Highs and Lows

Tony Ryan - Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Was talking to Dad today and he said that we need to experience lows to appreciate the highs. I have heard many people say this and my instinct has always been that there must be a way to appreciate life without needing lows.

Almost 2 years ago to the day my parents were visiting me and I had an accident. They lost me for a few minutes and I was in a coma for a few days. This accident was probably as bad as it gets for my parents. I recalled this incident to Dad and asked if he would need another incident like this in order to appreciate life more.

His immediate response was definitely not. So I suppose there are limits to how bad things need to be for us to appreciate the good. Also some things are so close to our hearts that they are precious anyway. I then suggested to Dad that if he doesn't need lows to appreciate the highs of his love for me then why does he need them to appreciate other things in life? Dad's response was that he doesn't feel low very often these days anyway.

Under his own theory I then concluded that he must therefor not be feeling too many highs either. He didn't have an answer to this and I feel that he is actually living in a comfort zone where he limits highs and lows. His fear of the lows is actually restricting him from reaching for the highs of life.I believe he is living life to about 70% capacity.

I also have a friend who is a very successful footballer. He is incredibly gifted and having a good season but is playing at only about 70% of his capacity. I am endeavouring to get him to reach for 100% but with much resistance from him. I believe he is, like my father, trying to stay in a comfort or safety zone. He has reached some very high highs but in recent years has been struck down with serious injury.

He is well paid and is in a profession that he loves. However even when playing well he appears to be in pain. He is captain of his side and they are going very badly. I am sure if they ever reach the highs again that it will be sweeter for the lows they are now experiencing. However I believe my friend and his team should just enjoy the game and have passion in playing and not focus so heavily on the result.

I also don't believe that lows are essential for us to value life. Do we really want to continue to go through life with continual ups and downs? Do we want to continue to experience painful lessons to appreciate life to it's fullest?

I believe that lows are here to teach us how to love life. That once we stop fearing perceived bad events or bad people we will learn how to live and love.

Life should be like a football game or a splash around in the pool. It should be fun and we should appreciate it for the gift it is. However, like my father, many of us let past fear and pain dull our passion. We shut up shop and accept life as just a moderate gift.

Especially in love we experience this fear. As soon as we are hurt we seem to lose faith in our self love and we put up walls to protect ourselves. I believe that these walls work in reverse and actually create pain and fear. The walls create the lows and until we throw away the walls and learn from fear we will continue with the cycle of highs and lows.

I firmly believe that we need to value life fully. That we should use the things we fear in life to teach us how to love life. Once we fully learn what real love is I believe we will lose our dependency on lows. We will value the love and beauty of life for the perfection it is and will never become complacent again.

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