If you’ve read something inspirational lately or have a favorite, please share it with us so we can post it.  Thank you!

August 14, 2020

Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.

—  Maya Angelou

August 7, 2020

Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself.

Paramahansa Yogananda

July 31, 2020

Wondrous and mysterious are the ways of God and I would have no one shield my eyes from the glory of His works.

Fr. Francis Mulcahy

July 17, 2020

Allowing our bodies to feel the weight of our emotions without creating a story around them is how we transform our heartbreak into collective action.

Manoj Dias

July 10, 2020

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

Friedrich Nietzsche

With that in mind:

Coping with Grief and Loss – Mourning the Changes since COVID-19

  • Physical exercise along with relaxation will improve sleep and concentration.
  • Keep a journal: write through your sleeplessness and change the ending of your nightmares.
  • Talk to people; talk is one of the most healing activities. It is how we let go of stress.
  • Give yourself permission to feel rotten and share your feeling with others.
  • Give yourself permission to have moments of happiness or escape.
  • Spend time with others. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself.
  • Get plenty of rest and eat regular meals even if you don’t feel like it.

Purdue University Counseling & Psychological Services

July 3, 2020

Just for today, keep it simple.
  Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Look at your life for all you have
      gained rather than lost.

Look at your path for
    everything you have got through
rather than everywhere
  you think you should be.

Celebrate rather than criticize.
  Experience rather than expect.
See how that goes. Just for today.

S.C Lourie

June 26, 2020

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.
It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
The Hobbit (movie)

June 19, 2020

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

— James Weldon Johnson

June 12, 2020

“Serenity is what we get when we quit hoping for a better past.”

(With thanks to @letstalkrecoveryhouston.)

June 5, 2020

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

— The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

May 29, 2020

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
— Rosa Parks

May 22, 2020

“You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we’re all here for a certain space of time, and, and then it’s going to be over, and you better make this count.”
— Nancy Reagan

May 15, 2020

When you notice that you’re having negative thoughts about how all of this is going to pan out, you need to remind yourself that you are not a very good fortune teller.

— Donna W. Hill

May 8, 2020

Every day may not be good, but there’s good in every day.

— Unknown

(Difficult times sometimes call for simpler reflections.)

May 1, 2020

April 24, 2020

When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don’t say to yourself, “It looks like the end of the world.” What you’re seeing is love in action. What you’re seeing, in that negative space, is how much we do care for each other, for our grandparents, our parents, our brothers and sisters, for people we will never meet. 

People will lose jobs over this. Some will lose their businesses. And some will lose their lives. 

All the more reason to take a moment, when you’re out on your walk, or on your way to the store, or just watching the news, to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love. Let it fill you and sustain you. 

It isn’t the end of the world.  It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.

— Attributed variably to the Belfast COVID Team

April 17, 2020

Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.

— Mr. Rogers

April 10, 2020

Note: The following is a repost of a piece that ran widely over the last week . . . and with good reason.  Enjoy.

Don’t Quarantine Yourself From Living Today

APRIL 1, 2020 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ

This morning I had one of those bittersweet moments you get as a parent from time to time: you see your children transforming in front of you.

I walked downstairs and saw my ten-year old daughter sitting on the couch and the change in her took my breath away, as if she’d grown a couple of inches overnight. I could swear her face looked more mature than the little girl I’d tucked in eight hours earlier, in ways that only I was close enough to notice. She is becoming a young woman and in a photograph flash there on the stairs I saw it.

It reminded me that despite being housebound and despite so much of our ordinary routine being interrupted, and despite the current normal feeling anything but normal—life is still happening and I need to be present for it. She is still my daughter and I’m still her daddy, and we are living out our story in real time. Our family is not paused in any of the ways that matter: we’re still loving and learning and laughing and crying and sharing.

It’s easy in days like these, so filled with worries about what’s coming, to believe that we’re all in some holding pattern right now: a massive waiting room where we’re busying ourselves and biding our time, until this nightmare fog clears and we can resume living again. It’s tempting to imagine everything is on hold right now until someone gives us the all clear to move.

But if we do that, if we keep all our attention on when this crisis will end, we’ll miss our lives currently unfolding, we’ll miss a million infinitesimal holy moments that we will never get again; the place where we are being invited to live right now. We will sacrifice the present we have in our hands, on the altar of the future that we’re waiting on.

In these days we can dwell so much on what is taken away, that we miss what we’ve been given:

We’re getting time with our children that we’d never get any other way; time to sit with them and not be hurrying from task to task and quickly into the car for the next breathless drop off. We can linger with them and really see them and notice how they’re changing.

We’re getting time with our spouses and partners and siblings; days where we can stop and have a meal in the middle of the day or steal away for coffee late at night; a chance to have conversations that sink deeper than the surface small talk we often default to and into the depths of our hopes and fears.

We’re getting white space we’d never otherwise get, and we can fill that time with beautiful, joyous, life-affirming acts: we can pick up the guitar again or resume writing the book we’d shelved or break out the business we dreamed of launching. We can text friends who we’ve lost touch with, check on our neighbors, and connect with people on social media to make sure everyone feels a little less alone. We can exercise and eat well and care for ourselves and rest, in ways we might neglect when our calendars are again filled and our agendas are again bursting to overflow.

Yes, these days are disorienting and inconvenient but they aren’t uneventful days.

Life is happening all around you right now.

Your children are growing at lightning speed.

Your relationships are waiting for you to be present.

Your mind is still free to create and plan and dream.

Your gifts are still fully accessible and you can still wield them all.

You and everyone around you is getting a day older, and so there should be urgency that rises up in you to make sure you spend it well.

The terrifying reality of this season is realizing how fragile life is and how quickly it can dissolve. If there’s anything good found in seeing so many leave this place with such velocity and randomness, it can be that we make sure we don’t procrastinate living another minute more.

There will be a day when you can do all the things you normally do, and there will a trade-off: you won’t be able to do what you can do today.

You’ll have that day but you won’t ever get this one again, and it would be a tragedy if you wasted it, waiting to be released by someone else.

You are inconvenienced and redirected, but you aren’t stopped.

You are physically separated from people but you are connected in ways that transcend geography.

You are frustrated and tired and worried, but you are alive and that’s a pretty important detail to miss.

As much as you can, stay home and stay safe in this quarantine—but as much as you can, keep living while you do.

Do what you are able to do, cultivate gratitude, be present, show compassion.

This day isn’t a place to wait, it’s still a place to live.

April 3, 2020

If you’re feeling low, don’t despair.
The sun has a sinking spell every night,
but it comes back up very morning.
— Dolly Parton

March 27, 2020

Desiderata

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

― Max Ehrmann © 1927

March 20, 2020

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

― Mother Teresa, Saint Teresa of Calcutta

March 13, 2020

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you . . . never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

― Harriet Beecher Stowe

March 6, 2020

As I would soon learn myself, cleaning up what a parent leaves behind stirs up dust, both literal and metaphorical. It dredges up memories. You feel like you’re a kid again, poking around in your parents’ closet, only this time there’s no chance of getting in trouble, so you don’t have to be so sure that everything gets put back exactly where it was before you did your poking around. Still, you hope to find something, or maybe you fear finding something, that will completely change your conception of the parent you thought you knew.

― Roz Chast

February 28, 2020

If I were to believe in God enough to call him a murderer, then I might also believe enough that he, as a spirit, exists beyond death; and therefore only he could do it righteously. For the physical being kills a man and hatefully sends him away, whereas God, the spiritual being, kills a man and lovingly draws him nigh.

― Criss Jami, Healology

February 21, 2020

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

— Mary Oliver

February 14, 2020

For as much as I hate the cemetery, I’ve been grateful it’s here, too. I miss my wife. It’s easier to miss her at a cemetery, where she’s never been anything but dead, than to miss her in all the places where she was alive.

― John Scalzi, Old Man’s War

February 7, 2020

Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.

― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

January 31, 2020

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worthy of rescue.

― Martha Postlethwaite

January 24, 2020

I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroke. When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind. Some people don’t know grief from garlic grits. There’s somethings a body ain’t meant to get over. No I’m not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away. (A death in the family) is like having a pile of rocks dumped in your front yard. Every day you walk out and see them rocks. They’re sharp and ugly and heavy. You just learn to live around them the best way you can. Some people plant moss or ivy; some leave it be. Some folks take the rocks one by one, and build a wall.

― Michael Lee West, American Pie

January 17, 2020

This week’s Healing Reflection from The Bard:

Clown: Good Madonna, why mournest thou?
Olivia: Good Fool, for my brother’s death.
Clown: I think his soul is in hell, Madonna.
Olivia: I know his soul is in heaven, Fool.
Clown: The more fool, Madonna, to mourn for your brother’s soul being in heaven.

― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

January 10, 2020

I am always saddened by the death of a good person. It is from this sadness that a feeling of gratitude emerges. I feel honored to have known them and blessed that their passing serves as a reminder to me that my time on this beautiful earth is limited and that I should seize the opportunity I have to forgive, share, explore, and love. I can think of no greater way to honor the deceased than to live this way.

― Steve Maraboli

January 3, 2020

“I do not mourn the loss of my sister because she will always be with me, in my heart,” she says. “I am, however, rather annoyed that my Tara has left me to suffer you lot alone. I do not see as well without her. I do not hear as well without her. I do not feel as well without her. I would be better off without a hand or a leg than without my sister. Then at least she would be here to mock my appearance and claim to be the pretty one for a change. We have all lost our Tara, but I have lost a part of myself as well.”

― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

December 27, 2019

Relationships take up energy; letting go of them, psychiatrists theorize, entails mental work. When you lose someone you were close to, you have to reassess your picture of the world and your place in it. The more your identity was wrapped up with the deceased, the more difficult the loss.
― Meghan O’Rourke

December 20, 2019

God never promised an easy life. He said that we will have suffering and heartaches, but He also promised that He will be with us, to comfort us and reunite us on the other side.
– Jim Sitton

December 13, 2019

Editor’s note: For anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, we’re now deep in the throes of what can be a very painful holiday season.  The following is a blatant borrowing of an inciteful, wise and compassionate list of five suggestions on how we can make the holidays a tiny bit less painful for anyone we know who is grieving.  Please follow the link at the end to read the rest.

What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Christmas

“Happy Thanksgiving!” “Merry Christmas!” “Happy New Year!” As the end of the year approaches, everywhere we turn someone is telling us we should be happy.

But for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy. The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season are punctuated with painful reminders of the person we love who is not here to share in it. Many have wished they could find a quiet place to hide until January 2.

While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, at Christmas.

    1. Even the best times are punctuated with an awareness that someone is missing.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend as we prepared to head out on a holiday trip shortly after our daughter, Hope, died. “That should be fun!” she said. I sensed I was supposed to agree wholeheartedly with her.

What I didn’t know how to explain is that when you’ve lost a member of your family, even the best of times are painfully incomplete. Someone is missing. Even the best days and happiest events are tinged with sadness. Wherever you go, the sadness goes with you.

Please read the rest here:
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-grieving-people-wish-you-knew-at-christmas.

December 5, 2019

I savor each moment, because I do not know
exactly when a heavy gust or breeze might blow.
Should it be today, I’ll shed my sorrow in a tear
while my courage battles the uncertainty of fear.

Dreadful emotions, for which I can’t prepare
will likely taunt me with sporadic despair,
but I’ll be patient amid the highs and lows
for that is the process by which grieving goes.

I will accept my fate in spite of the stress and strain,
ignoring should’ves, could’ves, would’ves to rid my pain,
as will the sun’s radiance on my thirsty skin
restore in due time my contented grin.

― Maria C. Dawson

November 29, 2019

Tips on healing through your grief during the holidays from grief.com.

  • Do be gentle with yourself and protect yourself.
  • Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.
  • Do allow time for the feelings.
  • Don’t keep feelings bottled up. If you have 500 tears to cry don’t stop at 250.
  • Do allow others to help. We all need help at certain times in our lives.
  • Don’t ask if you can help or should help a friend in grief. Just help. Find ways; invite them to group events or just out for coffee.
  • Do, in grief, pay extra attention to the children. Children are too often the forgotten grievers.

November 22, 2019

“Some people, they can’t just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me . . . I don’t know. I didn’t want to fix it, to forget. It wasn’t something that was broken. It’s just . . . something that happened. And like that hole, I’m just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time.”

― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

November 15, 2019

Remember the love.

Remember the love.

Remember the love.

Measure in love.

Measure, measure your life in love.

November 8, 2019

Grief never ends
but it changes.
It’s a passage
not a place to stay.

Grief is not a sign
of weakness
nor lack of faith.

Grief is the price
of love.

November 1, 2019

“We know that the acute sorrow we feel after such a loss will run its course, but also that we will remain inconsolable, and will never find a substitute. No matter what may come to take its place, even should it fill that place completely, it yet remains something else. And that is how it should be. It is the only way of perpetuating a love that we do not want to abandon.”
– Letter from Sigmund Freud to Ludwig Binswanger, April 11, 1929

October 25, 2019

Meditation before Kaddish

When I Die give what’s left of me away
to children and old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your brother walking the street beside you.
And when you need me, put your arms around anyone
and give them what you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved,
and if you cannot give me away,
at least let me live in your eyes and not in your mind.

You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.

October 18, 2018

During times of grief and loss it is common to feel closed and shielded. You might say, “The wounds are too great, I can’t take anymore, I have to close down and not feel a thing.” Honor your pain. You can place your hands over your heart bringing in protection and your loving presence.

– Arielle Schwartz, PhD

October 11, 2019

“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker . . . but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.”

― Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

September 27, 2019

Be willing to change things
It is natural to wish to keep things the way they were when our loved one was with us. Still, that doesn’t keep the person alive. Although loss is never easy to face, we need to remember we can go on with our lives. We need to take care of ourselves and our needs in the process.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

September 20, 2019

Exercise daily
Move your body. Walking, dancing, swimming, or whatever activity pleases you, can help you feel better. Through exercise, you build your physical strength, release tension, enliven yourself and keep yourself well. Exercise releases endorphins that will lift your mood.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

September 13, 2019

Keep a journal
This is a powerful method for expressing pain, as well as a means for having private, intimate time with yourself. Some feelings may be too hard to speak aloud, like anger or regret. Journal writing can serve as a release as well as a meaningful expression of yourself.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

September 6, 2019

Keep busy
You cannot dwell on your sorrow or your loss every waking moment. In the first flush of grief, you may feel you cannot control the extent of your suffering. But, you can with friends, with activities, and a plan that forms a lifeline.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

August 30, 2019

Be patient with yourself
Grief is a process that takes time. Moving forward is not necessarily quick and easy, but it is possible. Trust that you can and will cope with your loss. The day will come when you can remember your loved one without pain.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

August 23, 2019

Express your grief
Empty out your feelings. Cry when you need to cry. Be angry when you feel angry. Don’t suppress yourself or pretend to be stoic. The more you express your pain, the more you free yourself from it.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

August 16, 2019

I was 19 and the funeral director, a friend of the family, insisted I go and see him one last time before they closed the casket.  I hadn’t seen him since before he’d died a few days before, in (literally) a heartbeat and way too young.  I was mortified.  Each step I took, every breath, was a battle.

His brother and nephew went in to see him before the service but I couldn’t.  The casket remained closed throughout the stupid funeral and then we went with him to the cemetery.  It was blistering hot and I sweat so much in my suit and tie that I knew it was partly concealing my tears.  I remember feeling guilty about being glad that “no one” knew I was crying.

Three decades later we’re having dinner at home and my visiting cousin pulls out his old photo album.  Us as kids and teens at the beach.  In the woods.  At scout events.  At school.  My dad in his coffin.

I actually gasped.  It’s still rare for anyone to take photos of somebody in a coffin but in the ‘80’s it was unheard of and I never, ever knew there were such pictures of My Dad. 

As I exhaled, I realized three things.  One, I should have gone in to see him but I only regret it a little and I don’t feel that bad about it.   Two, I was not sad at all to see the photos because I knew he was not there, just his body.  And, amazingly, that it was actually nice to see a ‘new’ photo of him that I hadn’t seen a thousand times before.

A memory of the dull ache from those days and weeks and months came floating back.  But the rest, it’s all memories and permanent imprints of his hugs and how he smelled and his laughter and his delightfully corny jokes and how he couldn’t stay mad at me very long when I did something particularly stupid.

I didn’t ask to make copies of the photos, but I think one day I might.

I miss my dad so, so much.  But I love him with more power than strength of the loss of him.  The loss of him didn’t win.

August 9, 2019

Allow your grief
No step is more important than this. Appreciate, accept, and allow your grief as a natural response to your loss. Let yourself feel your pain. Suppressed grief doesn’t go away. Grief is a mix of many uncomfortable feelings. You may feel sad, angry, or filled with remorse, regret, or longing. All these feelings are natural.
– Hospice Foundation of America Survival Tips for Grief

August 2, 2019

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer . . . and everything collapses.

― Colette

July 26, 2019

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly — that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

– Anne Lamott

July 19, 2019

Shaken by emotional storms, I realized that choosing to feel guilt, however painful, somehow seemed to offer reassurance that such events did not happen at random . . . .  If guilt is the price we pay for the illusion that we have some control over nature, many of us are willing to pay it.  I was.  To begin to release the weight of guilt, I had to let go of whatever illusion of control it pretended to offer, and acknowledge that pain and death are as natural as birth, woven inseparably into our human nature.

― Elaine Pagels, Why Religion?: A Personal Story

July 12, 2019

The world is full of widows ― several among my closer friends. We have each known that grim rite of passage, have engaged with grief and loss, and have not exactly emerged but found a way of living after and beyond. It is an entirely changed life, for anyone who has been in a long marriage ― forty-one years, for me: alone in bed, alone most of the time, without that presence towards which you turned for advice, reassurance, with whom you shared the good news and the bad. Every decision now taken alone; no one to defuse anxieties. And a thoroughly commonplace experience ― everywhere, always ― so get on with it and don’t behave as though you are uniquely afflicted. I didn’t tell myself that at the time, and I doubt if it would have helped if I had, but it is what I have come ― not so much to feel as to understand.

― Penelope Lively, Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time

July 5, 2019

Acknowledge that some moments are just plain awful – desperate and gloomy and painful and miserable and nothing at all but anguish.  No truthful, cheerful thought in the world will fix it.

So let me cry awhile. Don’t try to find a sunbeam where a shroud of darkness encloses me.  Let me mourn.  Then, after the storm, when the tears have run dry and my eyes choose to open, I will look for your rainbow of hope.

– Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

June 28, 2019

She Is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back

or you can do what she would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

– David Harkins

June 21, 2019

Dear Human:

You’ve got it all wrong.
You didn’t come here to master unconditional love.
That is where you came from and where you’ll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Universal love.
Messy love.
Sweaty love.
Crazy love.
Broken love.
Whole love.
Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of . . . messing up. Often.
You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise
again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story.
Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives.
It doesn’t require modifiers.
It doesn’t require the condition of perfection.
It only asks that you show up. And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back
up and play and work and live and die as YOU.
It’s enough.
It’s Plenty.

― Courtney A. Walsh

June 14, 2019

“It’s odd, isn’t it? People die every day and the world goes on like nothing happened. But when it’s a person you love, you think everyone should stop and take notice. That they ought to cry and light candles and tell you that you’re not alone.”

― Kristina McMorris, Letters from Home

June 7, 2019

The Place Where Lost Things Go

Do you ever lie
Awake at night?
Just between the dark
And the morning light
Searching for the things
You used to know
Looking for the place
Where the lost things go

Do you ever dream
Or reminisce?
Wondering where to find
What you truly miss
Well maybe all those things
That you love so
Are waiting in the place
Where the lost things go

Memories you’ve shed
Gone for good you feared
They’re all around you still
Though they’ve disappeared
Nothing’s really left
Or lost without a trace
Nothing’s gone forever
Only out of place

So maybe now the dish
And my best spoon
Are playing hide and seek
Just behind the moon
Waiting there until
It’s time to show
Spring is like that now
Far beneath the snow
Hiding in the place
Where the lost things go

Time to close your eyes
So sleep can come around
For when you dream you’ll find
All that’s lost is found
Maybe on the moon
Or maybe somewhere new
Maybe all you’re missing lives inside of you

So when you need her touch
And loving gaze
Gone but not forgotten
Is the perfect phrase
Smiling from a star
That she makes glow
Trust she’s always there
Watching as you grow
Find her in the place
Where the lost things go

Mary Poppins, 2018

[If you prefer the beautifully sung version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TFOZF0DokE.]

May 31, 2019

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I will give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

– Rainer Maria Rilke

May 24, 2019

Gifts of grace come to all of us. But we must be ready to see and willing to receive these gifts. It will require a kind of sacrifice, the sacrifice of believing that, however painful our losses, life can still be good — good in a different way than before, but nevertheless good. I will never recover from my loss and I will never get over missing the ones I lost. But I still cherish life . . . .   I will always want the ones I lost back again. I long for them with all my soul. But I still celebrate the life I have found because they are gone. I have lost, but I have also gained. I lost the world I loved, but I gained a deeper awareness of grace. That grace has enabled me to clarify my purpose in life and rediscover the wonder of the present moment.

― Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

May 17, 2019

If you wear black, then kindly, irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning.

They’re right. It does.

However much you beg it to stop.

It turns and lets grenadine spill over the horizon, sends hard bars of gold through my window and I wake up and feel happy for three seconds and then I remember.

It turns and tips people out of their beds and into their cars, their offices, an avalanche of tiny men and women tumbling through life . . .

All trying not to think about what’s waiting at the bottom.

Sometimes it turns and sends us reeling into each other’s arms. We cling tight, excited and laughing, strangers thrown together on a moving funhouse floor.

Intoxicated by the motion we forget all the risks.

And then the world turns . . .

And somebody falls off . . .

And oh God it’s such a long way down.

Numb with shock, we can only stand and watch as they fall away from us, gradually getting smaller…

Receding in our memories until they’re no longer visible.

We gather in cemeteries, tense and silent as if for listening for the impact; the splash of a pebble dropped into a dark well, trying to measure its depth.

Trying to measure how far we have to fall.

No impact comes; no splash. The moment passes. The world turns and we turn away, getting on with our lives . . .

Wrapping ourselves in comforting banalities to keep us warm against the cold.

“Time’s a great healer.”

“At least it was quick.”

“The world keeps turning.”

Oh Alec —

Alec’s dead.

― Alan Moore, Swamp Thing, Vol. 5: Earth to Earth

May 3, 2019

Love is strengthened and perfected by suffering. Couples who have had only ease lack depth. True love needs to suffer. “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Kindness ― mere kindness ― cannot tolerate suffering. Love can.

― Peter Kreeft, Making Sense Out of Suffering

April 26, 2019

“It was too perfect to last,” so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways.  It may be grimly pessimistic ― as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it (‘None of that here!’). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean “This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.” As if God said, “Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.”

― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

April 19, 2019

Relationships take up energy; letting go of them entails mental work. When you lose someone you were close to, you have to reassess your picture of the world and your place in it. The more your identity was wrapped up with the deceased, the more difficult the loss. 

― Meghan O’Rourke

April 12, 2019

Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power … that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.

― Marcel Proust

April 5, 2019

Sometimes a good cry can cure what a good laugh can’t.

― Unknown, but we hope we meet them someday.

March 29, 2019

Unless you have been very, very lucky, you have undoubtedly experienced events in your life that have made you cry. So unless you have been very, very lucky, you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.

― Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid, Lemony Snicket

March 15, 2019

“Some people, they can’t just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me… I don’t know. I didn’t want to fix it, to forget. It wasn’t something that was broken. It’s just…something that happened. And like that hole, I’m just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time.”
― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

March 8, 2019

I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You

This week’s Healing Reflection, something a little different, a realistic but grateful take on grief from the genius Colin Hay.  (Lyrics are below the the video.)

I drink good coffee every morning
It comes from a place that’s far away
And when I’m done I feel like talking
Without you here there is less to say
 
Don’t want you thinking I’m unhappy
What is closer to the truth
Is that if I lived till I was a hundred and two
I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you
 
I’m no longer moved to drink strong whiskey
I shook the hand of time and I knew
that if I lived till I could no longer climb my stairs
I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you
 
Your face it dances and it haunts me
your laughter is still ringing in my ears
I still find pieces of your presence here
even after all these years
 
I don’t want you thinking that i don’t get asked to dinner
cause I’m here to say that I sometimes do
and even though I may seem to feel a touch of love
I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you
 
if I live till I was a hundred and two
I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you

March 1, 2019

grief is a house
where the chairs
have forgotten how to hold us
the mirrors how to reflect us
the walls how to contain us

grief is a house that disappears
each time someone knocks at the door
or rings the bell
a house that blows into the air
at the slightest gust
that buries itself deep in the ground
while everyone is sleeping

grief is a house where no one can protect you
where the younger sister
will grow older than the older one
where the doors
no longer let you in
or out

― Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

February 22, 2019

To Those Whom I Love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many good years.

I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you’ve given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I traveled on alone.

So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home.’

February 15, 2019

I often think that people we have loved
and who have loved us
not only make us more human
but they become a part of us and we
carry them around all the time –
whether we see them or not.
And in some ways
we are a sum total
of those who have loved us
and those we have given
ourselves to.

Anonymous

February 8, 2019

After A While

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn . . .

– Veronica A. Shoffstall

February 1, 2019

Remember Me

To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.

I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
Remember me.

Remember me in your heart:
Your thoughts, and your memories,
Of the times we loved,
The times we cried,
The times we fought,
The times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never have gone.

— Margaret Mead

January 18, 2019

You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me

And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine. 

— Joyce Grenfell

January 11, 2019

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together,
there is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is,
even if we’re apart,
I’ll always be with you.

— Winnie the Pooh

January 4, 2019

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

—  Elizabeth Bishop

 
December 28, 2018

Do Not Weep For Me

Do not weep for me for I have not gone.
I am the wind that shakes the mighty Oak.
I am the gentle rain that falls upon your face.
I am the spring flower that pushes through the dark earth.
I am the chuckling laughter of the mountain stream. 

Do not weep for me for I have not gone.
I am the memory that dwells in the heart of those that knew me.
I am the shadow that dances on the edge of your vision.
I am the wild goose that flies south at Autumns call and I shall return at Summer rising.
I am the stag on the wild hills way.
I am just around the corner.

Therefore, the wise weep not.
But rejoice at the transformation of my Being.

December 21, 2018

The Sailing Ship

What is dying?
I am standing on the seashore.
A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object and I stand watching her
Till at last she fades from the horizon,
And someone at my side says, “She is gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight, that is all;
She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone,”
There are others who are watching her coming,
And other voices take up a glad shout,
“There she comes!” – and that is dying.

 — Luther F. Beecher, 1813–1903

December 14, 2018

For The Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

— Gary Snyder, Zen poet (with a nod to Michael Lerner)

December 7, 2018

Long lines. Longer nights. Less sunshine. Traffic. Regrets. Loved ones lost. Loved ones elsewhere. Sad holidays past. Debt. Social media.
Bleh humbug.

Knowing that it’s okay to feel how you feel, however you feel.
Friends yet still to be made. Current blessings to count, oh so many. Volunteering. Keeping busy and a regular schedule. Make new plans. Visiting friends. Helping others.
Helping just one other.
Giving of yourself.
Healing.

(Clip and save.)

― Anonymous

November 30, 2018

When I Think Of Death

When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.

I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.

I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return.

Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.

I answer the heroic question ‘Death, where is thy sting? ‘ with ‘ it is here in my heart and mind and memories.’

― Maya Angelou

November 23, 2018

Grief in the season of thankfulness.

This season I am thankful for:
My mind
That still remembers you
My voice
That still speaks of you
My spirit
That still hears you
My heart
That still loves you

November 16, 2018

If Not For You

If not for you, we may never have known

The magic in marrying ones soul mate.
The pleasure of a sister in-laws company.
Or the laughter shared with an aunt.

We would not have felt,
The delight in a mother’s joy
The passion of a grandmother’s pride.
Or the sorrow in her loss.

If not for you, we may never have seen,
The compassion and generosity of one
who could not always, afford to give.
Or the worry that came with both.

We could not have shared,
The depth of a sister’s love.
The grief in a friend’s passing.
Or the anguish of a relationship lost.

If not for you,
We would have nothing to rejoice.

― Richard L. Belford

November 8, 2018

How long will the pain last?

All the rest of your life.

But the thing to remember is that the pain will not only last, but the blessed memories as well.  Tears are proof of life.  The more life, the more tears.  If this were true, then how could we ever ask that the pain cease altogether?  For then the memory of love would go with it.  The pain of grief is the price we pay for love.

― unknown

November 2, 2018

A cut finger –
Is numb before it bleeds,
It bleeds before it hurts,
It hurts until it begins to heal,
It forms a scab and itches until finally, the scab is gone
And a small scar is left where once there was a wound.

Grief is the deepest wound you have ever had.
Like a cut finger, it goes through stages and leaves a scar.

― unknown

October 26, 2018

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

― Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

October 19, 2018

How we walk
with the broken
speaks louder
than how we sit
with the great.

― Bill Bennot

Walk well with the broken, even when the broken one is you.

October 12, 2018

We may believe that mistakes have been made already and that we cannot go back to the past to change things. When we look deeply into the relative nature of time, we see that the past has created the present. If we seize the present moment with mindfulness, we are in touch with the past. We can actually go back to the past, while staying firmly rooted in the present moment, and heal the past. We forgive ourselves for our mistakes, knowing we didn’t have enough wisdom or the right conditions at that time to do better. We transform our regrets in the present into compassion and understanding, and in this way we also transform the past.

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

October 5, 2018

these mountains
that you are
carrying, you were
only supposed to
climb.

― Najwa Zebian

September 28, 2018

You can’t skip chapters, that’s not how life works.  You have to read every line, meet every character.

You won’t enjoy all of it.

Hell, some chapters will make you cry for weeks.  You will read things you don’t want to read, you will have moments when you don’t want the pages to end.  But you have to keep going.  Stories keep the world revolving.  Live yours, don’t miss out.

― Courtney Peppernell

September 21, 2018

When you work for the Creator, you go back in nature.  You work in ‘his’ time.

― George Goodstriker, Kainai (Blackfoot) Elder, Canada

***

What is it taking so long?  I want to have it finished already.  I can’t wait.  I have other things to do.

No! Not me! I’m not ready.  Let me finish these projects first, get my kids raised, and be better.  Then I can do the work of the Creator.

It’s strange, isn’t it? The Creator just seems to have no sense of or respect for our concept of time!

***

When you work for the Creator, you work in ‘his’ time.

September 14, 2018

It’s okay to unleash the healing power of tears

In the 2008 film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) takes a Hawaiian vacation to get over his recent breakup. He finds himself sobbing on his balcony, and the front desk calls: “We’re getting complaints about a woman crying hysterically.” He deflected attention by blaming it on the floor above him, only to realize he was on the top floor.

Being a crier like Peter may sound embarrassing, but science shows that he was getting healthy, on several levels.

  • Research indicates that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or your “rest and digest” state. That’s also equivalent to a meditation response to stress and the opposite of your alert, fight-or-flight state – good for the cardiovascular system and the spirit.
  • Tears that express emotion contain beneficial chemicals and help eliminate toxins from your body.
  • Crying also stimulates release of the love hormone oxytocin, a chemical associated with comforting and happiness.
  • It is thought that crying releases opioids in the brain, which helps reduce pain. In short, crying is an effective form of self-soothing. (“There, there, things will be OK.”)
  • In the blink of an eye, you’ll be transferring oxygen, moisture, nutrients and antibodies that fight infection to your cornea.
  • It helps rally support from those around you when you’re down.

― Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

September 7, 2018

― “All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.”

James Thurber

August 31, 2018

For Equilibrium, a Blessing

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

August 24, 2018

It Just Glows

My image of Light,
It’s just kind of a pulsing warm hue
It just glows
In a word, it just radiates outward.
That pulsation is there
No matter where we are.
We are filled with Light.
God is giving off His radiant Light.
We can choose to ignore it,
Or, we can choose to see it.

For me, it is a pinkish, purplish, golden hue.
It kind of pulses,
And, it makes me feel at peace.
No matter what happens ―
God is there.
I got it.
God and I are good.

In my peaceful moments
I feel it inside me.
God is reassuring me that it is okay.
It’s what keeps me in this space.

I didn’t really believe in this
Until I saw a friend die,
And go from one sphere to another.
Watching her pass gave me courage,
And it taught me the strength
That comes from witness.
At this point, it is God and I.
I am guided by the wholeness and Light of God.

― Marcia Brenna via Sandra Bishnoi

August 17, 2018

“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.”

– Winnie the Pooh

August 10, 2018

Some survivors try to think their way through grief.
That doesn’t work. Grief is a releasing process, a discovery process, a healing process.
We cannot release or discover or heal by the use of our minds alone.
The brain must follow the heart at a respectful distance.
It is our hearts that ache when a loved one dies.
It is our emotions that are most drastically affected.
Certainly the mind suffers, the mind recalls, the mind may plot and plan and wish
(and wish and wish) yet it is the heart that will blaze the trail through the thicket of grief.

– Carol Staudeacher, A Time To Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One

August 3, 2018

When the heart grieves over what’s been lost, the spirit rejoices over what’s been left.

– Attributed to a Sufi epigram

July 27, 2018

Grieving is a journey that teaches us how to love in a new way now that our loved one is no longer with us.
Consciously remembering those who have died is the key that opens the heart, that allows us to love them in new ways.

– Tom Attig, The Heart of Grief

July 20, 2018

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 13, 2017

Falling Apart

I am normal I am told.
I seem to be falling apart.
My attention span can be measured in seconds.
My patience in minutes.
I cry at the drop of a hat.
I forget to sign the checks.
Half of everything in the house is misplaced.
Feelings of anxiety and restlessness are my constant companions.
Rainy days seem extra dreary.
Sunny days seem an outrage.
Other people’s pain and frustration seem insignificant.
Laughing, happy people seem out of place in my world.
It has become routine to feel half crazy.
I am normal I am told.
I’m a newly grieving person.

– Eloise Cole, THANATOS, Winter 1985

July 6, 2018

Guide To Surviving Grief

Cry whenever you need to.  Scream.
Shout.  Lay on the floor.  Sob in the
shower.  Be still.  Run.  Walk.
Create.  Live your truth.  Share without
fear.  Listen.  Release your pain.
Breathe.  Be courageous.  Throw away
the map.  Wander.  Be real.  Be compassionate.
Read.  Seek friendship.
Be vulnerable.  Don’t fear being broken.

– Zoe Clark-Coates

June 29, 2018

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.

– from Mary Oliver’s “In Blackwater Woods”

June 22, 2018

Stay on the train.
The scenery will change.

– David Duchovny

June 15, 2018

Has my heart gone to sleep?
Have the beehives of my dreams
stopped working, the waterwheel
of the mind run dry,
scoops turning empty,
only shadow inside?

No, my heart is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.
Not asleep, not dreaming —
its eyes are opened wide
watching distant signals, listening
on the rim of vast silence.

– Antonio Machado

June 8, 2018

Unable to perceive the shape of You
I find You all around me
Your presence fills my eyes with Your love
It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere

– Hakim Sanai, and perhaps a familiar passage to those of you who saw The Shape of Water

June 1, 2018

I’m very ugly
So don’t try to convince me that
I am a very beautiful person
Because at the end of the day
I hate myself in every single way
And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying
There is beauty inside of me that matters
So rest assured I will remind myself
That I am a worthless, terrible person
And nothing you say will make me believe
I still deserve love
Because no matter what
I am not good enough to be loved
And I am in no position to believe that
Beauty does exist within me
Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think
Am I as ugly as people say?

(Now read from bottom up.)

– Abdullah Shoaib

May 25, 2018

Things That Never Die

The pure, the bright, the beautiful
That stirred our hearts in youth,
The impulses to wordless prayer,
The streams of love and truth,
The longing after something lost,
The spirit’s yearning cry,
The striving after better hopes –
These things can never die.

The timid hand stretched forth to aid
A brother in his need;
A kindly word in grief’s dark hour
That proves a friend indeed;
The plea for mercy softly breathed,
When justice threatens high,
The sorrow of a contrite heart –
These things shall never die.

Let nothing pass, for every hand
Must find some work to do,
Lost not a chance to waken love,
Be firm and just and true.
So shall a light that cannot fade
Beam on thee from on high,
And angel voices say to thee –
“These things shall never die.”

– Charles Dickens

May 18, 2018

Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.

– Leo Tolstoy

May 11, 2018

Thanks Robert Frost

Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought…
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
And I too, and my children, so I hope,
will recall as not too heavy the tug
of those albatrosses I sadly placed
upon their tender necks. Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.

– David Ray from Music of Time: Selected and New Poems

May 4, 2018

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger,
Only to someone who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.

There are different wells within your heart.
Some fill with each good rain,
Others are far too deep for that.

Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.

Even after all this time the sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me.”

There is no pleasure without a tincture of bitterness.

Hafez

April 27, 2018

In its passivity and resignation, cynicism is a hardening, a calcification of the soul.  Hope is a stretching of its ligaments, a limber reach for something greater.
– Maria Popova

Cynicism is a defense mechanism, an ill-adapted defense mechanism when we feel bereft of hope.
To live with hope in times that reward cynicism is a tremendous act of courage and resistance.

April 20, 2018

You may be dark as iron
but keep polishing your heart
until it becomes like a mirror
reflecting images from the unseen.

Your mind is a polishing instrument
use it until the heart begins to shine
But instead you have imprisoned
the intellect and freed your senses.

Man is like the water of a river
when turbid, you cannot see
the gems and pearls lying underneath.

Do not stir the water if you want to see
the reflection of the moon and the stars.

The spirit of man is like air, but when the dust
is stirred, the sun becomes obscured.

God has graced you with vision
that can help you find your way to the Light.

– Rumi

April 13, 2018

This week’s Healing Reflection, something a little different from the inimitable Willie Nelson.

April 6, 2018

When You Meet Someone in Deep Grief

Slip off your needs
and set them by the door.

Enter barefoot
this darkened chapel

hollowed by loss
hollowed by sorrow

its gray stone walls
and floor.

You, congregation
of one

are here to listen
not to sing.

Kneel in the back pew.
Make no sound,

let the candles
speak.

– Patricia McKernon Runkle

March 30, 2018

Compassion Is

Compassion is a
Smile
An open ear
No judgment

Compassion
Is a hug
Warm
And accepting

Compassion
Is a tissue
For the tearful
And my last dollar bill
To a stranger

Compassion
Is a thousand fold paths
Of daily acts
Of kindness

https://hellopoetry.com/graff1980/

March 23, 2018

Resonance

Write lines upon my heart
in pure white light
and I will read them

Taste the nectar
of unbounded
sincerity

Breathe in blossoming
warm compassion

Taste the nectar
of unbounded
sincerity

Touch the tender pool
of infinite white light

Breathe in blossoming
warm compassion

Taste the nectar
of unbounded
sincerity

Meet me in the air space
between your thoughts
For this is holy ground

–  Elisa Maria Argiro

March 16, 2018

People Survive in Different Ways

Some people survive and talk about it. Some people survive and go silent. Some people survive and create. Everyone deals with unimaginable pain in their own way, and everyone is entitled to that, without judgement. So the next time you look at someone’s life covetously, remember . . . you may not want to endure what they are enduring right now, at this moment, whilst they sit so quietly before you, looking like a calm ocean on a sunny day. Remember how vast the ocean’s boundaries are. Whilst somewhere the water is calm, in another place in the very same ocean, there is a colossal storm.

– Nikita Gill

March 9, 2018

Grief is like the wake behind a boat. It starts out as a huge wave that follows close behind you and is big enough to swamp and drown you if you suddenly stop moving forward. But if you do keep moving, the big wake will eventually dissipate. And after a long time, the waters of your life get calm again, and that is when the memories of those who have left begin to shine as bright and as enduring as the stars above.

– Jimmy Buffet, sage, philosopher . . . oh, and awesome musical talent

March 2, 2018

Letter To Me On My First Day

There will be around 100 truly shocking days in your life.
Days when you can’t breathe.
When you can’t imagine how you will go on.

Around 400 relatively sleepless nights, fewer than 2% of your nights, when you stare at the ceiling and worry about what’s to come.  Which will result only in you being tired the next day.

A combined total of 17 months of sadness and despair.

Three years of bliss, give or take a week.
Joyful days when you walk on air.

The rest of your time you’ll spend living life.
Getting things done.
Accomplishing.
Running errands.
Taking out the garbage.
Regressing.
Reconsidering.
Recalculating.

Moving forward, sometimes back (but not that often).

And that’s if you do it right.

But if you live your entire life without striving to reach out and love others, taking that risk and persevering with faith in the other humans along the way, you will cheat yourself of the gift of having been born.

Having been gifted with consciousness.
With a soul.
With purpose in the universe.

–  anonymous submission from an HCH attendee

February 23, 2018

If one were to tell an unborn child that
outside the womb there is a glorious world
with green fields and lush gardens
high mountains and vast seas, with a sky
lit by the sun and the moon, the unborn
would not believe such absurdity.
Still in the dark womb how could he imagine
the indescribable majesty of this world?
In the same way, when the mystics speak of worlds
beyond scent and color, the common man
deafened by greed and blinded by self-interest
cannot grasp their reality.

Rumi

February 16, 2018

May the love in life be in your grasp.
May the seconds of your life find you present.
May your creativity continue to flow and nourish you.
May the flowers you’ve planted bloom well.
May you know the beauty of your soul.
May this poem speak the truth in our hearts.
May the blood of life flow through your choices.
may the new green tops of trees unfold.
May the winds blow away all that does not serve
the weary heart.

February 2, 2018

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon

they set my aunt’s house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

– Warsan Shire, warsanshire.blogspot.com

January 26, 2018

Holy the Firm

There is no one but us.
There is no one to send,
nor a clean hand nor a pure heart,
on the face of the earth, nor in the earth,
but only us,
a generation comforting ourselves
with the notion that we have come at an awkward time,
that our innocent fathers are all dead,
– as if innocence had ever been –
and our children busy and troubled,
and we ourselves unfit, not yet ready,
having each of us chosen wrongly,
made a false start, failed,
yielded to impulse and the tangled comfort of pleasures,
and grown exhausted, unable to seek the thread, weak, and involved.
But there is no one but us.
There never has been.

– Annie Dillard

January 19, 2018

Fred Luskin’s Nine Steps to Forgiveness

  1. Know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not OK. Then, tell a trusted couple of people about your experience.
  2. Make a commitment to yourself to do what you have to do to feel better. Forgiveness is for you and not for anyone else.
  3. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation with the person that hurt you, or condoning of their action. What you are after is to find peace. Forgiveness can be defined as the “peace and understanding that come from blaming that which has hurt you less, taking the life experience less personally, and changing your grievance story.”
  4. Get the right perspective on what is happening. Recognize that your primary distress is coming from the hurt feelings, thoughts and physical upset you are suffering now, not what offended you or hurt you two minutes – or ten years – ago. Forgiveness helps to heal those hurt feelings.
  5. At the moment you feel upset practice a simple stress management technique to soothe your body’s flight or fight response.
  6. Give up expecting things from other people, or your life, that they do not choose to give you. Recognize the “unenforceable rules” you have for your health or how you or other people must behave. Remind yourself that you can hope for health, love, peace and prosperity and work hard to get them.
  7. Put your energy into looking for another way to get your positive goals met than through the experience that has hurt you. Instead of mentally replaying your hurt seek out new ways to get what you want.
  8. Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power.
  9. Amend your grievance story to remind you of the heroic choice to forgive.

The practice of forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, hurt depression and stress and leads to greater feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self-confidence. Practicing forgiveness leads to healthy relationships as well as physical health. It also influences our attitude which opens the heart to kindness, beauty, and love.

January 12, 2018

A Voice from I Don’t Know Where

It seems you love this world very much.
“Yes,” I said. “This beautiful world.”

And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you
busy all the time with its dark and bright wonderings?
“No, I’m quite use to it. Busy, busy,
all the time.”

And you don’t mind living with those questions,
I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
“Actually, they’re the most interesting.”

And you have a person in your life whose hand
you like to hold?
“Yes, I do.”

It must surely, then, be very happy down there
in your heart.
“Yes,” I said. “It is.”

– Mary Oliver

January 5, 2018

Thought-provoking but a little more lighthearted to start the year.

You may not believe in magic
But don’t you think it’s strange
The amount of matter in our universe
Has never slightly changed.

That all which makes your body
Was once part of something more
And every breath you ever breathe
Has seen it all before.

There are countless scores of beauty
In all the things that you despise
It could once have been a shooting star
That now makes up your thighs.

And atoms of forgotten life
Who’ve long since ceased to roam
May now have the great honour
To call your crooked smile their home.

You may not believe in magic
But I thought that you should know
The makings of your heart were born
Fourteen billion years ago.

So the next time you feel lonely
When this world makes you feel small
Just remember that it’s part of you
And you’re part of it all.

— Unknown

December 29, 2017

Praying

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.

– Mary Oliver, from Thirst: Poems. © Beacon Press, 2007.

December 22, 2017

I am grateful for any and every encounter – yes, even the ones that left me brokenhearted. Now I know that even the brokenness made me seek the healing. We cannot seek water without thirst. And when I come across people who carry their own pain and suffering – which is all of us, each and every single one – having had my own pain makes it so much more real, more personal, more immediate to sit with them and their pain. We are rarely more human than we are when we see the suffering in one another.

– Omid Safi

December 15, 2017

A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen.

– John O’Donohue

December 8, 2017

It’s okay
if you’re burning
with anger
or sadness
or both.
It is necessary
for you to collapse
so you can learn
how phoenixes are
reborn
when they burn
and rise again
from the ashes of
their existence.

– Noor Unnahar

December 1, 2017

Beannacht

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

November 24, 2017

May we remember to be kinder.

May we remember to be gentler.

May we teach our children to listen with their hearts,

And by so teaching, may we listen for our own heart’s song.

May we smile more, breathe more deeply, walk slower, and help sooner.

On matters of principle, may we stand in the water like a rock,

And in matters of love, may we follow the stream like a petal.

May we not waste a minute,
but never hurry.

May we not be distracted,
but always open.

May our lives be uncluttered,
but filled with memories.

— from Accidental Spirituality by George Kaufman, former Omega Board chair and lifelong Omega friend

November 17, 2017

I wish you enough.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

© Bob Perkins

November 10, 2017

In Flanders Fields
A reflection of remembrance in honor of Veterans Day.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— John McCrae, 1872 – 1918

November 3, 2017

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, and frankly;
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages,
with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

— William Henry Channing, 1810-1884

October 27, 2017

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years,
how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations
a remembrance of the city of God.

— Emerson

October 20, 2017

Our lives are one big puzzle,
We don’t know how many pieces we’ve got,
There are people that fit in quite nicely,
And people who try but do not,
We’re constantly adding more pieces,
All the memories of things we’ve been through,
We add laughter and tears and adventure,
And the lessons we’ve learnt to be true,
Everyone has their own puzzle,
There will be ones where you do not fit,
Don’t you ever dare make your piece smaller,
Just so you can live there for a bit,
If you keep cutting off all of your edges,
One day you won’t recognize what you see,
And you’ll forget the person you once were,
Before the world told you who you should be,
Make the most of each piece in your puzzle,
It’ll be a grand masterpiece when it’s done,
So you don’t have to look back when it’s over,
And realize you’ve left out the sun.

– Eric Hanson

October 13, 2017

But if you bury your sadness under your skin instead of letting it out, what else can it do but grow in your veins, to your heart?

— Nikita Gill

October 6, 2017

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I, 59

September 29, 2017

An Irish Funeral Prayer

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together
is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that
we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because
I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting,
when we meet again.

– Derived from a sermon written by Henry Scott Holland and delivered in St. Paul’s (London) on 15 May 1910, at which time the body of King Edward VII was lying in state at Westminster.

September 22, 2017

The light of life is a finite flame.
Like the Shabbat candles,
life is kindled, it burns, it glows,
it is radiant with warmth and beauty.
But soon it fades, its substance is consumed,
and it is no more.

In light we see;
in light we are seen.
The flames dance and our lives are full.
But as night follows day,
the candle of our life burns down and gutters.
There is an end to the flames.
We see no more
and are no more seen,
yet we do not despair,
for we are more than a memory
slowly fading into the darkness.
With our lives we give life.
Something of us can never die:
we move in the eternal cycle
of darkness and death,
of light and life.

– from the Jewish Reform book of prayer

September 15, 2017

It is a fearful thing to love
what death can touch.

A fearful thing to love,
hope, dream: to be –
to be, and oh! to lose.

A thing for fools this, and
a holy thing,
a holy thing to love.

For
your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings a painful joy.
‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing,
to love
what death has touched.

– from the Jewish Reform book of prayer

September 8, 2017

Adrift

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

– Mark Nepo

September 1, 2017

I still feel winded.
I’ve just learned
to breathe despite it.
I am starting to think
this is the brilliance
of human nature.
To find new ways
to breathe
when the old ways
are taken from us.
To live in spite
of the wounds.

– s.c lourie

August 25, 2017

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.  I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.  And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.  For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

– Wendell Berry

August 18, 2017

I don’t need to do it alone anymore.   Together we are capable and strong.

I pin my hopes to quiet process and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.

– Rufus Jones

August 11, 2017

Widening Circles

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

–  Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 2
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

August 4, 2017

Gaia 

Walk outside
open your eyes
leave yourself behind
and take in what your mother is giving you freely –

have a look at that flower
notice the symmetry of it all
a perfect mandala
a reflection of your mother’s divine nature and love for u
notice the bee that lands gently upon the flower
collecting pollen in it’s saddlebags on it’s furry black legs|
as it flits in natures dance from flower to flower
collecting gathering being a part of the cycle of life –

this is an amazing planet
full of beauty
overflowing with love
our home
mine
and
yours.

–  © Cherilyn Fry 2008

July 28, 2017

Circle of Life

When I follow the circle with my eyes
When I trace it gently with my skin
When I caress it with my kiss
When I colour it or create from within
A mandala landscape of life begins
If I delve miles deep to my finer mind
Flashbacks or glimpses from another life
Feelings, connections – bonds entwined
Between one to another over borrowed time
Pages of chapters – chapters of books
Books from volumes – volumes from life
I would read every page in search of you
To explain the soulful happiness I feel with you
We have met before – through another door
This happiness within can only soar
To achieve more than I ever thought
A connection – this bond, will transcend
Long after the moment when this life ends
A given – I know we will meet again
A new journey – a new life begins
Possible through the circle of life
Infinity with Happiness – How sublime

–  © Shaz Cheesman 2013

July 21, 2017

Star Flower

In the twilight of suspended star thunder
where the waking jungle and broken Temple of tradition meet one another
she moves with a panthera prana, pranayama of precise paradise, air of spaceless pleasure,

A lavender Tigress of effortless enlightenment
seeking sensations on the edge of eternity’s cremation,
on her fingertips questions and answers dance to mudras of nimble demolition
as the triumph of truth blazes on the tip of her tongue’s flavored amusement,
genetics of ginger helix she licks and sticks to the flesh of nude nirvana
limber in the moment of typeless titillation,
becoming an animal of fearless asana,
a creature of chaos prowling along the heartbeat of karma,

Brahma made her beauty from the diamonds of a billion deceased roses,
the ascetics recognize her as a child of Kali, gorgeous and gruesome in vendetta,
for the Brahmins she is a Mother of immeasurable mystery, a kiss on the eye of history,
worshipers whisper the wealth of her shameless and shapeless clarity, as charity of Parvati,

Heirlooms of sun blood and moon love decorate the tender truth of her body,
a garden of webbing galaxies, catching the notions of novas her mandala,
rain romantic in flying fall, plucking the Ganges sitar her mantra,
the movement of melange madness through perfect passion her sutra,
poetry naked on the nerves of nascent love need is her tantra,
chakras uniting to recreate the uncreated color of consciousness, crown her aura,
as the lotus of love blooms blue, she dances on the fragrance of freedom

–  Justin Bordner

July 14, 2017

I Am In Need Of Music

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

–  Elizabeth Bishop

July 7, 2017

After the Funeral

When you told me you needed a drink-drink
and not just a drink like a drink of water,
I steered you by the elbow into a corner bar,
which turned out to be a real bar-bar,
dim and nearly empty with little tables in the back
where we drank and agreed that the funeral
was a real funeral-funeral complete with a Mass,
incense, and tons of eulogies.
You know, I always considered Tom a real
friend-friend, you said, lifting your drink-drink
to your lips, and I agreed that Tom
was much more than just an ordinary friend.
We also concurred that Angela’s black dress
was elegant but not like elegant-elegant,
just elegant enough. And a few hours later
when the bartender brought yet another round
of whiskeys to our table in the corner
we recognized by his apron and his mighty girth
that he was more than just a bartender.
A true bartender-bartender was what he was
we decided, with a respectful clink-clink
of our drink-drinks, amber in a chink of afternoon light.

–  Billy Collins
(To watch Mr. Collins recite this poem on Prairie Home Companion, click here.)

June 30, 2017

In Summer Time

When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart,
Till wearied out at last I lie
Where some sweet stream steals singing by
A mossy bank; where violets vie
In color with the summer sky,—
Or take my rod and line and hook,
And wander to some darkling brook,
Where all day long the willows dream,
And idly droop to kiss the stream,
And there to loll from morn till night—
Unheeding nibble, run, or bite—
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights
When grief and pain and raging doubt
Of men and creeds have worn it out;
The birds’ song and the water’s drone,
The humming bee’s low monotone,
The murmur of the passing breeze,
And all the sounds akin to these,
That make a man in summer time
Feel only fit for rest and rhyme.
Joy springs all radiant in my breast;
Though pauper poor, than king more blest,
The tide beats in my soul so strong
That happiness breaks forth in song,
And rings aloud the welkin blue
With all the songs I ever knew.
O time of rapture! time of song!
How swiftly glide thy days along
Adown the current of the years,
Above the rocks of grief and tears!
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me

In summer time to simply be.

–  Paul Laurence Dunbar

June 23, 2017

When Someone Deeply Listens To You

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

–  John Fox

June 16, 2017

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

–  David Whyte

June 9, 2017

Sometimes

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest,

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories,

who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,

you come to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests,

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.

–  David Whyte

June 2, 2017

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

–  From John O’Donahue’s ‘For the Traveler’

May 26, 2017

The House of Belonging

I awoke
this morning
in the gold light
turning this way
and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.

But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought

it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,

it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,

it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.

And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,

this is the gray day
someone close
to you could die.

This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next

and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,

the tawny
close grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun has made.

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,

this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

–  David Whyte

May 19, 2017

I Happened to be Standing

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

–  Mary Oliver

May 12, 2017

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations —
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

–  Mary Oliver

May 5, 2017

Never To Be Mine

Not with my arms but with a heart
that blesses your reveries, may peace reside
within your chest… is it possible to love you
less? Perhaps allow the sun to brush your hair
in the luminescence of dawn?
Even autumn envies you as white light
moves with your scent and possesses
your laughter never to be mine again in times
of harvest or falling rain…
and from stars above, may your eyes
remember our blades of grass
while I half-close the damp field of memorials
creaking on the burial of a resting place
that finds me kneeling, wailing, asking how time
can drown our adventures much too soon…

as I stumble upon this cruel, bruised night.

– Nette Onclaud, 2014

April 28, 2017

Meditation on Compassion

I do not have to look very far to seeing suffering in this world.
I know that pity is not the same as compassion.
Compassion calls me to respond, to offer words, gestures, gifts.
Compassion demands something from my love, from concern.
I cannot ignore what I know.
I can only respond as best I can.
I am not perfect.
I am not a Buddha or a Christ
Yet, I can respond.
I can offer something
I can share something
I can express something that reveals a compassionate concern.
I know that my gestures for others is as nothing
Compared to the suffering in the world.
Yet, I act anyway,
Never expecting anything in return
Knowing that it is a small token
But these gestures of love
Regularly expressed reveal my humanity
Take the power out of selfishness
In addition, show that we are all connected
All in this web of life together.

– Anonymous

April 21, 2017

My Eyes So Soft

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.

Hafez

April 14, 2017

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.

Mary Oliver, from “In Blackwater Woods”

April 7, 2017

Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain.
It is a sorting process.
One by one you let go of things that are gone
and you mourn for them.
One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of
who you are and build again.

Rachel Naomi Remen

March 31, 2017

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

– Mary Oliver
(With thanks to an anonymous submitter.)

March 24, 2017

The Window

Your body is away from me
But there is a window open
from my heart to yours.
From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.

– Rumi

March 17, 2017

Did I love him enough, and did he love me enough? Was our love worth the sorrow that follows attachment no matter how or when the story ends? The clear answers override all my other questions. Our love was enough. Worth every tear.

– Elaine Mansfield, “Grief is a sacred journey”

March 10, 2017

The Guest

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 cleaning 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.

– Rumi

March 3, 2017

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

– David Wagoner from Collected Poems, 1956 – 1976

February 24, 2017

Hold On . . .

Hold on to what is good, even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life, even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, even if I’ve gone away from you

– Pueblo Indian Prayer

February 17, 2017

Grief Is Like A River

My grief is like a river –
I have to let it flow,
But I myself determine
Just where the banks will go.
Some days the current takes me
In waves of guilt and pain
But there are always quiet pools
Where I can rest again.
I crash on rocks of anger –
My faith seems faint indeed,
But there are other swimmers
Who know that what I need
Are loving hands to hold me
When the waters are too swift,
And someone kind to listen
When I just seem to drift.
Grief’s river is a process
Of relinquishing the past,
By swimming in Hope’s channels
I’ll reach the shore at last.

– Cynthia G. Kelley

If you have a favored reflection that you’d like us to feature here, please forward it to us.  Thanks!