September 5 – The Ground We Walk – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Walker, there is no path, you make the path as you walk.” Antonio Machado 

I listened carefully as he described his little girl’s first steps. He encouraged her to keep her eyes on him, and only when she didn’t, did she stumble. Only when she lost her focus, when she became too conscious of the steps she was taking, did she fall.

I was afraid he was going to declare some parental primacy, that without his loving presence, his little girl wouldn’t be able to make her way. But to my surprise, he understood her first steps more deeply as a wisdom that effects us all.

He stared off, offering slowly, “She made me realize that when I stop looking for a sense of truth, I stumble. When I lose my focus on what really matters, I fall.”

This small story has stayed with me. For aren’t we forever taking first steps, again and again? Don’t we uncover a mystery of strength by looking out before us and bringing into focus a deeper sense of truth? Isn’t balance, in reality, the ability to step quite naturally, like this little girl, without too much thought into everything larger than our fear?

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