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  • Writer's pictureAram Mitchell

borrowed energy

At our house you can’t use the electric kettle and microwave at the same time. There are limits to the amount of energy I ask for in a given moment.

I don’t understand the particulars of the mechanics of how my house gathers energy from the grid, or how that energy is mapped out from room to room and portioned to the tools that I use from day to day: Light bulbs, dishwasher, oven, fan, and fridge.

But I know there are limits. And I know where to go in the basement and flip a switch when I’ve asked too much, like when I try to boil water for fresh coffee and try to heat up the last cup of day old coffee in the microwave at the same time.

House shuts down my efforts. I chuckle at my lapse: For a moment there, I forgot that the energy I use to fuel my ritual of morning coffee is borrowed energy. Sometimes I forget that the powers I employ each day to get things done, while generous, are not limitless.

There are limits within the portion of the electric grid that I share with my neighbors. This is true also for me in the surges of spirit that I offer the world. It’s true for us all.

Though tending the limits and capacity of our humanity — compassion, creativity, courage — is a more intimate process than the flipping of a switch. More intimate, but when it comes down to it not much more complicated: Walk into the basement, find the source, tend the source.

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