Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't stop the flow of love

There may be barriers between us --
there are so many different ways of being in the world --
but that need never stop the flow of love.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Grace is waiting for you

Waiting for Grace? It's all around you --
land, and sea, and sky --
ever changing, always present, full of life and light...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Waiting for Grace

Spring is here, and things are starting to bloom,
but somehow I'm still lagging behind,
trapped behind a fence of my own creation:
still clinging to the cross,
still hiding in the cave,
waiting for the angels to show up;
and hoping,
for Grace to set me free.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Rebirthing time

It happens to all of us:
There are just some days
When you get lost inside
And forget there's a world out there.
Don't blame yourself;
Think of it as rebirthing time...

Try something new!

The past is now behind you:
don't be afraid to try something new and different.
Lift your sails and see where the wind takes you!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

And now we wait

And now we wait,
Sifting through our past regrets
Like a miser with his gold...

Friday, March 25, 2016

In these dark hours

O Holy One:
In these dark hours,
Help us to see , and know, and become
Your Light.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Regaining trust, releasing control

With time and tribulation we can lose our sense of wonder.
How can we regain that sense of trust and anticipation?
Perhaps we need to let go of our need to control...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Learning to see through "We-glasses"

Yesterday I said goodbye -- for the second time -- to Shaw Island. There's so much I could say about our time there; it's a truly magical place -- I even wrote (but never published) a book about it.  But what I see now, from the perspective of years, is that my daughters were not the only ones who grew up there.  I grew up there, too. I learned my own strength, and I learned to set aside a lot of preconceptions about the world and its people. 

Perhaps most importantly I learned a lot about faith and how it is lived out in practice -- and I learned a lesson that small communities, the good ones, at least, often teach: I learned to see through "We-glasses" instead of "I-glasses."

It seems to me that the most important lesson we can learn, the most important quality we must strive for, is to become more compassionate beings; to be able to look beyond our own needs -- to be first, to be right, to be comfortable, to be happy -- to appreciate the needs of others for the same; to appreciate the ways in which others strive for the same ends, and to find a way to work together for the common good.

I'm not there yet -- Lent, with its time of thoughtfulness and self-reflection, never fails to remind me that however far I've come I still have a ways to go.  But I will always be grateful to Shaw, and to the very special people of Shaw, for humbling me and opening my eyes to the path that lies before me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Beauty everywhere

There's beauty ahead, beauty behind, 
and everywhere in between.
Don't be afraid to stop and appreciate
exactly where you stand.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Enjoy the view

Have patience with these obstacles:
there is no need for haste.
Don't be afraid to pause and rest:
take time to enjoy the view...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Our beloved home

We may have very different styles,
ways of moving through the world,
and purposes to serve,
but let us not forget that we share the same harbor,
buffeted by the same winds and waves;
and that we call this same earth our beloved home.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

As Lent progresses

Each year, as Lent progresses, 
the tension -- and the discrepancy -- 
between what I want and what I believe
becomes almost unbearable...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Imagine forgiveness

So you made a mistake: dropped and broke your favorite camera, tripped and broke your ankle on opening night, accidentally insulted a loved one, backed your car into a tree -- the possibilities for accidental failure in this life appear to be infinite.

And now that dreadful inner voice kicks in, bellowing its incessant refrain -- you're an idiot, you're stupid, you always do this, your life will never get better than this, it's all your fault, this relationship will never heal...

How can we forgive ourselves without falling onto that other path, the one traveled by bullies and heartless demagogues; the one where everything I do is right and all who disagree are wrong and should be throttled?  How do we find that middle way between self-recrimination and self-congratulation?

The first step, of course, is to admit that we screwed up; to accept responsibility for our distractedness, for our unconscious behaviors, for all the ways we move through life unfocused, in a cloud.

And then we absolutely MUST forgive ourselves for whatever it is we've done.  Forgiving yourself is very good practice -- and a necessary evil -- if we are ever in hope of becoming compassionate beings.  If you find this hard to do -- and many do -- think of that part of yourself that was sleepwalking when it happened as a very young child. Let the child know what they did was wrong, then hug them and hold them close and reassure them that you know they'll be working hard not to do it again.  If you believe in them, it will give them courage to try again -- it's really only non-acceptance that puts us on the path to demagoguery; that leads us into "I always screw up anyway; why bother?"

But there's another step that will bring us even closer to compassion: once you've forgiven yourself, take some time to be mindful of all the other humans who are screwing up and berating themselves. That is, of course, the rest of us: we're everywhere, and all of us haunted by the same disgusted inner voices.  Imagine us all forgiving ourselves, encouraging ourselves to be kinder and more conscious: it's a gift that will give back in more ways than we can ever know.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wholly ordinary

Through suffering, we learn to see --
and touch, and taste, and feel --
the holiness embedded in the ordinary.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Part of the experience

We are so quick to get annoyed
with those who get in the way or block our view,
not realizing they're an integral part of the picture; 
a vital component of the experience we're meant to have.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Blanket the world with love

All of us were young once.
When you think of those you find it hard to love,
imagine them as young as this sweet child,
and then blanket them with the tenderness you feel.
Perhaps if we consciously blanket the world with love,
it might make a difference...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Close to heaven

Time spent in nature always reminds us:
Spirit -- and heaven -- are never far away...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Evening peace

At the end of the day,
when you look back over
the ways that you spent your time,
I pray your ruminations will bring you peace.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Working for perfection

It's easy to forget, when you see something so beautiful,
how much work it must take 
to maintain -- or achieve -- that perfection.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lessons in the cabbage patch

When I was cranky, as a kid, my mom would say I was being "a cabbage patch," clearly a saying leftover from her own mother's days growing up on a poor farm in Virginia.

And then, when my own daughters were growing up, they had those dreadful Cabbage Patch dolls, with their flat faces and their plaintive cries ("Ooh - wanh - anh, Ooh - wanh - anh, Ooh - wanh - anh -OOO). 

So it was a surprise to discover as an adult how beautiful a cabbage patch can actually be.  Makes me think of all the times my preconceived negative notions were shot to hell when I took the time to become familiar with the thing (or activity, or person, or category of people) I was so certain I would hate.

Could be there's a lesson in that somewhere...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This quiet morning

On this, a quiet morning,
we wait in readiness
for whatever the day may bring.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What -- and who -- do you observe?

What is it that you see?
And what -- or who -- is it that declares what you see?
Any time you are observing -- not just what you see,  
but what you think and feel -- pay attention; 
come to know that other presence within,
the one that sees, and thinks, and feels.
And then, wonder: who is it
that's coming to know that observer?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

There are those days...

There will be days when all is clear and true;
when you can be fully present, 
a beacon for others on the path.
There will be other days when all you can do is breathe.
Don't turn the blame horn on, just keep breathing:
it's someone else's turn to light the way.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The two great challenges

Our first challenge is to learn
What it is that we want;
The second is to be willing
To let that go...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A lesson from the grapes

We all know the line about the vine and the branches, 
but what a lesson in the grapes themselves -- 
translucent, thin-skinned, glowing with color; 
even in old age, wrinkled and dry,
they're bursting with flavor; 
even when crushed, intoxicating...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Here and now

And where do your eyes fall?
On the hard stuff, the weedy stuff,
that's here and now, 
or on that distant future life;
the one where you imagine
everything will be beautiful, peaceful, and still?

Friday, March 4, 2016


Whatever your age, don't be afraid to dream!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Coming Home

Though the way may not be clear,
there will always be someone there
to welcome us home.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Watch, and wait

Watch, and wait: 
whatever it is you need to feed your soul
will soon arrive.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Catherine's light

I painted this one yesterday, and was a little surprised 
by the quality of the light at its center.  

Now, today, having learned of the sudden death 
of my dear friend and mentor, Catherine, 
I find myself hoping that this somehow echoes 
the quality of the light that welcomed her home...