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IamafraidIdon’tknowtherightquestionstoask,anditirritatesmethathedoesn’tcometometotalk,andhewouldstillbedescribingthewaythingsare.So,too,thechairmanoftheorchestraboardmightbesatisfiedwiththedescription,Therewere800peopleinattendancefortheMarch14thconcertand700fortheprogramonApril10th,withoutgoingontocreateatrend.Fordiminishingaudiences,likebogeymen,areneveranywheretobefoundexceptinsomeone’sstory.Thenaysayerspridethemselvesontheirsupposedrealism.Thepracticeofbeingwiththewaythingsarecanbreaktheunseengripofabstractionscreatedasahedgeagainstdangerinaworldofsurvival,andallowustomakeconsciousdistinctionsthattakeusintotherealmofpossibility—dreams,forinstance,andvisions.,asaprefacetooureverynextremark.IwoulddothekindofworkthatJaneGoodalldoes,butIcouldn’tfacethehorrorssheseeseveryday,mydaughtersaidaswewalkedtogetheronastonybeach.It’seasyenoughtobefullyandpassionatelypresentonararedayinMaine,whenoneisfreeofobligationsandnothingisatstake.Buthowcanwestandtobepresentinthefaceofpain,loss,ordisappointments?Ihadsharedwithmydaughter,Alexandra,myresponsetohearingJaneGoodallspeakattheStateoftheWorldForuminSanFrancisco.Renownedforherresearchonchimpanzeesinthewild,shehasestablishedsanctuariesinTanzaniaandinotherpartsofAfricabyworkingwiththepeopleoftheareastosupportthemselvesinharmonywiththebiologicallydiverseenvironment.Governmentsaroundtheworldnowfundherbrainchild,RootsandShoots,whicheducatesandhelpschildreninatleastfiftycountriestocarefortheecosystem.AssheaddressedtheSanFranciscoassembly,herquietspeakingcaptivatedtheroom,asithassomanyheadsofstate.Weheardaboutitall—thepoaching,thecarnage,thedegradationsofnature,thedestructionofthehabitat—butnothingshesaidstoodasabarriertopossibility.Hercompassionategazeencompasseditall,thegoodandthebad,thepainfuloutragesandthejoyoussignsoflife.Neverdidsheintimatethatanythingthathadhappenedshouldhavehappeneddifferently,notahintofblameescapedherlips,whilesherelatedtalesthatweretorturousformostofus.Shesimplytoldthewholestory,andshowedusthepathwaysleadingoutfromwhereweare,whileherfaceexpressedonlycompassionandlove.JaneGoodall’stranscendentpowerwasrootedinbeingpresent,withoutresistance,totheworldjustasitis.Thepracticeofbeingwiththewaythingsareallowsustoalightinaplaceofopenness,wherethetruthreadiesusforthenextstep,andtheskyopensup.Pleasuredisappoints,possibilitynever.Andwhatwineissosparkling,whatsofragrant,whatsointoxicatingaspossibility?Theuniverseissparkingwithgenerativepower.Buthowdowetapintothesource—wherecanwefindanelectricsocketforvitality?Dowehavetopumpuptheenergyonourowntocarryouttheday,orcanwecatchthecurrentofanotherwellspringbeyondourselves?Supposeforamomentthatvital,expressiveenergyflowseverywhere,thatitisthemediumfortheexistenceoflife,andthatanyblocktoparticipatinginthatvitalitylieswithinourselves.Ofcourse,ourmindstellusadifferentstory.Rarelydowecomeuponorexperiencethisintegrativeenergy,andsometimesonlyserendipitously,likeAlicefallingthroughtherabbithole.Thiskindofvibrancymaytakeusbysurprisewhenwefindourselvescommittingtodoingsomethingextraordinaryorwhenwemeeteachotheronamostpersonal,elementallevel.Yetourmindsandbodiesareperfectlycapableofactivelysurrenderingourboundariesandsuspendinganedgeonceweknowhowandwherethelinesaredrawn.Thefirststepistonoticewhereyouareholdingback,andletgo.Releasethosebarriersofselfthatkeepyouseparateandincontrol,andletthevitalenergyofpassionsurgethroughyou,connectingyoutoallbeyond.Thesecondstepistoparticipatewholly.Allowyourselftobeachanneltoshapethestreamofpassionintoanewexpressionfortheworld.Theorderandpredictabilitythatcivilizationstrivesforsupportsustogetonwiththethingsthatmattertous,likestartingcompanies,guidingourchildren,studyingthestars,orcomposingsymphonies.Placesinthewilddrawmanyofustoexperienceavitalitygreaterthanourown,butitmaytakeanactofsurrendertoletthegatesgivewaybetweenourselvesandnature.ItwaslateMarch,andthelandscapeofnorthernNewEnglandwasinadramaticframeofmind.Skiesandmountainloweredinblackandwhite,whiledarkriverwatershoulderedupundertheicecover.Springwascrackingopenandmakingnobonesaboutit.Iwalkedacrossaswayingsuspensionbridgeoveraformidablesectionofriver,andclimbeddownthebankontheothersidetoafocalpointofactivity.ThereIfacedthesceneofanongoingaccident.Titanictrianglesofgreenicestoodstraightintheair,astheravingwaterssplitthefrozensurface,pilingjaggedicesectionsoneuponanother.

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