Living on the edge


Like a creek rippling

from here and now

to a far-away destination,

your life-force is on the move


trickling or gushing from now to next.

Foolish beings try to prevent this change

believing in the myth of safety.

We are all living

in a hut on the edge of a cliff

listening to the wind

whistling through the cracks,

feeling the danger

that is this life.

Awakened to our vulnerability,

may we step off the ledge

and live dangerously.


(taken from Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen)

Center yourself by breathing slowly and deeply.

Feel the moment you’re quietly entering.

Let yourself feel the tug of your future calling.

What is emerging right now in and through you?

Then settle back into the present moment.

Sit quietly

and let yourself sway

between your present and your future.

Make a home here.

A longer story:

I am living in a hut on the edge of a cliff

looking out of a hole in the door

listening to the wind whistle through the cracks

feeling the danger that is this life

awakened to this vulnerability.

We are always out here on this ledge

but right now

I feel the precariousness of this perch.

I know a strong wind

could demolish whatever holds us here

and launch us into the void below.

But I do not seek safety.

Safety is the myth

that keeps us focused on the tasks at hand.

Danger is the reality

that threatens all of our well-crafted plans

every day.

When the latest truck driver ran the stop sign

without looking my way

at all

(which happens almost every morning)

on my way to lead a sacred yoga class,

honking my horn was the only thing

that barely kept danger at bay.

And yelling a curse word inside the car

was impotent as a shield of protection.

It’s like that every moment, really,

though we can’t usually bear this awareness.

I would rather not know

I am in a hut on the edge of a cliff

every moment.

I don’t usually want to feel the evolution

happening in me and all around me,

the relentless coming of life’s next moment

tearing me away from what was,

pulling me toward next.

What was – held such comfort.

It seemed secure and stable

and protected my myth of safety.

But next moments keep coming anyway

with their threat

of flinging my little hut off this cliff.

I cannot avoid feeling

the precariousness of this perch.

Evolution is relentless

as it puts what was

in constant danger of dissolution

and thrusts us toward

what is coming.


the perpetual unfolding of life’s next moments

is calling.

I might just fall back to sleep

or I could step out on the ledge

and live dangerously.

Would you take my hand and leap with me?


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through; and of a blog on, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (, adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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