October 29 – Our Ability to Try, Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

If you try to teach before you learn or leave before you stay, you will lose your ability to try.

There are so many ways we can divorce ourselves from our own experience. I can remember, as a young man fearing the pain of being hurt by love, I became endlessly involved in advising others in their struggles with love. I can remember, when fearing the sadness and pain of conflict with dear ones, leaving notes rather than facing them in person, trying to leap over the need to go through the real stuff face to face. I can remember, when facing the next horrific chemo treatment, trying to anticipate and prepare endlessly for every possible instant of pain and fear, only to discover that no amount of preparation can keep me from my experience.

Each of these separations—teaching before learning, leaving before staying, anticipating rather than entering—left me drained of my deepest resource, the energy of my life force. Removing myself, even from pain, only left me pale and unable to continue.

When needle or hand or rain or sun hits the skin, the only thing to do is meet its exact touch from the inside. For this moment of inner meeting outer releases an electricity of spirit that gifts us with a tenderness for being awake.

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