Frontiers of Possibility
The well-known poet, Rilke once said, “Being here is so much.” I agree, it really, really is. However, the human condition crowds out the frequency of which most of us reflect on those five significant words.
The traditional structures of family, parenting, community, and communication have become increasingly unsure. We lose sight of the reliable presence and repetitions of the stars, sun, moon, and seasons. Our lives become predictable, and our behaviors become routine and mindless. We lose ourselves in the daily mechanical functioning of our lives. We take the same route to the office each day; we park in the same parking spot, we eat our meals at the same time and often eat the same thing over and over again, we interact with friends and colleagues with little presence or creativity, and we rarely step out of our comfort zone. We begin to develop patterns of thinking which render us incapable of feeling or thinking with any authenticity and refinement. We have handed much of our daily living over to Smartphones, busyness, and mindless consumption. And all of this is why Rilke’s quote goes unexamined.
Don’t Wait For Tragedy
Alas, it is only when something throws a wrench into our drone-like existence that we wake up to the fact that ‘Being here is so much.’ It is the diagnosis of a terminal illness, the unexpected death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or some other sudden disruption of our comfort and familiarity that awakens us to the gifts of the world. As John O’Donohue so eloquently states in his book, Beauty:
“Beauty is not an extra luxury, an accidental experience that we happen to have if we are lucky. Beauty dwells at the heart of life. If we can free ourselves from our robot-like habits of predictability, repetition, and function, we begin to walk differently on the earth. Beauty is the secret sound of the deepest thereness of things. To recognize and celebrate beauty is to recognize the ultimate sacredness of experience, to glimpse the subtle embrace of belonging where we are wed to the divine, the beauty of every moment, of every thing.”
Being Here Is So Much
And so, I encourage you to be still long enough to realize where you are and who you are. Don’t wait for heartbreak or misfortune to rattle you to your core before you become fully alive. Be badass. Courageously walk into and through uncertainty, discomfort, and fear because on the other side is where you will find frontiers of possibility. And that is when, possibly for the first time, you will fully understand and embrace that ‘Being here is so much.’