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  • We digest ourselves.

    Yesterday I had a revelation. I had written a poem the day before in which I explain why I chose the particularly non-precious encounter I did for my first sexual experience. Given the time and context, I took an event that was then commonly regarded as a "loss" of virginity out of that equation by nullifying the gift. I didn't love my partner in the slightest. I gave him nothing. I made sure there was nothing to take. A nineteen year old wizened farm girl, I was tough as a shank steak, heart like a cut of veal--but I didn't open that.

    My insight came in the poem by way of comparison--metaphor, my oldest friend. I likened the way I held onto my virginity even as I let it go to how the best leaders learn over time to "rule not by direction but by presence." The concept of the master in the Tao Te Ching fascinates me. Especially in Stephen Mitchell's translation, I want to be as wise as that woman who "has but doesn't possess, / acts but doesn't expect."

    The best poetry keeps unfolding over your lifetime. Yesterday evening in my yoga class, I was in pigeon position. I'm sorry I don't know the Sanskrit for the asana yet. My chest flared open, my thumbs gripping my big toe behind my head, it dawned on me more fully what I meant, what the Tao means: the inner guide never points. That clear sense I have longed for all my life--to know which way is right--is sense itself. There is no judge, no path, no end.

    I was reminded--thank you Dan--of that brief moment of clarity by his Imagine That. The symbols from his story struck me. I collected unicorns as a child. Who wouldn't want to fly with a one-pointed guide? Also, like many, I am drawn to the infinity sign, which I double into four leaf clovers and draw beside my name when I sign it for friends. Dan, please consider this story thus signed. And, finally, I am moved by the drawings his daughter received from her colleagues as graduation gifts. Is there anything more precious we can offer each other than art that celebrates healing, that can heal its gobbled and chewed and tasted self?
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