November 4 – Beholding Others, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Once for each thing. Just once; no more. And we too, just once. And never again.  But to have been this once, completely, even if only once: to have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing.” Rainer Maria Rilke

I was visiting a friend who asked me, “How do you prepare for meeting people you respect? How do you know what to ask or say?”

I’d never thought about it, but realized with his asking that ever since my cancer experience, I enter every meeting with another being saying to myself, “If I only have this time on Earth with this person, if I may never see them again, what is it I want or need to ask, to know? What is it I want or need to say?”

I find I come upon others now as if I have just crossed a desert and each of them is an oasis. The truth is that each living spirit we encounter is a depth to gently swim in, a miracle that can quench our thirst. Honoring others in this way has opened me to wisdoms that would otherwise run silent beneath my time on Earth.

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