Welcome

Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

free love

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
                                                                                      BrenĂ© Brown
______________________________

Finn loves connection
He lives for connection
For a pet, a pat
For that eye to eye contact that only dogs can offer
For a nuzzle
A paw placed in a lap

All he knows in those moments is love
All he gives is love

And his day is made and his heart is calm
After a “ball” walk with dad
Or a romp in the snow

He will rarely leave the porch alone
The world is only truly fun when it is share

Ah that we humans might learn a lesson or two hear

About touch
About eye to eye contact
And unreserved value and respect

Ah that we might figure out in the giving and receiving of love
A life is to be found

Who in your life opens you up to the Sacred
Who reminds you that the sun rises and sets
Who helps you see the world with eyes of wonder?

It might be a lover
A parent
A child
Or even friend

It might be your dog
(or horse, or cat, or….)

Take a moment
Look them in the eye

And say “thanks”

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sacred DNA

“We are what we love. If we love God, in whose image we were created, we discover ourselves in him and we cannot help being happy: we have already achieved something of the fullness of being for which we were destined in our creation. If we love everything else but God, we contradict the image born in our very essence, and we cannot help being unhappy, because we are living a caricature of what we are meant to be.”
                             Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours
________________________________________

Leaping through the snow and mud
Finn (the dog) does not wonder who he is
Or why he exists

He is fully in himself
Fully in the moment
And total ecstatic

Happy dog!

We on the other hand
Are not so sure

Happy human?

Not so much
We are always searching
For meaning, for purpose
But mostly we are searching for ourselves

But it seems the more we search for ourselves
The more confused we get

Perhaps the problem is that we look outside ourselves
For our definition, our value
We look to power, or perhaps wealth
Titles, and possessions

But what we look for is not out there, somewhere
It is within
It is to be found in our Sacred DNA
In the fact that we are Sacred Children

If we want to find ourselves
All we have to do is look at God
Love God
With the singleness of purpose
That happy dog has

Ball, ball
Stick stick

Only in our case?
God, God

Loving God we love ourselves
Loving God we love our neighbor
Loving God we can be content


Happy Human

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bending History

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
                                            Robert F. Kennedy
____________________________________

Some mornings
When Finn the dog has nudged me to awareness
I suddenly wonder why I should bother to get up

The world seems like such a hopeless place
Evil rules
The wicked prosper
Injustice grows
Inequity is the mark of our society

In short, things are shit!

And I am just an aging
Wanna be retired wanna be
With no power, no voice

A reed blown in the wind
Buffeted, tossed to and fro

And I want to respond by shutting down
Or if not by shutting down
With anger

I want to attack and diminish those who I believe attack and diminish the poor
The vulnerable
The different

And so I rant and ridicule
And in doing so, allow them to win

Whatever happened to random acts of kindness?
To generosity?

What if I resisted
Not a person, or a party
But resisted evil

With a kind word
With a helping hand
With patience
Truthfulness
Fairness
Compassion

It is not that any of us can stop combatting evil
We must fight against injustice
Oppression
Prejudice
Hate

But HOW we do it is important
Only by refusing to be pulled into the vortex of evil
Do we have a chance

Only if we stand up for what is right
And do so the right way….
Can we send forth ripples of hope
Across the still, dark waters of hopelessness



Sunday, January 14, 2018

overcome evil with good

'And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak,
To mind your life.'
              (John O'Donohue)
______________________

There is a storm around us
A veritable bomb cyclone
Of deceit, lies
Hate and fear

People charged with protecting our country are looting it
People charge with protecting people are harming them

And so we stand
Vulnerable, afraid

Angry
Helpless

Ah may that Sacred Presence which is in each of us
Awaken within us in
May it be a soft wind of love
That wraps itself around our hearts and minds

And allow us to remain
People of compassion and love
Forgiveness and generosity

The storm will likely past
Destroyed human beings will not be able to rebuild

We cannot lose ourselves
We cannot be blown away by the hot harsh air
Of narcissism and greed
Deceit and brutality

We must stand
Stand
Stand

And resist
And in the end overcome this evil with good
And then in love not retribution

Begin again

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Carry God

No one can keep us from carrying God
Wherever we go.

No one can rob His Name
From our heart as we try to relinquish our fears
And at last stand — Victorious.

We do not have to leave him in the mosque
Or church alone at night;
We do not have to be jealous of tales of saints
Or glorious masts, those intoxicated souls
Who can make outrageous love with the Friend.

We do not have to be envious of our spirits’ ability
Which can sometimes touch God in a dream.

Our yearning eyes, our warm-needing bodies,
Can all be drenched in contentment
And Light.

No one anywhere can keep us
From carrying the Beloved wherever we go.

No one can rob His precious Name
From the rhythm of my heart,
Steps and breath.
                                           Hafiz
_____________________________________

As Happy Dog is a carrier
of all things joyful

so too we are drenched with Sacred
dripping wet
with the very stuff of creation

we are carriers of all things beautiful
and loving
all creative
contentment and hope

it is part of our being
and bubbles up from within us flowing other

how dare we stand
with Sacred puddling at our feet
and deny the Presence?

And look with longing at the person next to us
Who awake to that presence
Is intoxicated with love
And lives his dream, her dream

All light

No one can keep us from carrying God

Wherever we go

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The importance of values

The value of a human being can be measured by what he or she most deeply wants
Be free of possessing things
Sit at an empty table
Be pleased with water, the taste of being at home
                                           Rumi
__________________________________________

What do we live for?
What do we live towards?

For Finn, the dog
Life is easy
Food, walk, ball, stick

He lives to run, to chew sticks, to eat
And to love and be loved

Not bad if you think about it?!

What do I live towards?
What do I most deeply want?
Money
Power
Love
Acclaim
Respect

It makes a difference
What it really value determines everything

How I spend my time
How I see people
How I treat people
What produce comes from the tree of this life

Our values set our path
They are our compass point

Heading into this New Year, my question for myself is simple
What do I value?  What drives my best actions

My second question is also simple
What am I going to do today to live toward my values?
What am I going to do that will take me further along
My values path?

I’ll work on that

Right after I take happy dog for his walk

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beginners

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
               Meister Eckhart
__________________________________________

Really!?
Do I have to start over each day?
Isn’t once a year enough?
And I did that yesterday!  Really!

Alas,
We must always be dying and being born
We must always be letting go, and starting fresh

It is amazing how much stuff sticks to us
Like hay and branches and dog hair
On my beloved fleece coats and pants

We drag stuff along with with
Unnoticed
And unwanted

We need constantly
To de-fuse
With things unseemly
Unhelpful

Thoughts
Beliefs
Habits
Actions

Impermanence is not a bad thing
It is a gift
Our shifting world
Our psyche which reinvents itself moment by moment

Give us opportunities
To be reborn
To grab hold of what is new
And start again

2017 is gone
Yes there is residue
And gooey gross stuff we must still deal with
But it is gone
As is January 1, 2018

Today is today
And this day I will notice my thoughts
And accept the way I feel
And choose to do what I care about

Happy Dog is a lucky boy, he will get a walk
Bill the cat will watch as I go through a book on therapy
My cooking cupboard has already been cleaned

The next moment calls
And I will choose to do one thing that moves me toward what I value
Love, caring, compassion, generosity

And then that done, I will choose the next right thing

And so Sacred and I will stumble forward
Toward what is next

(and there is always a next)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Value

The value of a human being can be measured by what he or she most deeply wants
Be free of possessing things
Sit at an empty table
Be pleased with water, the taste of being at home
                                           Rumi
__________________________________________

What do we live for?
What do we live towards?

For Finn, the dog
Life is easy
Food, walk, ball, stick

He lives to run, to chew sticks, to eat
And to love and be loved

Not bad if you think about it?!

What do I live towards?
What do I most deeply want?
Money
Power
Love
Acclaim
Respect

It makes a difference
What it really value determines everything

How I spend my time
How I see people
How I treat people
What produce comes from the tree of this life

Our values set our path
They are our compass point

Heading into this New Year, my question for myself is simple
What do I value?  What drives my best actions

My second question is also simple
What am I going to do today to live toward my values?
What am I going to do that will take me further along
My values path?

I’ll work on that

Right after I take happy dog for his walk

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Rushing and waiting

“It might seem to you that living in the woods on a riverbank would remove you from the modern world. But not if the river is navigable, as ours is. On pretty weekends in the summer, this riverbank is the very verge of the modern world. It is a seat in the front row, you might say. On those weekends, the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work.

This resting involves traveling at great speed, first on the road and then on the river. The people are in an emergency to relax. They long for the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Their eyes are hungry for the scenes of nature. They go very fast in their boats. They stir the river like a spoon in a cup of coffee. They play their radios loud enough to hear above the noise of their motors. They look neither left nor right. They don't slow down for - or maybe even see - an old man in a rowboat raising his lines...

I watch and I wonder and I think. I think of the old slavery, and of the way The Economy has now improved upon it. The new slavery has improved upon the old by giving the new slaves the illusion that they are free. The Economy does not take people's freedom by force, which would be against its principles, for it is very humane. It buys their freedom, pays for it, and then persuades its money back again with shoddy goods and the promise of freedom.”
                                                                                      Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow
________________________

happy dog roars through the house
prancing, rushing, whining
so much urgency
to be on his way

slipping along the road
roaring through the snow
nose down
in an orgy of smells and textures

rushing from one stick to another
ecstasy
one twisted piece of juniper barely tasted
before he is on to the next morsel

“I watch and I wonder and I think”
as I sit here on the 2nd day of Christmas
about the way we roar through life

we plunge into fall, scattering summer before us
as a the trees scatter their leaves
and barely breathing we roll through fall
from Halloween, to Thanksgiving
and into Advent

as season of waiting and reflection
which is sadly lost in the urgency
until some of us finally stagger exhausted into
Christmas Eve Services, where we take as desperate gasp of spirituality
And then return to the chaos of Christmas Day…

But now here we are
The day after the day
And the days of Christmas stretch before us
Pleading with us
Stop
Breathe
Think

Take a moment to find yourself again
And place your feet firmly on the earth
Mountain pose

Stop Breathe Think
Of things mundane and things deep
Stretch wide your hands, your arms your heart
And let the faint rays of winter light
Creep into the crevices
And dark spots

Stop, Breathe Think
Then journey on gently
Like the Magi
An epiphany awaits

Friday, January 5, 2018

Shame

“Shame was an emotion he had abandoned years earlier. Addicts know no shame. You disgrace yourself so many times you become immune to it.”
                                            John Grisham, The Testament
____________________

Most of us know shame
I live with it each day
My very active mind replaying the tapes
Of things done and said

That in my befuddled mind
Betray
Not only those I have hurt
But betray my father and mother
That “Kliewer heritage”

And betray my own sense of self

I know two things about shame
Shame is destructive to the self
As BrenĂ© Brown puts it, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
(I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame)

With shame we become stuck
We do not say “I made a mistake”
We say “I am a mistake”
And the failures we carry with us inhibit us
Until like aged armadillos we can barely move

But to have no shame, to be able to act with no sense
Of regret for acts that are terrible in their scope
And devastating in their impact

And to smile, smugly
Ah, this is perhaps worse

For it destroys both the one with no shame
And all of those that person would use, manipulate, and abuse
Like our current political leaders
Who have disgraced themselves so often
With their lies, their heartless actions

That they no longer see that
When you destroy the lives of millions upon millions of vulnerable people
in order to enrich the lives of the people privilege
you are acting in an evil way

Shame
No shame

Which is right?

Neither

Instead we need a heart awakened
As Richard Rohr reminds me, in my saner moment
“God hides, and is found, precisely in the depths of everything,
even and maybe especially in the deep fathoming of our fallings and failures.”

We are called to move deep, into the ‘real’
Into that place where Sacred dwells
And where we can unit with love

Once we have experienced, and tapped into this union, this unity
Then love springs up, like a “spring of living water” (John 4)
And shame is washed away

But replaced by such a deep longing for justice, truth, and equity
That  we do not disgrace love

We make sure kids have health care (CHIP)
We make sure clinics are funded to take care of the poor (FQHCs)
We create a more equitable society (and at times “help” the very rich with generosity (it’s for their own good, really)
We welcome the stranger
We clothe the naked, house the homeless
We treat each person, no matter what color or creed
As a Sacred Child

In short we call each other back to our essential humanity



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mending

I cannot think that the Beloved Friend,
Who made the world so fair, should choose
to rent ....
this lovely curtain of .... the night and day, ...
Nor break ....unless some day
He means .... to mend. "
- Omar Khayyam ( from: Rubaiyyat )
____________________________________

how can we not believe
when we see the sunrise sunset
the colors
bright and muted

orange and green
shadow and brilliance

how can we not believe
as we listen to the birds sing
and the music of the water

that the Sacred is anything but Love
or that the sacred rends

if the fabric of creation
is torn
if love is shattered

that is on us
with our fear and greed
our ego needs for power

and how can we not believe
that as we do our worst
the Sacred seeks what is best
and works within each heart
and soul
to repair and heal

that we might then
as well
repair and heal

that which we have broken and wounded

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

As though I had wings

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”              
                              Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays
_______________________________________________

what was in that busy head
when you woke up this morning?

as all those twirling thoughts
danced in magical chaos
through your skull

which wraithlike
dancers it you follow,

and in to what unexpected places
did you go?

did you wander into darkness,
wondering why you are even alive?

Or did you find yourself in that clear
high place
where possibilities live and breathe?

were your feet light? Or made of clay?

did you sink or soar?

Ah Sacred One
fill our minds with such wonders
endow us with such hope

that we may rise expectant
and see that heaven
is just beyond the horizon

and arrives
with the rising sun


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

too old to know everything

“I'm too old to know everything”
― Oscar Wilde
___________________________

I used to be wise
I used to know everything
And look down in wonder at those foolish people
Stumbling alone in the dark

But brilliance fades it seems
And the more I know, the less I know
And sureness becomes uncertainty
Arrogance, humility

I am no longer the brilliant, articulate
Rising star
Who could fill a church,
Or make anything happen

I am instead just another fool
Bumbling around
Trying to find my way to some exit

But there are a few things I do know
That I did not know
Or perhaps, more honestly, simply ignored

I know that every person has value
I know that every person has something to teach me
I know that I am horribly flawed, and terrifyingly wonderful, at the same time

I know that greed wins, short term,
But loses in the end
I know that hating and excluding
Makes one less safe, not more safe

I know (my mother taught me this)
That in the end, liars never prosper
They may get rich, they may win, they may even become President
But they lose so much of their humanity
And are much to be pitied. 
It takes so much work to live a lie

I know that generosity brings more joy that a large bank account
And that one who listens is more impressive than one who talks

I know that God is love

The rest?
The rest is up for grabs
I’m too old to know everything