June 15 – Staying Porous – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Rainer Maria Rilke

I am jogging in the city on a hot summer day, and my legs are in a rhythm, carrying me without much guidance through small crowds, past roses and bus stops.

I begin to think about my struggle not to give myself away. When growing up, I had to check myself at the door like a coat in order to relate to others. Often, I had to pretend to be less than I was in order to be loved.

For years, I would shelve my light to take care of others. Like a fireman, I’d drop whatever I was doing to rush to the rescue For so long, the choice seemed only to stay open and lose myself or to close up and cut others off. But today, while rummaging freely through the streets, close to others but not entangled, I realize I am learning after many attempts that I can stay close and porous, caring and present, without holding everyone’s anxiety and without going underground. At least I can try.

I am dripping and breathing like a small horse.  It is clouding over. It begins to rain slightly. I move through the beautiful people and ask for a hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut. As I chew this simple food, rain from the sky meets rain from my body, and in the rain, sweating, the tang of sauerkraut on my lip, I feel joy. Others shuffle by. Today, there is no room for worthlessness.

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