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The state or fact of continuing to live or exist.

Self preservation: It’s a basic human instinct. In every move we make, in every step we take, survival is what we struggle for; survival is why we breathe.

Even when we know we might get burned, we still go ahead and touch that flame …just one more time, maybe this time, we’ll be able to feel the fire, dance in that light, and maybe this time it won’t consume us.

Like I’ve said before, it’s a struggle between one’s heart and one’s mind. The only thing that can tip the scale is when the spirit is awakened. That, however, is rare. That is a conversation for another time.

So then while we go ahead and test our fate one more time, the hardest part is to hold back yet to let go. It’s a balance not usually achieved. It’s the experiences in our life that dictate the future decisions we make and its the scars that remind us that though our heart might want to let go, it may not be strong enough to be torn apart again.

There are no clean slates. Once a heart has been burnt, though it may heal, it’s the mind that doesn’t forget. It’s the mind that wonders and it’s the mind that builds the walls right back up.

How does one strike a balance? How do you let go yet maintain that one basic instinct – self preservation? How do you know when to let down the walls or if they can be let down bit by bit?

It’s the walls we build that protect us. They hold us in; safe from outside forces.

One would think that if you’ve been able to let them down once before, you’d be able to let them down again. That’s not the case. The next time you build them up, they’re made stronger. They are taller, they are thicker; not so easily moved.

Silence is how you know. Silence is your mind blocking your heart, blocking what is you in its attempt at survival. You stay silent, and you wonder if you can let them down. Moment to moment, you’re at a constant struggle to let go and to pull back.

Fear is a fascinating creature of the mind. Fear is the material that makes up those walls; and with every word, every action, it judges and it contemplates. It assesses you.

How easy it is to call it freedom yet the one thing that will never let you be free is the fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the predictable outcome, fear of the expectations, fear of the unforeseeable future.

Fear and walls. If they fall, you lose everything you worked so hard to rebuild. If they stay steady and strong, you become cold. You become unreachable; and what is life if lived just from behind those walls.

So what do you do?

You go ahead and you touch that flame, you watch as your fingers pass through the light and you revel in the beauty of it. Then, you pull back, and in that silence, you build those walls right back up.

The yearning for that beautiful flame can never overpower that one basic instinct – survival.

At what point does this struggle stop, you ask? That, my dear, is when it’s too late …and then there can be no going back. That is when you have been consumed.

No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.

Or you don’t.

― Stephen King