Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Morning...

Easter Morning in Wales

A garden inside me, unknown, secret,
neglected for years,
the layers of its soil deep and thick.
Trees in the corners with branching arms
and the tangled briars like broken nets.

Sunrise through the misted orchard,
morning sun turns silver on the pointed twigs.
I have woken from the sleep of ages and I am not sure
if I am really seeing, or dreaming,
or simply astonished
walking towards sunrise
to have stumbled into the garden
where the stone was rolled from the tomb of longing.

— David Whyte

To hear David Whyte recite his poetry is a gift beyond words. This particular poem opens my heart deeper with each reading. How long has that garden inside been negected? This Easter it feels very much like astonishment and wonder and awe to be walking toward sunrise having stumbled into that garden. The tomb of my longing has opened and it is with great anticipation that the rebirth begins.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Outside my window is a small dogwood tree and lately several goldfinches, both male and females have been visiting. Every day they entertain me with their energetic fluttering, their delightful chirping and their constant moving from branch to branch.  Sitting still on the window ledge, they tap on the window and gaze at me with tiny eyes. They must be saying something...  I'd like to think they've come to awaken my heart, to remind me "Spring is here! Life is good!"  

Mary Oliver reminds us there is no beginning or end, the temple is everywhere and everything. You can reach out, arms wide open, but not reach... Those goldfinches sing from the unreachable place in the tree. Yet we find joy is in the reaching out.

Where Does the Temple Begin,
Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach.  But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away.  The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(Why I Wake Early)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Infinity Everywhere

When you do things from your soul, 
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
When actions come from another section, 
the feeling disappears.  

We are born and live inside black water in a well.
How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? 
Don't insist on going where you think you want to go.  
Ask the way to the spring.  
Your living pieces will form a harmony.  

There is a moving palace that floats in the air with balconies 
and clear water flowing through, 
infinity everywhere, 
yet contained under a single tent.

~ RUMI ~

Do you ever feel it ~ that river of joy moving in you? Sometimes you just have to let go of all your preconceived notions and let "your living pieces form a harmony." Let your spirit float in the air, infinity everywhere...

adapted from The Glance by Coleman Barks

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Such Singing in the Wild Branches

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves -
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still

and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness -
and that's when it happened,

when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree -
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,

and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward

like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing -
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed

not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfectly blue sky - all, all of them

were singing.
And, of course, yes, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last

for more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,

is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?

Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then - open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away.

~ Mary Oliver ~
(Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays)

 This morning as I walked along side Payton, our remarkable golden retriever, it struck me that Spring finally had arrived! Daffodils, tulips and crocus, magnolia, apple blossoms, and redbuds in full bloom. Mary Oliver has a way unlike any other, to express the beauty of nature so that it touches our deepest longings. To feel the beauty of spring, a time of rebirth, of hope and joy. It's here! Everyone has a chance to experience these wonder-filled, magical moments. Don't miss it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mysterious Power

Tao Te Ching
Chapter 10

Can you keep your soul in its body,
hold fast to the one,
and so learn to be whole?
Can you center your energy,
be soft, tender,
and so learn to be a baby?

Can you keep the deep water still and clear,
so it reflects without blurring?
Can you love people and run things,
and do so by not doing?

Opening, closing the Gate of Heaven,
can you be like a bird with her nestlings?
Piercing bright through the cosmos,
can you know by not knowing?

To give birth, to nourish,
to bear and not to own,
to act and not lay claim,
to lead and not to rule:
this is mysterious power.

There is something about the Tao Te Ching that not only captures my attention, but also brings a deep sense of peace. When I first read it over forty years ago, I was such a neophyte in all things spiritual. This ancient, sacred text was so exotic and incomprehensible. But I was drawn to it again and again. Each time I opened it, a new way of seeing came to me. 

It still happens that way. Maybe that is just one more reason staying in the present moment is so important. The present moment just is ~ pure and simple ~ joy, peace, compassion, kindness for self and all others. "Can you love people and run things, and do so by not doing?"

Text from: 'Tao Te Ching - A book about the way and the power of the way'
Ursula K. Le Guin
Photo from: The Wisdom of the Sacred Feminine 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Psalm 121


Psalm 121

I look deep into my heart,
to the core where wisdom arises.
Wisdom comes from the Unnameable
...and unifies heaven and earth.

The Unnameable is always with you,
shining from the depths of your heart.

~ A Book of Psalms, trans. and adapted by Stephen Mitchell ~

This is the first year we have tulips. I planted them last fall with great anticipation of basking in their beauty come spring. Little did I know what a long, cold winter we would endure. Now here they are lovely beyond words! 

Each morning they are closed as if to say, "We took the evening to go inward and rest." With the morning sun, they are ready to open and share their joy and beauty with all who are in their presence.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Into the Sky

If you wish your misery to end,
seek also to lose your wisdom - 

the wisdom born of human illusion,
that which lacks the light of God's overflowing grace.
The wisdom of this world increases doubt; 
the wisdom of Faith releases you into the sky.

- Rumi, 
Mathnawi, II: 3200-3203, from Rumi: Daylight, posted to Sunlight 

Some days the gratitude is just so strong, it's palpable. Some days it's a struggle to even feel a trace. But always the wisdom of faith releases you into that vast open spaciousness! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Connection with Presence

There are guides
who can show you the way.
Use them.

But they will not satisfy your longing.
Keep wanting the connection with presence
with all your pulsing energy.

The throbbing vein
will take you further
than any thinking.

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Do not claim them. Feel the artistry
moving through, and be silent.

~ RUMI ~

There is a point when the yearning to know the truth of who you are overshadows all other thoughts or desires. Just as the grass will turn green when it's time and the apple blossoms will open when ready, our heart will awaken without our effort. Only the pulsing energy, the throbbing vein, the longing will take us to this place of knowing. Just be silent and still, awake and aware, and present as moment by moment life unfolds... 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Soft Spot in Our Hearts

I've been listening to Pema Chodron's "Awakening Compassion" and today what I heard struck a chord so deep that it is definitely truth for me.  Growing up Christian, I always struggled with the concept of original sin. It just didn't seem right to me.

Here's a different take on why we are as we are: This basic badness or original sin is actually an effort to protect ourselves, believing we are separate. But we aren't, you know. In reality we are all one. We are all inextricably connected!

The Buddhist teaching says every living thing has a soft spot (the heart). In the effort to protect our soft spot, we often do harm to ourselves and others. In fact, the teaching says that all violence comes from trying to protect this soft spot, our tender heart.

This idea seems more reasonable than the idea that we are all inherently bad or evil. To know that within each heart is a soft spot, a place where love resides, is so comforting and encouraging. All of our practices move us toward opening that tender heart. 

When the heart begins to open, we are able to feel deeply into each moment, each experience. Then the heart grows stronger and is able to open more and more until our heart cradles the whole world and everything in it.