Posted by: alliehope | February 2, 2008

On Risk, or, How I Learned to Love Life

If there’s one thing life inherently is, it’s risky. Period. From the time you wake up in the morning until the time you sack out at night, you’re gambling, trying to beat the odds. And if you’re anything like me, you’re trying to minimize the risk.

But I’ve realized that risk avoidance is really life avoidance. Now wait a minute, I hear some of you saying. I hear that. I get that some of you might think I’m accusing you of just taking up space on this planet. But that’s not my intention at all.

What I am saying is that there’s a heck of a lot more to life than going to Starbucks or Abercrombie and Fitch on a Saturday afternoon. There’s a lot more to life than superficial commentary on who wore what to the latest awards show.

Unfortunately, to access that, one has to take risks. There’s the rub, for a lot of people. So many of us, myself included, or more than happy to simply let each day go by without risking anything. We’re content to exist in (for those of us who live in suburbia) our comfort-induced coma, wrapped up in layers of denial and excuses and bullshit (sorry, but that’s what it is). We are in this comfortable cocoon, but we don’t realize that we’re slowly withering away. It’s not like the crysalis of a butterfly, where transformation happens; it’s more like a tomb–we’re decaying, without even realizing it.

The antidote: take risks. Have the conversations you need to have, however difficult they might be. Get involved with a cause close to your heart, something that calls you outside of your safe life. Reach out to the people you deal with daily: the bus driver, the cashier, the barista, the woman at your dry-cleaner’s shop, the co-worker who doesn’t get invited to lunch. Just some examples to fire your creativity… the opportunities are endless. We all have the chance to make an impact, and it’s in that zone of impact where our love of life truly starts.

After all, it’s in that zone of impact where I know I’m most alive. When I can look up and say, “This is what I was meant to do”. It’s in that zone of impact where I find myself most in love with life, since I’m living aligned with my vocation, at the crosshairs of my deepest joy and the world’s greatest need. Accessing that zone is itself risky, but the potential to create beauty, love and joy is like nothing else. So, what are you waiting for? Take a risk today–then tell me how it went.


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