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STOIC POETRY | Wide margins

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 22, 2019

Dear Eric,

How wide were the margins of your life? Not wide enough, I'd guess, given the fact that you left absolutely no room for error in your very existence. Or maybe, you just went too far and simply could not return?

There should be empty space enough around everything important in order to accommodate our need to perceive the important thing clearly, and to have some distance when it breaks and we must stand clear of flying debris. We commonly meet this need for safe space through social instruments such as insurance, savings, fences, surnames, marriage contracts and even language; all of which produce structure and limits and security around us during every life stage, and keep us safe when accidents do occur, or when we need to know our tribe, or when we desire to enjoy some common words of comfort with those who understand what we really mean. Beyond these safeties though, are the wide margins leading to the foreign, unfamiliar and unknown. These are good and important margins to keep, lest we wander, unwittingly, into territory where we are not welcome, wanted or even prepared to stay alive. Knowing and forming such boundaries ourselves isn't easy, though there are always others glad enough to point them out to us. Tribes and individuals have their own, sometimes very different, ideas about where such frontiers begin and end... There's potential conflict in that. Accept that as a fact. Remember always that wide margins - like good fences - do good neighbors make.

But don't take the margins for granted. Go to them at times and gaze beyond. Trespass even a bit through their barrier to the wilder grounds beyond. Maybe go a little further still if you dare; bringing some provisions for your journey, a snack and some water and maybe something to trade. Bring instruments to write with or to use to take pictures. Don't bother with a map though, as you'll now need to make your own. But keep your eye on the territory behind you, the places you left - don't let these get so far that you lose sight of them, as then you'll never get back. You'll never get back...even if you do somehow get back.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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