December 3, 2014 § 3 Comments

Precision, the right way.

A slip and it’s ruined.

Why can’t they see?

Whistling water, only for the warming, never for the steeping.

Line them up. Kettle, pot, cup.

Each thing to its function born.

An ordered life.

In equilibrial ruin.

Rightly made.

Never conceived.



November 1, 2014 § 3 Comments

Like clattering little children,

Seeking my attention.


Picking pockets,

Grab and take.


My so-called enemies.


Whining hovering bugs,

Endlessly tagging along.


Remember- don’t care what they think,

Else they’ll have you by the balls.


Handy mantra, don’t you think?


Like the elephant swatting away the fly.

Who’s the big shot in that parable?




Then I see Him.

Striding through.

Scattering the noisy ones.


They carry torches and pitchforks,

He’s got the blade.

Edged beyond sharp.


Not coming to seize what’s mine.

Or to heap me over with foul insult.

He’ll leave that to the suckerfish.


Slick words fall away.

Resolve all shadow and mist.


Cutting me just enough for the others to feed.

Taking his host just to the edge, never quite over.

Isn’t that the way?


My well spent youth in front of that magic box.

Hour upon hour of shuffling mummies, modeling my way.

So demons never show themselves in the mirror, I know.


But why is He there?





The virus beyond the scientist’s ken,

The monster always under the bed,

The beast that will stop swimming only at time’s end.


The enemy I could not hold any closer.

Tepid Tea

October 31, 2014 § 4 Comments

Sipping tea at the table,

Safe here, warm too.


Stormy damp out there,

Something in those black shadows.


My homeful existence.

God is great, good too.


Take a peek, he says,

Gulp the tea, slide the door.


Feel the fertile maelstrom,

Wind and wet leaves.


Looking back into the hollow lit up box,

Table, mug, silence, light.


Always walled in, or walled out.

Inside, outside.

Alone, herded.

No matter.


If I am here,

He is there.


Slide the door,

Back again.

Safe from sound.


Have some tea, he says.

It’s merely ruined,

Never changed.



The Hunter’s Gaze

October 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

Soaring above me.

Hurtling down airy corridors.

He sees, as in a sped up movie.


I stand in the field beneath,

fixed, rooted.

Gravity’s glue.


Then to perch, imperial.

A hunter’s gaze,

lacerating the flesh.


Who to be,

What to become,

The next move,

Terrible mysteries.


As he launches for the climb,

Prelude to the kill,

I take his eyes.


The world now beneath me,

So many small, distant things.


There below, I see him,

Narrow and alone.

Jealous eyes upward.

Prey to his affliction,

father to son.

The Falling Rain

November 17, 2013 § 12 Comments

I feel the anger rise up- and I breathe.

I sense my busy head at work, slamming one thought into another, spinning, spinning, spinning- and I breathe.

Hard things, tough, gut-wrenching things rise into my consciousness- and I breathe.

If we use our practice only to evade the fear, to dance away, to push down the thoughts, we gain nothing spiritually, only perhaps a temporary physical reprieve from the symptoms of our fear.  This is a false and brittle sense of peace, the illusion of peace.

To be truly at peace is to be beyond the reach of anger, anxiety, or fear.  It is to be at the center.  Strong, open, and ready.

Right now, as I look out my window, I see the cold rain falling.   I want to step out into that rain.  I don’t want to stay inside or wear a raincoat.  I don’t want to avoid or pretend to manage the rain.

I want the rain to fall upon me.

I want to exist in this way.

Flesh and Bones

March 5, 2013 § 43 Comments

Strength feeds strength, as weakness feeds weakness.

Weeks of drifting.  A ghost of myself, neither truly alive nor fully present.

A malaise to match the gray, damp, chill that has hovered over my city.  Shuffling through the grimy streets with my devoted companions- doubt, fear, and evasion.

Even as I got things done, I performed rather than existed.  Not committed.  Not engaged.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.  Busy, busy, busy.

This morning different.  Meditation.  A walk in the woods.  Being present with those I love.  Strength.  The flesh and bones of true being shattering that pale, ghostly shell.

And then the sun came out.  I bathed in its warmth, adored the way it lit up the snow and ice, lost myself in the blue sky.

But those were just extra things.

The light of my true self had already broken through.  All I needed.

Not Stepping Away

October 10, 2012 § 32 Comments

Away, away, away.

When I felt the closeness growing, I pulled away from her.

When the big book opportunity came, I slowly drifted off.

When this work- right here- began to feel big and meaningful, I retreated into my busy schedule- stopped writing.  Not enough time, I said.  I’ll get back to it- later- when I have the time.

What is this?  Why do I step away from what feels good and right?

I know the pattern.  Always asking myself- what’s the point?  Be with her, write the book, stay with this blog- or not- what’s the difference?  Nothing will really change.

But I never ask this of the less important pieces of my life.  Only when I’m standing at the threshold of something real and authentic and true, do I trigger this cascading, self-crushing analysis.  And the answer is always the same.  No point.  No difference.

What lies beneath this terrible and self-destructive way of living?  I sense fear and doubt, feel the weariness.  But when I really sit with this, I know the source- my oldest and most constant demon.  He whispers- who are you to aspire to an authentic life?  You lack the heart for it.  You’ll always back away because you know it’s not for you.  Not you.  Unworthy.

But no more.

This is my life.  Each moment a chance to live- truly and forcibly.  With great heart and presence.

So I’m throwing myself into what I know is good and right for me.  Embracing what comes.  And saying this here and now- to myself and to you- this is who I am.

Not stepping away.  Not ever again.

Against the Cabin Wall

September 3, 2012 § 34 Comments

I am not sure what it means to believe in God.  I cannot offer any clear definition of spirituality.   But this I can say.


Thunder Lake sits in a bowl high in the Rockies.  It is a natural amphitheater, ringed by peaks.  Breathtaking grandeur.

That day a storm had blown in.  Deep snow.  Nearly whiteout conditions.   Howling winds across the lake.

The small wooden patrol cabin locked.  No shelter inside.  I huddled against the cabin wall on the side away from the wind. As I pressed my body against the wood, I felt fear.  Alone.  Isolated.

I looked across the lake, through the swirling snow, and saw the mountains, rising up into the gray sky.  In the next moment, the wind died, its howl drifting down into the valley.  The quiet came.  A dim, filtered sunlight pushed its way into the bowl.

Fear left my body like a sweat.  Washed away, gone.  In its place came a sense of well-being, a preternatural calm- the sense of safety and security that I can only imagine last belonged to me as a small child in my mother’s arms.

I felt no anxiety.  I wanted for nothing.  I was right where I was supposed to be- still huddled against that cabin wall, still hours from the trailhead, still deep snow ahead.  Still alone.  But not alone.


These words are as good as I can do to describe that moment.  But they’re not good enough.  That feeling that day was more.  Beyond words.  Not to be pinned down with language or explained by reason.  Just to be felt- and to be lived.

The Icy Bridge

August 30, 2012 § 19 Comments

He only earns his freedom and existence

Who daily conquers them anew.


I am staring at a narrow log bridge spanning a raging mountain stream.  Covered in ice and snow.  Three hours from the trailhead.  The wind howls.  I think, if I slip and fall, I probably won’t make it back- hypothermia.

I step on the bridge.

I am staring at my beloved.  The room is warm and safe.  I have something important to say.  Something hard.

I ask about something else- anything else.

Physical fear is powerful but it is linear, simple- if I fall, I die.

The fear that inhabits our relations with others is different- messy, not simple.  It percolates up from a cauldron of guilt, anxiety, and self-loathing.  Fearful, we endure relationships that make us feel small and lost.  Or we let those we love drift away.  This fear separates us from our sense of self.

That day in the mountains, I was seeking something on the other side of the bridge.  Something important.  The spiritual experience that day brought me.  And so I stepped out- with care and with commitment- focused and fully present.

Each moment is like that icy bridge.  Calling us to find the strength to step out in this strong and present way.  Calling us to overcome the fear.

It is difficult, often we falter.  But what awaits us on the other side is something with value beyond measure.  A life that is authentic, true to our sense of self.  Without separation from those we love.  The place where we become who we are, truly.


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