August 9 – Preparing the Way – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“So long as you haven’t experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.” Goethe

To die is not a bad thing. Cells die every day. Paradoxically, it is how the body lives. Casings shed.

Coverings fall away. New growth appears. It is how we stay vital. Likewise, ways  of thinking die like cells, and we suffer greatly when we refuse to let what’s growing underneath make its way as the new skin of our lives. It is the stubbornness with which we refuse to let what’s growing underneath come through that pains us. It is the fear that nothing is growing underneath that feeds our despair.It is the moment that we cease growing in any direction that is truly deadly.

When resisting this process, we become a troubled guest, moaning like a human crow. We double the pain of living when we try to stop the emergence that all life goes through. Imagine if trees never shed their leaves, or if waves never turned over, or if clouds never dumped their rain and disappeared.

I say this as much to remind myself as you: Little deaths prevent big deaths. What matters most is waiting its turn underneath all that is expending itself to prepare the way.

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