Once someone told me that one major goal in life was to have less distance between our lowest lows and our greatest highs. I've pondered that for decades. Life is full of peaks and valleys. We will have lows. We will experience highs.
Did she mean that there should be greater distance in terms of time? Did she mean that the lows should not be so low and the peaks should not be so high? Was it about the separation of joy and pain? Did she mean that a steady and slow ascent would prevent a crash?
She also gave me a scale on which to measure events. It was a life pain scale - 1 to 10 - ten being death. If something hurt or upset me, where did it fall on that scale? That scale held even greater meaning. Ten - I understood. Ten - gone - I understood. Still, in the middle of stress, it's hard to use the scale to sort things.
Ten - gone - is going to happen in our lives. We cannot stop that. It's the cycle of life. It's most painful because we have no choice about it. Gone is really gone. Death.
Perhaps my friends point was not to make 10's out of fives in our life. And don't expect every part of life to be stress free or pain free. Perhaps she meant that we should savor those moments of joy and let them carry us. Let those moment of joy lift us and sustain us past any potential lows. Instead of going from 10 to 1, we can be carried by those better times and know that there's more to build.
As we build more care free times, the lows turn into only the things we cannot control. They become less frequent. They are isolated and are only counted when they are truly those 10 moments - those things we cannot prevent. We experience, anticipate and live in greater joy. Our steps are steady in a gradual accent. If we can do that, we will be surrounded by others who will cushion us and prevent our falling into the greatest depths. We will experience pain but we will not be allowed to fall endlessly. There will be less distance from the peak and we will ultimately experience something much greater than we would have imagined. Perhaps it is about the view. If we spend more time closer to ONE, ten is not the norm. ONE transcends and carries us above all else. The more we live, the closer we are to one, the less we experience a sense of permanence with 10. Death does not define, nor does it hold us. It cannot hold us because we have become more grounded and much closer to ONE.