"Now, the idea of feeling sadness and delight together may seem absurd. In fact, it often appears that holding life's delights close while warding off the sad difficulties is our only option. We are touched so fully by life's sharp edges and long, lonely spaces — at times, we may even feel terrified by the finality of it all, how life passes.
"But, ironically, we hold sadness and joy closer than we think: the nurse saying farewell to a young patient who survived cancer; the farmer exhausted after weeks of harvesting crops; the dancer performing her favorite ballet for the last time; the beginning of a marathon, the birth of a child.
"When we choose to live a fearless life, we enter this poignant territory where we recognize our experience as profoundly rich and emotionally wide open. And rather than resisting, we intuitively relax into life's spectacle, understanding full well that we cannot possess our experiences but can only savor them fleetingly. Such an emotional stance requires a fearless heart — a willingness to nobly expose ourselves over and over again to life's fullness. . . .
"In the words of my teacher, Chogyam Trungpa:
" 'Fear does not allow fundamental tenderness to enter into us. When tenderness tinged by sadness touches our heart, we know that we are in contact with reality. We feel it. That contact is genuine, fresh, and quite raw.'
"The slogan 'Hold sadness and joy' reminds us that we are constantly being touched by life. And if we have the confidence to step beyond our fear and to allow ourselves to actually be touched, we will rediscover our noble tenderness. Whether we are weathering a snowstorm, gazing at our grandmother for the last time, or letting go of a sparrow, this slogan reminds us that living fearlessly is a matter of gentleness, where delight and sadness, joy and heartache, shock and relief arise perfectly balanced together, inseparable. And it is here as we hold sadness and joy that we discover that we can live life confidently — we can hold such richness and smile and cry at the same time."