I’ve made the decision to lovingly engage with everything that has life. By ‘life’ I refer to everything that lives, grows and dies. By engage, I mean to validate, to respect, to study, to experience, to question.

The Life That Impacts Me

I am a soon-to-be 90-year-old female, living alone in Maine, by choice, on a quiet, somewhat secluded stretch of sea water. I am surrounded by life in all forms. My years in this setting have fused my love with every living creature, flora, forest and natural miracle that these tired eyes can contain.

So deeply embedded in my soul is this ‘life viewing’, I can close my eyes and trace perfectly the living location of every tree near my cottage and those that are fringed around the silent, cove waters.

This is my church, my place of worship, my art gallery, the delicious food that feeds my heart, the ever-changing, never changing vision that greets my fading eyes each day, all day. It follows me into my dreams and promises to be there at the blessing of sunrise.

Why I Didn’t See It Earlier

I do wonder how I journeyed through all those past rough and tumble years of my life, far away from this discovered truth that I find I cannot live without for a second today.

Where was my heart? Where was my head?

Was I lost in those concrete forests of the city, never tuned in to the bird singing in a nearby tree or the perfection of a slow sliding cloud in the piercing, blue sky? I cannot bring back those years. They lived in another me, a somewhat hollow, shallow me.

When we look back on our lives, and this is the pattern of those of us who have reached a hefty digit, memories flood into view and so many are not pleasant to recall or welcome at all. So many times, when we weren’t kind or gentle or even honest with others, but especially ourselves.

But hark, there is a reprieve from these regretted past deeds and actions. It is old age. Forgiveness can cancel out transgressions as we are reminded, daily, that each hour, each minute is a gift and should be lived happily and without guilt.

My Decision

And so, my new decision, to respect everything living, has brought precious gifts. I find I am kinder to myself, more respectful of my family, friends and neighbors. Nature looks back at me with outstretched limbs. Even my houseplants seem brighter, greener.

A tiny black spider has made its way onto my desk as I write. My impulse, born of the other me, is to kill it. But, my new code of respect for everything living, prompts me to gently capture the tiny life and transport it outside to my deck. How simple. How respectful. How life-loving.

Are you fully engaged with life? What things are precious to you today that you overlooked when you were younger? Please share your observations in the comments below.

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