Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human or even divine ingredients can.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tattered Kaddish

"Kaddish is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name.The term "Kaddish" is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourners' Kaddish", said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of "saying Kaddish", this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning."

Tattered Kaddish
Adrienne Rich

Taurean reaper of the wild apple field
messenger from earthmire gleaning
transcripts of fog
in the nineteenth year and the eleventh month
speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:

Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel
on ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though its windows blew shut
on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though ones we knew and loved
loved it badly, too well, and not enough

Praise to life though it tightened like a knot
on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us

Praise to life giving room and reason
to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable

Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.

Monday, June 20, 2016

To take what is given



"What do I know?

But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example – I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch –

the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.”

Mary Oliver

From here.


No, my friends
darkness is not everywhere
for here and there
I find faces illuminated
from within.

Japanese lanterns
among dark trees.

Carol Ann Borges

The Effort to Return


"That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us.

Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day."

 Mark Nepo, "Hearing the Cries of the World"

Sunday, June 12, 2016


We suffer, often unknowingly, from wanting to be in two places at once, from wanting to experience more than one person can. This is a form of greed, of wanting everything. Feeling like we're missing something or that we're being left out, we want it all. But being human, we can't have it all. The tension of all this can lead to an insatiable search, where our passion for life is stirred, but never satisfied.

When caught in this mindset, no amount of travel is enough, no amount of love is enough, no amount of success is enough...

The truth is that one experience taken to heart will satisfy our hunger. "

Mark Nepo

100 Butterflies (excerpt)

Where you are going
and the place you stay
come to the same thing.

What you long for
and what you've left behind
are as useless as your name.

Just one time, walk out
into the field and look
at that towering oak --
an acorn still beating at its heart.

Peter Levitt

A Real Measure of Peace

"On yet another level, silence means listening. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict and the first word of that Rule is "Listen." That's the great ethical element of silence: to check my words and listen to another point of view. I'll never have any real peace should my sense of well-being depend on soundless peace.

When I can learn the patience of receiving, in an un-threatened way, what I'd rather not hear, then I can have a real measure of peace in any situation."

How Silence Works: Emailed Conversations With Four Trappist Monks
Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston

Cancer, our Doppelgänger

After 3 occurrences of cancer within the family (2 dead, one will go any day now) I finally bought this book I have been meaning to read since years. Brilliantly written, very easy reading for the layman. And a great reminder that any day you wake up and are still alive and well, and no one in your family is dying, you must remember to be happy and cheerful.

"...This image - of cancer as our desperate, malevolent, contemporary doppelgänger - is so haunting because it is at least partly true. A cancer cell is an astonishing perversion of the normal cell. Cancer is a phenomenally successful invader and colonizer in part because it exploits the very features that make us successful as a species and as an organism. [AM: cell division, cloning, survival of the fittest, growth via evolution]

...When a chemotherapeutic drug or the immune system attacks cancer, mutant clones that can resist the attack grow out. The fittest cancer cell survives. This mirthless, relentless cycle of mutation, selection, and overgrowth generates cells that are more and more adapted to survival and growth. In some cases, the mutations speed up the acquisition of other mutations. The genetic instability, like a perfect madness, only provides more impetus to generate mutant clones.

Cancer thus exploits the fundamental logic of evolution unlike any other illness. If we, as a species, are the ultimate product of Darwinian selection, then so too is this incredible disease that lurks inside us."

Page 38, 'The Emperor of Maladies, A Biography of Cancer', Siddhartha Mukherjee
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction 2011
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2011

Ukemi, the Art of Falling

"Ukemi is a Japanese word used in Judo for the method of falling without getting injured.

...He [my Judo teacher] made me practice nothing but falling for six months, correcting every infinitesimal detail. He would sense my frustration when he caught me wistfully looking at the other judoka. They would be performing their techniques and sparring while I rolled for hours on the mat, with my teacher sometimes deftly throwing me to demonstrate a nuance I had missed.

He would then remind me that the art of falling was the foundation of good Judo.

...One day the head teacher, a seventy-year-old eighth Dan judoka, legendary for his insightful teaching called me aside after a randori. “How can you do beautiful Judo if you don’t risk falling?” he asked. I was taken aback. I thought the whole idea of a randori was to avoid getting thrown.

He continued, “A lot of judokas don’t like to fall, so they try to avoid it at all cost. By doing this, they get tense, their techniques become wooden and their Judo lacks zest.”

Seeing he had piqued my interest, he went on, “Real Judo is like life. The little losses and gains don’t count for much. What matters is whether you lived beautifully, with courage and joy.

For this, you must learn not to fear falling or failure and welcome it like a friend. Because only when you learn to love it, then can you really live to your full potential.”

Sanjay Kabir Bavikatte

The Kindness

Banff, Alberta

The mother elk and 2 babies are sniffing
the metal handle of the bear-proof trash bin.

I remember the instructions for city people:
3 football fields of space between you &
the elk if their babies are with them.

I’m backing up slowly,
watching the calves run into each other
as they bend to eat grass/look up
at the mother at the same time.

The caramel color of their coat,
the sloping line of their small snouts &
I want to hold that beauty,
steal it for me,
but I’m only on football field # 2 & walking
into the woods past the lodge pole pines.

Their fragility, their awkward bumping
opens me to a long ago time—
a hand on the door,
I was walking in
to the psych hospital in Pittsburgh,
feeling broken and stripped down—
a hand on the door
from around my body

& I looked up to see the body
of a man, who said:
Let me get that for you—
a hand on the door
& the bottom of me

I couldn’t breathe for the kindness.
I couldn’t say how deep that went
for me.

I had been backing up, awkward
I had been blind to my own beauty.

Jan Beatty

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

"But though we believe ourselves to be seeking happiness in marriage, it isn’t that simple. What we really seek is familiarity — which may well complicate any plans we might have had for happiness. We are looking to recreate, within our adult relationships, the feelings we knew so well in childhood.

The love most of us will have tasted early on was often confused with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his anger, of not feeling secure enough to communicate our wishes.

How logical, then, that we should as grown-ups find ourselves rejecting certain candidates for marriage not because they are wrong but because they are too right — too balanced, mature, understanding and reliable — given that in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign.

We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy."

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
Alain de Botton

Sunday, May 22, 2016

One Way to Spend an Afternoon Together

Our noisy outer world is but a reflection of the noise inside: our incessant need to be occupied, to be doing something.

Three Types of Laziness, Tenzin Palmo

Sit with me. Let’s say nothing at all.
There is nothing that must be said.
The impulse to comment on weather,
we’ll feel it rise and melt away.

The weather will do what the weather does,
will rain, will shine, will hail.
Perhaps we will feel the need
to comment on the light or to wonder

when things will be different than they are now
or to worry about all the problems
that we will never be able to fix.
Urgency only lasts so long before
it disappears. How did we ever

believe we belonged anywhere
but here? Though the rain
is gone, the scent of rain persists.
If we are quiet long enough,
it will say everything that must be said.

Rosemerry Trommer

Some days


Some days I find myself
putting my foot in
the same stream twice;
leading a horse to water
and making him drink.
I have a clue.
I can see the forest
for the trees.

All around me people
are making silk purses
out of sows’ ears,
getting blood from turnips,
building Rome in a day.
There’s a business
like show business.
There’s something new
under the sun.

Some days misery
no longer loves company;
it puts itself out of its.
There’s rest for the weary.
There’s turning back.
There are guarantees.
I can be serious.
I can mean that.
You can quite
put your finger on it.

Some days I know
I am long for this world.
I can go home again.
And when I go
I can
take it with me.

Ronald Wallace

The willingness to blossom

Out of the Days

What does that do to the old blood moving through its channels?
Naomi Shihab Nye, 'Fresh'

So much we do not need—
the old t-shirts at the back
of the closet, the secret
ingredient in Aunt Jean’s
tuna casserole, the pity
of strangers, the growing stack
of journals we promise
ourselves we will someday read,
the memorized jingles
from TV commercials
we sang when we were young.

And then there’s the list of what
we cannot do without—
the willingness to blossom
out of our own detritus,
the capacity to laugh a real
unguarded laugh, a joy
in unlearning whatever we
think we know, and
the grace to let our story
re-write itself even as we
fear turning the page.

Rosemerry Trommer


To move

Needing to be
Nowhere else.

Wanting nothing
From any store.

To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.

Awakened eye
Seeing freshly.

What does that do to
The old blood moving through
Its channels?

Naomi Shihab Nye

Blog Archive