September 26 – Putting Down Pain – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

The time has come to put our stones down. For hands clutching stones can’t freely drum. And hearts fisting the past can’t freely sing.

It only took me a lifetime to learn. But the lesson is as profound as it is simple. As long as we clutch to one thing—be it a stone, or rail, or weapon—our hands cannot open or reach for anything else.

The timeless and essential drama of living into the unknown resides in this simple sequence. We must risk putting down the stone or stick or gun we are grasping, in order to build or touch or make music of any kind.

It reminds me of a friend who wouldn’t let go of his past. He clutched it like a rope and was afraid that if he let go, he would fall. But as long as he fisted his history in this way, he couldn’t embrace the love that was before him, and so, he never healed.

It is unavoidably true: hands must be emptied before they can be filled anew. It is the same  with our hearts. It is why courage, day by day, is necessary.

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