Vulnerability, the willingness to be taken out of the deserts of life, is not weakness. It is the ultimate in the virtue of hope. When we open ourselves to the stranger, to the new experience, the little things in life we’ve never tried before, we become new people. Why live in old skin forever, when God has given us a chance to know life on so many levels?

-- Joan Chittister, OSB

The great affair 

The great affair, the love affair with life, 
is to live as variously as possible, 
to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, 
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day.

Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, 
and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, 
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. 

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, 
but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

~ Diane Ackerman ~

("found poetry" from A Natural History of the Senses)
I was watching an NPR clip on the 100th birthday of Julia Childs. Many virtues to extol. But I was struck by the importance of eating together. Christianity makes much of the eucharistic meal, but often it's reduced to a rote ritual. I've long said (though I fail at it as much as anyone) that any ordinary meal can be a place for deep spiritual friendship and meaning. For the believer, the divine is present in ordinary eating with love, care and awareness as much as in formal eucharist. So "buon appetito." --Eugene Bianchi
The 5 unavoidable facts of life:

1. Everything changes and ends
2. Things do not always go according to plan
3. Life is not always fair
4. Pain is part of life
5. People are not loving and loyal all the time

When we go into resistance to these truths, we set ourselves up for disappointment, frustration, resentment and sorrow. These places are not the source of our upset, rather it is our resistance to them that creates the upset. When we come into mature acceptance of these fundamental facts we see that they are the catalysts for the growing of courage, compassion, wisdom and strength. It is from these places that we can step into our greatness
"You do not need numbers to enlarge the spiritual and moral horizons of humankind. You need other things altogether: a sense of the worth and dignity of the individual, of the power of human possibility to transform the world, of the importance of giving everyone the best education they can have, of making each of us feel part of a collective responsibility to ameliorate the human condition, and a willingness to take high ideals and enact them in the real world, unswayed by disappointments and defeats."  

— Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the British Commonwealth)