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Frailty in Life and in Health

Living Wellness with Jennifer

Every moment of our lives, there is frailty in our health as we walk a fine line between a solid foundation of wellness and strength, and the fragility of impermanence and uncertainty. We can see the beauty of life in both of these extremes.

This message unveils a profound truth learned about the life of the monarch butterfly. The distinct and striking black and orange monarch butterfly flies every November for up to 3,400 miles from Canada and the United States to Mexico. It is common for this winged wonder to travel between 50 to 100 miles a day, taking two months to complete its journey. This journey to Mexico brings them to a unique biosphere reserve where this butterfly hibernates for five months. During the life cycle of the monarch, it is a wonder that they survive. As a matter of fact, this year extreme weather decimated 135 acres of the sanctuary in Mexico where they reside, resulting in the death of 6.2 million butterflies.

We are certainly more resilient than the monarch butterfly; yet, their journey is one to ruminate upon in attempting to understand the frailty of life from one moment to the next. We find out a family member or a friend was just diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, and we then realize the need to be grateful, understanding that each moment is important. A tragic accident hits close to home causing serious injury to someone we know, and it stops us in our tracks, especially if this situation happened to the person who possessed youth, strength and energy.

Everything and everyone in the universe is dancing on the tipping point of life between impenetrability and vulnerability. Nature especially shows us these lessons, and we must honor both aspects within ourselves and others. A newborn baby requiring nurturing life support every step of the way can be an example of this fragility, and a young adult stepping into a new life of independence can be the symbol of strength and resiliency. These tables can be turned with the flip of a coin; therefore, we must probe deeper to understand that in vulnerability and fragility there is the opportunity to strengthen oneself. Conversely, in strength there is a deeper need for support and nurturing.

The monarch butterfly strikes me as a very fragile life force that could blow away or be destroyed easily. This insect travels far, endures many adverse conditions, yet is mighty and intelligent beyond its beautiful appearance. We also have both sides in us. There is a depth of frailty, and also strength, which requires keen awareness and reverence in every moment that we live.

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