace mean to you? How are you living within it?
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