No Man is an Island

It is beautiful to care for others. It is beautiful when others care for us.

It is priceless. Its worth is immeasurable.

When we accept that others care about us, every molecule of our being feels secure. We feel safe in the arms of our loved ones. We are sheltered from the storms of life, albeit temporarily, so long as we have each other to hold.

So, what do we do when we can no longer hold the people we love? Or, what do we do when the people who love us, leave?

As a baby, you rely on your caretakers to keep you safe. It is as much a functional aspect our biology as it is an inherent emotional need. We rely on our parents and other guardians to do just that, to guard us against any outside force (real or perceived) that threatens our stability, security, and survival.

Some of us may assume, falsely, that at a future point in time, we will no longer need care. Perhaps we are too proud to accept care from others. Perhaps allowing others to care for you is threatening, because if you learn to depend on others you may lose your ability to handle life entirely on your own. If you trust others to care for you, you also give them the power to hurt you. And so, you mistakenly try to get to a place where you no longer need the care of anybody else. You become an island, needing no care, comfort, or compassion from anybody.

Thankfully science exists to continually challenge and undermine flawed assumptions we believe about our lives. Any expectations we place on our own development or the development of others can be quickly deemed inaccurate by science.

No man is an island. Nobody does anything entirely by himself. Even if you are a lone wolf, 100% independence is not possible. Even if you live off the land in some remote tundra, at some point you had to purchase your supplies and equipment from another human (or, at least, eat animals/ living plants to survive). .

We never stop growing. We never stop learning. Even in the process of aging, of losing bodily tissues and physical strength, we grow in our understanding of what it means to walk through life with a different set of circumstances.

Science tells us that we are “stardust.” This phrase, although one of the better ones in modern times, has been popularized to the point of meaninglessness. What does it mean to be “stardust?” What does it mean that, “We are the universe observing itself?” What does it mean that we are “the cosmos, incarnate?”

It means an infinite number of things. And, as fate would have it, we humans have learned that there are an infinite number of galaxies in the universe. What does it mean that we are alive? It means an endless amount of realities can exist. It means that we are all caught in some inexplicable, magical place; the terrible curse of our existence is that too often we forget this remarkable truth. We fail over and over again to cherish the people we have around us every single day, who are caught in the same bubble we are.

It seems like the people who remember how special life is, the ones who beam with wonder and curiosity, marveling at this world beyond words, are the same ones taken from us too early. We lose our friends and our family members, the ones who held us so dear, the ones we held. They leave, and we don’t know where they go. All we know is that for the present moment, our universe feels a little smaller without their expansive, loving connections to keep us feeling secure, safe, and supported in this vast, terrifyingly complex world.

The more we learn about the world, the more we learn how little we know. Our leaps in scientific knowledge and awareness only remind us of our fragility. Nobody has answers. Despite the socioeconomic, cultural, and historical differences that exist between all of us today, October 23, 2017, we were all born with the same knowledge, which is not much.

Here is what we do know:
1) We are born
2) We die
3) In between these two inevitable events, if we are lucky, we get to experience love

So, hold each other tightly. Love each other unconditionally. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible,” said the Dalai Lama.

© 2017 Shawna Marie Rodgers
All Rights Reserved.