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E is for Exuberance

Updated: Jun 11



Exuberance is one of my favourite words. Even the sound of it feels to me so full of life; so embracing of the world and ready to experience and bring about joy. Exuberance. It sounds like something bursting out that can no longer be contained; no longer be restrained; will not be trained into acting in ways that are correct or proper or cool. Exuberance couldn’t be cool if it tried. It rhymes in the wrong places, wears socks and sandals, goes barefoot through mud and sings along to background music in the supermarket. Exuberance is full of wonder.


But exuberance is not always happy. The exuberance that ignores pain and frolics unaware of the realities of life is false exuberance – a mask worn to protect the wearer from the struggles of maturity. Real exuberance is to be found right in the middle of the fray. It embraces the world alternately in the incredibly grand and intricate and intimate beauty it experiences and in the cruelty and pain and altogether wrongness of this same world. Both are walked right into, felt and even sometimes embraced.


Maybe this is why exuberance can sometimes feel threatening. The numbness that arises from avoidance cannot tolerate such an embrace of life any more than it feels it will survive the experience of that pain. Full of colour and light and shade, exuberance is the opposite of numbness. It is the celebration that can only grow alongside experiences of sadness; the saying ‘yes’ of one who has experienced ‘no’, through loss, fear or containment.


Exuberance knows that there is so much more to learn. It not only embraces opportunities but shares them out. It finds abundance within simplicity; chooses generosity in the face of scarcity; and enacts love in a world of caution.




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