April 9 – Living and Watching – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

How many ways can a statute dream of living? Every time I reach for you, we begin.  We begin..

The line between the living and watching is very thin. A moment’s rest or pause for reflection can spread into a thickness of hesitation, and the next thing we know, reaching out or saying something or picking up the phone or stopping in unannounced is difficult, as if there is suddenly some huge wall to climb just to be heard.

This is how we isolate ourselves, digging moments of healthy solitude into holes in the yard,and, of course, the dirt we dig and pile up becomes a small mountain that separates us from everyone we love. We all know how not phoning that friend because we were busy, if allowed to go too far turns into a vastness that seems impossible to cross. The truth is that the phone is the same six inches from our hands as it has always been. The challenge is to remember this when everything seems so far away.

To feel isolated is part of the human journey. But when we obey the feelings of hesitation and separation more powerfully than those of love, we start to experience numbness and depression. This is when we start to live like statues, believing that all we can do is watch.

Hard as it feels, it is just at this moment that we must break back into living by reaching for anything, no matter how small or close. If it is fall, rub a leaf across your face. If winter, break a piece of ice. If spring, touch a small flower.

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