Life at the Growing Edge

By Shae Hadden | Bio

Several years ago, a wise 93-year-old man named Hayden shared with me his principles for living life “at the growing edge”. He had printed them on cards, in the shape of a bookmark, and distributed them to everyone who engaged in meaningful conversation with him. Today, as I’m recovering from the first major surgery I’ve ever had, I was drawn to reflect on a couple of them again. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if I shared them with you now:

  • I may accept life, just as it is, here and now, observing it and experiencing it without judging it and without becoming its victim, or trying to control it. The past year has been an interesting experiment in developing this ability. Health challenges are often an opportunity to practice surrendering while being responsible. We are constantly making choices in life, and some of them support health. Others don’t. When the ones we make don’t turn out to be in our favor, we can be responsible for them or we can blame ourselves for making ‘bad’ choices. Sometimes, that blame gets pushed out onto others, or surfaces in unrelated expressions of frustration. When we can step back and treat ourselves with compassion, we can see that oftentimes our ego (our ‘self) tries to control how we relate to our health (for example, by telling us we’re fine and to keep operating as normal or by making a big deal out of something inconsequential). Either way, our Higher Self (the ‘I’ that chooses and is aware when we are ‘un-conscious’) knows there is another way of relating to our health that doesn’t involve control. Which leads to …
  • I am aware that beyond the judgmental concepts of rightness and wrongness, there is a beckoning path of compassion and love. On that path, I am compassionate with others (those who may have not been able to provide the treatment I needed or who didn’t ‘help’ in my healing journey) and with myself (especially for any choices I have made in life that didn’t support my own health and wellbeing). That has led me to let go of a constant inner struggle I have waged for decades with a ‘chronic’ infection. Which leads me to…
  • I have an ongoing need to let go everything I am really done with, in order to be everything I am really ready for. The really good news about this is that Hayden shared with me that this process is never-ending…if I choose to be responsible for my own life. My surgery has involved letting go of numerous things from the past—not just any physical part or capability of my body, but also beliefs, thoughts and emotional habits. I feel as if I’m ready to take the stage—free of all that was holding me back from sharing who I am in a totally open, vulnerable way.

For now, I’m enjoying life for what it is—as it is—understanding that I and every person and every thing on the planet are in process, constantly evolving right now. And for that, I am most grateful of all.

© 2008 Shae Hadden. All rights reserved.