Leaning toward the light

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.


– Barry Lopez


The ability to stand on the edge of uncertainty without freaking out, numbing out or hiding is a skill I believe is imperative in our time. One moment I feel the need to protect my tender heart while wishing more than anything to remain open-hearted. Some days it feels like so much beauty is sinking beyond the horizon. Yes, I completely understand the inclination to be held captive by the deep grief that comes with living long enough to survive something.

But what we meet along the edge of ambiguity and discomfort is the opportunity to get disgruntled with our inertia, allowing it to catalyze us. Something must wake us up and there’s a clear choice: lean toward the beautiful or get pulled into a contemptuous argument with the way things are. We must face the way we deny and defend if we expect to create a new way forward.

The horizon of possibility is asking us if the beauty of this world is worth fighting for. The question is in the grand scheme of nature, has our old way of being become dispensable?

Photo Credits: Lean toward the light, by Susan J. Preston. Taos, NM ©2016, all rights reserved
Technical: Canon 60D | 100mm (100mm f2.8 Macro USM) | 1/640 sec, ISO 125
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