Taking the Risk

“Death walks among us” S.K.N. Hammerstone

Major religions all have a version of the Angel of Death. Toltec wisdom teaches that the angel always sits on our shoulders. This teaching is another way of know that the present moment is all we have in our grasp.

And so, I am no closer to death today than I was when I was younger. Although, I understand the reality much better. I believe in it. It is real. And this working knowledge makes risks real, too. Maybe that’s why I have admiration and gratitude for my friends and family who take the chance on life.

It’s easy to hide our heads in the sand. If we don’t know…it can’t be true.

It takes courage to acknowledge our when our bodies send messages  – see the doctor, change the lifestyle, agree to the surgery, take the medicine.  It takes listening to our own intuitions as well as advice. It takes steeling ourselves to difficult paths and/or scary processes. It take choosing life in the best way we know for ourselves – which may be different for each of us.

But I appreciate that choice in myself, in my family,  and in my friends. I applaud our bravery of recognizing the angel on our shoulder at the same time we take the risk of living more moments together.




  1. There is a very popular Sanskrit prayer that is used by almost all Hindus that translates to : ” Please God, give me a death that is trouble free for me and others around me and a life that is without want.”


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