I listen to Terry Gross’s guests on Fresh Air (named aptly) and think: I should live with more of their brash and brio, more of their daring and dash; I should create more wildly and in life take more risks instead of cowering in my corner, afraid of making a mistake!
When the sun is shining as it is this early spring morning amazement and gratitude flood my soul. I am really blessed. I may not live in that Paris house over looking rooftops, with glass doors between rooms, shared by Tiffauges, the cat, with his master and slave, the writer Abel, but my small condominium is modern and bright with light, situated close to the places I like to frequent, its wood floors a marvel of warmth, a tiny all-season garden outside that I can visit in the morning before I start working in my study with a sparkling Macintosh computer, hundreds of books, CDs, and DVDs at my fingertips (or at most, a few steps away). In Yves Navarre’s A Cat’s Life, Tiffauges writes and comments on his owner’s life, a clever device for insight into human foibles. It is not too daring a literary device but it does provide a unique point of view.
Daring, I guess, comes after some homework to stretch not just our skills but our imagination. Without that stretch, it is hard but not impossible to leap with panache into strange worlds where our familiar fears grow luminous with new eyes, new ears, new skin for feeling and contacting what? Just our own selves, but transfigured by the risk we take without which growing does not follow stretching.
Action is paramount. Avoiding what feels unpleasant or arduous we don’t gain the energy of achievement. Our lives are small because we don’t make more of the world ours. More space is available just for the taking if we just stretched out our hands and grab. Thorns might prick us and we might get burned or wounded or sickened but we would have experienced something that our inner world is larger thereby. We are fools not to dare and be more alive.