Friday, February 26, 2010


By: Kyle Elden

When people leave us
they are never really gone

They come back
sometimes in dreams
in thick folds of sleep
between soft silken sheets of night
here, once again you see their face
illuminated with moonlight
their voice calls out to you
tenderly and with love
and you are both laughing
because here,
you have not lost one another

They come back in a song,
or a poem, in a place you once were
together, or a thing, a nod of a head,
a curve of a spine, the color of a car
driving by, a smell, the way the snow
falls, or sunlight ricochets through a room

They come back like the dark
oiled mark of a finger print forever,
this person that you love comes back
in your thoughts when things become
quiet and no one else is around
and the distance could not be greater
but you feel them near, they never fully
leave when they are gone they don’t take
away the way their spirit touched yours
rearranged, reconstructed, chipped away
and helped form who you are today

When people leave us
we are not a ghost town
vacant, broken down, void of life
we are a museum of flesh touched
and touching one another
floor boards worn differently because
of the way they walked across to greet
you and hold you and love you
and yes, maybe even hurt you
even if just in the leaving
and in the way they always stay

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


By: Sara Davidson

Blue lilies grow endlessly in my womb
The same spot where a light was born

Trickling through rocky valleys
Of lust and love

Wavering the reality of life
And home.

My favorite memories of a young brown eyed girl
With prayers mustered out of a thick gut

Trusting God to lead me the right way
Through raw bones and dust

A rocky reality to the big life where friends play
'dress up' in a mirage of neon marques.

A lucid reminder that God does hear every prayer
And is in control of what ever this gift is.

The bleak reminder that we are all weak
Stone dried
Lying in this barren field

A land where children ask,
"How much longer?"
and husbands stroke dusty guitar stings.

Lights are blue
Lights are green
Lights are out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Sense of Humor

By: Kyle Elden

In this nursing home
my grandmother’s new home
there are the wanderers and the lost
strolling around in wheelchairs
and walkers, waiting to die

This woman is talking to us now
in her motorized wheelchair
she drives around with a vengeance
like a Harley Davidson motorcycle
still full of fire and life
she has no legs
and brown teeth
and a urine bag protruding
from her blue, worn t-shirt
she tells us of adventures
on the DTA
and how she leaves everyday
to visit friends or take care
of her son-of-a-bitch ex-husband
who lives at Tri Towers

Another woman
sits in her wheelchair
frail and lanky,
wild white hair disheveled
blank stare
cradling a naked baby doll
with a stained cloth abdomen
and red crusted lipstick or nail polish
or who knows what, along the tiny
plastic lips of her child,
my grandma asks her “sweetheart,
where’s your baby’s clothes?”
and then whispers to us that
the old coot doesn’t
ever say a word,
but today she stops my daughter
and tells her she has a pretty dress,
a beautiful dress
when we walk away Stella asks
me why the baby has a bloody mouth
and I begin laughing, tears rolling down
my face and hug my sweet little one
although its not really funny
this cycle of life and death
this sour smell of sterility and old people

but seriousness and sorrow
become too heavy for me in that moment
and with laughter they leave me like a
flock of white doves taking flight
and I begin to breathe easier
see the grace in the strangeness
of these people dying awkwardly and too slowly
and remember God has a sense of humor too

Broken Open

By: Kyle Elden

It’s all right if we don’t agree, the long shadows of dusk still
spill across our faces, the sun dipping away into another evening

It’s all right if our love isn’t neatly packaged, sitting on a shelf to admire
beautifully wrapped in crisp cellophane, glistening in department store
manufactured light, making you wish that you could have it

It’s all right if we’ve searched each others faces endlessly,
locked eyes, traveled across the rocky terrain of time together
holding hands, but no longer know home in one another’s arms

It’s all right if after the blizzard settles, and I am in love
with someone else – I sit in a car heat blasting,
enveloped in music, heart broken open – staring through a kaleidoscope
of brown wiry tree branches and blue sky – sun bursting open after days of darkness and the smoke of exhaust rises as an offering of gratitude to God

It’s all right if a decision isn’t made, if uncertainty hangs
like branches still full of frozen rust colored apples that never made the fall

It’s all right if longing spills forth like a driver on black ice who has lost control
and the car slides toward on-coming traffic, spinning down
hill, around sharp corner, banging into guardrail, coming to a halting stop
and somehow emerging unharmed, shaking with gratitude and shocked into
slowing down and paying attention to what it is the heart truly desires

It’s all right if things are messy when the company arrives
if things brake and you cannot find the glue
if the door is locked and on a ring of many, you don’t possess the right key

It’s all right if perfection is in what appears to be broken
if God’s design is somehow greater than what we could
fathom from our perspective, but is beautiful and right
despite the sharp edges of pain and the diamond
which lays in the piles of dirt
we so badly want to sweep under the rug

Friday, February 19, 2010

from Preface to Leaves of Grass

By: Walt Whitman

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body… .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


By: Kyle Elden

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)

I only wanted to be perfect
I only wanted to be good

The long scar of mistakes
Travels across my body
Curving against my skin
Splaying open my humanness
Cutting across my despair

I only wanted you to be perfect
I only wanted you to be good

You have carved out deep places
In the people you have touched
And left some pain
To pool there
In the wake of your journey

We all only want for things the be perfect
We all only want for things to be good

Experience humbles us
We fall to our knees, scraped and bloody
Forehead against the ground of
Expectations and dreams, actions and choices
That don’t measure up

And we know nothing is wholly perfect
And we know nothing is wholly good

We learn to withhold judgment and hatred
Those dark demons that anchor us in the muck of fear and disgust
And forgiveness rises like a giant sun shedding light on everything
Until new life unfurls green tendrils and buds and the brightest
Colored and perfect blossoms imaginable

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some Kiss We Want

In Honor of the Month of LOVE BY: RUMI

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of

spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At

night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its

face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language- door and

open the love window. The moon
won't use the door, only the window.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Paradoxical Commandments

**found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Soul Waking Up

By: Hafiz

“What is laughter? What is laughter?
It is God waking up! Oh, it is God waking up!
It is the sun poking it's sweet head out
From behind a cloud
You have been carrying too long,
Veiling your eyes and heart.

It is light breaking ground for structure
That is your real body - called Truth.

It is happiness applauding itself and then taking flight
To embrace everyone and everything in this world.

Laughter is the polestar
Held in the sky by our Beloved,
Who eternally says,

"Yes, dear ones, come this way,
Come this way towards Me and Love!

Come with your tender mouths moving
And your beautiful tongues conducting songs
And with your movements - your magic movements
Of hands and feet and glands and cells - Dancing!

Know that to God's Eye,
All is a Wondrous Language,
And Music - such exquisite , wild Music!"

Oh what is laughter, Hafiz?
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?

It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up!”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

God's Fertile Field

By: Julia Cameron
Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life


You must do the thing
you think you cannot do.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt


Optimism in the face of uncertainty is a difficult art. The terrain of life is varied and mysterious. I cannot always see the path ahead. At times my view is shadowed by doubt, constricted by fear. The open vistas of optimism are closed to me. In such shortsighted times, I must practice the discipline of positive attitudes. I must consciously choose to expect a benevolent future despite my shaken faith. Grounded in the routine of each day's unfolding business, I must act in alignment with my coming good. This means I say "yes" to opportunities for new adventures and acquaintances to enter my life. I say "yes" to unexpected doors opening. Rather than cling to my known life, I allow that life to alter and expand. I choose to take positive risk. I step out in faith despite my misgivings.


~ Today, I open my mind and heart to the new vistas before me. I embrace and accept unfolding possibilities. I am a fertile field available for God's planting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Grace Intoxicated Contemplations #1: Tenacity

By: Kyle Elden

I awoke this morning with the phrase, "God is still speaking," a United Church of Christ statement of faith, swirling around in my head. I am moving through a great transition in my life and have been navigating this change for over a year now. In many ways this has been one of the most difficult and challenging years of my life. I've been confronted with a complex array of new and difficult to bear emotions, situations, and circumstances. Yet somehow, in this dark place that often feels confusing and terrifying - that tilts me toward fear and keeps me feeling constricted and stagnant in my life, I have felt and heard God speaking. Nearly all religious and spiritual traditions teach us that God is always available to us and ever present if we would only open ourselves up to that relationship, if we would only do the work we need to do to remove the dams in our lives (our poor habits, negative thought perceptions, and dysfunctional patterns that cause suffering, constriction, and stagnation) that block us from experiencing what some coin as "God-consciousness" or, as was stated in a church service I attended last night, living out our lives in the same way that Christ did. The bible urges us in Luke 11:9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." The hard thing at times is how to actually go about this venture; how to ask and knock correctly so that we are truly opening ourselves up to be in relationship with God in an authentic and transformational way.

For the most part, as humans we desire to live out our lives in the way which is for the highest good for ourselves, those we are in relationship with, and the world around us. We just don't always quite know how to do this. Stephen Cope, psychologist and scholar in residence at the Kripalu Center, teaches that we are spiritual beings on a human path and that we are really not that great at being skillful humans. Clearly we suffer and cause suffering, even to those we love. Cope believes that enlightenment (and I would venture to say God-consciousness or living like Christ)is not an unattainable state of being only acquired by monks who cut themselves off from the world and meditate or by those individuals who dedicate their lives to only serving God, such as nuns. To the contrary, enlightenment (God-consciousness or living like Christ) occurs on the front lines of being human in relationship with other humans, learning how to live skillfully so we don't cause harm, and learning how to bear anything that we face. We are spiritual beings, we are one with God. Luke 17:20-21 outlines this clearly "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." We just forget who we are in this myopic stance and perspective we dwell in as human beings.
As humans we go to holy books, churches, psychics, healers, tarot readers, palm readers, temple, spiritual retreats, meditation, and on, and on, and on to find guidance, to learn how to bear the difficult things we face in our lives. We need direction and we can definitely experience profound healing and transformation in the context of a church or through the guidance of holy and sacramental scripture. However, sometimes even these avenues come from a place wherein we are grasping externally, seeking for answers outside of ourselves. In a way we sort of try to excuse ourselves from the responsibility to attend to our own lives. I think a danger in this is that we can get so caught up in convention, dogma, what society or friends or our spiritual community thinks we "should" do to be "right" that we don't necessarily go straight to the source. If the kingdom of God is within us we can utilize our church community, meditation, prayer, our therapist, or whatever practice or avenue that guides us and helps align us with God and that which is for the highest good in any situation; however, I think it's crucial to always go within and listen deeply to what God is saying, right here, right now in the present moment. And we might find that the "truth" we are best suited to live out might be contrary to all the well-meaning advice, dogma, and conventional prompts.

I am in no way an expert on this, nor do I always go to the source, listen deeply, and make choices or act from a place that is aligned with God. In fact, I've found myself often over this past year (and just generally in life) acting from a place of fear, selfishness, control, grasping for things to be something different than they presently are because it feels too overwhelming to bear, or doing what will make other people happy but actually causes me distress. Yet amidst all my stumbling in life I've felt God speaking to me, gently guiding me onward. Sometimes I ignore, push down and set aside that which is my soul's truth, my inner compass guiding me toward wholeness and fullness - the kingdom of God within if you will. The mystical poet Rumi tells us "when you do something from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." I believe our purpose in life is to remember who we are, to know that we are one with God and that the kingdom of God is within us. Our journey is one toward wholeness and self-actualization. And God is still speaking. I have had many experiences that validate this truth and they aren't always conventional. Yet, deep within myself, when they occur there is a deep resonance and peace ~ all of a sudden, without drama, I know the truth, I know what it is I need to do, and I muster the courage and strength to make tough decisions and go through what may be the most difficult thing imaginable, yet on the other side I am more alive and whole than I ever would have been.

Joseph Campbell states that "people say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive." Many of us are asleep in our lives and I think that it is though refining our listening ears to hear God's voice directing us we can become awake, alive and be in that enlightened, god-conscious, or Christ-like existence. This is often tenacious and requires great courage because we might be doing that which is counter-cultural or unconventional. This reminds me of the Anais Nin quote "and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." The alternative to this is much more painful and leads to continued suffering, constriction, and stagnation - and we all intimately know what this feels like. I will end with a quote by Sonia Choquette I just stumbled upon today that resonates deeply with me currently and has helped me rectify my deep inner listening, "tenacity is when you follow your heart -- when the whole world is screaming to get back into your head."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soul Mate

By: Elizabeth Gilbert

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

How to Have an Open Heart

By: Kyle Elden

These perfect rocks
nearly fused to the sand
with ice
in this somehow open
space on the beach
where, for whatever
reason, the snow didn’t

It looks like someone
strategically placed them
where they are:
the smooth black one
is there next to the small
white agate which is
in between the piece
of driftwood, some sticks
and the one with purple
and gray speckles

All winter long they stay
right where they are
with open hearts
even though the
whole world appears
to be frozen


By: Kyle Elden

it is only one
steam rises off the lake
as cold settles in
against the
remnants of warmth
other seasons

you might not
it’s hard
to hold a once vibrant
but now dead rose
in your hand,
and lay it down
to rest
with all the red
sucked out to brown
and shriveled,
in this darkest
time of year

you might think
it’s easy
to understand
that all things die
and we must let go
that at the end of every road
there is still something

It is not