Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebrating Winter: Retreat and Renew

By:Joyce Eckes
Without darkness, nothing comes to birth.
Without light, nothing flowers.
~May Sarton

During this often hectic holiday season, we are invited to remember the value of slowing down, connecting to the earth’s vast changes, and finding sweet moments to reflect within and renew. On December 22, we celebrate Winter Solstice - the arrival of winter and the longest night of the year. A turning point in the seasonal calendar, it marks the day of many earth-based traditions across the globe honoring the peaceful, healing gifts of the darkness while simultaneously celebrating the gradual return of the sun’s light.
Rituals for Winter Some of us are naturally enchanted by winter’s magical qualities, while others experience hardship from the cold weather and decline of the sun. Whatever your constitution, may these practices help to inspire more ease and play for you this season!
Slow down and connect: Carve out tranquil moments to pause and connect with winter. What does this time of year mean to you? Savor simple pleasures like watching the snow fall, taking a contemplative walk to appreciate nature, making a snow angel, or admiring the sun’s reflection upon a luminous blanket of snow. Make a warm beverage, rest, and soak up the long, still nights.
Make a winter altar: Create a seasonal altar and bring winter inside! Collect pine cones, aromatic greens, dried berries, or some mistletoe. Adorn a special table with these winter delights and top it off with a string of colorful lights! Let this altar serve as a reminder that we can sink our own roots deep into the earth to find strength during the cold, just like the plants and trees.
Rest and renew: What nourishes you? Just like many animals that undergo hibernation, we also need to conserve energy and replenish our reserves. Engage in restorative activities, like enjoying healthful foods, naps, creative activity, yoga, meditation, relaxing with friends, or curling up with an inspiring book. Simply be, breathe, and practice gratitude.
Reflect and seed your desires for the New Year: Contemplate your life experiences during 2011. What do you most appreciate? What have you learned? What brought you the greatest joy and love? It’s equally important to consider what may be missing in your life, what you are most deeply longing for. Listen closely to these desires in your heart. Write them down or speak them aloud while you light a candle, symbolizing that the expanding sun will nurture your dreams. As we begin to identify and seed our desires now, we open to an abundant life in 2012 filled with infinite possibilities!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


By: Mary Oliver

It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Closing Cycles

By: Paulo Coelho

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandma Kay's Obituary

Kathleen “Kay” Elden, 76 (Park Point) Duluth, MN died peacefully on December 13, 2011. She was born on August 27 1935 in Duluth to Joe and Gene Trotta. She was a lifelong Duluth resident, Central High School graduate, and was a dedicated Housekeeping supervisor at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
On February 27th 1954, Kay married the love of her life, Joe Elden, who she was overjoyed to share 47 incredible years with.
Kay was a phenomenal cook and loved feeding anyone and everyone who walked through her door. She could play the piano beautifully by ear. She enjoyed gardening and took pride in having a beautiful yard. She cherished her life on Park Point. And most importantly, the central focus of her life was to love and care for her family who meant the world to her. She will be greatly missed and her legacy and kind spirit will live on in all she has touched.
She was preceded in death by her husband Joe Elden; son Matthew John Elden and her parents.
Kay is survived by her children Mark, Coco, Anthony and Joel (Denise) Elden; her grandchildren Kyle, Katy, Amanda, Kacey, Andy, Jody, Cassidy, Chelsea, Matthew John and Calley Jo; and many beautiful and cherished great-grandchildren; her loving sister and best friend Gail Trotta and her devoted brother Michael Trotta.
With tremendous gratitude our family appreciates the love and care our sweet mother/grandmother received from the gracious staff at Golden Oaks in Proctor.
A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday January 5, 2012, with Visitation 11am until the Noon Memeorial Service at Bell Brothers Jarvi-Dowd Funeral Home, 925 E. 4th St., Duluth.
Arrangements by Bell Brothers Jarvi-Dowd Funeral Home.
Please leave a memory of Kay or words of support for the family at

Thursday, December 15, 2011


By: Kyle Elden

beautifully fucked up
sharp illustrious edges
shine like diamonds
alluring, calling out all the want inside
rising like a snake upward to
the flute music of its charmer

I’ve chased rainbows
cast from shattered bits of life
illusions of light breaking through shards
stomping over the shadows
the dark underbelly
the substance upon which I stand
longing to be soaked in color
intoxicated on false hope
a mirage just always ahead
dry throat, unbearable thirst
through nights, and days and years
drinking from empty glasses
broken cisterns

Jesus, God your name
used to be stones in my mouth
I tried to choke down, or spit out
a dam holding back
a great force of rushing water
I was afraid would swallow me whole
but the Kingdom is so much greater
than I imagined
there was always so much
steam and condensation
I’ve now wiped away from the mirror
to see myself clearly
to see myself as You do

I have burn marks from the flames of hell
across my body
scars from the casket that held me like a womb
dirt underneath my fingernails from the grave
I’ve been climbing out of
cuts from rocks and roots I’ve grabbed
to pull myself up

Toward you
the greatest love of my life
You are everywhere
and within
above and beneath, all around
You were always holding me
wanted me to feel my head against
the beating of Your heart
Your arms wrapped around me
love pouring into me overflowing
glasses of wine and laughter
dancing with me, spinning until
I see stars
singing into daybreak
kissing my forehead
brushing the hair from my eyes
whispering in my ear
“my child, welcome home!”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Blackwater Woods

By: Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Friday, December 9, 2011


By: Paulo Coelho

We may think at times that the only thing life offers us tomorrow, is to repeat everything we did today. But if we pay close attention, we will see that no two days are alike.
Each morning brings a hidden blessing; a blessing which is unique to that day, and which cannot be kept or re-used. If we do not use this miracle today, it will be lost.
This miracle is in the small things of daily life; we must live in the understanding that at every moment there is a way out of each problem, the way of finding that which is missing, the right clue to the decision which must be taken in order to change our entire future.
But how to find the courage for this? As I see it, God speaks to us through signs. It is an individual language which requires faith and discipline in order to be fully absorbed.
Saint Augustine was converted in this way. For years he sought – in various philosophical schools – an answer to the meaning of life. One afternoon, in the garden of his house in Milan, as he reflected on the failure of his search, he heard a child in the street: “Take up and read! Take up and read!”
Although he had always been governed by logic, he decided – in an impulse – to open the first book which came to hand. It was the Bible, and he read part of St. Paul which contained the answers he sought. From then on, Augustine’s logic made way for faith to take part in his life, and he went on to become one of the Church’s greatest theologians.
The monks of the desert used to say it was important to allow angels to act. They occasionally did absurd things – such as talk to flowers or laugh without a reason. The alchemists followed the “signs of God”; clues which often made no sense, but which always lead somewhere.
“Modern man tried to eliminate life’s uncertainties and doubts. And in doing so he left his soul dying of hunger; the soul feeds off mysteries” – says the dean of Saint Francis Cathedral

Thursday, December 8, 2011


By: Sara Joy Davidson

I remember the first time I saw the snow

The bleak blanket of new

Glazed with a sheer coat of truth.

New and untouched

A blank canvas

With only the shadows

Of birch and elm

Cast about.

Swollen tan reeds whisper on the sidelines

Gossiping like catty old women.

The scarce sighting of a bird that lost it’s hope

It’s flock-

And remained here

Alone and cold.

As the sun rises it heats the white robe of winter

And changes the tracks

Pressing it’s power down

Changing things.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Five Regrets

The five regrets

by Paulo Coelho on June 23, 2011

(One of my friends here sent me a link while commenting on “Insult the dead”. I checked it and I stumbled upon a very interesting text by Bonnie Ware. Below a resumée: )

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

To The Tender

By: Kristen Tracy

Midsummer, and along came a hapless jay --

blue and wobbling -- flight feathers nothing more

than pins of white. It arrived at the nest’s edge

unready, which was only half the problem.

Crows perched in the oak across the street, alert,

aware of all the world’s worst secrets. Naturally

I rooted for the jay. Oh, but this was life.

After the blue jay fell from the Scotch pine’s terrible height,

it righted itself in the grass and, like a skin-kneed child

after her first bad spill on a bike, cried out for help.

I set down my rake and shepherded the bird

toward my spindle tree. Hopping from

low branches, it pressed toward the center, tucking itself

into my tree’s sturdy heart. For two days

the parents swooped down to feed it.

Thankfully the crows never came, though

I kept my eye on them. I knew their game.

Pirates. Gangsters. Extortionists. Thieves.

But even if the world is half bad, it remains

half good. While some of us sleep, our hearts

lie open, turned to the tender, dreaming up ways

to thwart the crows. Yes, a hapless jay stumbles

into our lives believing it can fly, and we -- knowing

what we know -- do what we can to make it so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


By: Paulo Coelho

Lord, protect our doubts, because Doubt is a way of praying. It is Doubt that makes us grow because it forces us to look fearlessly at the many answers that exist to one question. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our decisions, because making Decisions is a way of praying. Give us the courage, after our doubts, to be able to choose between one road and another. May our YES always be a YES and our NO always be a NO. Once we have chosen our road, may we never look back nor allow our soul to be eaten away by remorse. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our actions, because Action is a way of praying. May our daily bread be the result of the very best that we carry within us. May we, through work and Action, share a little of the love we receive. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect our dreams, because to Dream is a way of praying. Make sure that, regardless of our age or our circumstances, we are capable of keeping alight in our heart the sacred flame of hope and perseverance. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm is a way of praying. It is what binds us to the Heavens and to Earth, to grown-ups and to children, it is what tells us that our desires are important and deserve our best efforts. It is Enthusiasm that reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing. And in order for this to be possible…
Lord, protect us, because Life is the only way we have of making manifest Your miracle. May the earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. And this is only possible if we have Love; therefore, do not leave us in solitude. Always give us Your company, and the company of men and women who have doubts, who act and dream and feel enthusiasm, and who live each day as if it were totally dedicated to Your glory.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Eyes So Soft

By: Hafiz

Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly

let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you

as few human or even divine ingredients can

Something missing in my heart tonight

has made my eyes so soft

my voice so tender

my need of God

absolutely clear.


This poem is brilliant and insightful of our human tendency to, when we feel difficult to bear emotions, or have an extreme emotional reaction, we want immediate relief or gratification (naturally). We go to what some refer to as "empty wells" those things that we think we will obtain fulfillment in, but never truly do. For some it can be alcohol or drugs, some it is sex, others material belongings, for some it is sought out in other people - please validate me, tell me I am lovable, make me feel worthy. But experiences of pain, loneliness, desperation, failure,abandonment, hopelessness - if we can truly face them - as Hafiz urges "let it cut more deep" we can gain insight into a void "something missing in my heart tonight" - that helps us identify we are futile in our efforts to fill ourselves through external or fleeting sources - for they never fully, completely alleviate (for the long-term) the pain. So Hafiz guides us to "let it ferment and season you as few human or divine ingredients can" - Can we allow our deepest suffering to become so highlighted we actually face it head on? And when we do face it can we then, instead of running from it, become clear of our "need of God" - for it is in finally, after running and avoiding and grasping and trying to control, turning to God, who is living and still speaking, that we can find true fulfillment, hope, and transformation. For that car you buy will burn up in the end, or lose its allure in time, or that person that makes you feel lovable will likely hurt or disappoint you at some point. It is thus, in those dark moments, our need for God, if acted upon, that can and will truly create change and end unproductive dysfunctional patterns in our lives.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Perfect Stillness

By: Rabina

Love is
the perfect stillness
and the greatest excitement, and most profound act,
and the word almost as complete
at His name.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Deepest Fear

By: Marianne Williamson
from: Return to Love

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?'

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creating the Life You Want

By: Kyle Elden

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.

The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.

Ayn Rand

As each day arrives and unfolds it is becoming more and more apparent to me how important it is I realize the only person that is responsible for my happiness, my joy, my experience in life, is ME. Yes, we are impacted by those that surround us and while we don’t necessarily have control over the stressors associated with our family, our job, or others we may have to interface with – we do have control over those we choose to have in our lives – we do have control over how we respond to the difficulties that present – we do have control over the way in which we choose to live our lives, who we choose to spend time with, what we choose to do from day to day, the way in which we invest our time and energy.
This Ayn Rand quote brilliantly outlines this reality. Sometimes we feel hopeless, as if we are waiting for this to change or that to happen – and then, our life will be what we want. I am guilty of this thinking; of treading water and going nowhere hoping that some external factor or person will make some adjustment so I can finally have what it is I want or need to experience the life that is possible. This of course only leads to frustration and disappointment because we can’t wait around for others to change or something to magically happen in life in order for the life we desire to be won. Worse is when we get caught up in thinking something materially obtained will be the fix will bring us happiness and contentment. Not that the comforts or even luxuries of a home or a car are bad; however, what is most important is our spiritual practice and relationship with God and how well we love and are in service to those we care about and the relationships that are important to us – ‘things’ are secondary.
I don’t want to die having not taken the opportunity I’m offered each day of my life to make it what it can be. So how do we do this? I am beginning to recognize it is about being completely present for experience and paying attention to each moment, each interaction we have, each choice we make and what it leads to. Further, sometimes emotions arise – watch and listen to what they are telling you, this is the development of intuition and insight which can lead to transformation if followed from a place of serenity (keeping in mind that good ol’ Serenity Prayer). If you react or repress emotions without having enough distance to understand their message, they can be deceiving. You may fly off the handle or be impulsive and do something you will regret or you may live with a quiet resentment and unhappiness. In yogic philosophy they call this practice being in the “witness” stance. In Christianity it’s being in relationship with Jesus, spending time with God and listening to what it is God wants for you. The United Church of Christ tells us “God is still speaking” and this C.S. Lewis quote outlines how God does speak to us, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The truth is: we are deaf. It’s human nature to be on a constant roller coaster ride with the external stimulus of things and desires and other people, and this drama and that drama pulling us in every which way. The noise and clutter of daily human life can be overwhelming and intoxicating at times; it can become louder and more present than God, than what our soul really seeks to truly be fulfilled. God does share with us (through pleasures, conscience, and pain) about what is in service of enhancing our lives or what is diminishing our lives, or the ways in which we may be diminishing the lives of others. The way in which we respond to these factors is of utmost importance. We at times engage in a warfare; we battle and try to control others or grasp for things or get swept away in unnecessary dramas (I’m great at this ) – we react from an emotionally charged place or repress/deny because it’s so difficult to bear what is before us instead of taking time and practicing being a witness and connecting with God for guidance. I love how Ayn Rand encourages us to “Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” Well, goodness gracious – what are we waiting for?? This reminds me of some yogic philosophy tid bits I’ve been given through yoga training: In each moment/situation one either chooses to stay constricted and stuck or can expand and grow into more; and, we have the choice to either be a creator in our lives or a victim. So, I’m asking myself, what will it be? After all, it’s ultimately up to me!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Loving Kindness Meditation

May I be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.
May you be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.
May we be free of suffering and the roots of suffering.

May I find peace and the roots of peace.
May you find peace and the roots of peace.
May we find peace and the roots of peace.

May I find joy and the roots of joy.
May you find joy and the roots of joy.
May we find joy and the roots of joy.

May I find wellness and the roots of wellness.
May you find wellness and the roots of wellness.
May we find wellness and the roots of wellness.

May I be free.
May you be free.
May we be free.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tooth Fairy

By: Kyle Elden

Asleep amidst tangled pink comforter,
Buttercup your brown and black puppy,
Lavender your bald, blue eyed baby,
and your purple unicorn pillow-pet

Eve of first day of first grade
hot September night moistens
your brown skin with sweat I taste
as I kiss your forehead

I come in with a wad of ones
in my hand, brush against
your dark curls with my arm;
I am the magic
as I swap tooth for money
beneath pillow
I imagine fireworks
of fairy dust falling from
my fingers

But I know in the morning
your eyes will shine brighter
when you throw your pillow aside
and discover crumpled dollars
you will run to me
fists full of money
gap toothed smile
to crack open my heart
my little girl:
you are the magic

And you'll yell,
"mama, mama look!"
And I'll sweep your almost
seven year old, sandy foot,
scraped up knee, dirty fingernail,
lipstick obsessed little self
into my arms
and I'll squeal, and jump around,
and dance with you

Because this is better than
any lottery
and I've won more with you
than millions that could afford
yachts, and fancy cars, and
something bigger than our little

I took that Ziplock baggie
with your small tooth lined
with dried blood
and hid it away in the back
of my desk drawer
under papers and junk
so you won't find out
til' you're older
it was me, and I couldn't
bear to throw away that
little piece of you

Friday, September 2, 2011


By: Paulo Coelho

"God gives us the sun -- and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend we haven't perceived that moment, that is doesn't exist -- that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life's Transitions

Migrations: Poetry & Prose for Life's Transitions is nearly ready for print. I am honored to say I am published in this book. The book is edited by Duluth's Poet Laureate Shelia Packa. The cover and book design is by Kathy McTavish.

The book will be out in September and there will be a reading on Sunday, October 2nd at Teatro Zuccone at 3pm.

For more information, visit the following website:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Excerpt From: Facing the Lion, Being the Lion

By: Mark Nepo

The cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien has discovered that every indigenous culture on earth shares a common description of the cycle of experience. Though stated and honored in many ways, that central wisdom essentially says: what is not integrated is repeated. Just what does this mean? It doesn’t mean that any of us are exempt from pain or chancing into the territory of injustice. It doesn’t mean that we will not see things break down or fall apart. What it does mean is that whether pain and suffering will have a proper place in our lives or whether we will be trapped in the canyon of pain and suffering depends on our efforts to integrate our experience into a wholeness that then releases its wisdom.

It is a law of the journey: what is not integrated is repeated. What we won’t face or express moves into our hands as a compulsion to speak itself through our actions: my pain at being rejected by one friend being played out unconsciously on another; a sad and empty teacher painting a sad and empty world for his students; or a doctor pushed and abused in medical school pushing and abusing his patients years later. You can fill in the unconscious equation any way you like. Inevitably, what we won’t face or express moves through our hands into the world. (pp 18,19)

The Jewish thinker Leon Wieseltier puts it starkly:

There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances it is a failure for your heart not to break. And it is pointless to put up a fight for a fight will blind you to the opportunity that has been presented by your misfortune. Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life? Of course you do: the old life was a good life. But it is no longer available to you. It has been carried away, irreversibly. So there is only one thing to be done. Transformation must be met with transformation. Where there was the old life, let there be the new life. Do not persevere [against the shattering]. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise. (p.153)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

(Poem #841) Emptiness

By: Rumi

Consider the difference
in our actions and God's actions.

We often ask, "Why did you do that?"
or "Why did I act like that?"

We do act, and yet everything we do
is God's creative action.

We look back and analyze the events
of our lives, but there is another way
of seeing, a backward-and-forward-at-once
vision, that is not rationally understandable.

Only God can understand it.
Satan made the excuse, "You caused me to fall,
whereas Adam said to God, "We did this
to ourselves." After this repentance,
God asked Adam, "Since all is within
my foreknowledge, why didn't you
defend yourself with that reason?"

Adam answered, "I was afraid,
and I wanted to be reverent."

Whoever acts with respect will get respect.
Whoever brings sweetness will be served almond cake.
Good women are drawn to be with good men.

Honour your friend.
Or treat him rudely,
and see what happens!

Love, tell an incident now
that will clarify this mystery
of how we act feely, and are yet
compelled. One hand shakes with palsy.
Another shakes because because you slapped it away.

Both tremblings come from God,
but you feel guilty for the one,
and what about the other?

These are intellectual questions.
The spirit approaches the matter
differently. Omar once had a friend, a scientist,
Bu'l-Hakam, who was flawless at solving
empirical problems, but he could not follow Omar
into the area of illumination and wonder.

Now I return to the text, "And He is with you,
wherever you are," but when have I ever left it!

Ignorance is God's prison
Knowing is God's palace.

We sleep in God's unconsciousness.
We wake in God's open hand.

We weep God's rain.
We laugh God's lightning.

Fighting and peacefulness
both take place within God.

Who are we then
in this complicated world-tangle,
that is really just the single, straight
line down at the beginning of GOD?

We are


When you are with everyone but me,
you're with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
you're with everyone.

Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
be everyone.
When you become that many, you're nothing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Cultivate a White Rose

By José Martí

I cultivate a white rose
In July as in January
For the sincere friend
Who gives me his hand honestly.

And for the cruel person who tears out
the heart with which I live,
I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns:
I cultivate a white rose.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

C.S. Lewis

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


By: Mary Oliver

Where the path closed

down and over,

through the scumbled leaves,

fallen branches,

through the knotted catbrier,

I kept going. Finally

I could not

save my arms

from thorns; soon

the mosquitoes

smelled me, hot

and wounded, and came

wheeling and whining.

And that's how I came

to the edge of the pond:

black and empty

except for a spindle

of bleached reeds

at the far shore

which, as I looked,

wrinkled suddenly

into three egrets - - -

a shower

of white fire!

Even half-asleep they had

such faith in the world

that had made them - - -

tilting through the water,

unruffled, sure,

by the laws

of their faith not logic,

they opened their wings

softly and stepped

over every dark thing

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seize the Day

By: Kyle Elden

Arriving at someplace more desirable at some future time is an illusion. This is it.
By: Jon Kabat-Zinn

I love this quote. It is reminding me about the practice of gratitude and being present for experience as well as accepting what is. The old & wise Serenity Prayer "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference" speaks to this as well. This could, at first glance, appear to encourage denial of things that might presently be less than ideal. However, it provokes me to acknowledge what is good, bountiful, and blessed at this current time and to also recognize, from a place of acceptance, those things in life that either I just simply cannot control or are calling to be changed, let go of, or transformed. Often when things in our lives or selves are highlighted, either by someone else or our own awareness, that would benefit us if they were changed, it evokes feelings of inadequacy or guilt/shame. If we can, at this present moment, realize that "this is it" we can begin to see our lives through the lens of "serenity" through which we can rest in the current fabric of our life and stare with awe at the blessings and gifts that are beautifully woven into an intricate and unique design that is ours alone. Even in our darkest hours, in the most profound flaws or mistakes we experience or endure, there exists a multitude of opportunity for the practice of gratitude and for embarking on making positive change where it can be enacted. At a church service this past weekend I was reminded that our lives are marked by potential, we are made in "God's image" - for which there is no greater potential. And while we will never be perfect, we can realize that "arriving at someplace more desirable at some future time is an illusion. This is it." helps us discontinue trying to fill ourselves in unhealthy and un-fulfilling ways, or looking to the future, which has yet to exist, to bring us what it is we truly want -- but to seize the moment, seize the day, to graciously accept what it is that has been given to us, to clean up the messes and mistakes we may have made to the best of our ability, and most importantly, to be in relationship with God and experience the grace that is abound.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


"Maybe the fear is that we are less than we think we are, than the actuality of it is that we are much much more"
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love After Love

By: Derek Wolcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


By: Dawna Markova

May I, may you, may we
not die unlived lives.
May none of us live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
May we choose to inhabit our
to allow our living to open us,
to make us less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen our hearts
until they become wings,
torches, promises.

May each of us choose to risk our
to live so that which comes to us
as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which comes to us as
goes on as fruit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Invitation

By: Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Monday, April 25, 2011

On Children

By: Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Check Out The News

Kind of dorky, but a sweet little story :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Guest House

By: Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mindfulness is awareness of present experience with acceptance

By: Ronald D. Siegel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Becoming Tea

By: Kyle Elden

It is only red mug
with hot water, and
a tea bag steeping
releasing golden brown
steam rising
with light
with the easy scent of peppermint
a ritual of lips to cup, and
warmth flows gently
falling down throat
into belly

An act of surrender
so simple
held by a single thread
delicate dark leaf
inside the boundary of tea bag
infused with what is
to transform into something
something more

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Ponds

By: Mary Oliver

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them --

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided --
and that one wears an orange blight --
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away --
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled --
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing --
that the light is everything -- that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

Friday, April 8, 2011


By: Rumi

But listen to me; for one moment,
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

—Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under Words: Selected Poems

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


By: St. John of the Cross
Book of Prayers

And I saw the river
over which every soul must pass
to reach the kingdom of heaven
and the name of that river was suffering:
and I saw the boat which carries souls
across the river
and the name of that boat was

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Love Letters to the World

By: Mother Theresa

We are all pencils
in the hand of a writing God,
who is sending love letters
to the world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Live to please the others, and everyone will love you, except yourself

By: Paulo Coelho

Friday, March 4, 2011


By: Kyle Elden

Your palm glides across
a door
the smell of wood and old paint
presses against the last thing
between you
and the life
that awaits

Your fingers clasp
cold brass doorknob
and turn, open
light begins to filter in
and you know
it is time

You have learned what can be learned

You cannot look back
cannot stay
the past becomes the past
and you do the only thing you can do

Words like
regret and
if only
fall away like feathers
from a bird in flight
softly floating downward
against blue sky

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It Felt Love

By: Hafiz


Did the rose

Ever open its heart

And give to this world

All its


It felt the encouragement of light

Against its



We all remain



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Deep Well

By: Kyle Elden

This is where we know ourselves
arms flung open
laid out
wide wild expanse of sky
body pressing against earth
the only sound for miles
is kick drum heartbeat
rising up
from God’s deep well
tiny currents hum,
waves undulate, unfold
break through
layers of the self
befallen on landscape of
soul, break open
brown egg shell cracking
opulence cascades
downward until the
golden center

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ask & Receive

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

It's not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
~ Eugene Ionesco

Problems bear the seeds of their solutions. Beset
by worry or anxiety, unable to clearly see my way,
I remind myself that my soul is connected to all
wisdom. I will be led because I am led firmly and
certainly whenever I turn within for guidance. In
times of adversity, my store of my own inner wisdom
may be greater than I know. At such times, I continue
to ask for guidance while listening both within and
without for the many small signals which help me find
my way. The guidance of Spirit is always available to
me from many sources. Solutions emerge where questions
are posed.

~ Today, with humility and openness I ask for spiritual
intervention in my earthly affairs. I ask for help, and,
in the asking, it appears.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


By: William Bridges

“Disenchantment, whether it is a minor disappointment or a major shock, is the signal that things are moving into transition in our lives.”

Sunday, January 16, 2011


By: Kyle Elden

This pain calls me out
of locks and cages
breaks open the toughest
parts of me
like a stone down upon
a coconut in the middle of market
splitting apart round brown shell
revealing the soft white meat
spilling its sweet milk

I don’t understand
I don’t understand
I can’t understand

But it is love that trickles down
like sweat from my forehead,
across my upper lip, between my
breasts and on my low back, sweat
through this brutal climb

thirst gripping tightly
my throat, my dry lips
a thirst only for forgiveness, and

for letting the truth
in the light of this new day,
dripping with the past,
puddles forming around
what was, what has been, what

a thirst to say goodbye
to the past
with only tenderness
for the rough and jagged brokenness
for the soft and supple beauty

Friday, January 14, 2011

The End

excerpt from
The Two Kinds of Decay: A Memoir
By: Sarah Manguso

There are two kinds of decay: mine and everyone else's.

This is the usual sort of book about illness. Someone gets sick,
someone gets well.

Those who claim to write about something larger and more
significant than the self sometimes fail to comprehend the
dimensions of a self.

Most people consider their own suffering a widely applicable
model, and I am no exception.

This is suffering's lesson: pay attention. The important part might come to you in a form you do not recognize.

you might not know how to love it.

But to pay attention is to love everything.

To see the future as brightness

Everything that happens is the last time it happens. We see
things only as their own fatal brightness, and there is nothing
after that brightness.

You can't learn from remembering. You can't learn from guessing.

You can learn only from moving forward at the rate you are
moved, as brightness, into brightness.