July 26 – House of Clay – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.” Ane Pema Chodron

There was a clay house near Puhaditjhaba in Qwa Qwa, South Africa. The roof was flat, made of loose sheets of corrugated iron, held in place by a taut length of wire that ran across the entire roof. Each end of the snug wire was tied to a huge bag of sand, and both hung heavily on opposite sides of the house. It appeared as if the bags of sand were a saddle of heaviness that kept the roof from flying away.

At first, I thought, no nails or screws, how precarious. But for some reason, the scene stayed with me, until I realized that the people who lived there could open their home to the sky when things turned glorious. Now this simple clay house seemed an image of adaptability and balance: a way to make it through the storms and a way to open to the heavens. Now the heavy bags of sand were an honest and removable grounding.

It makes me wonder, how much do I nail down prematurely? How much of my pain comes from ripping up what I’ve overfastened on days I need to see the sky?

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