Accepting This

Yes, it is true. I confess, I have thought great thoughts, and sung great songs—all of it rehearsal for the majesty of being held.   The dream is awakened when thinking I love you and life begins when saying I love you and joy moves like blood when embracing others with love.   My efforts now turn from trying to outrun suffering to accepting love wherever I can find it.   Stripped of causes and plans and things to strive… Read more

If You Want a True Friend

Just open your hands and say, “I don’t know.” Say it softly and wait, so your other can see that you mean it. Give them a chance to drop what they think is secret. Let them come up with a cup of what matters from the spring they show no one. Let them sigh and admit that they don’t know either. Then you can begin with nothing in the way. Go on. Admit to the throb you carry in your… Read more

Post-Election Thoughts

I was recently in New York City giving a reading at the New York Open Center where I felt compelled to open the evening with the following post election thoughts. It lead to a very honest and touching public conversation with about 100 people about the confusion of where we are as a society after the presidential election. I believe this is a conversation that needs to happen and is happening everywhere whether in private or public. Please pass these… Read more

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey, no rabbi or priest, no mother who wants you to dig for treasures she misplaced, no father who won’t let one life be enough, no lover who measures their worth by what you might give up, no voice that tells you in the night it can’t be done.   Let nothing dissuade you from seeing what you see or feeling the winds that make you want to dance alone or go where… Read more

Fighting the Instrument

Often the instruments of change are not kind or just and the hardest openness of all might be to embrace the change while not wasting your heart fighting the instrument.   The storm is not as important as the path it opens. The mistreatment in one life never as crucial as the clearing it makes in your heart.   This is very difficult to accept. The hammer or cruel one is always short-lived compared to the jewel in the center… Read more

In Muir Woods

  Masters of stillness, masters of light, who, when cut by something falling, go nowhere and heal, teach me this nowhere,   who, when falling themselves, simply wait to root in another direction, teach me this falling.   Four-hundred-year-old trees, who draw aliveness from the Earth like smoke from the heart of God, we come, not knowing you will hush our little want to be big;   we come, not knowing that all the work is so much busyness of… Read more

The Lesson

When young, it was the first fall from love. It broke me open the way lightning splits a tree. Then, years later, cancer broke me further. This time, it broke me wider the way a flood carves the banks of a narrow stream. Then, having to leave a twenty-year marriage. This broke me the way wind shatters glass. Then, in Africa, it was the anonymous face of a schoolboy beginning his life. This broke me yet again. But this was… Read more

Where No One Stays a Statue

It was a sunny day and I went to the park and sat on a bench. I was one of many coming out from under our rocks to warm and lengthen.   He was two benches down, a gentle older man staring off into the place between things, beyond any simple past, staring into the beginning or the end, it was hard to say.   When he came up our eyes met and he knew I’d seen him journey there… Read more

Initiating the Gift

I often experience the days like someone rowing, and each time I slip an oar below the surface, it disturbs the water. When I’m tired or stunned enough to stop rowing, the water goes clear. In those moments, I can see through to the bottom. It always makes me wonder where I’m going. This is how we live. We need to move through the world, but only when we stop does the world open. We see differently when rowing and… Read more

The Covenant of Love

In the West, we’re eager, even anxious, to choose names for babies before they’re born. In other parts of the world, the naming process unfolds differently. The Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria wait for a child to arrive before considering a name. There’s a need to meet the new being, to keep company with the child, before sensing the name the child carries. After the first three days of life, the infant is brought into a community circle, where the… Read more