December 4, 2011

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.
Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.
~ John O'Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)

October 23, 2011

August 23, 2011

The Friend on the Journey

I have been preparing for a pilgrimage these past weeks of summer. In September I am going on the The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St James, which is a collection of old pilgrimage routes which cover all Europe.  I shall be going only on the final leg of the trail which begins in Sarria Spain and ends in Santiago de Compostela. I am really looking forward to walking this spiritual path. As I have been preparing by walking ever longer distances, I often note some friend along my way. This day it was this black bird on the rock beside the river. I see this Graceful Presence here, watching me, and I know I am not alone, and I also sense I am keenly held in the manner of all things. 

July 30, 2011

The Power of Spirit

Author and lecturer Paula D'Arcy spent time each week with Morrie (of Tuesdays with Morrie) in his final year when he knew he was dying. They had many wonderful conversations, deepening inquiry and communion between them. At one point Morrie asked Paula to tell him anything she knew about the power of Christ. Paula responded thus:

"I didn't know, but I told him that I suspected: that the Spirit hidden deep within us recognizes truths our minds do not consciously know. And in spite of the barriers and limitations we impose, in spite of our fears and our refusals, in spite of our determination to limit Spirit to certain names or beliefs... there is nevertheless a level of awareness within us that exceeds all names and definitions.  And this awareness responds from a knowledge the mind does not possess."

Later, reflecting on this conversation D'Arcy writes, "More than anything else, Morrie and I were sharing what it means to be a human being, just as he'd requested. We were exploring meaning. We were asking: What does it mean to be alive? Is this human nature our only nature? Is something else trying to emerge? What will we do with the life we were given? How will we live? What limits are we willing to push? How much are we willing to see?"

From Sacred Threshold: Crossing the Inner Barrier to a Deeper Love by Paula D'Arcy

I love these questions Paula and Morrie were asking. I love the question Morrie asks Paula, and I love the answer Paula gave Morrie about the power of Christ Spirit within us. Can you feel the loving communion here - deeper than deep?

July 26, 2011


I love this photo a friend took of her niece. To me it portrays  so many contrasts - hard and soft, young an old, living and dying, earth and body.  And most especially, I see Graceful Presence here. 

What do you see?

July 23, 2011

What's Possible?

Before you can do something that you’ve never done before, 
you have to imagine it’s possible. 
Jean Shinoda Bolen

July 18, 2011


My room at the Ralston White Retreat Center - where I attended a retreat and kept noble silence for four days. It was deeply quieting.  My World Tuesday

July 17, 2011


Enough. These few words are enough. 
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet

July 14, 2011

Self Love

My teacher said, "To be real is some measure of self love. A wholesome wanting - to know ourselves as we are - is an essential element that supports our spiritual practice. Love is essential to this practice."

As I have been sitting in meditation this past week, I began to notice the feeling of preciousness of coming home to myself. On the cushion my thoughts go wandering, and I have learned to call myself gently back, back to the core of my being where my heartbeat is steady and my breathing is rhythmic. I began (at my teacher's advising) to feel this as coming home to my self, and finding a refuge here, within me. Then, I began to sense that something much larger than me was actually welcoming me home again, with open arms and a graceful holding. Every time my thoughts would wander, I would begin to realize it and come home again, always being welcomed in a profound way. Deep feelings of tenderness welled within me.

July 12, 2011

My World

Beauty emanating from the lichen on rocks during a hike in the Umpqua National Forest, Oregon. Graceful Presence is here, in this, too.

July 11, 2011

Mindfulness and Inquiry

The past week I enjoyed five days of silence and listening by attending a Mindfulness and Inquiry Retreat with a favorite teacher, Frank Ostaseski. Today, in the return to my "normal life", I am mindful of the teaching to "feel the flow of experience." Moment to moment, I am observing more than usual what is in the field my awareness - especially what my mind is thinking, what emotions I am noticing, and what my body telling me. In this field of awareness, where "the me disappears" I seem to feel more aware of myself than before. At the same time, I sense that this awareness of me comes not from my small self but rather from a larger Presence within or through me. It is as though by simply feeling the flow of experience, my Being is a kind of vehicle for the sacred.

This simple teaching touches me deeply - through it I sense the truth of my self freshly.

July 4, 2011

Canticle of Love

"Somewhere in our history religion became synonymous with God.

Religion is a longing for something, but it is not the thing itself. The thing itself does not need religion. In fact, religion may be the great barrier, because it is so rule-bound and convincing, so driven by ego ("Our" God is the true God).

Spirit, the thing itself, needs nothing to define it.

It cannot be described; it cannot be owned.

It can only be experienced in its wild passion and its love.

It can be encountered, not studied.

The mind cannot grasp it, though it will forever try.

That which we long for has the character of a single relationship, with infinite forms.

All longing is spirit longing for itself.

Spirit may appear as a child, a starlit night, new love, music, art, terror, tragedy, beauty...

It comes disguised. "

Paula D'Arcy in A set of New Eyes

May 20, 2011

blessing the boats

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton

February 24, 2011

Beloved Rilke

As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.

To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions ... For the god
wants to know himself in you.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

February 21, 2011


Some fishermen pulled a bottle from the deep. It held a piece of paper, with these words: "Somebody save me! I'm here. The ocean cast me on this desert island. I am standing on the shore waiting for help. Hurry! I'm here!"

"There's no date. I bet it's already too late anyway. It could have been floating for years," the first fisherman said.

"And he doesn't say where. It's not even clear which ocean," the second fisherman said.

"It's not too late, or too far. The island Here is everywhere," the third fisherman said. They all felt awkward. No one spoke. That's how it goes with universal truths.

~ Wislawa Szymborska ~

January 15, 2011

A Needed Smile


So much gloom and doubt in our poetry -
flowers wilting on the table,
the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.
Dead leaves cover the ground,
the wind moans in the chimney,
and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.
I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets
would make of all this,
thee shadows and empty cupboards?
Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,
my thoughts turn to the great
tenth-century celebrators of experience,
Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
could hardly be restrained,
and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,
~ Billy Collins ~