What I Extend To Others

I slept in, frustrating the dogs who count on our morning walks. My body usually hauls itself out of bed and into the winter dark by 4 a.m. without much effort, but for some reason it didn’t budge today. I woke up in a warm tangle of blankets, soft light already brimming in the curtains.

And – of all things – Elton John in my brain, singing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road:” when are you gonna come down/when are you going to land. A song about turning away from any of the dreams the world offers in favor of reality. Who knows how it got into my head but I liked it. Let me land now!

Most mornings when I return from the woods I sit with tea and read and then pray. It feels like the day’s anchor and I look forward to it like candy. Don’t mess with my routine! But I was boiling water at 6:47 and Sophia came out at 6:51 and Jeremiah crept into the kitchen at 6:55. We talked about the cold. We talked about American Tail. That stood nicely for prayer.

And an hour or so later, I found myself in the basement, reading A Course In Miracles, and practicing lesson 108. This path I stumbled on last Fall only widens and fills with more light, notwithstanding my inclination to cynicism and doubt and intellectual arrogance. “To give and receive are one in truth.” Lately I am aware of the specific – and often quite submerged – degree to which I resist this concept. To give is to lose, to sacrifice. And I’ll be damned – literally – if I’m going to do it.

And yet and yet, as the late poet Hayden Carruth once said. Eyes closed, I silently offered the world peace and joy – calling to mind all the brothers and sisters I could picture, wanting even to reach those I couldn’t – and felt that calm floatiness that seems to be more and more my natural state these days. Odd to fear change even when the change is so obviously helpful and useful. Lesson 108 is very clear that what I extend to others will be given to me in return.

With that, I started writing.

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