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Respecting life includes respecting the cycles of life

They recently interviewed an elderly Spanish man and asked him if he did not feel sad because, after 45 years, he had to leave his job of taking care of the bulls that run in the world-famous San Fermín Festival, in Pamplona, on July 7 every year. The veteran worker immediately replied, "No."

Then he explained: "If you don't respect life, life won't respect you," adding that "life has its cycles" and that when one doesn't accept those cycles is when one stops respecting life. In his case, respecting life meant recognizing and accepting that his 45-year cycle of caring for the Pamplona bulls was coming to an end. Therefore, he said, he was not sad.

Let's be honest: many of us, perhaps even the vast majority, lack the wisdom expressed so clearly by the Spanish worker. In other words, we do not want or cannot recognize the cycles of life and nature. We believe that we can control what is certainly out of our control.

For this reason, we are left in a precarious psychological and emotional situation that, at best, is expressed as sadness and mourning, but which, in many cases, is expressed as an insistence on perpetuating and repeating a cycle that has already been closed, but we didn't want to close it. In this second attitude, we refuse to grow, mature, and assume our own responsibilities.

For example, many people get stuck in adolescence when they reach the point of transition from adolescence to adulthood. Regardless of the chronological age they reach, psychologically they remain dependent on their parents or on the real or fictitious figure that replaces the parents in their minds.

Other people refuse to accept that the cycle of "the best years" of youth is over and, when the gray hairs and wrinkles begin, they use all kinds of elements and procedures to hide their true age, something equivalent to trying to cover the sun with one hand This lack of respect for life generates from amusing confusion to serious and irreparable problems.

Why don't we recognize the cycles of life and nature? For two reasons. First. we live in the context of a linear, mechanical, and chronological time, a psychologically empty time, where each minute is the same as the previous one and where time is simply something that is exchanged for work or rest.

Second, for that reason, we no longer understand life as life or nature as nature. For example, we see how the seasons pass, but we do not see their impact on us. In fact, we see nature as "resources", but not as a life cycle.

For their part, the ancients lived respecting the cycles because they lived within a cyclical time in which they recognized that there were times when one cycle closed, and another began. They called it (in Greek) kairos, that is, the wisdom of recognizing the proper moments and opportunities to act or not to act. Technology separated us (but not all) from kairos. 

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