For Life

Starry Starry Night, by Richard Weaver

The prompt for today is to write a For _______ poem. I decided to ask my family to help. The first one was all I needed.

What are you grateful for today,
I ask, and he says,
“For life,”
and that is the end of the poem.


Gratitude List:

  • This family
  • Good listening and honest talking
  • The hammer game
  • Wise people
  • Making music with my beloveds

Thanksgiving Thoughts:
“You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them.
That is how prayer works.” —Pope Francis
*****
“Allow dark times to season you.” —Hafiz
*****
The Thing Is
Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
*****
My November Guest
by Robert Frost

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.

What I Meant to Say

Today’s Prompt is to write a “What I Meant to Say” poem.

I said I was tired,
but what I meant to say was that I had intended to be bolder.
I said you were right,
but what I meant to say was that my own opinion counted, too.
I said it didn’t really matter,
but what I meant to say was that it was a matter of life and death.

I told you everything was fine,
but what I meant to say was that my soul had just caught fire.
I told you I could live with it,
but what I meant to say was that something in me was withering away.
I told you it could be fixed,
but what I meant to say was how furious I was that you broke it.

I said, “Excuse me,”
but what I meant to say was, “I need you to get out of my way.”
I said I was sorry,
but what I meant to say was, “That’s my business.”
I said, “Please,”
but what I meant to say was, “It’s my turn now.”


”When we see the Beloved in each person,
it’s like walking through a garden,
watching flowers bloom all around us.” ―Ram Dass
***
“The present moment is the intersection of eternity with time.” ―Beatrice Bruteau
***
“Only the present moment contains life.”
―Thích Nhất Hạnh
***
“It is the paradoxical nature of grief to lead us to love. There is a seed planted in loss, an evolution made in breaking, a genius found in separation that is rarely apparent in the heart of crisis. But often what looks like deviation is really proliferation, like satellite initiatives born from a group’s dissolution. Intimacy is forged in the hearts of those who know exclusion. To them is given the gift of tenderness which can mentor another through their own isolation.” ―Dreamwork with Toko-pa
***
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.”
―Ansel Adams
***
“You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.” ―Fannie Lou Hamer
***
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.” ―George Eliot
***
“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”
―Hermann Hesse, Demian
***
“I went inside my heart
to see how it was.
Something there makes me hear
the whole world weeping.”
― Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
***
“Did you ever hear a tree pushing out of the ground or the snow falling? Great things happen in silence.” ―Mother Angelica
***
“Everything belongs, even the “bad” and dark parts of yourself. Nothing need be rejected or denied. No one need be hated. No one need be excommunicated, shunned, or eliminated. You don’t have time for that anymore. You’ve entered into the soul of the serene disciple where, because the Holy One has become one in you, you are able to see that oneness everywhere else. Almost like magic!” ―Richard Rohr
***
“Our work is to show we have been breathed upon – to show it, give it out, sing it out, to live it out in the topside world what we have received through our sudden knowledge, from body, from dreams, and journeys of all sorts.” ―Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
***
“We found ourselves in a realm
where dreams are formed,
destiny is chosen
and magic is as real
as a handprint in the snow.”
―Libba Bray


Gratitude List:
1. The River of Cats. We have a new route to school these days to pick up L at her new house. We go on a dirt road past a farm where a dozen cats or so stream across the road as we approach. Needless to say, we drive very slowly. In the morning dusk, their eyes are a dozen sets of tiny headlights as in our car’s lights.
2. Handsome Duck. There’s a silver-feathered handsome duck on the same road.
3. Lancaster. Almost two hours to go in the day of the Extraordinary Give, and we’ve already broken the record we set last year–over $7.5 million dollars. We don’t have a lot to give right now, so we chose one to give to, and it seems so small. But being one little drop in this ocean of giving helps to keep the cynicism at bay.
4. Saying what I mean
5. Sleep

May we walk in Beauty!

“To Keep the Spark of Life Inside Me Ablaze”

Today’s Prompt is to write a poem to the world:

Beauty Was There
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

In the beginning, she hovered there,
above the waters, molding the land,
holding the world in her hands,
crafting a world of fire, earth, water, air.

In the beginning, she brooded,
her face obscured by shadows,
her thoughts filling the hollows,
her watchful eyes hooded.

She sent her dreaming forth,
streaming through the cosmos,
building like song to a crescendo,
filling newborn skies with morning.

In the beginning, she listened
for colors that flew in the wind,
singing that blew through her mind,
waves of color and sound risen

from deep within her breast.
Her thoughts became matter, feeling
mattered, materialized into being,
unbeing fled as her moon rose in the west.

And today we un-matter her being,
un-materialize the thoughts she formed,
de-stabilize the dances she performed
to set it all in motion. We’ve set it reeling,

ripping the fabric she wove.
It cannot be too late to change our ways,
to seek again the rhythm of her days,
to turn to her again and call her Love.


“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
–Frida Kahlo
***
A little story by Amrita Nadi:
At the end of a talk someone from the audience asked the Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?”
The Dalai Lama looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at us and said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know.”
Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he added, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back. . .but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”
***
“There are moments when I feel like giving up or giving in, but I soon rally again and do my duty as I see it: to keep the spark of life inside me ablaze.”
–Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life
***
“Always there is something worth saying
about glory, about gratitude.”
–Mary Oliver, What Do We Know
***
*Do your little bit of good where you are;
its those little bits of good put together,
that overwhelm the world.
–Desmond Tutu
****
“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” –Jeannette Rankin


Gratitude List:
1. Strings of geese like beads across the sky. Fly well, Bright Ones!
2. This microwaveable bag of lavender and beans. It makes me warm and it eases the residual aches.
3. Wise friends
4. Tenderness. Basic kindness.
5. Stories of miracles and wonder.

May we walk in Beauty!

Wear Gratitude Like a Cloak

Following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it, doesn’t mean knowing where it might lead. Bliss beckons us every single day. At first, it may come in a small voice, out from under a great heap of rubbish, but it definitely knows your name. It starts with a dream that you may not even remember, and it grows into a déjà -vu, a surge of emotion, an inexplicable familiarity in a stranger’s face. Rather than getting caught up in finding “your purpose,” take the risk to talk to that stranger, follow your feeling and trust your dreams, and before you know it, as Rumi says, “your living pieces will form a harmony.” —Dreamwork with Toko-pa
*
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” —Rumi
*
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
—Annie Dillard
*
“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet. “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet. “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.” —AA Milne
*
“The aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.”
—Mary Oliver
*
“Why struggle to open a door between us when the whole wall is an illusion?”
—Rumi
*
“Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”
—Danny Kaye
*
“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”
—Maya Angelou
*
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
—John Muir
*
“I started going for long lone country walks among the spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end, giving myself up to the earth-scents and the sky-winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.”
—L.M. Montgomery


Gratitude List:
1. The Holy Moment of telling story, of powerful vulnerability, of the hush of listening, of voices found and reclaimed, of grit and resilience. How our stories bless each other.
2. Blessing the babies. I love the way my church blesses the babies. I think that part of my pastors’ job must be the best job in the world.
3. Spicy Korean noodles for lunch
4. Now we go from golden to orange and red
5. The Water Protectors. Lancaster Against Pipelines. People who stand up, speak up, put themselves on the line.

May we walk in Beauty!