December 2 – An Invitation – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

 “Yours is to live it, not to reveal it.” Helen Luke 

Helen Luke was a very wise woman, deeply grounded in the life of the spirit. I knew Helen during the last two years of her life. During that time she was a mentor to me. These words are from our last conversation. They troubled me, for I have spent my life becoming a writer, thinking that my job has been just that—to reveal what is essential and hidden.

In the time since Helen died, I’ve come to understand her last instruction as an invitation to shed any grand purpose, no matter how devoted we may be to what we are doing. She wasn’t telling me to stop writing, but to stop striving to be important. She was inviting me to stop recording the poetry of life and to enter the poetry of life.

This lesson applies to us all. If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising.

This took me many years to learn and accept. Having begun innocently enough, there arose separations, and now I know that health resides in restoring direct experience. Thus, having struggled to do what has never been done, I discovered that living is the original art.

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