April 29, 2019

Six monks meditate daily along the side of a river. One day, one of the monks notices a baby floating down the river. He immediately leaps in to save the baby. They are all alarmed that a baby should be floating down the river at all. The first monk stays by the bank, in case any more babies come floating by. The second monk goes upstream to see why this is happening and discovers that the local orphanage is in… Read more

April 22, 2019

Life expands and contracts in the yoke of a second. One minute there’s an unseeable vastness between life and death, and the next, it’s the length of a needle we’ve dropped and can’t seem to find. There is no one name or reason or label we can put on what we go through, though all of us, in our want to calm our fears, try to pin it down. Yet when doing all we can—holding, listening, bearing witness, and resisting… Read more

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

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