The risk of life

November 20th, 2007

When I realize I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I realize I am everything, that is love. And between these points I live my life.

In this big, wide world that fits on the head of a pin, in this universe of infinite possibilities and yet identical experiences, I often find my voice in the words of readers or find my readers in mine. Such was the case today when this post prompted a drip and then the outpouring you find in the puddle right here.

This is what I have been longing to say.

Living involves an incalculable level of risk. It is the riskiest thing we do. And not because it could be fatal. There is a 100 percent risk of fatality, and that cannot be called a risk, but rather a guarantee. No matter what false comfort we take in our age, our habits, our attitude, or our genetics, none of that changes the bottom line. We all die. In spite of that irrefutable end, living with our whole heart, our whole mind and both feet is a risk that few of us are willing to take.

Few of us are willing to take on the risk of being alive. By that I mean being fearless and free, spontaneous, creative, generous, expansive, trusting, truthful and satisfied. To risk accepting ourselves and our lives as they are. To risk forgiveness. To risk not knowing. To risk messing up and starting over. To risk life’s inevitable cycles and sequences. To risk something new. To let hurts heal. To let bygones be gone. To face the fact that the narrow, familiar, comfortable idea we have of our self is just that – an idea – and to let that idea go. And not to be replaced by any other newer, better idea of who we are. To realize every name, every definition, every label, every story, every boundary, every fear, every feeling, every diagnosis, every conclusion, everything we claim to know about ourselves, is just an idea. And to let every bit of that go too.

The truth is, we know nothing about life. It can’t be known. But it can be observed. This is what we can see.

Life wants to live. Watch a friend or family member face death, or have a health scare yourself, and see how much life wants to live.

Life wants to grow. Plan a family, or struggle with infertility, and see how much life wants to grow.

Life is not hard to live. It is effortless. Life lives by itself. It is what we think and feel about life that is so very difficult to endure.

Life has a way of going. Why it goes, we can’t answer. Where it goes, we don’t know. But how? That’s entirely up to us. How can you risk losing another year to fear, anger or anxiety? Another month? Another day? Another moment? How can you risk being anything but whole-heartedly alive right now?

If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, look into the free teleconference I’m hosting on “The Mind-Body Connection to Conception” next week. I don’t know what I will say, but I promise to do no harm.


  1. Another insightful post that offers so much. I find that when I take risk, I feel happier with the now. When I sit and stew, the happiness gets lost in the bowl.

    I could have used your words on infertility years ago so I am passing it on to friends who can use them now.

    Comment by Shawn — November 20, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  2. I lost the comment I was typing. Now how do I feel about that.

    Comment by denise — November 20, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

  3. I have never read something so right. Upon reading your post, my whole body relaxed and tears appeared.

    Comment by Mika — November 20, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  4. You are so right, it is a loss-it’s so funny because I just looked back at my journal from a few years ago this week and I had written something about feeling like I was suffering some profound loss but I couldn’t figure out what was gone. Now I believe the loss was time and opportunity, moments hiding from life instead of embracing it.
    I am gaining momentum from your words.

    Comment by Shannon — November 20, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  5. Karen,
    Where were you and these words when I was going to see so many doctors, trying to explain to them while I did not feel the need to have so many tests, to weigh so many options, to take hrt because of the “risk” of osteoporosis and heart disease, or to not take hrt due to the “risk” of breast cancer.

    Finally, I just had to walk away and live.

    Comment by bella — November 20, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  6. What a wonderful puddle! I think I’ll jump in and get wet. And maybe I’ll get someone else wet, too. These are words to pass along.

    Comment by RocketMom — November 20, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

  7. Mika, it’s always a good time to cry, as I’m sure you know. And a good time to stop!

    Shannon, I know. I know. We lose the life we never take.

    Bella, I was in your heart waiting to be born.

    Comment by Karen — November 20, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

  8. What in my karma is so good that my life has crossed paths with yours? What an amazing post, and what an amazing woman you are.

    Comment by kathryn — November 20, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  9. Needed this today.

    Comment by Mama Zen — November 21, 2007 @ 12:05 am

  10. Karen, I deleted my two earlier comments. I was trying to say thank you and explain why what you said meant so much to me. I should have just simply said, “Thank you for this.”

    Comment by Moanna — November 23, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  11. Moanna, I happened to love what your wrote, both visible and invisible. “Dream the possible dream.” That what fertility really is: being open to all possibilities. As I often inscribe for people:”It’s never too late to be the new mother of your own life.”

    Comment by Karen — November 23, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  12. That’s a sweet thing to say. Thanks!

    Comment by Moanna — November 24, 2007 @ 1:38 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month