Archive for November, 2010

At first, I gave thought to posting a poem in honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I approached my book tower that stands in a corner of my bedroom.  It contains about 50 books on poetry and spirituality.  I held my hand out and let it sweep over the books like an energetic wand and let it draw me to just the right book.  My energetic wand didn’t choose poetry instead it led me to a spiritual book!  I’ve not quoted this spiritual author before.  I’ll post my personal comments directly below the excerpt.

Let us begin where we are at this particular moment and let our spiritual unfoldment begin with the understanding that since God is the principle of this universe, it is perfect.  A star is a star; a rose is a rose; a dog is a dog is a dog; and the moon is a moon is a moon is a moon; but let us not call them good, and let us not call them bad: Let us call them by their names—star, rose, dog, moon—and we shall find that God will reveal their nature to us and the correct place and function they are to occupy in our experience.

What creates and perpetuates humanhood is the pairs of opposites—the belief that flowers are good but that weeds are evil, the belief that robins are good but the bugs on the rose bushes are evil.

In proportion as we keep our minds free of judgments, it functions without concepts, so that when the principles of life come into expression, they come through as they did through Einstein, as pure law.   … Sit in the Silence with no judgment—not trying to get rid of a disease, not trying to overcome a sin, and not trying to destroy a fear, but just sitting there in a vacuum of God’s grace—the truth comes through in its purity.

~Joel Goldsmith, The Thunder of Silence  (March 10, 1892–June 17, 1964)  author, spiritual teacher, mystic and founder of the Infinite Way

After I transcribed this, I was listening to the sounds of my teenage son outside, pleading with his friend to continue playing with him and the friend refusing.  Historically, this wouldn’t bode well.  I just stopped and took a moment and sat in that vacuum of God’s grace where I let myself not judge it.  My whole body relaxed into it, as I could feel the places that had held the judging thought of what would happen, just melt away.

The next thing my ears heard was laughter between my son and his friend.  Regardless of the outcome, I can sit in this vacuum of God’s grace in any given holy instant.  God, I just LOVE that!





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It seems we all carry stories about our lives, private pains we’ve gone in and through.  It was my first visit to Maui, last December, that inspired this poem.  I met so many people with their heart open, so willing to share with me something so deeply personal to them, even in just chance conversations.  This poem honors the people of Maui and all the rest of us who carry these little pockets, and especially those who despite it all, live with their hearts open.




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almost entirely hidden
we carry this
a little pocket of pain

the one that time didn’t heal

tucked where it can’t easily be seen
something trivial and you bump into it
unexpected, it’s still tender

sometimes pieces tumble out
“it’s been ten years since …”
“I haven’t forgetten the moment when …”

the lyrics of our wounds differ
but that we are inevitably moved upon
by them is what we share

for what breaks us, shapes us
into something more

and sensing this in each other
we silently walk together on the street
where there are no strangers



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“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes I forget I live miracles every day but I’m never all that far from remembering.  Fingers typing, wind a’blowing outside my window, leaves a’falling.  Then stillness, followed by the sounds of a backyard swollen stream.  Eyes to see it with, ears to hear it, fingers to touch.

In one conscious breath I can propel myself to any place I want.  Today I am the spirit of a babe, without judgment or perspective even.  It’s all new and shiny.  It’s all a miracle.  I am a miracle living inside of miracles.

Now — I’ll return to the daily tasks of cleaning up cat throw up (it’s all over the house!), doing laundry, paying bills, washing dishes.  I get to do that.  I get to live inside a miracle where there are cats and warm water to clean our dishes, our clothes.  I get to enter and be a part of this beautiful dance, the exchange of resources.

I won’t expect miracles today.  No … today I will live them.

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First Sabbath

First Sabbath, I wouldn’t have rested either. Maybe the Sabbath is not so much a day of rest as it is a day of joy, a day of marvel, a day of wonderment. A day of – oh my gosh, how blessed are we, how amazing is all this?  How could I rest when every big and little thing on earth is a prayer unto itself?

First Sabbath


Tell me: did you really rest?
You who made day and night
and sky that separated
waters above and below,
you who told the waters
below the sky
to stay in one place
and out of them
asked dry land,
who told the earth
to send out growing things
and then made sun
and moon and stars,
who made birds that fly
and everything that swims,
and cattle and all creeping things
and every animal untamed
and then made man and woman
and finally, supposedly, rested:
tell me: how —
in the midst of all that buzzing
and flapping
and slithering and stepping,
all that bursting forth of leaf
and fruit and stem
that never had known themselves
before — tell me:
how could you possibly have rested,
after seeing what no one
ever had seen before:
beak, hoof, pebble,
after losing yourself
in a thousand versions of blue:
water in sun,
sky against sky,
the horizon where
sky and water meet:
how did you shut your eyes,
how not keep
turning and looking?
Didn’t you long to caress
each small thing — notice
how toes work, and
stamens, and fingers?
Weren’t you hollering out in amazement?
Weren’t you so filled up glad*
you couldn’t sleep?


~Nancy Shaffer~
Instructions in Joy: Meditations


*not an error, the author did not use “with glad”, though to be sure, I wanted to add “with” … with every fiber of my body, I wanted to add it.  :)

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Today, I am shopping for not exactly housewares but … word-wares.  I locate a shop unlike any other shop I’ve ever come across and step inside:

Wandering about it, my eyes spot Predictability on the rack in its usual conventional attire.  Alongside of it hangs Pragmatic, in basic wrinkle-free black.  Levity fills the summer rack in bright chiffon prints.

I walk down long aisles until I reach the back wall, where I come upon Frailty.  It hangs gingerly on the wall largely out of reach, though my fingers skirt its gossamer hem.

Sifting through shelves, I find Envy and Jealousy.  The cost on the price tag reads: steep.

Rumor and Hearsay lie strewn about the half price table.

I catch sight of Bitterness on the remnant table, where a pungency rises in the air.

I turn and walk back to the center, the heart of the store and find delicate crystal vases holding Hope.  Death of a loved one lies tenderly in a jar labeled Humility.

I make my way finally to a part of the store I hadn’t noticed before.  Off in a far corner and easy to pass by without ever noticing, I find a sturdy oak book shelf and a series of leather bound books entitled: Life.   They glow in every color imaginable.  Golden bookends flank each side of Life; one bookend is engraved with the word Goodness and the other with Mercy.  Sure now that this shall be my purchase, I search for the price tag and find gilded on the bottom of each bookend … free for the asking.

I leave the store, changed and humbled, knowing now that goodness and mercy shall be with me all the days of my life.  I want to tell all of you … this is yours, too … free for the asking.


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The Morning After

Kayla 10/31/2010


Well, it’s over now.  Another Halloween has passed.  Costumes lay in a heap on the floor.  The American Diabetes Association, whose collective shudder could be felt around the world, can now breathe and relax.

There does seem to be a state that’s achieved from ingesting excessive amounts of sugar, first confusion sets in followed by a stupor of sorts.  I could hear it in my youngest daughter’s voice as she lay her tired, filled to the brim with candy, body down to sleep.  Her final words before sleep spill out:

“I want to go to … Tennessee or France.”

Just to tell you :).

Yes, the above was written Halloween of 2007.  Kayla was going on 11, now going on 14.  She lives a long way from France or Tennessee.  She still keeps me smiling.  She’s one part quirky, two parts filled with the spirit and thrill of being alive.

If you’re missing the sun, as we sometimes do around these Seattle parts, it’s probably because it’s been roped in for the day and captured inside her petite frame.  Lit up from the inside out, spreading joy wherever she goes, that’s who she is.  I count myself the blessed and lucky one to be her Mom.

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