To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~Mary Oliver from In Blackwater Woods
Love what is mortal. All life is sacred. It is a seamless garment from beginning to end. One stage, one being is not more important than another. When I live out this belief, I treat all living things and people with respect and do what I can to reduce suffering.
Hold it close. If I live a life that divides people, animals, plants into different categories of value and assumes that some things are here just for my personal benefit, I devalue all living things. I abuse the earth, treat others with disregard, and put my own interests above the sustainability of all life. I need to embrace and live out the interconnectedness of life.
Let it go. Hold the things that pass through my life lightly: the possessions, the people, the skills, my health. When they are taken from me for whatever reason, I can celebrate the memories of those things and be grateful for the opportunities they gave me without feeling devalued or that these were things I somehow deserved or earned independent of others. I also need to let go when it’s my time to die. There is a time to fight against death and there is a time to allow it as a natural consequence of a full life, no matter how long that life is.
Just three things are needed to live a full life of meaning and generosity.