The Voice that Prevails


Whenever I’m feeling bad about myself and that inner critical voice is tearing me down I turn to this exercise to try and develop greater self-compassion.

Imagine someone you love. It could be your significant other, someone in your family, or a friend. It could be someone you have a crush on or even be a fictional character. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how they make you feel. Thinking about them should fill you with an all-consuming empathy and compassion for them. It should be someone whom you would do anything for, anything to help and protect them, anything to comfort and console them when they need it. Imagine that person now. Imagine them being in trouble and needing your help. What would you do for them? Imagine them being afraid and alone. How would you protect them? Imagine them heartbroken. What would you say to them? Imagine that they have just failed at something important, or they’ve made a devastating mistake, or they have been greatly humiliated. Imagine how much you would still love them without judgment and how intensely you would want to comfort them, to stand by them and be there for them. Imagine what you would say to them.

Spend some time with this. Don’t just think about it briefly. This isn’t about thinking. It’s about feeling. Spend some time visualizing this person until your feelings grow in intensity. Close your eyes and do this now.

Imagine this person is going through whatever you might be going through at the moment. If something has just happened to you, then imagine it has happened to them. If it has hurt you, imagine it has hurt them. If it frightens you, imagine it frightens them. If you feel alone in it, imagine they feel alone in it. Imagine what it would be like for this person you love to be going through that. How does that make you feel? What does it make you want to do for them? Again spend some time with this until you feel an intense desire to help them. Now think about the love you have for them and what you would say to comfort them. Imagine yourself saying those words to them. Spend some time doing this right now.

Realize that your ability to love someone else so completely is a fundamental aspect of who you are and it is the one aspect of your humanity that above all others is worthy of love and admiration. This is your greatest virtue. Now put yourself in the place of that person. Imagine you are that person. All the things that you felt for them, all of the things that you would say to them, feel those things for yourself, say those things to yourself with the same depth of non-judgmental compassion, empathy and love you feel for them. Feel that same love for yourself. Let that comforting and reassuring voice of understanding, acceptance, empathy and compassion be the voice that speaks to you from the center of your own being. Do this regularly, and in time this voice will grow stronger in its acceptance and in its love for you. When the world fills you with fear, when it hurts you, when it betrays and abandons you, let this voice be the stronger voice that prevails. It is your voice. It is your power to prevail. And prevail you must because it is your power to heal and the world desperately needs that from you.

Copyright: My writing and photography is my gift to you. You are free to copy and share it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.


Orbital – Halcyon On and On

Welcome the day when you discover and accept what you want most from life, more than anything else, and then you decide to go out and be that thing in the world for others.

For me the central question of Faith
Is the one we’ve been asking all along
From the beginning
The one we will continue to ask
Until the end;
Am I alone?
As newborns
It is the first existential fear we experience
When we realize that we are somehow separate
At death it is the lingering doubt
Lurking behind our absolutes
A thousand drops of water eroding
The steadfastness of our convictions
Until one day the blink of fear
Catches us off guard
If you ask me
If you are alone
I will say to you,
You are not alone.
I will speak with a conviction
Beyond belief
One born better from experience.
I will say to You
I see You
I feel You
I experience You
Across all time
Across all space
And I am not the only one
Do you feel it
Moving through us?
Telling us somehow
That we are not alone in this
Forget for a moment
What you have been told
Or what you have decided to believe
And ask instead, what do I feel?
Can you feel this with me now
This ebb and flow between us
This breath that speaks the holy Word of Creation
Come dance in this sacred circle of Existence with me
Come take it all in
Without resistance anymore
Against the depth of suffering and joy
That await you
Each functioning as they must
In their respective Divine function.
When you find yourself
A battered and broken wretch
Observe the beauty in a leaf
Hold it’s fragile and brief existence in your hand
Not so very different from your own
Be with its sheer beauty in transit for a moment
Touch it like an artist
Lovingly touches the canvas
See how it cares little
of its entrance and exit in the world
See how it cares
Only for the part it was meant to play with you
The way it was meant to play with you
See how the universe is playing with you
Here and now
You are being invited into this Divine Play
Touch the Divine Part you were meant to play
Can your heart bear it
How strongly the universe beats in you?
So too are we here for this purpose,
So too am I here for you and your purpose,
For our divine play together
Our tumbling around in this You and I
I can only unfold my self to your self
Awkward as a bad poem…
And be vulnerable
And stand before you
In the naked aloneness of this
So that you might be the Sacred Play at work
In my life
With such gentle and savage beauty
In your heart born of the wild
Born from the burning hearth of the cosmos
The warmth of your fire telling me
That we are none of us alone in this
After all.
Isn’t this the true answer
To the question of Faith?
While our separateness is Sacred
So too is our longing for Union
With each other and Divinity
How to balance the yin and yang of this dance
This careening swing of our trajectories
Falling so easily into the gravity of each other
Searching for equilibrium
And an orbit that results
Neither in colliding annihilation
Nor broken bonds flinging us out
Back into the expanse alone
With even greater velocity than before
How to balance this
Is the question
As your fingertips
Touch the back of my arm
And unfold the universe
Out onto the table
It’s the Starry Night
Van Gogh lining of your coat
Simultaneously cool and warm
Over the back of my hands
As I hold you
The fire of creation
On a cold winter’s night
When you are happy
To just be there with me
In my arms
I could live in that moment
For the rest of eternity
With you
Living in that moment
In this moment
In this Divine Play
For as long as you welcome
My Love for you.
What do you long for?
I surrender myself to that
I surrender myself to you
Share with me your longing
And I will long with You
Share with me your hunger
And I will hunger with you
Explore with me
And I will Explore with you
Be with me
And I will be with You
I will BE with You
and there we will find
the inner heart of Faith
And Fidelity
In our Love
for Each Other
and the Divinity of Life
At it’s most Sacred
I see in You

Copyright: My writing is my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Holding Lightly

HÆLOS – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Find the Word of Divinity
That lies at the heart
Of the sacred text of your faith

Whatever it may be
Find it in the stories of those who have come before
And have called us to Love
But do not rest passively in the Word
For their message was a call to action
And a call for surrender
Of all that you are
Of all that you thought
You once wanted for yourself.

Will you lose yourself in their call?
Will you surrender to their Love?

To worship them is not enough
They are waiting for you to step forward and ask
“How too may I serve those who suffer?”
“How may I live by your example?”
It is then that you stop clinging to the teachings
Like you’re on a raft in the raging sea
Awaiting rescue
It is there that you learn to weather the storm
As a welcomed and necessary journey
Where you unfurl the sail of your soul
And catch the wind of the Sacred Breath
Letting it move you according to the charted route
Of your true soul
That you have been afraid to follow

It is then that you may truly immerse yourself
With a light and joyful touch
In the teachings of your faith

Where you find the true measure of your soul
Woven in bliss
In the vast wisdom of the ages.
Search not for an escape
Nor a destination in and of itself
In the reading

But find instead the Liberation
Of an opening gateway
Through which you pass
A point of origin and rebirth
Propelling you back out into the world
Like a gamma ray burst escaping
The crushing gravity of a black hole
Matter born again to energy
At the speed of light

Piercing the heart of your suffering here
That somehow whispers now also
The song of joyful purpose
When it is the opening of your compassion
For the suffering of others.
You learn and carry such things
From reading the Sacred Word
Not to save yourself from the world
But to offer and give yourself unto the world
To give the powerful gift you have received
This vision of sacred purpose and beauty
In all things
Where everything that has ever been
Is the voice of Divinity at play
Traveling on an echo
Self reflecting
This Divine Emanation
This Creation
This path that returns us
To our own joyful annihilation in God;
Let the plaintive cry of
“Cupio dissolvi, et esse cum Christo”
“I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ”
Be not a plea for death
But rather a call to live
Beyond oneself
In communion with his example.
Live in the consumed state
Of the ecstatic experience he offers us
Share this experience with all who long for it
By speaking the Divine Word
Found in the heart of the sacred text of your faith.
When you face even those who hate you
Even those who would demean and destroy you
Lost in the chaos of their own suffering
Speak to them the Word
With actions that say to them
“You are loved by God,
And I will do you no harm.”
For that is where the lost are found
Unto themselves and unto God
And saved.

Copyright: My writing is my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  


Young Adults – Radioactive (Live At GuitarBank Moscow)

We have each of us known the sorrow
Of experiencing a sense beauty in the world
That is particular and tragically unique
To ourselves.
What could we ever say about such things
When it hurts too much to speak?
It is that moment when we are stirred by a sad song
Or a walk alone in the woods

In a way that we know only we could feel.
It is a place where we long endlessly
Only to share such an impossibility
This longing of an ecstasy
Known only in the heart of Divinity
Wherein we are all of us one in such things.
When it opens in me
And obliterates me
When I surrender myself to it
I feel the beauty of your own singularity
Moving within you, unique to you,
Alone in the world, within me.

But how do I tell you
That you are not alone in this?
Forget yourself
And I will forget myself
So that we may be,
There but for a moment

Two flames quenched
In the ocean of God
And surrender

Our being into the Divine
Passing through the everything of this
And for each our singular beauty in this life
Find the union
Of leaves tumbling down through the wind
Dropped from the same Tree of Life
Returning to the same Sacred ground.

Ringing the Bell


Let us take leave of our desire
To fill our minds
With the entire history of thought
With words and teachings that at best
Can only talk about it
In someone else’s voice
May we take this day to look within
The Sacredness of Life
Look to the indwelling of Divinity
Already sitting at the right hand of our heart.
Let us Love the person or pet
Whose simple act of being here,
Of being here with us
Every day removes
Something from our mind
And drops it into the silent well of our being

Let us Love the ones who move through us
Like a comb through hair
Loosening the windings
Of tangled thoughts
Until they fall like seeds
Straight to the fertile ground

Free from the circuitous weaving of chaos
The cinching up and tightening of knots
Into the constricting aftermath of analysis.
Our words are a mere echo, after the experience

Afterthoughts we mistake for truth
Thudding around in our books
Like cracked bells that have lost their resonance
As we work so diligently to riddle the Sacred tension of experience
With yet one more explanation
With yet one more demand for resolution
From our gurus and prophets

The experience of which
Might break the fragile shell of our soul
That holds within, the burning flame of the Divine
And the breath in which it burns.
Resolution is an elusive spirit
It is the lightest and thinnest
Oil of the olives
Floating on water
Our journey through it leaves in our wake
Only the trailing absence of it
Filled back in later when we are no longer there.
But if we slowly lift ourselves slightly
In our silence
From the swirling waters of chaos

It will cover us almost invisibly
In a clear garment made
Of every color
Bending and breaking the spectrum of light
Into the continuously infinite hues of meaning
Reflecting off the skin of our being.
It is the boundary beneath which
We long to be touched
In a moment, parted and passed through
In the next, flowing into the withdrawal
Clothing the body, of the one we love most
Who has just moved through us

Singular and alone in her own journey
In a way that hurts us with bliss
In the beauty of it
But our words can’t speak of it
Because it is too near
A shadow made of light moving
Where she has just walked
Leaving in her wake
Ourselves closing inward back around her absence
Like the lightest and thinnest oil of the olives
Floating on the water
Knowing only that she has stirred within us
And for a moment wore
The longing in our heart for her

Like a raiment of all colors
In the garment of Life

Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  



The Divinity of Absence


Is in the absence of all things
Even Divinity
And at this our minds rebel
For it is in our lives of doing and thinking that we stray
In the perceiving that we are enchanted
In the judging that we misunderstand
It is in our definitions and delineations
In our errant derivations
That Divinity slips away
The closer we come to grasping it.
It is in the dialogues of the mind
That we are distracted and tempted away
From the stillness that is the emanation of all things
From which all things emanate
Where Divinity at play
Is Divinity at rest 
Where there is nothing to be done
More than the Sacred Work of Being
And not being.
When you hear the words
“Be still and know that I am God”
Be still
It is there that we find the opening
In the absence and presence of all things
Both, in accord with Divinity
Leading us away from, yet into and through
Our current point
Spiraling around, intertwined in the infinite N-Sphere
Simultaneously approaching and receding
Originating, departing and returning
The circumscribed void within and without
All in the one breath
Of the Divine
Breathing in and breathing out
In the stasis of the breathless eternal moment
You ask me to explain
So I give you my words
All the while knowing
They are a stepping away from the truth
For in the instant that I speak
I reduce the infinitely varied continuum
To a discrete mythology that misleads us
We are misled by our own minds
You say “Show me God”
So I hand you a stone
And I wonder if you see Divinity there
In the same ways I do
And we both wonder what the other sees
And ache with the unknowableness of such things
For in each of us is that part
Known only to ourselves and the Divine
Known only to the unity and singularity of all
Our presence and absence
It is there that I long to find you
Where we are borne in the water between the worlds
In our journey through being each other
Where we shed the chrysalides of ourselves
These divinely inscrutable things
Known only in Divinity

But as soon as we try to speak of it
We offer up
A bucket full of starlight
Such an absurdly impossible thing
This illuminated emptiness
Such a beautiful thing
This recursive emanation

Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  




This is a transcript of a public talk given 2018-03-25

I’d like to begin by admitting that I have a fear of public speaking.  So right now there is this little voice in the back of my mind telling me that I’m going to be horrible at this and that I’m going to humiliate myself up here today and I’ll be so bad that I’ll just never be able to come back to this church ever again.  And of course that fear is ridiculous, certainly not because I’m a great public speaker or anything, but because I know you guys. I know that even if I’m not any good at this, you’re not going to ridicule me or make fun of me. I know that you’ll have empathy for me. I know that you’ll be here for me, you’ll comfort me and you’ll reassure me.  Rationally I know this because I know you guys, and yet this fear I’m feeling remains.

So what can we do about this kind of irrational fear in our lives? How can we help each other begin to live our lives with less fear.  For me, I believe that fear remains until we stop hiding from it, until we acknowledge it, until we decide to turn and face into it and walk right through the middle of it.  But the problem is, that’s not an easy thing to do, especially when we try to do it alone, and by ourselves. Personally, I’m not that brave. I don’t want to face my fear alone whenever I don’t absolutely have to.  And luckily today I don’t have to because you are here with me and with your help I’m not alone. I feel very humble and grateful in this experience and I’d like to talk about that and the role that humility plays in the ways that we help each other.

First I would like to read something about feeling alone in the world.  It’s about wanting to make some kind of peace with that experience, to find some purpose in it yet at the same time wanting to learn how to step out of it, move beyond it and genuinely connect with others, and maybe in that connection find the courage to face our fears together.  It’s called Sacred Fire;

Read  Sacred Fire

I would like to propose that there is healing power for all of us when we embrace the opportunity to share our loneliness, our fears, our failures and our grief with each other.  But this can be so difficult because as a society we do tend to treat these things like they are shameful in some way. We are a society that puts tremendous value on rugged independence, self-sufficiency, and the kind of bold, loner, fearlessness that our ancestors used to tame the wild west of our history.  We are taught to keep our doubts, our fears and our pain private, and that to do otherwise is to show some kind of weakness. So… much of the time we may be afraid to share these things.

On the surface it might seem that being raised in such a society would create people who are tough and can withstand any hardship.  But even if it does do that… maybe we should ask “at what price?” Doesn’t it also greatly damage our ability to share our humanity with each other, because what is more human than fear, failure and grief?  When do we need people more than when we are afraid or when we have failed at something or when we have been hurt? And yet we learn to hide, to deny and to internalize all of these things in order to not appear weak.  We learn to suffer these things alone and that is very tragic.

Because recent studies have shown that the word alone is used in the social media posts of people with depression more frequently than any other word when they describe themselves and their experiences.  While we used to view social isolation as a side effect of depression, newer research is starting to assert that it may also be one of the major contributing causes of depression as well. The number of people who report being alone and feeling lonely in our society is increasing and so is depression.  

Unfortunately in our society we tend to stigmatize it and consequently tend not to talk about it especially when it happens to us.  Society teaches us that it is the social norm, maybe even our own moral obligation to always be that strong, and independent person.  We are made to feel as though nobody wants to hear our problems. We are taught to keep that messiness of our own most painful yet poignant human experiences neatly hidden away from public view.  This is one of the most limiting and even destructive things we can do to ourselves. I believe that I can speak for all of us here today when I say that when you feel alone, afraid, hurt, or humiliated in some way, it matters to the rest of us here, it’s important and it’s not something you need to hide or pretend like it isn’t there.  If you’re hurting, we will hurt with you, if you are grieving, we will grieve with you. Please do not suffer these things alone.

And maybe this is where we might find humility.  Maybe we find it when we see someone who is alone in their suffering, whatever it is, and we feel the desire to help them.  Because they don’t need us to be perfect. They don’t need us to be successful or important or powerful. What they need is for us to just show up and sit with them.  They need us to listen and to just be there with them as openly, honestly and as authentically as we can be. We only have to show up with our love for them, our humility and our willingness to be of service in helping them.  Maybe that is the moment when we finally find the humility to admit to our own failures and fears and admit that some of the time maybe we don’t feel perfect. Maybe we even feel so grievously damaged by the events of our lives that we think that we are irrevocably broken in some ways.  Maybe we have each of us failed at so many things in utterly spectacular fashion that we couldn’t even begin to count them all. I know I have. And I’ll gladly stand up here today and flat out admit that I know that I’m broken in some ways. I am. And I grieve the things that I’ve lost, the things I’ve let pass me by and most especially I grieve the harm that I’ve recklessly caused in the world and that I am personally responsible for.  But ultimately, we can also be broken open by these experiences in a way that helps us feel compassion for those who are going through the same kind of experiences. When we see someone who is alone in their suffering, we can be absolutely nothing and nobody in the world and it doesn’t matter to them.

In that moment when they need us, in that moment together with them, we can help them and help ourselves experience the most powerful, beautiful and Sacred experience this life has to offer;  It is the experience of genuine, honest, vulnerable connection with someone else. That moment… asks that we accept the gift of the humility that we might feel in the presence of such an opportunity and responsibility.  It is the visitation of grace and providence in our lives. It is the gift of humility that can make us feel so utterly small yet somehow incomprehensibly vast and alive in the communion of our connection with each other.

This is the gift that you have given to me by being with me and helping me.  You didn’t ask me to do anything to earn it or deserve it. I simply arrived and you gave me your compassion and your empathy and in so doing taught me that I am not alone.  You are the visitation of grace and providence in my life and because of this, because of you, I feel a deep sense of humility and gratitude.

Copyright: My writing and photography is my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  



Thank you for giving me a place
Where never to begin
Without in the same breath knowing
The acceptance of ending.

Effortless joy
Delivered in an empty tin can

Rolling up against your foot
In the wind
Tumbling rain-soaked scraps
Of crumpled rice paper
Three dimensional kaleidoscopes of folding color
Under the light of the neon night
A place where not to begin
A place where not to end
The translucent veil between the two
Forever folding in what we discard
We don’t begin
And neither do we end
Because we are beyond
And we wonder
What could we want tomorrow

So much more than this day brings
Such rain on tin cans and crumpled rice paper veils
Rolling through the back alleys of our times together

Take my hand
As we dart into the day
I’ve come to bring you your own words
That you grow in my soul with every breath

Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  

Drawing in the Desert


Draw the curving paths down
Around us
Draw the divine celestial mechanics
In the desert sands
Constellations swirling in the vortex currents
In the wake of your fingers’ trailing touch
Opening the ground like parting a veil
Bringing forth the waters
From the spring of Oasis
The womb of the world
The water of life
Welling up from deep within
When the air is an arid breath of wild thyme and
Passing goat herds
Rich and fecund
With life moving
In and through
Draw the curving paths down
Here in the desert
Arcing at the end of the clock pendulum
Trust the momentum of creation
The universe won’t let you go
Until you let it
Realizing that was never you all along
So do or don’t you must decide
Whether to add your full measure to the sway of the universe
Dangling there in the careening, sweeping arc of your travel
Inscribing, erasing, rescribing and forgetting
The expanding perimeter of Divinity
Experiencing the dream
In the blowing sands of Life
Put the weight of your soul into it
Swing the bob back ever higher
Toward the unity and annihilation of its origin
When it was held motionless and unformed
In the hand of God
Beyond time
Fear not the following
Heddy weightlessness of freefall
Of being dropped back into the world of dreaming
As you plumet down through the ticking cycles of life
Surrender, wait and remember
That in the fall
You are effortlessly accelerating into the momentum
Of your next upward swing
Surrender to it
Know the divine purpose
Put the weight of your soul into it
To the full measure of your will
Grow stronger with each pulse
In this beating heart of time
Come draw lines in the desert sand with me
Draw down and up the curving paths around us
Of the divine celestial mechanics
And surrender to the murmur of creation’s furnace
Feel the warmth underneath
Of being together
Drawing in the sand the lines and shapes of mind
Of our life’s creation
Waiting for the breath of Divinity
It is the coming of the wind to sweep the sand clean of our memories
Save for in the book of life
Where every moment, every shape we create
Is still happening and not happening
Come draw lines in the desert sand with me
Draw down and up the curving paths around us
Of the divine celestial mechanics
In the place where we are happening and not happening
In this one eternal moment

Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.  



We are the liberation
The transcending joy
Of ego annihilation
The whispered song of breathing
Weaving through the leaves
Of trees left weeping
Drops of seeping summer rains left dropping
A breath forever rustling in my soul
Gliding wings of dragonflies 
Dislodging down and dodging leaves
Spinning spirals crashing down upon me
Like a thousand colors of paint
Longing to be
So absently
Brushed into the language
Of our being

Guard yourself gently
As we approach the holiest of holies
Lest we stir from slumber
The soft mumbles of summer lovers
Of rummage sales and clutter
Fumbling loosely over buttons
In their sleeping lives
So are the seeds of our souls
Such small and fumbling things
Tiny tumbling orbit rings
Each a spec of dust dispersed
Across a universe
So vast

Let it awaken
Be what is meant to be
Until you are unable to watch the trek of an ant slipping over your wrist
And not wonder at the sheer enormity and complexity of creation
An infinite stack of layers of beauty and design

We are the vaguest of shadows dancing in the light of our Love
We are the tambourine and steel drum playing preachers in the streets
Delirious with the sway of street corner performances
In the middle of a sultry, drizzling rain-soaked New Orleans night
Can you hear the loneful wail of the trumpet call
Will you stop to wonder
“How did she know the song of my breathing?”

Copyright: My writing and photography are my gift to you.  You are free to copy and share them under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license.