Ultimately, everything we withhold, we withhold also from ourselves. The more fully we give of our love, joy, tenderness, encouragement, kindness, abilities, and gifts, the more we are able to recognize and experience life’s abundance. In effect — and this is the very heart and soul of vulnerability — we must die each moment to be born, and in this simultaneous death and birth, we receive anew what we give, each conscious moment. It may sound crazy or strange or pie-in-the-sky, but this is my experience. And I don’t limit these thoughts to interactions with humans, or to other animals, as we commonly refer to our fellow creatures seen and unseen, or to rocks and waterfalls, all of which speak and act in languages readily understood once our guard is down. The simple truth is, I don’t know where it leads, and I am not in the least bit worried about it. Security is a mirage. Safety from all manner of imagined fears can never be achieved. Understanding that we are an integral part of it all, recognizing how intimately we are involved with one another and the stars, and how dependent we are on the world and each other for our health and well-being, is to see that what we most fear to lose — our lives, our strengths, our advantages, our identities — we lose in exact proportion to which they are withheld. We close up, we live in shells of our own making, we unwittingly teach our children to build the same, only to become the walking dead. We build walls and become weak, scared, threatened, angry human beings. We insist on the superiority and importance of ourselves to a degree that amounts to insanity. We are important, yes — but not in this way. We are important in our ability to blossom and bear fruit — like all things — like God, if you will, the most fruitful, vulnerable, comprehensive expression of all — in mystery, truth, imagination, childhood, beauty, and wealth. Let it be so.