Sunday, January 31, 2010

Real Life Tao - It's All Relative!

Two more mornings of waking up with my own teeth in my mouth. In just three days, I will know what it's like to awaken toothless. Initially, it will seem very strange. It almost will be like experiencing life from another person's mouth!

During our life together -- spanning over 25 years -- Della and I have moved many times. We've lived in Missouri, Kansas, out of a VW Bus while exploring the great American West, Arkansas, Oregon and Washington. Each time we've moved into a new home it seems strange and a bit discombobulating to wake up in a "strange" room. While wiping the cobwebs of sleep out of your head, waking up in an unfamiliar place can be disorienting. Where am I? Is this a dream?

And so it goes in each life. Few things remain static for long. Change is the one constant of the universe and, as players, our lives are about change as well. When a change first becomes manifest, it can throw us for a supreme loop. Everything seems out of kilter and, whether it's a good or bad change, many of us long for the good old days when we knew up was up and down was down.

But a funny thing happens to us along the road of change; in time, what was once so different and surreal becomes normal. It loses its novelty and turns into the mundane. What once caused us to ooh and aah or tremble in fear, now causes little more than a yawn.

So, while on Wednesday morning I will feel strange with a toothless mouth, I realize that in no time at all I won't give it a second thought. It will become part of my routine experience.

We each need to remind ourselves continually that all things are relative. Every change -- including death -- takes us away from familiar territory into the unknown. While it is true that most people fear the unknown, it will only be unknown for a brief period of time.

In the end, whatever is new becomes old. Whatever is life becomes death. It is in the understanding that each is a side of the same coin that fear ultimately becomes fearlessness.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.


  1. Presumably, you're having these teeth removed for a good, healthy reason, so one hopes that beyond the strangeness, you will have a healthier mouth to look forward to.

  2. Well, of course, it's for a good healthy reason. My dentist needs to pay off his French villa. :D

    Seriously, most of my remaining teeth either are broken or have cavities.

  3. A favorite song of mine contains the line, "He knows changes aren't permanent, but change is." I've tried to live my life with that concept in mind as I have a natural aversion to most changes - at least on a personal level.


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