I like going fast.
I like going downhill.
I like going downhill.....fast.
but not too fast.
there's a big fat line between fast and too fast, and sometimes I misjudge just how fat that line is. I'll be heading downhill feeling completely competent and safe and squarely on that fat line, and then all of the sudden I realize I'm no longer on the line but over its edge into the not-quite-safe place.
sometimes the result is a squeeze of the brakes and a resulting quiver or shudder: not a fun feeling.
occasionally the result is a squash of the brakes and a squealing slide: a scary experience.
the toltec are an ancient population who lived in mexico, a people full of wisdom and experience. they passed down an oral history, which has been documented in bits and pieces by people over time, perhaps the most well-known being miguel ruiz with his book about the four agreements. (these are powerful tools and guidelines I use--when I'm strong and thoughtful about it--in living my life: be impeccable with your word, do not make assumptions, always do your best, and do not take anything personally. awesome guides for a peaceful life.)
another toltec teaching, however, has to do with the angel of death. please know that this is my interpretation of what I've heard, which may not tell quite the same story as an authentic toltec teacher might. I look at it this way: until we learn to release the fear of death, our lives will be constricted by it. the angel of death, in their teachings, is always on your shoulder. at any moment she can take away everything you've earned, learned, and been given throughout your life. and until we accept her presence, we operate from a place of fear. once we realize we have no control over her, we are released, and become free.
I also like to interpret the angel of death a little bit differently. I see her, by reminding us to release fear, as an inspiration to introduce more challenges into our lives. she tells us that fear of death is pointless and even harmful, but I think she also suggests to us that we live life most fully when we dare to be a little bit on the edge.
to speak our truths when we're not sure of the outcome, to risk reputation and security when we are following our dream, to dare to walk a different path than those walked by people around us, to go a little bit faster, downhill, than we necessarily feel comfortable with.
earlier this month I was traveling with a couple I barely knew, and I found myself making a statement that surprised--and pleased--me with its assertion of my truth: I am finding myself so often outside my comfort zone, that it's becoming comfortable to be there.
woo hoo! what if this were everyone's goal in life?
what a brave and exhilarated population we would be!
that angel of death helps remind me about the power of adrenaline. adrenaline revives, it exhilarates, it motivates. it challenges, it changes. it refreshes and renews and reminds us that life is completely what we make of it.
you don't have to go downhill super fast--or even fast--if that doesn't work for you.
but I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone again and again, with a toe, with a foot, with your entire body. check in with your angel. be brave. give her a chance to have a little fun with you.
be safe, but get out there and press your limits just a bit, now and again, and think of me . . . because I'll be doing the same.