06/24/2013 05:17 pm ET Updated Aug 24, 2013

Lessening Our Pain

Every life, in every age, has had to find its way: discovering a foundation, a self from which to meet others and the world, only to open beyond the confines of a single self, so we can receive meaning from everything that is not us. In this journey, we learn how to lessen our pain by accepting life and our part in it. This poem works at understanding such acceptance.

Lessening Our Pain

When the flower finally opens,
it accepts everything that comes
from the sky. When the heart
finally opens, it accepts every-
thing about existence. Still, you
can't let go unless you've held
something dear and you can't
be selfless unless you've worked
to find your self. We all try to
kill what hurts us, when the only
thing that will lessen our pain is
to face what hurts us. The river of
who we are runs through every
country. It ignores all borders.
Our call is to follow that river.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a situation in which you pushed away what you needed to face. If you've faced this situation since, recount the difference between pushing this situation away and facing it. If you haven't yet faced this situation, how can you step toward it?

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