Finding What Can Last

Dr. Leonard was about to trim down an old tooth for a crown and I was all numbed up, listening to the Beatles—Abbey Road—on small headphones. About halfway through, I began to feel the drilling. It wasn’t bad, but I was afraid the drill would hit the nerve and get much worse. Nerve pain in [Read More…]

The Secret is Burning

but I can’t tell if it’s using us up or lighting the way. Back from Prague, I tell my father of the Jewish Cemetery so strangely full of life and ask if he had to hide being a Jew. He says, “Of course. A nail sticking up will get hammered.” At 89, he can barely [Read More…]

She’s Been Gone a Month

I’m teaching in Santa Barbara. The sun is setting. The group is having dinner. Someone from Alaska asks me what kind of dog Mira was. How can I possibly say? I start but stop and close my eyes. Another woman offers softly, “I understand.” In the morning, there’s a man in a wheelchair in our [Read More…]

At the Window

I was at the window when a fly near the latch was on its back spinning— legs furious, going nowhere.   I thought to swat it but something in its struggle was too much my own.   It kept spinning and began to tire. Without moving closer, I exhaled steadily, my breath a sudden wind, [Read More…]

Things No One Asks About

I have been called heroic for merely surviving, which is like championing an eagle for flying to its nest   and I have been condemned as selfish for following the call of truth, which is like blaming a turtle for finding the deep   and I have escaped death more than once but not the [Read More…]

Our Spirit Path

After four months of aggressive chemo, I had to have a test known as First Pass, in order to determine if the chemo had damaged my heart. Through an IV, I was injected with a radioactive dye, which made me feel flush and hot. Then I watched the screen as the first pass of blood [Read More…]

Issues of Control

Chapter 24 of the Tao te Ching by the legendary Lao Tzu offers helpful direction about the difference between self-awareness and self-deception. Let’s look at this one couplet. He who has power over others can’t empower himself. Lao Tzu suggests that we participate in life, we can’t control it. The effort to have power over [Read More…]

Earth Prayer

O Endless Creator, Force of Life, Seat of the Unconscious, Dharma, Atman, Ra, Qalb, Dear Center of our Love, Christlight, Yaweh, Allah, Mawu, Mother of the Universe…   Let us, when swimming with the stream, become the stream. Let us, when moving with the music, become the music. Let us, when rocking the wounded, become [Read More…]

God’s Wounds

Beyond all that pain has taught me, the soft well at the base of time has opened, and life touching me there has turned me into a flower that prays for rain. Now I understand: to blossom is to pray, to wilt and shed is to pray, to turn to mulch is to pray, to [Read More…]

Burning the Map

Expectation is premeditated disappointment. —Sogyal Rinpoche Everyone’s life journey eventually arrives at a precipice or fork in the road. At some point we will come to the end of a path and no longer know our way. Hard as this is, this is where the inner journey begins, when all we’ve carried has served its [Read More…]