Category Archives: Reflections

repack your life







One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver


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Springing on Field

Mother and Child

Let It Spring!

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Pope Francis Offers Powerful Words for All


In his inaugural speech Pope Francis offers two moving statements.

We must not be afraid of goodness.

Let us never forget that authentic power is service.

Each of us holds great power.  May it be used for goodness.

Namaste Pope Francis.

We Are One

honeyIf you haven’t yet treated yourself to the music of Sweet Honey in the Rock, here’s a taste of one of their songs.

We Are One. Yes we are. Namaste




We Are . . .

For each child that’s born

a morning star rises

and sings to the universe

who we are.

We are our grandmothers’ prayers.

We are our grandfathers’ dreamings.

We are the breath of our ancestors.

We are the spirit of God.

We are

Mothers of courage

Fathers of time

Daughters of dust

Sons of great vision.

We are

Sisters of mercy

Brothers of love

Lovers of life and

the builders of nations.

We are

Seekers of truth

Keepers of faith

Makers of peace and

the wisdom of ages.

We are our grandmothers’ prayers.

We are our grandfathers’ dreamings.

We are the breath of our ancestors.

We are the spirit of God.

For each child that’s born

a morning star rises

and sings to the universe

who we are.


(c)1993 Ysaye Maria Barnwell,used by permission Barnwell’s Notes Publishing. Recorded by Sweet Honey in the Rock – Sacred Ground CD

Run Jane Run

Dick-and-JaneAs a young kid I spent a lot of time wondering if I could ever get time back.  The same scenario played over and over in my head. Walking home from school, if I bent over to tie my shoelaces, would running catch me up to the exact place on the same point of the sidewalk I would have been if I hadn’t stopped?   Did the stopping matter if the running crossed it out? Running might get me to almost the same spot.  But how could the exact same spot on the sidewalk be figured out and would it be the same time on the clock, both minutes and seconds? My young brain was trying to figure out if you could fool the clock, if hurrying could erase the time spent doing something else. 

The game in my mind still plays out and the theme is essentially the same.  If I spend time doing one thing, can I fit it in without taking time from something else? The frustrating conclusion is still the same.  You cannot add to the clock. Hurrying cannot get your time back. Believe me, I’ve tried.  My mother always says I try to fit 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag.  On a nice day she’ll say potatoes.  This has obviously been a lifelong struggle. 

No matter how hard I try, the truth remains.  There is no time machine that can fast forward, erase, or rewind. No matter how fast you run, if you are doing one thing, it will take time away from another thing.  You are left to consider; How do you want to spend your time?  If you are doing something important like tying your shoes so you don’t trip, that is time well spent and may even save you time later. If you are watching an episode of the latest reality show, maybe time is not so well spent.  No matter how hard you run, you won’t get it back. Novelist/boxer Floyd Salas says; Only love and time are priceless. I try to remember that.  I’m still struggling, but at least I know the answer.

X Days Left Until You’re Dead, Get Off Your %$#! or Life is Beautiful

Banksy-life-is-beautifulJoking with a friend some time ago, I mentioned writing a book entitled; X Days Left Until You’re Dead. Get Off Your %$#! The Newbery Medal winning work has begun (blog post). Accuracy is a must. Acorrding to an online life calculator, Survey Says! 12,326.05 days or 4.82 dog years at my current age of 53. All joking aside, there is purpose to this madness. It would be nice to know exactly how much time each of us has on this beautiful earth. On the 16th of this month, my father died when he was 54. He and my mother had been married 33rd years.  My mother said it seemed like just yesterday that they met. At the time the statement seemed dramatic; now, not so much. Thirty years ago, my husband and I met. Some days it seems like 100 years but that’s another post. Soon AARP will be knocking on my door and I am determined not to be surprised. I want to live each day with appreciation and the knowledge that this life is finite and the length cannot be determined with a calculator. Who knows how many days we have left? With all of its highs, lows and in-betweens, Life is Beautiful.  Right now you have this moment. How will you live it?

Leaning Into the Sharp Point

inhale exhalePema Chödrön ordained nun, author, and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage  talks about “leaning into the sharp point” as a metaphor for facing our fears and insecurities with courage.  Ani Pema is the first director of Gampo Abbey, a  monastery for western monks and nuns in rural Nova Scotia.

Chödrön writes “…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holdingback. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”

Lucky is not the first word that comes to most peoples’ minds when dealing with bad news or any other negative emotions.  Nevertheless when we are irritated or resentful, we do “perk up”. When we are embarrassed, we feel fully human, vulnerable and yet ready to react to the emotion.  We may want to run away, yell or blame. We are definitely moved.  Do we lean in when we experience anger, resentment or jealousy and try to see it clearly?  Do we thank the messengers that can provide insight to our character?  Are we willing to sit with our vulnerability? These moments can be our teacher just as a spiritual leader can be a guru for us.  When we gather our courage to lean into the sharp point of the negative emotions instead of numbing the feeling and rejecting how we are stirred; we give ourselves a gift, a growth opportunity.  The moments are ever present. The actions we take can define our character.

Meditation is a wonderful tool for sitting with our emotions, welcoming our teachers without self judgment.  Breathe in self compassion.  Breathe out disappointment.  Breathe in peace.  Let go of anger.  Breathe in love.  Exhale gratitude.