Take a risk, what is there to lose?

  1. A year for taking risks. For leaping into your own life, into your own unfolding future. When did you last risk everything for a chance to live your life, this life that the soft gentle voice whispering in the depths of your soul is calling to you with?

It’s a leap year. Meaning February has 29, not 28, days in the month. Since the time of Julius Caesar. In 45 BC he simplified the calendar opting for a 365-day year with an extra day every four years. Further refined later into the Gregorian Calendar we use today. If your being likes to breath in historical stories as mine does, it is further said that the month of February may suffer with the fewest days of the year as Augustus Caesar stole two days from February, adding to the tally of 29 days that was his given month of August so not to be outdone by his predecessor, Julius Caesar, who in July had a month with 31 days. And in the presence of a leap year is a tradition of women having express permission, enacted into law in Ireland sometime in the 1200s, to ask their intended to marry them on the 29th of February. Apparently in Scotland a woman with such intent had to wear a red petty coat. Perhaps giving the beau time to hide should she be spotted so clothed, was he not intending to accept. It is said a spurned request could be expensive with the man having to gift the woman twelve pairs of gloves should he decline.

So while this is not a post to uncover the wisdom of such actions it does raise the question of taking risks. Of challenging traditions. Of going against understood and accepted norms. Of course these days one may scoff at the thought of woman waiting until that one day in 1,460 days to propose, to ‘pop’ the question, giving men the other 1,459 opportunities to make that decision. To embark on that path. Although, come to think of it, one still does not see women all around us asking these questions. The engagement photos that circulate on the Internet are still 99.9% men asking women, same sex engagements aside. So what does it take to challenge tradition, take a risk, take a chance on being rejected, on getting the impulse wrong? And what would it take for you to be spontaneous and brave and step into a future of your own making? Especially if you have a chance of stepping into a completely different way of engaging with your life? Of not doing the expected.

So this leap month, in this leap year, perhaps consider being spontaneous and taking risks. Even small ones to begin with. Be courageous. Be curious about what it is that you may be putting off, not engaging with. What anxieties or fears, real and unreal, are holding you back? For me this is a month of staying close to that which I been putting off, that which I have not been turning toward. Being curious about these things, and even getting over some inherent residual procrastination that habitually resides in the month of January for me, and getting things done, started, engaged with. It does not need to be a large external journey but could be a quiet internal turning toward whatever it is that is calling me. Taking on this leap month in terms of taking risks and doing those things I would not normally do, or am held back from doing by habit or tradition or the multiple voices in my head. As Mary Oliver’s in here poem ‘The Journey’ below so beautifully articulates – But little by little,/ as you left their voices behind,/ the stars began to burn/ through the sheets of clouds,/ and there was a new voice/ which you slowly/ recognized as your own,/ that kept you company/ as you strode deeper and deeper/ into the world,/ determined to do/ the only thing you could do–/ determined to save/ the only life you could save..

We do not take risks in our lives for so many credible reasons that hold us tethered and then have regrets of not having done them. Our greatest regrets often are not the things we have done, but the things we have not done. So this month, be courageous. Do the things that have been put off. Take chances. Begin journeys. Forgive. Tell people you love them. Risk ourselves and our lives for love and the chance to live fully. We only have this one life. Take a risk to live it now and have no regrets doing so. Risk greatly and regret nothing.

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And on this year’s Valentine’s Day don’t just say “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Say “I love you”. Not only to your partner, your spouse, your lover, but to your parents, siblings, children, friends, colleagues, and anyone who has had an impact on your life. Tomorrow may be too late. Take some more risks for the sake of your own lives and thank you for reading this post whether by intention or chance. I love you all.
By Mary Oliver
The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

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About livinglifewithpassion

I am passionate about living every moment as best I can. This is a work in progress
This entry was posted in life, Life, stories & more, Love & loss, grief & joy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Take a risk, what is there to lose?

  1. Thank you. And I love you too.

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