Like light in the sun spilling out of the sun, the spirit within beams its way through all our cracks till our most treasured walls come down.   The coming down of those walls is the blessing we crave and resist.   The coming down of those walls—so the light of the soul like the light of the sun can help the world grow—this is the call of calls.   A Question to Walk With: Describe a personal wall that… Read more

By staying in relationship, we gather meaning. By staying in relationship, our Spirit draws closer to the surface. To follow our aliveness is the career of awakening.   Inevitably, certain experiences rearrange us. These unexpected events puncture life as we know it and turn us inside out and upside down. For me, this rearranging event was cancer. It could just as easily have been wonder. For you, it might appear as being loved completely when you’ve never been loved before…. Read more

We play with the dog on the floor and laugh and lean into each other and your eyes which I know so well stop me. We talk some more, taking off the day before our clothes. Holding you lightly as the wind dies down makes me believe that intimacy is the silk of the world. The rest of the night is one long kiss, as is this life. In a while you will sleep. Tomorrow, the sun will curl up… Read more

I was recently in a social setting where a small group motioned for me to join them. Yet when I approached, they made no effort to include me. It seemed a small thing. Perhaps they were immersed in their conversation, but I immediately felt invisible. I don’t think anyone meant any harm. They were unaware at best. Nonetheless, the situation felt very adolescent and though I didn’t know these people well, I left feeling a little insecure, not even sure… Read more

My grandfather’s Talmud. Your picture of Uncle Billy. The innocence of our dog. The things I never show the world. The things I never show myself. The things we believe in. The dream I no longer need. The uncertainty at the center of all my plans. The small flame that keeps changing names. Now the days burn like bones, slowly and all at once. And what we thought would last burns like wax. Under it, everything.   A Question to… Read more

The great sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is a moving example of how an artist was shaped by his unwavering commitment to find the story behind the story. In 1891, Rodin was commissioned by The Society of Men in Letters in Paris to create his now legendary sculpture of the eminent French novelist Balzac (1799-1850). Rodin immediately immersed himself in understanding who Balzac was. The sculptor researched the character and personality of Balzac, and read all the author’s books. He traveled… Read more

Our sweet dog Mira has an eye infection and so each day for a week, three times a day, we take turns, calling her to the kitchen where she sits against the cabinet as we hold a warm compress to her sore eye. Today, it’s my turn. The sun is rising and I’m on my knees, holding her head, as she looks up at me with her other eye. This is what ailments do: they bring us to our knees… Read more

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 a tooth is such a piercing thing. There it was—a sudden jolt of sharp pain overcame my whole being, radiating out. You can never see… Read more

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 walk, has set up chairs in all the rooms, so he can look for where he left the secret. He says, “The places get shorter…. Read more

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 group. He has a service dog, Forest, a golden retriever. Forest is beautiful but I can’t pet another dog, not just yet. I’m afraid, if… Read more

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