The Heart Aches

When I was around seven or eight years of age, I accidentally established the habit of waking up each morning about two hours before anyone else.

I was reading books. An old and very grey recliner sat rather invitingly in the southeastern corner of the living room, invariably draped with my grandmother’s hand-knit woollen blanket, within which I would wrap myself to ward off the chill of dawn.

Though I didn’t know anything about yoga then, I would assume a very decent horizontal mountain pose in order to push the chair into its reclined position, in preparation for the morning read.

Settling back into the depths of my comfy fortress, some guilt would occasionally set in as I attempted to ignore the crinkled yellow Quality Street toffee wrappers stuffed down the sides of the recliner—fond companions from previous reading sessions.

My name is Alex, and I am incredibly slow at doing anything remarkable.

I’ve had many excuses for this in the past, but these excuses weren’t friends of mine, even though they seemed to stick up for me when I needed them.

They, like myself, didn’t believe my slowness was a good thing, or could be a good thing.

But when I woke up early to read, I never did so as a method of feeling more “effective” in myself, although this may have been a side-effect from time to time.

I woke up early to read because I loved reading. I didn’t have to worry about doing anything remarkable. I simply opened my small bundles of cellulose and ink, closed and reopened a different set of eyes, and fell in love for the first and thousandth time.

I incept this humble blog as a love letter to everything I have forgotten about my eyes. To everyone I have forgotten to see. To pain, beauty, and love, and to the sharing of these — with you.

From the little I know of love, it is subtle. It lives in details, and a committment to each moment as it comes. The way someone holds their spoon during a silent breakfast, the way they adjust their reading glasses when they are anxious, the way they break open when you lightly, lovingly challenge them to speak their truth.

One of my heroes, the Zen master and poet Peter Levitt, once asked his friend Allen Ginsberg as to the cause of suffering in this world.

“Lack of candor,” howled the reply. Koev halev.

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