Thursday, January 7, 2010

live deep

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
-Henry David Thoreau

Do those words strike a chord in your soul, as they do in mine? Do you want to live deep? Or are you content to wade around in the shallow end of the pool, never venturing in far enough to sense the exhilaration that comes with not being able to touch the bottom?

I had an incredible experience this summer. I went down to Florida to camp out for a week at the beach. It was a very spur-of-the-moment vacation and possibly one of the best I've ever had. During the trip, I tried something I'd never done before. I went snorkeling. They took us out on this huge catamaran and we got to snorkel and explore the underwater world for quite some time. I had one very zen moment when I completely relaxed and allowed the rocking of the ocean to move me in perfect rhythm with the swaying seaweed and the undulating fish. It was really quite trance like and lovely. 

But then later I missed an experience and I think I will always regret it. They took us out into the deep water and threw out this line with little buoys attached. Then they told us we could jump in and wait for the dolphins we'd spotted to come closer. But I didn't do it. I was fine near the island, where my feet could touch if need be, but dive in out here in the middle of the ocean where anything could be lurking? I just couldn't do it! My brave friend Jules did though. She was the first one out there and went to the limits of the line. And the dolphins came and swam under her and by her close enough to touch. And then they went and got some of their dolphin friends and brought them back to see the silly looking creatures in the water and swam around all the brave ones. And I stood on the deck and watched, and laughed and clapped. I loved every minute of it. But I missed out on diving into the deep and experiencing it for myself. I don't ever want to do that again. I don't want fear to keep me from experiencing something extraordinary. I don't want fear to keep me from living deep! 
And I don't mean that in just the grand-occasion kind of way, but in the ordinary day in and day out moments of my life. There are always opportunities to risk and experience life more fully. It might be taking the risk to open up to someone and reveal more of myself, or to love someone, or to help someone or to stand up to someone that needs to be stood up to. 

Heaven help me to risk being real and fully present in a world suffocating in synthetics. Help me to live my life deeply and fully with no more regrets!

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