The man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
said to the girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes
“Let me tell you a story.
I was lost and now I’m found.
Behind every cloud is a silver lining.
If you love something, set it free and if it’s yours it will come back.
Trust in the universe.
Ask and you shall receive.
When one door closes, a window opens.
There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
The practices of living has been whittled down to these small strings of words.
The modern Yoga Sutras.
We recite them when we think they will help.
We tell them to people we love or to complete strangers.
We tell them to ourselves over and over.
We paint them on decorative plaques and hang them above our toilets.
We hope that they are true.
How nice it would be if every dark cloud was simply covering a beautiful blue sky.
If letting go of those we love actually changed their path to lead them back to us.
If asking was all we really needed to do.
The practices of living are not simple.
Living is complex and terrifying.
We try to practice it with every breath and every step.
We recite these strings of words so that we can make some sense
of a practice we very much do not understand.
We are human creatures.
We want to “do” and not “be”.
We need action to make things real.
We need words to make things clear.
We need the man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to remind us that we are human,
And we need the girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes to remind us that we are more.
We are more than all of those words.
They are just sounds strung together
piled one on top of the other
and decided to have meaning.
When we can finally see that these words are empty
When we can finally see beyond their intention
When we no longer need the man on the sidewalk with the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to remind us that we are human
When we no longer need to girl on the bench with the ocean in her eyes to remind us that we are more,
That is when we can finally begin the practice of living.