From Poetry

Beautiful Moments: Cold Winter Days and “The Love that Let Us Share Our Name”


The table set before my birthday dinner with my little family.

Feeling held by candle light and love

appreciating the magic of regular moments

made particular by caring hands and connected hearts


Making the gift bags for the kids and Jamey before I went on my ten-day silent retreat, one for each day I was gone to tell them how they help me, why I am proud of them, the reasons and ways I love them.

Translating absence to deeper appreciation

attempting to express with inadequate words

the “love that let us share our name”

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Beautiful Moments for Lazy Sundays: Unexpected Symmetry, Tree Love and Touching the Earth


Finding delicate pink petals

on a brisk, fall day-

tastes of spring’s sweetness while on the autumn brink


Running my hands through tendrils of green,

feeling the soft vibrance growing from the earth

slip between my fingers


Examining unexpected symmetry

a blending of man and nature’s perfect beauty

creating art in the sky


Pausing on our path

to share our gentle love

fingers pressed to the skin of the trees

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Remembering early-morning fishing trips

laughing in sunken mud

playing in the mist rising from the lake

while it dances in the rays of the sun


This post is one of a series called “Beautiful Moments” based upon my Mindful Gratitude practice.  

Where are you finding beauty this Sunday?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of the post or directly to me via the Contact tab.

A (Sappy) Love Song to My Friends


Mel and I wishing our friend Renee good luck on a concert via text.

In the words of C.S. Lewis in Four Loves

Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” … It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.

And so is the beginning of a journey together.

I remember quite vividly and with great reverence my first best friend.  I was in seventh grade when we met.  The first time I went to her house a few weeks later, we walked to a creek and searched for rocks that we could wash and admire together.  It was with great relief and surprise that I realized I had found a kindred spirit- a lover of rocks and the magic of the world to give them to us.

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Fear’s Antidote- Martin Luther King Jr.’s Message

“Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that.  Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.  Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”  

– “Antidotes for Fear” by Martin Luther King Jr. from Strength to Love 

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This sermon by Dr. King was one of my assigned readings for class this week.  It’s message is one that takes courage to live.  His life and death are both powerful testaments to this fact.

An anecdote from the sermon that was most profound in illustrating this was concerning a conversation he had with Mother Pollard, an elderly woman who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.

On a particular Monday evening, following a tension-packed week that included being arrested and receiving numerous threatening phone calls, I spoke at a mass meeting… In my address I tried desperately to give an overt impression of strength and courage, although I was inwardly depressed and fear-stricken. At the end of the meeting, Mother Pollard came to the front of the church and said, “Come here son.” I immediately walked over and gave her a big hug. Then she said, “Something is wrong with you. You didn’t talk strong tonight.” Seeking further  to disguise my fears I retorted, “Oh, no, Mother Pollard, nothing is wrong I am feeling as fine as ever.”

“Now you can’t fool me,” she said, “I knows something is wrong. Is it that we ain’t doing things to please you, or is it that the white folks is bothering you?” Before I could answer she looked directly into my eyes and said, “I don told you we is we is with you all the way.” And then wth a countenance beaming with quiet certainty she concluded, “But even if we aint with you, God’s gonna take care of you.” Everything in me quivered wth the pulsing tremor of raw energy when she uttered these consoling words.  

As I read this passage- King’s call from the past drenched in my knowledge from the present, knowledge of his life and death interwoven with history- I, too, felt a shiver of energy run through me.  I couldn’t help but wonder, what did he know in this moment that only visceral feeling could express?  What was love telling him?

I can’t know for sure, but his personal risks and sacrifices were made in love, not only for himself and for the civil rights movement, but for all people- even his enemies.

We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you…  Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, but we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

While not every person is called to encompass and express love in the same way, I believe we are each called in our unique ways to do so.  The language used to express this matters little.  Wherever and however one feels love, that is a calling toward rightness.  In the words of Mary Oliver,

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  

My wish and hope for this Friday is that all of us may find more and deeper ways to feel and express the love within and to share this gift with others.  Have a love-filled Friday, all.

Transformation Through Art: Mindful Creativity Connections

This week I worked with students in the Mosaic program with Kim Leddy and Steve Shapiro.  We wanted to provide students with an introduction to mindfulness and mindful creativity while also introducing the themes of transformation, identity and change.

Before I came into the classroom, Kim and Steve had used a variation on this mindfulness lesson (originally for teachers and staff) to introduce neuroplasticity and mindfulness to students.  In the lesson, they also had  students write metaphors for their brains.  Student responses ranged from “a runaway train” to “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.”

This lesson prepared students by providing opportunities to think about what their brain is like now, and what they might want it to be like in the future with the understanding that they can make changes with focused attention.  It was a great lead in to some creative, messy work.

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