We leave this place of interactive existence more naked than upon our arrival—when born, we are graced with the body’s solid mystery, while our departure heralds not just the relinquishing of all material possessions but potentially all of material reality. Even our body forsakes us as we embark on the great mystery.
In November of a year ago, my son and I embarked on our last shared underwater adventure, after 44 years, my final scuba dive. I knew before suiting up that this would be it for me. It was a balanced decision, one that allowed for reversal if a dramatic change in circumstance occurred, such as a significant improvement in my Parkinson’s or if I ended up in a warm, relaxed climate, a far more forgiving dive environment.
A year later, I decided to give up boating as well, only to reverse course a few short months later, realizing that it was not consciously or intuitively wise to purge one of my few remaining hobbies simply because of hazard. I knew without a doubt that keeping the boat meant frequently operating it solo and sometimes in questionable circumstances.
Danger, however, is a two-sided coin. The ready challenge with the boat ten minutes from home and then only five minutes to Deception Pass’s whirlpools and vicious currents tests me, allowing me to operate at a normal person’s margins despite Parkinson’s. Daring with dire repercussions for miscalculation, I enjoy playing under the bridge.
Reflecting on these two life examples of letting go, what strikes me is that both are inconsequentially trivial in long-term physical, psychological, or spiritual effect when compared to life’s most heart-wrenchingly inevitable liberations from connection: breaking the attachments to my children, my wife, my family, and my friends.
These are life’s true treasures. Flushed in the bonded correlation of being, clinging in alternating passions of desperation and joy, here lies meaning, open to the alchemic ken of the genuine, the moments we spend with those we love.