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.  




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.  

Sacred Fire


Perhaps you feel unloved
but if you wait patiently
every day with your routine
putting your shoes on every morning
one day after another
marching out into the world
left, right, left,
day, after, day…
you will soon forget that you are waiting
Until one day
many years from now
the rhythm of your safety skips a beat
and there, then suddenly
you are…
How did it happen?
How did you forget?
It’s the surprise of it that gets you
Let me tell you
It’s going to hurt
and you better let it
There’s no way around it
only through it if you hope to proceed
A journey survived in youth
proves perilous with age
so you best go now
You have to step into
that unknowable darkness.
In time we spin
these eternal threads
until finally there is peace and understanding
in the sudden realization
of our presence in absolute solitude
with this slumbering Divinity
who is genuinely alone
in the most absolute sense
floating beyond the vast expanse of formless space
before time
before creation
Floating there, dreaming of and longing for
our arrival,
alone in a way we can only begin to know
Whether you consider this Divinity to be
the all-knowing, Loving mind of God
or if instead you see
the emergent, self-aware soul of life itself,
or if you consider this Divinity
To be simply a creation of your own psyche,
a manifestation of your own longing
It nevertheless still sings
the true song of the soul
in its transcendent nature,
the song of Love for all life
Whatever you consider it to be
in this I hope we can agree
that we are all,
in part,
of this Divinity
Then Divinity blinks
and you glimpse the real pain
as it bursts forth in a brilliant shockwave
of light and heat spreading out across the cosmos
leaving in its wake such indescribable longing
for the weaving of creation,
our creation
And you think…
Thank God
that I can still suffer like this
once again
and long so much
to be part of this fabric
of unfathomable complexity, beauty,
and suffering
Reach out
from a place beyond fear
a place beyond time
a place where the Love of humanity and all life
is the illumination cast
by this Sacred Fire we carry
born beyond the beginning of the universe
Realize that now is the time to connect
to fight the isolation of our amnesia
born from our fear and imagined impotence
fueled by the demons of our own scrutiny,
Now is the time to fight against the loneliness, we feel in this world
that we believe is somehow wrong and unique to ourselves
forgetting its divine source

Instead let us realize our loneliness
as the Sacred longing of creation
that drives us to take action
to connect with the company of others
to care for the plight of all souls
Don’t let your loneliness maim you
let it liberate you
don’t ignore it, embrace it
quite defending yourself against it
quite trying to bury it
under your entertainment
and your technology
and a thousand other distractions
let it hurt you
the way that it is meant to
the way that it should
in its divine function
Then when it hurts enough
begin your search
Begin to finally proclaim to the world
all that you believe
all that you are
Proclaim it now
that part of yourself
you truly long to find in others

My proclamation to the world is this;
“I am making my stand!
Will you stand with me
by my side if you have this same
bittersweet gratitude for creation?
Will you also proclaim
these things we stand for;

We stand for Love
in this Sacred Divinity of Experience
We stand for Peace
by our Love made manifest
We stand for Life
because it is our choice
it is our will
and our Love will prevail

Can you say these things?
Can you believe these things?
These are the people I long for,
the people who will stand with me
in these things.

After you have had you own such thoughts
and spoken them aloud
I hope you find how false it was
to have ever thought that you were unloved
The words offered here
and the words and actions
of countless others throughout time
are a testament to you
that you are loved
by all of us who have come before
and all of us who are awaiting your arrival
even now
at this moment
Make your presence known
that we may find you,
but you must speak loudly
and bravely
In your longing for that connection
Make your stand
Do it now!
Speak out!
Because the words offered here
can’t save you
Only your own words,
only your own actions
can do that
when you dare offer them to the world
and discover Divinity’s seed
still sleeping dormant in the souls
of those around you
who feel alone and unloved.

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.