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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

souls weep

The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see--the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived.
                                                                                       Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits

Sometimes our souls weep
We cannot help it

A young woman is crushed by a car
Driven by hate
A man is driven by hate
And he too is crushed by the weight and consequences of that hate

Each day starts with the sun rising
And my souls says this day will not be like other days

But each day my heart descends from my chest into my stomach.
It soon seems as if nothing is right
All is falsehood, and greed, and hate
And I can no longer take another justification, another rationalization

I just can’t

And I say to myself
It will be OK
And I say to myself, maybe the Sacred has this

But I am stunned by the magnitude of my grief, I am alone in this pain
And I carry it
In my heart
And it tears and rends, and scars my soul

As if I had not done enough
On my own
To wound myself

And those scars
Those scars, disfigure my heart
My soul

Until my soul contains more scar tissue than life 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What does it take?

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
                             Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Disordered minds
Disordered hearts
Disordered souls

What does it take to carry a torch in the darkness
Seeking to create terror

What does it take to carry a shield marked with the symbols of hate
And to strike out violently
No on behalf of justice
But on behalf of prejudice and hate?

What does it take to drive a car into a mass of people
Killing and maiming

What does it take to tweet a response
That refuses to call white, domestic terrorism what it is?

What does it take?

A disordered mind?
A disordered heart?
A disordered soul?

What does it take?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I saw God

Where is the door to God?
In the sound of a barking dog
In the ring of a hammer
In a drop of rain
In the face of
I See

I saw God today….
It wasn’t easy

For god was not in the twist face of Trump threatening war
Nor in the faces of angry white people, whose privilege is slipping
Nor in their torches, instruments of terror

But God was seen
In the smiling goofy face of my puppy
In the red sun rising
And in the clouds scattered in the sky

God was see in the doe
And in her twin babies

And in the cat
Slinking through the vibrant green field

God was seen in the people huddled in a church in Virginia
Opposing racism

Yes, I saw God today
I hope God shows up tomorrow

Monday, August 28, 2017

At the end of all

Stillness is vital to the world of the soul. If as you age you become more still, you will discover that stillness can be a great companion. The fragments of your life will have time to unify, and the places where your soul-shelter is wounded or broken will have time to knit and heal. You will be able to return to yourself. In this stillness, you will engage your soul. Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do not know themselves at all. Aging can be a lovely time of ripening when you actually meet yourself, indeed maybe for the first time. There are beautiful lines from T. S. Eliot that say:

'And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.'

John O'Donohue
Excerpt from ANAM CARA

The clinical notes are done
The car has found its way home
The TV is off

Horses are fed
And dog and cats sprawl on the porch in the heat of
a hot august night

slowly the mind slows
and the body settles
quietly soul does inventory

thoughts wander randomly
and carelessly through the mind

thoughts about things finished
and unfinished
about love experienced and yearned for

good memories flourish
but memories of past hurts as well
and from time to time
feelings of failure
or resentment surface

but in the silence I watch those thoughts drift by
like boats on a river
and quietly just work to let them go
drifting away

meanwhile the mountain looms into the sky
a fawn awkwardly stumble after its mother
and a hawk screams its protest
at my foolishness
and I suspect

yours too

and I return

to stillness

What we Carry in the heart

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”
                              Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

What do I see out there in the world?

What do I notice?

Perhaps what I see reflects the state of my own soul
Perhaps that fear I see reflects my own fear
That pain, my own pain
That anger my own anger

Or perhaps it is not what is already there
But what I fear might makes its home there

Perhaps I worry that I might become greedy
Hungry for power
A person of the lie

Its possible

It is also possible that I notice that
Which violates my soul

Because I notice the neglect of the poor
I notice the abandonment of the vulnerable
I see injustice and inequity
And hate, and prejudice

I see people violating those who cannot
Help or protect themselves

And what I hope I carry in my heart
Is a love of justice and equity
And acceptance, and generosity

What I hope lives there
At the center of who I am,
Is a desire to help and protect

Whatever is there,
I am sure some cultivation is called for,
And some weeding too!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

nothing in return

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
                             Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Who do I see each day

I look at many people
But who do I see?

It seems so simple really
to really notice another
after all
they are right there in front of me

but do I see the fear
the hurt
the pain
do I understand the questions
the doubt?

and how do I respond
not toward those who approval I want, or need
not toward those who are affluent or powerful

but to that person who is just there
just there
being who they are
being tired and depleted?

Do I stop
to I act in a caring way?
do they feel as if I care?

I wonder
I truly


Time to sit

One day, a younger monk approached his mentor, frustrated at what seemed to him to be an impossible task of knowing and feeling the presence of God.
"How may I experience God?" he asked.
Merton responded: "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun."

I can choose
The old man thought
To sit in the sun
Or sit in the darkness

In the darkness I will be alone with my thoughts
Which are not good company
Oh, perhaps the Sacred will be there too

But that is not where I usually find it

But it is rewarding sometimes
To sit in the shadowy abyss
And nurse my fear, my anger

In the sun, there will be times when I will be uncomfortable
But there I can see the mountain
And the trees
There I can hear the birds
And see them soar again the sky

There I find other people
And they find me

In the dark, it seems as though energy and hope flow into nothingness
In the light, it seems energy and love flow in

Oh yes, there is time to go into the shade
And time to rest

But if I want to find what I seek
Love, affection, warmth
Hope, forgiveness, joy

I have to sit, patiently
And let all


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

the beginning of love

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.”
                              Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu

I do not want to be judged
Certainly not

I do not wanted to be tolerated
As if I were a nagging pain

I don’t want to be loved in parts
(we like this, but frankly we don’t like that!)

I want to be loved the way I am
Accepted, completely

Oh I know, there are things that can be improved
And things that ought to be changed

I am not asking for blanket approval

Just loved, as I am
Perhaps with hope
Perhaps with patience

But loved
By someone

you know
loved by a human (or two)
the way I am loved
thank God

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Without love we die

Earth would die
If the sun stopped kissing her.
                                           Hafiz, The Gift

In the heat of the summer
The plants soon wilt without water

And dogs without affection
Grow sorrowful,

And children, without nurture
Soon wilt

All creation needs
To be touched with warmth
And love

When we do not get kissed
When that is not there

No matter what else we have

We cannot waken to joy
We cannot fully live
And piece by piece
Day by day


Monday, August 14, 2017

Beautiful mystery

Most people don’t die at once… they died a bit at a time.
People die in bits and pieces.  A series of petit morts.  Little deaths
They lose their sight, their hearing, their independence.
Those are the physical ones.
But there’re others.  Les obvious, but more fatal.  They lose heart.  They lose hope
They lose faith.  They lose interest.
And finally, they lose themselves
                                                                        Louise Penny, A Beautiful Mystery

we die a little bit at a time
the path we have trod is littered
with bits and pieces of our very self

we trod, and trod, and trod
moving toward that grand death
but dying each moment

becoming less
a ghost

the walking dead are among us

there are times we wish it were simply over
that we could fade away

but there are other times
when we glimpse that fact
that each ending can become a beginning

perhaps the birth won’t be easy
it rarely is

but in each ending is the seed of
something new

it may be quite different from what
we asked for
or imagined

and we may fight both the death
and the birth

but death is only death
for those who hang on tightly to the old
and refuse to welcome what is next

even as we die and die and die again
we are merely waiting to be born

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Take this child

                                                          Last Rites, Roman Catholic Church

In this world of chaos, even terror
Where maladies fall upon the evil and the good

People are in crisis
Their heads are full of hideous thoughts
Their hearts are broken
Their souls are shredded

That mother who has lost her child
That man who has been fired from his job
That person battered by pain
And that person who has simply given up

The assaults come from everywhere
From the angry, the greedy
The cruel
From the toxic righteous
From parents, children
Friends, enemies

This morning I watched the Life Flight plane lift into the sky
Carrying the precious burden of a person
Clinging, perhaps tenuously to life

And it lifted into the hazy red sky
My heart cried out

Lord take this child
Take this child into your arms
Cover them with love
Infuse them with peace
Protect them, nurture them, heal them

And through this day
My heart repeated this refrain
Take this child

Hold this child