May 11 – To Speak and Embrace – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

The dream is awakened when thinking I love you and life begins when saying I love you, and joy moves like blood when embracing someone with love. 

Though life sometimes begins in the head, the full body of joy cannot be known there. We all have experienced this difference. Simply recall the first time in adolescence that some other stirred you, the first time the presence of another moved you from being the centre of the Universe. Recall the strange but moving sense swimming in your head, leaving you unable to extinguish his or her face from your mind. Like a flicker given air, recall how the real and troubled life of flame began as soon as a word was spoken.

It is the same with how we dream or love ourselves or struggle with our belief in God. Kept swimming in the head, life flickers, never setting us aflame. It has taken a lifetime to learn this. As the fire of music awakens the soul of a composer, love sounds within us where no one else can hear.  And just as composers must wrestle out the language by which their songs can be played, we must struggle to pronounce our love.  All to have our arms rise like flames off the page.

It is a difficult challenge: to speak and embrace in a world that so thoroughly trains the mind. Yet trouble intensifies if not given air. As we live out our days, the imperceptible breath between thinking and saying, and saying and embracing, can often seem like a canyon, impossible to cross. This is why we have invoked the myth of Cupid for centuries, to remind us of that fluttering presence that somehow pierces our confinement of thinking, forcing us to speak and embrace.

We each carry the bow within us, and while the arrow hurts, our casing of thought is broken, forcing us to tremble. Yes, it is true. I confess: I have thought great thoughts and sung great songs, all of it rehearsal for the majesty of being held.

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