02/06/2013 10:56 am ET Updated Apr 08, 2013


It's a recurring lesson that, try as we do, the things that matter can't be prepared for, only met. In this way, preparation requires being fully awake and present, more than anticipating every possible outcome. Meeting life over anticipating life lets us be surprised by care.


It used to be so
complicated: going
where I'd want
without a word
as if telling anyone
made me less free.
Or coming into
a relationship
like a bus station,
checking fares and
before boarding.
It used to be so
confusing: needing
to be touched
while wanting
to be left alone,
and still it's hard
to let all I am show
in the presence
of strangers or
intimates who'd
like me to change.

But when I'm
stopped or stalled,
I spray the plants
and they shine for me.
I laugh in public
at what music does
to my notion of silence.
I touch your wrist
and something flows.

A Question to Walk With: How guarded are you with others? How does this help you? How does it harm you?

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For more by Mark Nepo, click here.