April 13, 2019

I start each day by opening the blinds and making coffee for my wife. This way, I enter the day by letting in light and doing something for someone I love. From there, come what may, I’m centered in the strength of light and care. Then I feed our dog and go to work, which for me is re-entering my conversation with life. Like an astronomer who spends his days looking into the galaxy, tracing the movement of stars and… Read more

April 9, 2019

When my twentieth book was published, we had a party in our backyard. It was such a milestone. My wife, Susan, surprised me that day by having the incomparable folk singer, May Erlewine, play with her quartet. I was dumbfounded to see her in our driveway. As May played, her voice threaded through our histories and I could feel the weave of stories that have brought us all together. After her first set, I offered a reading, one piece from… Read more

April 1, 2019

In the middle of the night, your hand was sticking up from under your pillow—so still and open—as when we finally stop reaching and are just beginning to receive. I gently twined my fingers in yours. You were so asleep, and yet you took my hand. That’s how deep we can go. We hold on, even when drifting in the sea of dream. I couldn’t see your face, only your hand. And with no distractions, with no dishes to wash… Read more

March 25, 2019

When hurt, it’s important to scream. Just don’t pray to the scream. When sad, it’s important to grieve. Just don’t build a kingdom of your loss. When falling through whatever you thought would last, admit, “I’m lost and confused.” Just don’t map the world as lost and confused. And when riding the wave, however it appears, feel the strength in you released. Just don’t believe the strength comes from you alone. But most of all, when listening to others, say,… Read more

March 18, 2019

I always hear what’s soft breathing inside what’s hard. I think this comes from my great-grandfather’s family, who hid from the Nazis in Romania, who slept in cemeteries under the blue night and woke with the stories of the dead, which filled them with resilience. Just today, I heard a woman who’d been tortured softly play a wooden flute. Though she can’t put to rest what was done to her, her softness filled the room, making each of us think… Read more

March 11, 2019

When I admit I’ve been wrong and that you’ve been true, I want to pick up all I’ve broken with my insistence and bring you flowers you’ve never seen.   This is what it means to make amends.   When a misunderstanding unravels, I want to linger in that clearing, and put aside our beliefs, which weigh us down like old iron castings we’ve carried around for generations.   This is what it means to listen.   When we use… Read more

March 4, 2019

Though I run to get out of the rain, it’s standing in the rain with my hands on my heart that is cleansing. Though I run from the pain, it’s standing in the pain with my face to the sky that is healing. So I never stop peeling the hurt, never stop trusting life to burst through whatever I have to face. Even when lost, there’s a truth we carry that—when released—can return us to the ground beneath all trouble,… Read more

February 25, 2019

My teacher appeared to me in the midst of my grief for him. I was on a bench in a park in the city. Buses were coughing by and small shops were opening. And since my teacher no longer has hands, he swept a bird in my face to break up my sadness. And since he no longer has a mouth, the light off the windows twenty stories up drifted through the leaves. I said, “I miss you.” And I… Read more

February 19, 2019

In the 1950s, it was thought to be a Sumerian hymn written on clay tablets 3400 years ago, likely played on an ancient harp. But in 2008, archaeologists discovered fragments of flutes carved from mammoth bones in a cave in southern Germany called Hohle Fels. These instruments date back almost 43,000 years. Yet the oldest song in the world lives in what prompts us to carve holes in bone, in what prompts us to hold our lips to the holes…. Read more

February 12, 2019

You ask why such things happen, why hearts break, and why we hurt each other. I don’t know. And anyone who says they know is pretending in order to avoid the tidal wave of Mystery that surrounds us. We are cast about as soon as we wake, every day, and this unpredictable surge, this sweep as soon as we enter the street, is something we crave and fear. I only know that this surge is sometimes disguised as surprise, and… Read more

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