Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gift of the present -- Merry Christmas!

"Through the present moment, you have access to the power of life itself, that which has traditionally been called "God." As soon as you turn away from it, God ceases to be a reality in your life, and all you are left with is the mental concept of God, which some people believe in and others deny. Even belief in God is only a poor substitute for the living reality of God manifesting every moment of your life." ~ Eckhart Tolle

Here's to more moments fully in the present.

Thursday, December 18, 2008



It is a good word, rolling off the tongue
no matter what language you were born with.
Use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say it, then be heard.

Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.

Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.

Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.

Think of things that disappear.

Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.

Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.

Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My very pregnant friend Jen, soon to give birth to a son and with him all the possibilities that entails, sent me this blog. Not only am I reminded of the feeling of change in America, but what it feels to go through change in my own life, to turn toward the pain. I am thankful for the symbolic midwives in my life who encourage me as I birth a new idea or part of myself, those friends and family who tell me, "You can do it. You are doing it." To know that leaving the safe known and journey into the unknown is to open myself to more possibilities.

"Something is trying to be born in America. Again, I’m not quite certain what it is, but the new emerging reality seems firmly related to the visionary calls of King and the earlier urgent hope of Langston Hughes (“O, let America be America again/The land that never has been yet/and yet must be/The land where every [one] is free.”) Suffusing all of it I hear as well the beautiful wisdom and strong challenge of June Jordan: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
...Not only is something trying to be born in America, but some of us are called to be the midwives in this magnificent, desperately needed, and so painfully creative process.


"Often, especially in the last stages of a pregnancy, this spiritually-grounded companion of hope said she also speaks to the infant in the womb.

"Recognizing the deep sense of safety and security experienced by the womb-kept child, imagining the great joy involved in having all his/her needs supplied almost effortlessly, Selena said she shares words of encouragement with the infant as well. Like a womb-whisperer, she says something like, “I know how good you feel, how surrounded you are by a protective nurturing ocean of love. I realize it feels as if this is the only world you need to know. But, my child, when you start to feel the urgent life forces beginning to move you down, to push you out, to press your tender head into that seemingly impossible opening, go. Let yourself move toward the light, painful though it may be. The fullness of your life is waiting for you on the other side. Go, come, my child. You can, you must make it through. You can do this.”

"Even as Selena shared her marvelous work and words with me, I began to see their meaning for our nation and its social midwives. We Americans are both mother and infant, giving birth, seeking new life, full of fear, full of pain, turning away from the possibility of even more pain, feeling “the urgency of now,” wondering if we are able, afraid of what the new life demands and costs, fearful of giving up all we know (or think we know) so well, grasping all that keeps us from new beginning, from new life. Afraid of the pain, afraid of the unknown, afraid of the hope, we live urgently in need of midwives. Are we the ones?"

~ Read the blog in its entirety: "Midwifing a New America" by Vincent Harding

Monday, December 08, 2008

Birthday wish

I love birthdays. More-so than on New Year's Eve, birthdays are the time I reflect and try to quiet my monkey-mind, to decide what I need to shed and what I'd like to gain in the coming year.

Three years ago on my 30th, I boarded a plane to Kosovo, realizing a dream of living in a foreign country. Today I'm getting ready to go downtown to work, but today, and as often as possible, I want to look at the world through a traveler's eyes. To see detail, to allow myself to get lost and have an adventure. To talk to taxi drivers and people on the corner.

I want to pay closer attention to life. I want to be happy despite circumstances. My lovely and amazing sister and I were talking about the peace that passes understanding. She had just heard the verse recently in context, and pointed out that it is surrounded by words about focusing on what is good, what is true. To find peace in the midst of turmoil is possible by changing your focus. It all coincides with what I've been reading lately in Eckart Tolle's book about choosing your mood, your focus, your life, and being present in this moment.

Paul writes to the Philippians: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

"So Much Happiness"

for Michael

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records ...

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

~Naomi Shihab Nye