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Sunday, August 25, 2013



The craving for distraction –
maybe you should open
four different social networks
in four adjacent tabs –

is a messenger.
Some part of you
wants to pretend
you’re not feeling tender.

Your beating heart is too big,
too vulnerable.  You've stretched
until your skin’s too thin,
your knobby places exposed.

Offer a gentle greeting
to the little girl who hopes
that if she spurs the acrobats
and keeps the sparks flashing

no one will notice
the smudges on her knees
or the circles beneath her eyes.
Let her stop performing.

Ask your aches to gather round
and teach you what they know.
Then they can go, gentle
as a hair drawn out of milk.

This poem, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblatt, has always moved me.  I think of how often we put on a façade or a smile or some sort of show for the world around us – trying to distract others and ourselves from some of the struggle and pain of living. 

What would happen instead, if we welcomed those struggles or mistakes as our teachers, reminding us that we are all vulnerable, that we all suffer, that it is OK to sometimes feel broken or lonely or scared.  Now is the time to begin dismantling the walls that we have built around our hearts.  For maybe, in doing so, we can let go of some of the anger or resentment or cynicism we feel.  And maybe, in doing so, we can create a space within …
for compassion,
for understanding,

and for forgiveness of ourselves and those we love.

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