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Mending the Break

At what instant does the break in the bone realize it must join its other half?

— Mark Nepo, from his poem Waiting.

Today I spoke with my sister on the phone. The conversation, full of her ponderings and self-questioning about something difficult she was going through, took a sudden turn when she said, “I want to grow my own eyes.”

At that moment, I heard and felt her entire future shift toward possibility. It’s a highly-charged, rocket-fuel sort of moment that any of us can access, often by asking a question of ourselves. It’s not a comfortable question, rather it’s a question that comes from our very bones—a ‘pay attention to me’ type of question—as Mark Nepo gives us in the last line of his poem. At what point does whatever isn’t working in a life suddenly touch a nerve loudly enough that we realize there must be a coming together, a joining of all of our parts?

The conscious conversation that such a question can open then puts us in dialogue with all of our parts. Stories link to other stories, thoughts transform into insights, a new perspective attracts possibilities, an informed choice weaves into right action. Bone knits to bone, and becomes stronger than ever before.

Listen. What question will be heard by your newly waiting ears?

Here’s the entire poem:


How do they do it? / The ones washed ashore. / Who in a broken pile put / themselves together. Who / after the hurricane sort the / rubble for the nails that still / can hold. Who / after being cut / dream of stitches. They are the / heroes. The ones who like an / old tree grow around anything. / The ones who grow another / arm, another leg, another way. / And what starts the growing? / Is it the rain on the turtle’s / back as she never waivers? Is / it the look of the fox before / he disappears in the woods? / At what instant does the break / in the bone realize it must / join its other half?

—Mark Nepo


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