Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday's to-do list

Monday morning, once again;
time to make another list 
of what we "otter" do...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Just because you're different...

Last night we went to see a movie called Beatriz at Dinner. It showed a lot of promise: Salma Hayek looking unusually plain, John Lithgow in a more serious role (unusual for him) as an unscrupulous billionaire developer... We were even told Hayek's performance might just be Oscar-worthy. What could possibly go wrong?

But in reality, despite Lithgow and Hayek, the movie was pretty awful.  All the characters were stereotypical, none of them were likeable, none of them grew in their roles or appeared to learn anything from their interactions with one another, and there were WAY too many 70's-style interjections of fraught unintelligible mystical moments: rather like the callow and pretentious posturing of a third-year film studies major.

Not only did the movie reinforce all our prejudices about wealth and poverty and the victims of each, but it was also clear the writers had no idea how to end the film, any more than they had any idea how to help either characters or audience learn from the depicted events.

And yet -- there was this sense, just fleeting, that it could have been great; that the premise for the movie -- a humble Mexican massage therapist invited to dine with a ridiculously wealthy group of developers -- could have made a difference, could have offered a chance to cross that great divide. Which is, I suspect, why this image leaped out at me this morning; that sense that a situation becomes more interesting when you add a little variety, shake things up a bit. And so this poem, because I'm always optimistic that things COULD change, even when they don't.

Just because you are outnumbered,
just because you're different, or you don't fit in,
doesn't mean you don't belong.
Where you are is exactly where you're meant to be,
and what you add could surely be
exactly what is needed in this moment.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Everything contributes to the whole

We all know the phrase "No pain, no gain."
But the truth is bigger than that:
All our experiences, both good and bad,
add depth and richness to the glory that is to come.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A unique and shining light

There is, within each of us, a brightness,
a unique and shining light.
Hold it tenderly, and protect it,
as the clouds cradle the moon.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

True wealth

As I age, I realize more and more
that true wealth lies not in what we own,
but in what we've had the opportunity to experience.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Not thinking about compassion

My husband used to laugh and say
"Don't think about a yellow Volkswagen,"
and of course, that's the first thing I'd think of.
Don't think about a yellow boat, and there it is.
Don't think about your problems, and there they are.
Perhaps we should try not thinking about compassion...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Be yourself

Just by being yourself,
you bring light and color into the world.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New patterns

When I sit still and allow the waves
of wisdom to brush up against me,
glorious new patterns of thought are born...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

On the nature of truth

Like human beings,
truth is far more complex than it appears.
What looks uniform from a distance
may prove, upon closer inspection,
to be riddled with faults and crevices:
don't believe everything you think.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Our mystical strength

Each of us has an inner super-hero,
a mystical strength we can use for good.
What's yours, and how will you share it today?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Seeking that quiet center

When I try to still my mind,
some part of me is always racing toward the future,
while some other part is leaning back into the past.
Help me to find the quiet center
that lies between the two.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The flame of love

The flame of love may rise and set in our hearts,
but it is always there, coloring our thoughts,
and when they grow dark it circles round, ready to flare again.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Silent reminders

Even in death,
we leave our mark upon the landscape,
silent reminders of what was,
and what will be.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Make time to feed your soul

Take some time today to step outside: 
Whether you just sit and appreciate
Or take a walk on the wild side,
It's bound to feed your soul.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Time to break the cycle

There will always be circumstances beyond our control.
But the larger and more pervasive they become,
the more determined we are to control what things we can,
and the angrier we grow when those attempts are thwarted.
What will you do today to break that cycle?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Enchanting invitation

You don't have to be bold to be beautiful.
Subtle colors and contrasting textures 
have a beauty all their own; their quiet charm
an enchanting invitation into mystery.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Illumination from within

Even as we reach for the light, let us not forget 
that we are also illuminated from within...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Longing as a function of distance

I learned this morning that the root of the word
longing is actually long, as in distance:
a craving for something that's far away: 
calm, when we're busy; connection, when we're separated; 
hope, when we are awash in despair;
action, when we feel trapped, disconnected or becalmed...
What, dear one, do you long for today?
And what steps might you take 
to lessen that uncomfortable distance?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Morning light

Take a minute to stop, breathe, and greet the dawning day; 
rise a little earlier if you must. 
Bask in the wisdom of the morning sun;
find solace in the coolness of her shadows.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Revel in the gifts

The arc of life seems largely unpredictable:
though birth and death are given, 
much of what occurs in the years between
may come as a surprise: early promise unfulfilled,
or darkness blossoming into light...
and still we trust, and learn, and grow,
and revel in the gifts each new day brings.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Step away, step away

Summer offers a perfect excuse
to discover again the simple pleasures of childhood:
being with friends, splashing about in the waves,
reveling in the warmth of the sun...
Walk away from whatever electronic device
has you in its thrall and take some time to enjoy the day!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Resting our thoughts

Somehow our problems look smaller,
and their solutions a bit more obvious,
if we just take a little time to rest
our eyes and our thoughts...

Sunday, July 9, 2017


When we start seeing the world in black and white --
"either you're with me or against me" --
even the simplest, gentlest scenes 
begin to seem more ominous...

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The promise of life to come

Why are we determined to contain and protect
something which has no apparent life?
Is it for the memories of what once was,
or the promise of life to come?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Refreshing innocence

In this dark world we refresh our souls
By gazing on the innocence of flowers.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Driven toward the light

Have you considered the possibility --
or do you remember --
that some of the darkest aspects 
of our experience and personality
are what propel us into the light?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The complexity of the Natural World

"Age cannot wither her,
nor custom stale her infinite variety."
Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

... and if, today, you're celebrating freedom,
what is it freedom from? 
And what is it the freedom to do?

Monday, July 3, 2017

The more we have

The more we have, the more we spend
protecting what we have...

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What color is your life today?

Some days 
you just need a little color in your life...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The universe collaborates

I cannot promise you that for every task you undertake
the necessary resources will be provided,
but I will say this:
when we're doing whatever it is we were born to do
in the moment we were meant to do it,
the universe has a lovely way of collaborating with us.