August 7 – What We Bring Along – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

A river doesn’t hold all the water that passes through it.

In our journey through time, we all struggle constantly with what to bring along and what to leave behind. It feels so hard to throw anything away, but if we don’t, we will drown underneath a weight of our own making.

The river is a good model. It doesn’t own the water that rushes by, yet it couldn’t be  in more intimate relationship to it, as the force of what moves through shapes it. It is the same with everything we love. In truth, there is no point to holding on to the deepest things that matter, for  they have  already shaped us.

The purpose of sentiment, then, is to release the powerful feelings that sleep in us.  Sometimes books and cards and shells and dried flowers do this. But often we carry more than we need, seldom trusting that what these small treasures represent is already living within us. Often the most useful gift we can give ourselves is to lay our lives open like a river.

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