Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A girl can dream

A prayer of hope,
as we enter the new year,
for hands to reach across the aisle;
for an end to racism, hate and war,
and all divisions cease...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Indescribable magnificence

What indescribable magnificence
we would find in the human heart
if only we would take the time
to look inward and see..

Monday, December 29, 2014

The journey home

We're on the home stretch now,
tramping down the slick hill in the cold,
eager for the warmth that awaits us.
But stop, for just a moment,
and take in all that beauty.
Watch your breath as it eddies forth
in the chill air,
revel in the arch of trees,
bending under the weight of snow,
listen for the silence
that softens this blue world,
and then for the crunch of booted feet
as we set out again
on this, the final lap
of our journey

Sunday, December 28, 2014

As the year fades

The year draws slowly to a close
bathing the highs and lows of our lives
in a gradual wash of nostalgia:
bright colors to fade in the shadows of time.
Looking back, what is it we'll remember, or regret?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What needs your attention?

It's just another day, you think --
nothing special, a way to mark
the time between two major holidays,
a day to spend in the usual ways --
shopping, or cleaning, reading or eating
the gifts we have received...
But no, each day is special: an opportunity
to learn what needs to be learned,
to give what needs to be given,
to love what needs our love...
Listen! As the year speeds toward its finish line,
what is it that needs the attention
that only you can give?

Friday, December 26, 2014

As we come to the close of the year

The day may be over,
but the season is not.
May you find moments of quiet peace
as we move toward the close of the year...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Santa Train

Stop! Wait! I hear the bells!
It's coming now -- the Santa Train -- 
with carloads full of baggage and old patterns,
outmoded thoughts and unmet expectations.

We'll smile and wave, 
and welcome any passengers
who insist upon debarking,
but this year, let's just graciously 
refuse that "All Aboard!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ever nearer

Keep watch, dear ones:
if you look close,
beyond the woven strands of holiday madness
you might just catch a glimpse
of the joy that's swimming
ever nearer,
ever nearer...

Monday, December 22, 2014

What glorious gift?

Having turned that corner,
darkness into light,
expectancy still builds momentum,
longing to burst forth.
What glorious gift from deep within
is yearning to be born
in you?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pondering the creche

In this season, when there's
so much to be grateful for,
how do we also honor our disappointments?
The job, promotion, or raise we didn't get,
the contest we didn't win,
the marriage that didn't last,
the child that didn't live,
the persistent wounds
that never seem to heal...
We sit here,
up to our necks in gifts and sorrows
and ponder
those timeless figures in the creche --
what do they have to teach us
about holding in our hearts
both joy and sadness?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Standing at the edge of winter

The fields are barren,
empty now,
yet glowing with the promise of spring.
Standing at the edge of winter,
we breathe in the distant horizon
and feel our souls take root,
gathering light for the harvest yet to come.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Hidden Wholeness

That which is barely seen, or only faintly visible
is nonetheless real:
there is a hidden wholeness to everything:
just wait for the light to change,
and all will be revealed.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Look up and smile

Look up and smile:
what to us is just
a means to an end --
two wires,
carrying thoughts,
or energy,
from one home to another --
might prove to be
a perfect host
for someone else's home.

Nature's like that,
you know --
she seems to find
some unexpected use
for even the darnedest things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Channeling the wildness

There are beautiful wild forces
spiraling within us.
Let them turn the mills and fill the sacks
that will feed even the heavens.

-- St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Living creatively

"Even though personal creativity may not lead to fame and fortune, 
it can do something that from the individual's point of view is even more important: 
make day-to-day experiences more vivid, more enjoyable, more rewarding. 
When we live creatively, boredom is banished 
and every moment holds the promise of a fresh discovery. 
Whether or not these discoveries enrich the world beyond our personal lives, 
living creatively links us with the process of evolution." 

-- from Creativity, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Monday, December 15, 2014

What are you waiting for?

And again I ask:
What are you waiting for?
And how are you spending your time while you wait?
Are you squawking? sleeping? 
preening? feathering your nest?
Why, when you have the wings to fly,
would you waste your time
waiting for some undefined future?
Take flight, my friend, and soar into the beauty of Now...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let the spirit bloom

Though it's meant to be
the Season of Love,
I've noticed people get
a little prickly this time of year --
all those to-do lists,
and the crowds,
and the expectations
of unmet expectations.
Let's make a pact
to rise above
those prickly irritations
and let the Christmas spirit bloom
in spite of it all...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What do you hunger for?

We are, all of us, at our most attentive
when we await something
for which we deeply hunger.
In this, the season of waiting,
what do you hunger for?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Getting into the Christmas spirit

No, I'm not ready for Christmas -- though we did get the lights up and the decoration boxes down from the garage, and I finished designing the annual family calendar.  But the shopping has barely begun, we don't have a tree, and we've been frankly too busy dealing with the weather to get in the Christmas mood.

... but that doesn't mean we're not aware: this season comes with a lot of expectations for stuff lots of people find either hokey or ridiculous -- I mean, face it, there's not an aspect of Christmas that hasn't been somehow overdone or commercialized.

But that doesn't mean there isn't some important truth lying underneath, some deeper awareness that things are supposed to be a little different this time of year.  Whether we fail or succeed, we get that we're supposed to be a little nicer, a little gentler, a little more generous, a little more forgiving when Christmas rolls around. 

And we get that that's hard, and that actually Christmas, the whole holiday thing, is hard, for an awful lot of people.  So many expectations and hopes, so many past disappointments, so many losses to be borne anew as the memories come rolling in...

So, yes.  It's not really about Santa -- whether you see him as a jolly generous old elf or the personification of consumerism.  But I'm posting him here anyway, because I like this version of him, like the twinkle in his eye, the sense of a shared joke just underneath the surface.  He gets, I think, that this Christmas mood thing we're trying to get into is all a game, but he wants it to be fun, and deep down I think he knows we're each a little better and more cheerful for trying to join into the spirit of things.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some days

Some days --
and there's no rhyme or reason --
I just feel safer watching
from behind a fence...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This, too, shall pass

Like the tides that roll in in the winter
And surround my neighbor's home:
It may look bad for an hour or two,
But the reality is -- this, too, shall pass.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In gratitude

In gratitude
for all the times
that I've been lost in fog
and someone's come along
to tow me home...

Monday, December 8, 2014

The clouds' embrace

Watch, dear one, and see
how the clouds reach out
to cradle and embrace the mountain;
how the sea extends her smooth caress
to stroke and soothe the worried shore.
So, too, will you be calmed --
stop, look, and breathe.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

On these wild days

On these wild days -- so icy cold,
snow glowing on the distant mountain,
waves tearing at the edges of our beach --
the world's aflame, like some great burning bush
that's not consumed but ever shining forth;
some fathomless joy keeps surging into being
with each breath, hurling itself
against this darkened shore,
a fierce insistent promise of light.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Take a break to breathe

Stop! Rest! Take a load off your wings!
You've been so busy lately,
gathering sweetness for your hive of family and friends --
practice a little generosity for yourself as well.

Even one breath --
attentive to the flow of love
from outside to within and back again --
(hold it, treasure it for just a moment)
can fuel your energy for the season ahead...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Come love, and set us free

Winter's come,
and now the leaves are off the trees,
we see that we are locked
in the same old patterns,
harnessing our energy
to win some pointless race
forgetting that winning
never sets us free.
It's always someone else
that walks off with that cup
while we are still fenced in --
or locked into a stall of our own creation...

Come light. Come hope, come love:
open the gate and set us free.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

When hope is born anew

What will it take, as winter's solstice nears,
to lure the sun back into our lives,
to call the brown bear from his cave,
to find the courage in this looming dark
to dance, and sing, and play the lute
in confidence that spring and light
will visit us again?
A babe, a star, a cry in the night
and hope is born anew...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Celestial ecology

Whatever is, has been before; 
each taking inspiration from the past 
to breathe new life into the future:
this building, once the pattern of a tree, 
reflected in a pond,
this mountain, once a cloud;
this fish, the broken petal of a flower, 
torn by some harsh wind;
this paper once a bowl of rice --
nothing -- yet everything -- even the moon -- original, unique:
each element both dead and born again, 
inflamed with life and spirit, 
and true.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The arc of good intentions

Here, at the edge of being,
where I reach out for you and you for me,
who can say what is real,
and what are merely shadows and reflections?
Beneath the surface, something reaches back,
as eager to communicate its longing
as I am to communicate mine.
Together we become one overarching whole,
a wave, an arc of good intentions
that surges forward with each breath I take.

Monday, December 1, 2014


We wait all our lives
for that windfall to arrive --
for who and what and when we will become --
but all we ever really need to be or to know
is who and what we are in this moment, now.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent

In this dark night 
I have lost the path of the journey.
Go where I may, my anguish does but grow—
beware this desert, this endless road.
Come, then, O star that guides us, 
and lead the way back home.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Now is the season

Now is the season to know that everything we do is sacred. 

-- Hafiz

Friday, November 28, 2014

After the harvest

We celebrate the harvest, and return
to bless the beauty of the barren fields
and the promise of the seeds that still remain:
hopes that will lie dormant through the winter,
gathering nurture for the harvests yet to come.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Of prayer, and Thanksgiving

We set a table, here within our hearts,
inviting those we love, 
and those we know who need our prayers
and offer up our thanks
for all the grace that fills our lives
and lay before your feet
the hungers of the world, not just our own,
and bow our heads in sadness
for the losses we and others have sustained,
and for the opportunities to help that we've ignored,
then drink again your ever-present wine:
the wine of grace, of forgiveness, and love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Different Strokes

I was finally able to get back into my studio yesterday, but I'm a little surprised at the results -- this one's quite a departure for me, both in design and technique.  It's always interesting to see how time away from our usual practices -- whatever they might be -- can propel us into new territory.

I'll be curious to see if any of this style carries over into future work, or if this is just some momentary aberration.  I do like, though, this familiar sense that it's an abstract painting that suggests something more concrete...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Precious in the vast expanse

We get caught up in the drama of our lives
and forget, sometimes, how small a speck we are
against the vast expanse of interstellar space,
and even more, forget how precious 
every other speck might also be...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Not a stone or flower

O traveler, traveler along the way,
there is not a single soul who lacks a pathway to God.
There is not a stone or a flower—
not a single piece of straw lacking the divine essence.
In every particle of the world the sun of love
causes the heart of each atom to shine.

—Muhammad Shirin Maghribi
from Recitations, translated by Lynn Bauman

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How we change

Something there is in us that seeks to consume;
that closes itself off in a cocoon of isolation --
until some stroke of compassion -- or perhaps it's grace --
awakens the joy within, and we take flight...

(from a Rumi poem, published this morning on my Contemplative Icons page)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Through another lens

Though the red and gold are true,
my camera turned these damp dark shadows into blue,
reminding us that what looks black from one perspective
may have a vital color of its own 
when viewed  through another lens...

Friday, November 21, 2014

The path to forgiveness

The path to forgiveness
is rarely obvious or easy;
there will be many obstacles
in the way.
But few acts are more heroic,
or speak more clearly
to the freedom of choice
that makes us fully human,
than to break the cycle
of instinctive retaliation,
to drop the awful burden
of hate and animosity;
to step over the past grievances
that haunt us and divide us
and into the promise
of mercy and grace.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Though you walk alone

Though you walk alone
to the edge of the earth
I will build a fence there
to keep you from falling off.
My deepest wish
is to keep you safe from harm...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Summoned to be a blessing

We are, each of us, here, says Jonathan Sacks 
in his extraordinary book, The Dignity of Difference
"because someone -- some force at the heart of being -- 
called us into existence and summoned us to be a blessing."  

How will you bless the world today?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Creative process

"At the deepest level, 
the creative process and the healing process 
arise from a single source. 
When you are an artist, you are a healer; 
A wordless trust of the same mystery 
is the foundation of your work and its integrity."
-- Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Each bridge an invitation

Every bridge is an invitation
to step across the great divide
and see how things look
from the other side...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Heading home

Whatever adventures we planned for the day,
however far we've chosen to stray,
evening will find us heading home.
Intent upon our separate destinations,
we pass each other and move on
gliding across the constant sky-spangled sea.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Forward into light

As humans,
we are uniquely able
to stand at the border
between abstract and concrete
and look both ways.
True, the presence
of a familiar form
gives us a hand to hold
as we step --
tentatively at first --
into the unknown.
But it is color,
the invitation to love
and the prospect of joy,
that keeps us moving
forward into light.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Creating a space within

I breathe in Grace.
I breathe out Grace.
I create a space within
to generate and welcome

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The fire inside

There is a fire inside you:
I see it burning, deep within,
a spirit, reaching out to heal the world...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The consequences of haste

Pay attention to the dust that you kick up
in your haste to meet your goal
(however noble or refined):
will it enrich the soil you leave behind
or make the air impossible to breathe?
Are you laying down a path for those who follow,
or tearing up the road so they'll stumble, 
 trip, and fall, then lose their way?