illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
I then told him about the accident and its aftermath. He listened quietly and intently, nodding his head.
« Dan, you're no longer the young fool who walked into this office over a year ago. »
« Has it been a year? It seems like ten, » I joked. « Are you saying I'm no longer a fool? »
« No, only that you're no longer young. »
— Dan Millman, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"
It is often said that scars and pains make us stronger. They don't. They makes us softer, they teach us our vulnerability, our fragility, our impermanence, even our selflessness… It takes a lot of (common) ignorance to see these lessons as weaknesses we should either hide or present as strengths.
Our choice once we face these lessons lies in embracing these characteristics of existence, or in trying to separate ourselves from them (by living in fear, or by denying their inescapability).
To accept that our life is not only finite but also short, to accept that we are weak, to accept that we will age, will be sick and will die… none of these makes us stronger. They may however help us to stop wasting time in regrets, complaints, stories about the past and narratives about how we'll start cultivating wiser habits "from tomorrow" (forever postponed).
"Being present" doesn't make anyone strong… it makes us alive!
Photo: this is found in many places on the internet, without attribution, and is not on the site of the photographer, but I'm totally convinced this is the work of (in particular after seeing joeyl.com/favor-galleries/quick-selection/#!1022)