Although Erik and I don’t own a television, I’ve managed to become a convert of the “9-1-1: Lone Star” series, which chronicles the lives of firefighters, police officers and paramedics in a precinct of Austin, Texas.
What’s kept me glued to the show is the ongoing relationship between paramedic and recovering opioid addict T.K. Strand (Ronen Rubinstein) and police officer Carlos Reyes (Rafael Silva), and the joys, excitement, passion and challenges of a couple navigating life together.
I look forward to each episode and the characters’ evolving stories, especially those of “Tarlos,” a nickname viewers have given the couple, especially since their engagement and impending nuptials.
The following quote by Entertainment Weekly’s Patrick Gomez is about T.K. and Carlos, but I believe it’s sage advice for approaching life’s uncertainties and unknowns, regardless of your relationship status, how much money you have, or wherever your feet may be.
“… nobody has figured it out. And that’s what figuring it out is about: realizing that you don’t know what you don’t know, and to maybe not close off possible avenues out of fear.”
That can be mighty damn liberating, turning fear on its head, instead being curious, open and unattached to how (or whether) something turns out, taking novel approaches toward challenges and opportunities, and allowing creativity and excitement to supersede anything fear throws our way.
Meeting fear head on and moving through it requires giving up entrenched habits, routines, and ways of thinking that keep us stuck.
Perfection, procrastination, pessimism and people pleasing are common manifestations of fear in the “real world” where humanity dwells; fortunately, the natural world encourages us to trust our instincts, follow our bliss, keep taking action, pivot when necessary, and surrender to the shape and form of outcomes.
Consider the transformational journey from egg, to larva, to pupae, to full-fledged butterfly, and the inestimable odds it takes for one egg to progress to become that butterfly.
Or ponder the annual migrations of countless bird species for better mating and young raising opportunities, then migrating again when it’s time to find better resources elsewhere.
For many people in western Montana, it’s thrilling to witness ospreys return in early spring, re-establish a nest and incubate their eggs following a long Big Sky style winter. By late May/early June we’re all hoping those eggs have successfully hatched, by mid-summer the fledglings have learned to fly and to fish, and by fall they’ve successfully migrated to their winter home again.
Imagine tiny seeds (about the size of a tomato seed) improbably becoming California redwoods, growing two to six feet annually under optimum conditions, eventually towering over 300 feet high with a diameter of over 20 feet, living for over 3,000 years.
Even wildfires occurring with more frequently and intensity in northern California rarely claim the lives of Sequoia sempervirens. Oddly enough, redwoods also depend on fire to release 150 to 200 seeds from one-inch cones to increase their chances of reproductive success.
Of course, there are no guarantees for anyone or any being’s success.
Uncertainty is omnipresent, opportunities abound as well.
Random events and other factors routinely make or break things in or out of our favor.
Yet the natural world continually seems to reward those who are persistent, who keep showing up, and who are ready, flexible and able to pivot when circumstances change, as they inevitably will.
And this is an enduring, evergreen, and immeasurable gift.