Extract from "Boundaries" Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck (London?: Thorsons, 1997)

“A while ago I broke my wrist and wore a cast for three months. When the cast was removed I was touched by what I saw. My hand was just skin and bones, very feeble and trembling: it was too weak to do anything. But when I got home from the hospital and started to do a task with my good hand, this little nothing of skin and bones tried to help. It knew what it was supposed to do. It was almost pathetic: this little skeleton, with no power, still wanted to help. It knew its function. As I looked at it, it seemed to have nothing to do with me; this hand seemed to have its own life; it wanted to get in there and do its work. It was moving to see this little scarecrow trying to do the work of a real hand.

If we don’t confuse ourselves we also know what we should be doing in life. But we do confuse ourselves. We engage in odd relationships that have no fruits in them; we get obsessed with a person, or with a movement, or with a philosophy. But with practice we begin to see through our confusion, and can discern what we need to do - just as my left hand, even when it couldn’t function, still made an effort to contribute, to do the work that needed to be done.”

Charlotte Joko Beck, “Boundaries” p.155 (Everyday Zen, 1997)

The day I read this, my right hand had a crisis of some kind (RSI); I couldn’t use it without feeling intense pain. I couldn’t write with a pen or type, or cut bread with a knife - the pressure was too great. I managed to do the work that needed to be done, but it gave me a fright. A small warning to keep things in balance. To all writer-people, if there are any out there, be careful of this too, take a break, walk around. The work will still get done, in its own time.