Receiving Risk

Not long ago, a practitioner asked me, “Could you receive what it is that you do not want to receive?” What? No! Are you out of your mind? What are you talking about? Why would you even say that to me? Why would I want to receive something I did not want? What a weird and disturbing thing to say to someone!

And yet, what a deeply, profound and truthful question to ask. I know now why she asked it. She was wondering how close to reality I could get without balking. Without denying what is there. Without trying to reconfigure the Truth of what stands before me. And she asked it because it is so. Because it is here. Because a willingness to receive what we do not want, and to find a way to be with it, maybe even make good use of it, is a big part of being alive in a healthy and satisfying way.

What we are talking about here are the risks and the conditions of being alive. Of the fact that there are no guarantees. No definites when it comes to how our lives will go. And even though, way down deep, each and every one of us knows this, we fight tooth and nail for it not to be so. In fact, we create lives, individually and collectively, based on the denial of the realities that stand before us.

The question I am asking myself now is, “Can I surrender and become the one who embraces it all?” Not because I want it. Not because I like it. Not because I hope what I do not want sticks around. Not because I am a masochist feeling the need to be punished. But because I have come to see that until I can fully and completely say “Yes” to what is before me, I cannot choose from a clear and balanced place. A place by the way, that because it includes it all, is the most reality-based, true to form, comprehensive assessment of what is actually happening. Warts and all. Including the unwanted.

This as opposed to choosing from fear and resistance. From a refusal to receive what is before you. From a place of trying to control what is not yours to control. For the Truth is, whenever we choose from denial, scarcity, fear, avoidance, control, resistance etc. we will always, always create unintended consequences, along with a whole set of  problems we never intended. Or saw coming.

It puts me in mind of a book I once read by a medical doctor called Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical Care. The first assumption being that all risk cannot be eliminated, and that trying creates risks of its own. Which brings us to what is happening now. That being, the current obsession with sterility and how it is creating a world of unintended consequences in the form of increased devastation to the planet through the excessive and fear-driven use of resources. We see this in the forms of paper towels, disposable gloves, masks, cleaning supplies and more being consumed at volumes the earth will not be able to tolerate without repercussion.

As we attempt to control one risk and to quell our fears, we over-use anti-microbial products; imbalancing our personal, collective and earthly microbiomes. Those luscious, rich and delicately balanced universes of micro-organsims that cover our bodies and the body of the earth; serving as a protective layer and health-giving resource. Particularly for the immune system. And so, while we think we are doing one thing to protect ourselves, are we in fact potentially creating a “cure” far worse than the disease we are attempting to eradicate?

What of the increased use of water, disposable containers, and overall resource depletion as we wage a war on trying to eliminate one terrifying risk only to trade it for a host of other equally, or perhaps more terrifying sets of consequences? In our attempts to reduce one form of toxicity, we increase other toxicity levels on the planet through the use of bleach and other harsh and life-depleting chemicals. And now, after decades of lobbying and finally succeeding in getting plastic disposable bags out of the waste stream, they are back now because it has been determined that reusable bags pose a threat.

So even though the CDC states that while “it may be possible” for the virus to be spread through contact with objects or surfaces, “this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” we can’t hear that. We can’t make that adjustment.

Back and forth, back and forth we yo-yo as a people. Trading one harm for another.

Where can we turn in times like this? How about to the hard core truths of existence? Those truths that lie at the heart of, and serve as the root of all else. Truths like the importance of each and every one of us learning how to manage our fears so that we do not create more harm through reactive and fear-based choices. Truths like we cannot control everything despite what we have to come to believe.

Biggest of all, could we learn to come to grips with the barest, harshest, truest and most precious of all realities? That being, that life has risks. That being alive is a delicate and risky business. And that facing our own mortality, while choosing to live as fully as we can is the greatest, sanest, safest, most honest and life-giving form of risk management that is available here on the planet.