Friday, October 31, 2014


Standing in the field of being,
each one of us awaits
the carving that allows
our inner light to shine.

and then opened to reveal
the fruitful possibilities within;
subjected to the knife, and then
we glow, however briefly --
a welcome and a promise
of generosity to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Against all odds

Nature has a way of reminding us
that life and joy can persist
against apparently incredible odds...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lovable imperfection

Just because we are not perfect,
doesn't mean we are not loved...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

April Showers in November

As is often true, I retreat into a boxier style when I've been away from the studio for a while. But I'm pleased to see the textures in this one have grown more lush; there's a restlessness to it, a sense that joy lies just beneath, ready to bloom forth at the slightest provocation of sun and showers... And yet, if you rotate it 90 degrees counter-clockwise, it becomes a bit stagnant and predictable. Perhaps it's a reminder it's not life that's troublesome, or boring; it's just how we're looking at it...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mired in the details

Sometimes those little details that seem to clog our lives,
to keep us mired and unmoving, are the very things 
that mark us with their color, grace and beauty --
we're just too close to notice how they fill us with their light.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A quiet radiance

Dawn tiptoes in,
and morning blooms with a quiet radiance
that fills eyes, heart, and soul
with the light of peace

Saturday, October 25, 2014

There may be times

There may be times when we have no choice
but to step into the dark
and trust there will be light on the other side...

Friday, October 24, 2014

The fragrance of the unseen

"If you catch a fragrance of the unseen,
you will not be able to be contained.
You will be out in empty sky...
As you live deeper in the heart,
the mirror gets clearer and cleaner...
You break the spells
that human difficulties cause."

-- Rumi

Thursday, October 23, 2014

An austere clarity

Word arrived yesterday that the stone memorial for the family farm we sold last year in Iowa has finally been placed.  That -- and knowing a family reunion's coming up, and I'm unable to attend -- is making me a little sad today.

Addicted as I am to the mountains and the sea, I couldn't have imagined living there, but I found the starkness of those bare flat lands hauntingly beautiful, and I'm grateful the austere clarity of that life still echoes in the souls of my husband and our daughters.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The beginning of wisdom

"Whenever we can appreciate 
the goodness and value of something 
while still knowing its limitations and failures, 
this marks the beginning of wisdom."

 -- Richard Rohr, The Naked Now

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dancing in the center of light

Cherish those blessed moments
when the longing soul takes flight;
when, wings outstretched, embracing All,
we dance in the center of light.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What sinks us

"Sadness does not sink a person; 
it is the energy a person spends 
trying to avoid sadness that does that."

-- Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

Sunday, October 19, 2014

On a bed of clouds

Let's build our lives on a bed of clouds
to cushion our assumptions
so when we do fall in
to foolish judgments of right and wrong
we bounce right back to that open space 
where everyone has a reasonable point of view...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A prayer

A prayer today:
For all who walk
the long dark path
of suffering --
of loss, or grief,
or fear,
or pain;
for all who face despair --
that waiting at the end
of that long dark trail,
there might be a haven of safety,
a place of light,
of hope,
of health,
which they might know
as home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Speak for yourself!

It was great to be back in the studio again this week, after a three week absence, and fun to see where my brushes would take me.  This one declared itself to be done after I added that circle: I tried three times to add another circle, but each time it was just... wrong.

So I guess the painting speaks for itself -- I'm just not all that sure what it's saying -- except, perhaps, that Halloween is approaching...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The road to compassion

Our chief challenge on the road to compassion
is to discover and explore,
to honor; to encourage, and express
the unique essential balance of human and divine 
that defines and blesses 
each and every being on this planet. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This candleflame instant

"As essence turns to ocean,
the particles glisten.
Watch how in this candleflame instant
blaze all the moments you have lived."

-- Rumi

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


When we are centered, still and calm,
darkness becomes the lace that graces
the edges of our lives
and light the destination 
toward which the soul inclines.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The roots of our anguish

When the tides of good fortune recede
and the roots of our anguish lie exposed,
what then?
How will we continue
to find nourishment for our souls?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A craving for color

Yup, October's here.  And with Halloween just around the corner, we're seeing orange and black everywhere we look!

This time of year -- and I can't help but wonder if it has to do with the 20 years I spent in New England -- I just get this... hankering ... for orange.  Not the fruit (though it is my favorite) but the color.  Today I walked by an orange corduroy shirt at Goodwill three times before I just said -- oh, what the heck: you know you want it!

Perhaps it's just me, but I get cravings for color, just like I get cravings for food -- for chips, or a juicy burger, or chocolate; just as I crave light after a long winter and cloudy days after a long summer.

We need dark, and light, color and drama -- and if it doesn't come to us on its own, we humans have a way of creating it.  Just remember: with creation comes responsibility. The trick is to notice where those cravings come from: which ones arise from a healthy desire for balance, and which might be symptoms of a deeper hunger that the things we crave aren't really going to assuage...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What you seek and what you find

With all the fog we've had lately, I keep heading down to the dock hoping to get some boat photographs, but the fog seems to dissipate before I get there.

I did manage to catch these lovely cormorants on the way back home, though -- they seem to love hanging out on these old pilings and drying their wings.  It's a good reminder: what you find is not always what you thought you were looking for -- but that doesn't make it any less valuable.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Franciscan coincidences

There's a line in my play where the inspector says "Coincidences make me very suspicious,"and I suspect all of us feel at least a little bit that way. So when several things happen over the course of a short period of time, and there seems to be a curious connection, I get suspicious, too.

It all began when a dear friend sent me this video, The Path of the Horse -- which considers, among other things, the importance of our connection with animals. It makes sense to me -- as I mentioned yesterday, I'm feeling very connected to my cat these days. But then I had that interaction with the hummingbird. And then a conversation with our dog, which ended up in a visit to the vet (which was a good thing, it turns out.)

And then another friend posted a brief story about how she and her dog had developed a pre-dinner ritual that felt almost like communion, and then another friend told me about a movie she had watched, in which orca whales escorted a ferry that was bringing native american artifacts back to a nearby museum. And someone commenting on my blog mentioned a bee that had been visiting with his wife...

So when the book I was reading this morning, the same one I've been reading for days now, mentioned St. Francis, I couldn't help but wonder: it's kind of amazing that we have this incredible new pope. I mean, I'm not even Catholic but I love him. And I remember how incredibly powerful the energy was when I was standing in St. Francis' tomb in Assisi.

What if this new age we're supposedly moving into is being ushered in by St. Francis?

I know. Crazy.

But so many coincidences in 24 hours... you have to wonder!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blurry but real

I know -- terrible photograph, right? I actually resurrected this from my trash this morning, because I decided it was worth remembering the moment, even if the photos didn't work.

We're back into fog season here, and I'd gone out on the front porch to photograph the ducks drifting across the shapes of the houses in the lagoon, and a hummingbird decided to pay me a visit. 

She was methodically sipping through all the blooms on the rosemary, and I kept trying to capture her on film, but I was just carrying my little point and shoot, and all I got was... well... fuzz.

But I think it's really important to remember that the point of the exercise is not necessarily to get a great photograph, but to be more present in the moment.  Yes, I could have just put the camera down and watched her, but it became a kind of game, trying to capture her on film, and I got the impression she was a full participant.

One of the things I'm learning, living with a dying cat, is that the animals in our world really aren't dumb at all.  And they do appreciate any effort we make to break through the communication barriers between us to express our gratitude for what they bring into our lives. There's so much joy to be found when we tap into our underlying unity with them, and with the world around us.  And though the connection may be a little blurry, that doesn't make it any less real.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Watch in stillness

The same hand
that sweeps the clouds
across our limited horizon
will sweep them away again with time.
Watch in stillness; listen, and wait.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Losing anchors

I woke up this morning feeling anxious -- not surprising, since I went to bed last night feeling anxious.  I could easily attribute that feeling to some bodily concerns -- I'd lost a lot of sleep the night before, and hadn't been eating a particularly well-balanced diet for the last couple of days.

I could also attribute the problem to re-entry issues: I'd been away on a retreat for a week, and as is often true, it's taking a while to get caught up -- I still haven't unpacked my suitcase -- and that creates a certain amount of pressure.

But I'm also aware that all those things are simply compounding the base problem, which is that I won a role in a play, a lovely role, in a lovely play, and I'm worried I may be in over my head.  It's the largest role I've ever had, more dialogue than monologue, with a very short rehearsal span -- which I exacerbated by going away for a week and refusing to take my script with me.

Knowing all this, I looked forward to my morning's meditation period, knowing it would help me return to center, stabilize, trust, and get to the root of things.  Which it did; I feel much better now.  But I'm also realizing that the anxiety is an ego issue.  My identity has always been tied up in my intelligence, and the fear that my brain may no longer be functional enough to contain, remember, and deliver all these lines --  that's a hard one.  I'm terrified of letting people down, of screwing up, of suddenly being perceived as old, as "past it."  Who am I, if I cannot be trusted to learn my lines?

Part of conscious aging is coming to see  -- and often learning to let go -- all the self-concepts that have anchored us over the years. Whatever they might be -- I am bright, I am funny, I am creative, I am beautiful, I am quirky, I am strong, I am athletic, I am religious, I am playful, I am slim, I am healthy -- whatever your notion of who you are, you may need to abandon it with time, or see it yanked out from under you.

And so, when you find yourself floating free: who are you then, and where does your value lie? If you're lucky, you can find new joy in that buoyancy.  But if not -- I suspect it could be all too easy to drown in all that free-floating anxiety...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Be present in the moment

It's not enough to be holding your camera.  
It's not even enough to know how to use it.  
What's most important -- 
in this, as in any creative endeavor -- 
is our ability to be present, attentive: 
to notice, to listen, and to see. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The dying light's infusion

Evening, and the setting sun
turns our gray green world to gold
and sets the dying branches, brown, on fire.

If dying light can re-ignite those branches into life,
how much more, then, might it infuse
our cold dark hearts with love?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Coming of age

The lumps, the blemishes, the wrinkles,
the prickly personality that sometimes comes with age --
when will we see the beauty
of each distinguishing feature;
how each one marks us as God's own 
unique and deeply loved creation?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tread lightly

Like the dew drops on this dandelion fluff,
let's go through life lightly,
not weighing down the transience of it...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The work of transformation

The work of transformation, I believe,
is about coming to view 
myself and the world around me,
as Richard Rohr says,
"honestly, more lovingly,
and in ever broader and less self-serving frames."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

There is a way

There is a way,
a path carved in
to the cleft between these mountains.
Whenever things begin to loom like this,
you'll simply have to trust.

There is a way,
a path for you to take,
a hand to guide you through:
but first you'll have to ask...