August 17, 2020

I’ve sat in hundreds of cafés, watching lives pass by, each eager to meet someone, each desperate to get away. I’ve stared into hundreds of photographs, each a window to another patch of time and space, where beautiful souls were falling down and getting up. Still, I can’t quite grasp how many of us there are and how each of us is a world unto ourselves. Right now, in this café on Fourth Ave., an older woman in a sweater… Read more

August 10, 2020

The wind, skirting the dock, lifts a veil and I feel a sudden relief. I watch the endless variations of wave and think, what will be will be. I have arrived beyond yes and no. Now the loss of what is familiar and the fear of what might come are torn. Now my deeper eyes appear with nothing between them and the world. The wind buffs my soul and I slip beneath my name. A lone duck lands, its bottomless… Read more

August 3, 2020

— dhikr in Islam, japam in Sanskrit, witness in English: the repetition of a name or face of God.   In the air that lets a leaf fall slowly. In the mud that swallows every blade. In the bridge that creaks but will not break. In the fence that fails. In the secret maps that lead us nowhere. In the questions that sprout from our mistakes. In the suffering that makes us give more. In those slain for no reason…. Read more

July 27, 2020

In my sixty-eighth year, I saw a dancer, middle-aged, outside a café. I was at a conference in California and she was hired to dance at lunch time in the open. I sipped my coffee and watched her for a while. Most of us were busy going to what was next. Something in how she leapt and landed softened me. For she was so thoroughly herself that there was nowhere to go. And I realized that all of us were… Read more

July 20, 2020

Every life is a miracle and a tragedy, and these undeniable forces will, at times, overwhelm us. So, our first epic struggle is not to drown in the depths of tragedy and not to leave life through the transcendent pull of miracle. Our second noble struggle, which never ends, is to let the lightness of miracle and the groundedness of tragedy braid in our heart, so we can be thoroughly alive and live here now.    A Question to Walk… Read more

July 13, 2020

I was drowning in a dream when the storm cleared and I was lifted to the surface. I woke to find your hand on my heart. You’ve always had the power to calm what you touch. Like the baby bluebird you held last summer. I sighed to still be here, like a dream allowed to find one more dreamer. With your hand on my chest, I was immune to fear. I wish I could do this for you. You say… Read more

July 6, 2020

I thought after death had its way with us, you would have stopped trying to get somewhere. You would have stopped making up conclusions. But you still take what you go through and force it on others, making the world into a silhouette of your pain. Yet this never frees us. We just keep praying to what is missing. I know. For I painted the strangers I met while lost with the colors of my sadness, wondering if anything mattered…. Read more

June 29, 2020

Everyone who lives is called to be in conversation with Life and Death. Our conversation with Life is inescapable because we wake to it, day in and day out, the way fish wake to the river they must swim in. And while no one wants to accept that our time is limited, that we will perish, running from this fact, or denying it, only exaggerates our fear. Running from this bittersweet truth makes the smallest disruptions urgent, while staying in… Read more

June 22, 2020

The mountain becomes unbreakable by giving up everything in the storm. All that is unnecessary is torn and blown away. What’s false becomes debris. When we are steadfast, what matters is all that’s left. Being burnished is the ordinary and holy process that reduces us to joy. And so, a life becomes unbreakable by giving up everything not built of truth and love. A Question to Walk With: Describe one non-essential thing that the storm of life has worn away… Read more

June 15, 2020

Come sit with me. I know you’re busy. I was busy too. Come. This won’t take long. There’s something I want to show you. Look. I found this spot of light under all my wounds. I thought it was mine, something I’d earned. But it was there long before we were born. Oh, don’t rush off. I know you’re late but all these appoint- ments open like petals to the same nectar. And what if your heart and my heart… Read more

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