What Are the Chances

Today I heard that the probability of being born is about one in 400 trillion. With a chance that small to be who you are, your being alive is nothing short of a miracle! It turns out, I am not the only one curious about this statistic.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel The Signature of All Things, in which the main character is on a quest to understand the scientific laws of nature in the 19th century when much was not yet known. She talks of transmutation and competition, struggle as the catalyst for change in all species, and the constant unfolding of creation occurring all around us, often at a microscopic level, invisible to the naked eye.

And all this has got me thinking about the marvel of life.

It’s easy to forget that we’re here for a grand experiment – something that cannot be quantified by Facebook posts or Instagram photos. How often do we drive to work, eyes glazed over, ignoring the precious moment? Or hide from our fears of interacting with one another behind phones and headphones on the bus, in the coffee shop, or at the park? With so much forgetting how precious this being alive is, how do we  make use of this rare chance in 400 trillion that we’ve been given?

That’s the paradox of being human I suppose. We’re each so painfully and stubbornly at the mercy of our thoughts and emotions that it’s rare to be fully present for longer than a number of minutes, if not seconds. It’s like we’re blinking our way through life, opening to the miracle of being alive for brief moments of warming light, only to close our eyes once more to the night. We’re such strange creatures!

I am no less a blinking speck of stardust than the rest with one in 400 trillion chances that I’d be the human I am, born on March 9, to my mother and father. It’s certainly something to be grateful for. And yet, I am the first to admit I stumble often into the illusion that I’m all alone and that life is a series of painful events and challenges. It takes effort to right my ship and look at all the good around me. Often times, it takes a phone call or a hug to feel connected to the love of my friends and family again. It’s okay that it’s not easy. Maybe we’re designed for such a meandering range of awareness.

Nevertheless, it’s good to make the effort to think about all there is to be grateful for; it certainly helps bolster the soul. So tonight, when you reflect on your day before nodding off to sleep, keep in mind how rare and special it is that you get to be who you are in this very moment in time. You’re a miracle, a mystery, an ever-changing specimen of the human kind, and I’m so glad we get to be here together.

Portrait

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The Growing Pains of Growing Up

I wonder about a lot of things many minutes, most days. But most often I wonder, how do people grow?

So far it has taken me…

time
patience
humility
rejection
heartbreak
laughter
love
spirit
surrender
loss
wisdom
friends
losing myself
hugs
poetry
nature
leaving home
solitude
travel
finding myself
dancing
tears
reading
insecurity
facing fear
taking risks
falling down
failing
letting go
forgiving

And I still feel – no, I know – I have so far to go. Sometimes it’s overwhelming.

“Turning on yourself is betraying what made you.” -Sabrina Ward Harrison

Yet it feels so easy to do
especially when
life doesn’t show up the way we imagined it would be or feel or taste

sometimes it’s bitter sweet.
sometimes it requires us to step it up.
most times, it asks us to relax
loosen up
lighten the load.
love a little deeper.
laugh a bit more.

well, maybe not all life events appear to say that on the surface, but the heart of something bigger and wiser does! If you listen, you can hear it as a whisper in the trees when the wind blows, and see it as a kiss of peach in the clouds when the sun sets, and feel it as a soft hand patting yours, years of experience decorated by wrinkles, saying “you’re doing just fine.”

and i know it’s a shame to worry all the way through the days. it feels like a crime to wrestle with thoughts when you really want to just be here.
breathing
awake
present
living

a moment of surrender

a moment of surrender

but i’m beginning to think this worrying is just part of being human.

and maybe the ache of questions unanswered
and the sting of inadequacy
are too.

lately, I’ve been realizing that if nothing else, a life well-lived is a life that asks us to be more loving…to learn to love ourselves and others more wholly.

why does that feel like such a tremendously difficult task?
because it isn’t meant to happen overnight.
this is what a life can be spent discovering and practicing again and again.

it isn’t easy work, but it’s the only work, and it calls to us through many forms, in every language on the planet.

“It is alright. This. Right here. This mess…these anxious questions. Doubts. Answers and waiting. This is just as it is. Right now; taking me on my way. Don’t run. We all suffer. There will be understanding sooner than you think and later than you expected.” -Sabrina Ward Harrison

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The Falcon

Does the falcon
see me
whirring by
beneath its great talons?

Would it have any way of knowing
I see it
every morning
like a spirit guardian,
like a guide from some other world?

Perhaps the falcon represents some entity
I have yet to know –
or nothing meaningful at all.
Still,
I’d rather it be her

(the one we lost)

keeping a watchful gaze
as I drive to work
beneath the gooseneck lamp post,
urging me onward

deeper still
into the forest
of my waiting dreams.

Saying:
don’t forget the wild;
don’t forget who you are.

 Photo credit: Pixabay.com


Photo credit: Pixabay.com