Such Long, Long Breaths

This is the last year.
There will be no other,
but heartless nature
seemingly relents.
Never has a winter sun
spilled so much light,
never have so many flowers
dared such early bloom.
The air is brilliant, sharp.
Never have I taken
such long, long breaths.
Robert Friend, written as he was dying.

To Die in Reality

There is a moment when you realize that you are going to have to die in reality, not just pretend to die. Not just read about dying, not just recite Rumi late at night, but really, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, go into the darkness of the Love of God and really surrender, a moment when you realize that to do that, you will need Divine courage.
Andrew Harvey

I do not see the road ahead of me

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end...
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you...
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Thomas Merton

September 2018 (Vol. XXXI, No. 8)

Dear Friends ~ Heart wrenchingly, a dear friend just learned that his remaining lifetime has been reduced, in short order, from years to months and now perhaps mere weeks. What kind of courage will it take for him to face into dying in such a rapidly accelerated pace? This last journey will bear the echoes of all the days that have come before —pressed down and distilled into slender threads of love to hold onto and be held by. And how do we, the living, learn to wake up each morning with gratitude for the gift of another sunrise, another breath? For every one of us will also die; yet unless we are given the precise knowledge of its imminence we may miss the lesson. We have the choice to awaken to the blessings all around us or to take precious moments for granted and fill our days with soulless busyness. Knowing we shall all die one day should perhaps teach us how to live more generously, attentively, appreciatively.

The Faith to Take Life One Piece at a Time

Having the faith to take life one piece at a time- to live it in the knowledge that there is something of God in this for me now, here, at this moment- is of the essence of happiness. It is not that God is a black box full of tests and trials and treats. It is that life is a step on the way to a God who goes the way with us. However far, however perilous.

Joan Chittister

Have Your Attention on What Is

If you have your attention on what is, see its fullness in every moment, you will discover the dance of the divine in every leaf, in every petal, in every blade of grass, in every rainbow, in every rushing stream, in every breath of every living being.
Deepak Chopra
The Return of Merlin
By Deepak Chopra M.D.

The Finding and the Giving

Each of us, as we journey through life, has the opportunity to find and to give his or her unique gift. Whether that gift is great or small in the eyes of the world does not matter at all—not at all; it is through the finding and the giving that we may come to know the joy that lies at the center of both the dark times and the light.
Helen Luke

Stand Tall by the Water

Stand tall
by the water
know no fear or loneliness
let this love
cross you over
let this song
bid you well
Rebecca Riots Band

We Die with Half our Music in Us

George Buttrick, an imaginative preacher, wrote poignantly, "We die with half our music in us." How sad, not that we die, but that we leave so much unsung, not having exhausted our melody.
Marv and Nancy Hiles
All the Days of My Life
By Marv And Nancy Hiles

We are Given this Minute

People walk around sad because they don't know what to do with their future. You have this minute right now. What are you doing with it? ...If you are filled with joy for one minute, then you will know what to do with the next minute also. We are given this minute, not tomorrow. Sadness is very much concerned with what I don't have, and I really don't have tomorrow yet. The Truth is, I am always standing before nothingness, because I am nonexistent yet for the next minute. I'm not here yet. Time isn't there. The world isn't there. The world is here...right now!
R. Shlomo Arlebach

The Three Questions

The old turtle looked at the boy. "But your questions have been answered"... "Remember then that the most important time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in the world. And this is why we are here."

Jon J Muth

There is a Way to Live

There is a way to live that makes the angels cry out
in rapture. There is
a way to live that makes
each star a cell.
Come stand with me here, it is
cold I know, and silent,
nothing is happening.
The next breath, and the next, is the new life.

Morgan Farley

Grief Gives the Full Measure of Love

Grief gives the full measure of love, and it is somehow reassuring to learn, even by suffering, how large and powerful love is.
Wendell Berry

When You Spend Time with a Dying Person

When you spend time with a dying person, you discover that the human spirit has the power to come forth in the middle of crisis and suffering in ways we can't imagine. Over and over, I have seen ordinary people—afraid, angry, confused—awaken into profound wisdom and understanding.
Joan Halifax

Give thanks for another day of loving

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To melt and be like a running brook
That sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
And give thanks for another day of loving.

Kahlil Gibran

July-August 2018 (Vol. XXXI, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ In our quiet little forested niche amid a uniformly gray sky, it has been raining for enough days to wonder how Noah might have felt waiting for dry land. So much of what happens in the world bespeaks sorrow and loss- parents and children wrenched apart, floods and volcano eruptions, fathers and sons taking their own lives in despair. Yet into this mire, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama have dared to offer THE BOOK OF JOY. This is no "self-help 10 steps to happiness" manual. Between South African apartheid and Tibetan exile, these two have honed their wisdom in a crucible of painful reality. It is wisdom well worth pondering, rooted in deep compassion and liberally sprinkled with humility and friendship. If we are made for joy, how do we live it?

We can cope with whatever life has to throw at us

Joy establishes us so securely in itself, and in the remembrance of its presence, that we can cope with whatever life has to throw at us.
~ from MEDITATIONS ON JOY by Wendy Beckett

Joy is a piercing desire

Joy is a piercing desire, a mystical longing both painful and sweet: a kind of homesick-ness for a home we scarcely remember.
~ Deborah Smith Douglas, in Weavings, XV:4

A joyful awareness

The true source of joy is love—love of God, love of beauty, love of wisdom, love of another human being, it does not matter which. It is all one love: a joyful awareness of dissolving boundaries of our ordinary narrow self, of being one with reality beyond, of being made whole.
~ from The Door to Joy by Irma Lalecki in "Heron Dance"

The most visible joy

The most visible joy
can only reveal itself to us
when we've transformed it, within.
~ Rilke

The effort must be light-hearted

The holy life is concerned with the journey, not the goal..In truth it is the spiritual journey that brings great joy because it is a path of the heart . Discipline is needed; we need to put forth effort. The effort must be light-hearted. We can't be attached to our mistakes or any particular way of doing or being...We bring a sense of equanimity to all life's challenges; we learn to laugh at ourselves, to not take ourselves so seriously, and to get back up when we stumble. This brings us joy. Joy makes life whole and holy.
~ from OPEN MIND by Diane Mariechild

Joy is my name

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!
~ Wm Blake

The deep power of joy

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and by the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
~ William Wordsworth

This is the true joy of life

This is the true joy of life: being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one...I am of the opinion that my life belongs to others, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for them whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live...Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
~ George Bernard Shaw

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