Aging, Mindfulness

The Frailty in Life and Health

There is frailty in life and in our health and with every moment we walk a fine line between a solid foundation of wellness and strength and the fragility of impermanence and uncertainty.  We can see the beauty of life in both of these extremes.

This message unveils a profound truth when learning about the life of the monarch butterfly.  The distinct and striking black and orange monarch butterfly flies every November for 3,400 miles from Canada and the United States to Mexico.  It is common for this winged wonder to travel between 50 to 100 miles a day and it can take two months to complete their journey. This journey to Mexico brings them to a unique biosphere reserve where this butterfly hibernates for five months.  During the life cycle of the monarch it is a wonder that their survival prevails.  As a matter of fact, this year extreme weather decimated 135 acres of the sanctuary in Mexico where they reside, resulting in the death of 6.2 million butterflies.  It is hard to believe that between the migration and delicate balance of temperature and conditions that this butterfly ever survives.

We are certainly more resilient than the monarch butterfly; yet, their journey is one to ruminate upon and relate to in understanding the frailty of life from one moment to the next.  We find out a family member or a friend was just diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and we realize the need to be grateful, understanding each and every moment as more imperative than ever before.  A tragic accident hits close to home causing serious injury to someone we know and it stops us in our tracks.  Especially if this situation happened to the person we felt had all the youth, strength and energy from the majority of people in our inner circle.

Everything in the universe is playing a dance on the tipping point of life between impenetrability and vulnerability.  Nature especially shows us these lessons and we must honor both aspects within ourselves and others.  A newborn baby requiring nurturing life support every step of the way can be an example of this fragility; and, a young adult stepping into a new life of independence can be the symbol of strength and resiliency.  These tables can be turned with the flip of a coin; therefore, we must probe deeper and understand that in vulnerability and fragility there is the ability for strength to present itself.  Conversely, in strength there is a deeper need for support and nurturance.  The monarch butterfly strikes me as a very fragile life force that could blow away or be destroyed easily.  This insect travels far, endures through many adverse conditions yet is mighty and intelligent beyond its beautiful appearance.  We also have both sides to us.  There is a depth of frailty, and also strength, which needs keen awareness and reverence in every moment of our life.

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