Thursday, December 31, 2015

What have we learned

As we embark on this, the year's last day,
what will we celebrate?
What have we learned from this year past;
what darkness will we gladly leave behind;
what losses ache, and what bright new hope
will we be carrying into tomorrow's dawn?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A lesson from your pupils

Observe this: how your pupils, in a darkened room,
Will open wide, and wider still,
In their struggle to find light.
Let your heart follow their example:
When everything seems too dark to bear,
Let it open wide, and wider still,
Until, at last, it encompasses the light.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Seeking a peaceful night

As we come to the end of a stressful year
and face into the challenges of the year to come,
help us all to trust that things are happening as they should;
and to sleep in peace, understanding 
that rest will solve more problems
than worrying ever could.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Softening the barriers

Somewhere above, below, beyond -- or perhaps 
within -- the harried pace of daily life
there exists a centered calmness, a quiet peace.
Breathe, my friend; breathe deep:
find that serenity, and let it spread 
and soften all the barriers you thought stood firm
between what is and what could be.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What can we share?

And now, today, when we who had so much already
have just a little more, what can we share,
and what can we give away?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Honoring our inner gifts

And now we've welcomed the manger's light
as warmly as we're able,
Let's learn to love those other ones
who populate our inner stable:
the ox, the lamb, the mom, the dad,
the shepherd and the king.
Each has come to honor the light;
each has a gift to bring.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

There's a manger, deep within us,
Glowing with the promise of 
a new beginning; gentle echo
Of the star that shines above.
May that spirit of peace and kindness
Grow to fill the world with love.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Clouds of wonder

As dark descends, the moon is on the rise,
and in the chill night air we wait,
our breath soft clouds of wonder
as we contemplate the joys in store
for all the world to share...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Follow the path of light

Whatever dreams your future may hold,
the fact is: now is now.
Take off your shoes,
feel the sand beneath your feet,
and follow the path of light that lies before you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Light has returned!

The sun sets slowly,
with a corresponding splash 
of brightness on the rocks,
and now we know that when it sets again,
it will be later in the day. Light has returned:
let all the world rejoice!

Monday, December 21, 2015


And now it has arrived, this darkest night --
and the rain, which cuts the sky and faces
like a knife designed to part the short day from the sun
(what ends from what's begun, my life from yours) --
and all the endings of the world run screaming
across the horizon trailing ragged flags
in all the bitter colors loss assumes
until, to save us, in that blackest, bleakest moment -- 3 am,
when all those worries gather in your throat,
silent sentries, standing helpless
as the multitudes of fear surge forth in waves --
sleep finally arrives to hold us in her arms
and rock us gently toward a newer, brighter day.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The sacred darkness

Wait patiently. These long dark nights are sacred space
where something old is dying, and something new
is struggling to be born.
Other eyes than yours are gazing tenderly upon you,
holding you, and breathing 
your inner flame back into light.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Surely we can find a way

Though differently constructed,
we drift in the same universe.
Surely we can find a way
to learn from one another...

Friday, December 18, 2015

... and still we wait

... and still we wait: for peace, for hope,
for an end to the cries of grief and pain
that echo in the night.
Tethered to our stories,
we're longing to break free...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Each an angel

How glorious life would be, if we remembered -- or believed --
that each person we meet is an angel (and so are we):
that whether dressed in white or black, each carries deep within 
that divine light that ignites us all; each offers us some truth
that rounds out our understanding of the world...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The season of waiting

It has begun: the season of waiting,
that deep sense of anticipation 
for what life has yet to bring:
for light, for love, or for some perfect gift
as yet unknown, some unspeakable generosity
to fill our hearts and all our hours with joy...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Part of a larger whole

As technology continues to propel us
toward an ever more integrated world,
it seems only natural that our egos would resist.
If we are to survive this fundamental shift,
we must come to accept that we are part of a larger whole
in which our individual differences are invaluable:
a resource to be cherished, not defended or attacked.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The peace between

Come, my love: let's travel 
to that wide flat plain that lies between
the hunger and the fear.
Together we can build a cabin there,
and live and breathe the peace between...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The flutter and the flurry

How do we stop these constant fluctuations;
the aggravating bounce of thoughts
from pleasure to pain, from praise to blame,
from loss to gain, from disgrace to fame?
The hope of one vies with the fear of the other
to send us soaring up or plummeting down.
Breathe now: sink deep into the center of your soul
and find the still calm peace that lies 
beneath the ebb and flow, the flutter and the flurry.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Divine Alchemy

With each breath, we can participate in some Divine Alchemy:
whatever suffering touches us, whatever pain or anger, 
fear or loss can be gently held, 
and then transformed from darkness into light, 
to finally spill out again as love.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The path that leads us back

You breathe us into being,
filling us with the sweet scent of growth,
then breathe through us
as we seek, or find, or travel down
the path that leads us back to that first breath.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A multitude of colors

When will we realize
a multitude of colors
makes the world a brighter place?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Be wary of assumptions

We are so quick, when we see one cloud,
to imagine others soon to come,
and lightning not far behind.
Best to accept the cloud that's here, and now,
and not to assume it's a harbinger of doom.
Yes, we might be wary,
but we need not sink into gloom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

So many opportunities

Rain, rain, and still more rain:
water spilling over every gutter, ditch and stream --
like the thoughts that flood my mind
when I'm trying to be quiet --
so many opportunities for reflections!

Monday, December 7, 2015

What lies beyond?

This web of preconceptions through which we view the world,
colored by genetics and experience,
has a way of tinting everything we see. When will we
thrust aside this curtain and step forth into the blue beyond?
What will it take to cut through to the truth that lies beneath?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Divine innocence

Honor your own sweet incandescent star,
that spark of divine innocence within
that longs, that seeks, that strives to bring
some brightness into being;
that hopes, that loves, that dreams
of a better world.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

What falls will rise again

Weep not, to learn the end of days is near:
what falls will feed the earth, and rise again.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A little white space

Time, our hearts, our brains, our art --
each benefits when we allow or consciously create
a little white space.
Stop. Breathe. Let all that could distract you 
slip away, if only for a moment,
to expose and set apart what's real; what's true.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dress and dismiss

This baggage we all carry is full of tired old thoughts
with which we clothe our new experiences and adventures.
The fit may be a little tight, but then we needn't look
at the naked  potential and energy beneath.
We can recognize and easily dismiss all possibility,
of hope, of creativity, of growth, or of change.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Life as an experiment

What if we saw all life as an experiment?
Yes, we'd draw conclusions along the way,
but if we could stay open, present, focused on the now,
new data points might surface; 
new patterns might emerge 
to guide us to a broader, 
more compassionate understanding of our world.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lessons from the earth

Place your hand upon a stone, warmed in the afternoon sun,
and listen to the secrets coursing beneath its lichen-laced skin:
all paths lead to the heart of being;
all paths lead to the heart.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Scent of Now

Are you looking back, or looking forward?
Worrying about the mistakes of the past, 
or visualizing future challenges and goals?
Perhaps, instead, you could take time
to rest and close your eyes;
to breathe in the refreshing scent of Now.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Teachable moments

Every moment, every situation, has its energy.
We can choose to run from it, 
or allow its passion to consume us,
or simply open to it, sit with it;
inviting it to teach us about ourselves.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Two pictures

Two pictures, taken on a trip: 
The first, with its graphical appeal,
Offers more questions, 
Reflections on the many different
Lives and perspectives 
Contained within a single space.
The second, an idyllic icon
Of Thanksgiving weekend travels
In a wooded countryside.
Which would you choose, and why?

Having expressed our thanks

Having now expressed our thanks
For all that we've been given,
We now begin to spend our time
Finding new ways to give back.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Courage to be Grateful

How can we go on when the road ahead looks bleak
and what's behind is colored with regrets?
Sometimes it takes such courage to simply stand here, on the road,
and be grateful for this path that we've been given;
to trust it still will take us 
where we were always, always meant to be.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A calmer day

After the storm, the full moon slips
back into the mountain's womb,
while sunrise dresses her clouds in pink
to celebrate the birth of a calmer day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Each has a role

The sky, the clouds, the fields, the barn --
each has a role to play.
Because one occupies a greater or lesser
portion of the total picture,
that doesn't make it any less -- or any more -- important.

Monday, November 23, 2015

All shall be well

Behold the newest addition to our household!  I saw this sleeping Buddha in a catalog years ago, and found him infinitely appealing.  But he was also quite expensive, so it was difficult to justify the purchase.

At one point I had been doing work for a real estate agent, and the money she owed would have covered that purchase, but the economy bottomed out and her payment was delayed over a year, by which time my husband was unemployed and that money was needed elsewhere.

But now that we've moved to a less expensive home and we have a little income again, my thoughts turned once again to this lovely piece; he would look so beautiful in the garden... So when a painting sold for exactly the amount he would cost, I took it for a sign, and ordered him.

The Christian in me is wary of such purchases -- thou shalt have no graven images, and all that.  But I don't worship this piece -- it's simply a lovely reminder to take a moment and breathe, to be at peace, to trust...

So it seems appropriate, as I continue in the final phases of unpacking and moving into my new office, that I found a card, given to me years ago by a professor in the School of Theology.  On it there is a graphic of geese, flying across the moon, and these words from Julian of Norwich:

All shall be well, and
all shall be well, and
all manner of thing
shall be well.

  -- Julian of Norwich 

I can hear the music; can you?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tiptoe toward the moon

On cold nights, when the clouds,
alight with color from the last rays of the sun,
tiptoe toward the cradle of the moon 
clutching a blanket, hoping to keep her safe and warm,
I ache for all the refugees
shivering beneath the threadbare quilt of stars.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Source of creativity

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a movie called Moog, about R.A. Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer.  My husband had ordered the movie because he used to work for a company that made synthesizers, but I was also very interested: I spent a great deal of time in my early 20s in Dartmouth College's Electronic Music Studio, which was essentially a giant room in the basement of College Hall filled with Moog equipment, tape recorders and microphones. 

My then boyfriend was a musician, thrilled to be able to create new sounds by recording things like snapping rubber bands and banging pot lids and then stretching them out, changing pitches, and otherwise modifying them to see how they might work as tones or percussive instruments. So while the rest of the campus was protesting the war or going off skiing, climbing, studying or canoeing, we spent hours fiddling with sound waves, turning dials, splicing tapes and exploring the outer edges of what some people might not call music.  It was great fun, I have to say.

So of course it was a hoot to see the great Bob Moog in person -- I knew he'd visited the campus and knew my boyfriend's professor considered him a personal friend, but I'd never met the man; I just knew he was the genius behind all this creative electronic potential.

But that's not why I wanted to write about him this morning.  What struck me much more forcibly about this movie, far more than the nostalgic fling of seeing all that equipment again and hearing the kinds of music we were making in those days with our new discoveries, was the way he talked about his work. 

It was clear, from everything he said, that he saw himself as a channel between some higher level of energy and the music that was created from his work.  He could visualize a circuit board and hear, at some level beyond the normal senses, the music it had the capability to create.  And he saw all of the work that he did as something that some higher source outside or above himself was creating through him.

... which is exactly how I feel about my work, both my painting and my photography.  At it's best, when I have been working steadily, been committed to the work, and am "in the zone," it's as much not mine as mine: the work is being created through me, and at the same time longing to use me as a channel to interact with some as yet unknown viewer -- or, in Moog's case, listener.  He, too, seemed to feel that his work was a collaborative effort, not just between whatever that Source is that fuels creativity and himself, but between himself and his tools, his tools and his creations, his creations and the musicians that used them, those musicians and their listeners. And each contributor on that journey has something to offer.

"Everything has some consciousness," says Moog, "and we tap into that.  It is about energy at its most basic level... The more you get into material and matter, all you realize is in matter, there is energy. There is a blur between energy and consciousness. All material is conscious to some extent or another. All material can respond to some extent or another to vibrations of energy that is different to energy you learn about in physics. There's all sorts of reliable information now on people and animals being able to be able to effect the operations of machines—even of computers—and I think that has great implications for what goes on between a musician and his instrument. There is a level of reality where there is no time, and there is no space, there is just energy."

I found all this incredibly heartening.  So many creative people (I think of the current most glaring example, Steve Jobs) become so arrogant about what they bring to the table that it's refreshing to hear from one who understands that there is little point in being vain about what we create when its source is so clearly something other than our own petty minds.  And the thought that we are vessels, through which something beyond ourselves communicates with those who interact with what we create -- that is such a key component of my own work, and, at the same time, so weirdly "woo-woo" that it's incredibly difficult to define and articulate.

It does make me think of something we used to say -- back in the day when I was regularly attending church -- before gathering up our offering: "All things come of thee, O Lord; of thine own have we given thee."  I may no longer be as comfortable defining what "O Lord" means, but I still have that sense that there is some Source greater than ourselves from which all goodness comes, and to which I cannot be ever less than eternally grateful.

Thank you, Robert Moog.

Friday, November 20, 2015

In the midst of the cacophony

In the midst of the cacophony 
of voices, shoulds, to-do lists, 
and all those fierce defenders of positions,
how can we find a way to sit and breathe
some calm into the conflict that surrounds us?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

At the heart of every being

At the heart of every being lies this innocence.
It is this innocence we're called to see, and to respect; 
to call out to when we speak, and to honor, 
by choosing -- when tempers rise, and epithets are hurled --
to react, not with venom, or with arrows of our own,
but with a quiet word, a searching look of love.

Let's set aside our differences

Why argue, when we share the same hillside?
Though you are dark and I am pale;
though I am bare, exposed while you are clothed,
do not the sun and rain fall on us both?
Does not the rippling burble of this creek
bring music to all our ears?
Let's set aside our differences,
and find some way to share this life together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When faith seems far away

Nature does her best to give us hope in what's to come,
to show us time and time again
that death can be a prelude to rebirth.

But still: when we're distraught by all that's dying --
the rose that fades, the life that ebbs,
the energy that flags, the dreams that wither and dissolve,
how can we find the confidence
to trust that something new is being born?
Faith, at times, seems very far away...

Monday, November 16, 2015

If only: Children

If only all the world's children could be
as well-housed and well-nourished as these sheep...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

If only: peace

If only the rest of the world could be this peaceful...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Anguish, fear and rage

When anguish, fear, and rage ignite our hearts;
when the shock at what's been done
and the desire for revenge burn bright within,
I pray we learn a lesson from the trees:
display the flames of passion,
but release them. Cut them loose
and let them drift, ever so slowly, to the earth
to pave and feed a future
where our differences might more gently be resolved.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Prayer for the fallen

We pray for all the fallen:
for all the ones who fell before,
for those of whom we are so conscious now,
and for the ones who, having held
the fallen in their arms
are now awash in grief...