Friday, July 31, 2009

The Cliff

The Cliff

I sit with hospice patient, Michael, who is dying of prostate cancer that metastasized to the spine.

I am here to be with people facing the certain finality of their earthly days.

A finality we all are facing, obviously.

But someone in hospice care is terminally ill by default, with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Michael doesn’t seem to understand that he has come close to the Cliff’s edge. He says he expects to be healed but it is a slow process, much slower than he would like.

I wonder how much closer he will need to get before the unlikelihood of remaining in this world becomes obvious.

And before the world beyond this world engages his serious attention.

Maybe it never will.

Maybe he will take that last step over the Cliff without ever having given a second thought to the vast mystery into which he falls.

I hope not.

I hope his heart will swell open to the fathomless, even as his spirit yearns for its liberation.

And I hope he will share with us some vision of the enfolding night and the radiant dawn as these overtake him.

For truly, I have a hidden agenda in being a hospice volunteer.

I want to draw near to that ultimate Cliff myself - but voluntarily, with eyes, heart and mind open.

And long before the old body, trembling, cannot help but tumble into it.

I want to welcome the enfolding night and radiant dawn when their moment comes.

I want to offer conscious thanks for these days and nights that have been mine,

With all the suffering mingled with joy that has infused my perfect life.

So I sit with hospice patient Michael,

And watch for that wondrous spark of recognition to illumine his face.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin Head

This morning I am asking again, is there anything in me today?

Anything to give? Anything worth giving?

Can I come back to the keyboard and type words that people might see?

I feel empty, dry as a bone.

I feel like one of those pumpkins whose insides get scooped out.

And then children carve a face in the empty pumpkin shell,

put a candle inside,

and call it a Jack O’Lantern.

Yep, that's how I feel today.

Suddenly it occurs,

Wow, that’s actually a beautiful symbol.

The pumpkin head whose personal mind has been removed

and replaced by spacious light?

Whose smiley face illuminates the night?


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sword in the Heart

Sword in the Heart

Last night I saw, “Seduced and Betrayed” with Helen Hunt and Bette Midler. It takes quite a movie to hold my attention past fifteen minutes, but this was an amazing treatment of the enigmatic and paradoxical way human relationships unfold through contrary circumstance and apparent mishap.

The Piscean (in terms of two fish swimming opposite directions) movements of the soul were depicted in an insightfully touching yet non-sentimental way.

As the plot developed, awareness deepened in the main characters from unconscious reaction to conscious choice, culminating in the knowledge that even in committed love a person will hurt his or her dearest ones - and cannot help doing so. And that this is part of the wondrous mystery of intimate human relationships.

At the very end a Jewish fable was related of a father telling his son to jump, and that he would catch him. So the son jumped, and when his father caught him he felt love. And when his father did NOT catch him he felt something more: life.

Interestingly, the character stories portrayed in the movie were almost as convoluted, complex and improbable as my own real one – but not quite.

I also believe love means willingly bearing your heart to the sword of your beloved, but success in this requires practice. Perhaps pain appears in our lives as just that - target practice. And you can’t hit a target you don’t see.

It seems the way to be at peace with uncertainty and unresolved situations is to become fully aware of them. Once consciously embraced they no longer have the power to affect. They appear simply as aspects of the miraculously complicated and impenetrable life God has granted.

But if the prospect of bearing your heart to the sword is daunting, if the many contradictions and seemingly irreconcilable aspects of life present too much threat of pain, the tendency will be to push these under the level of awareness.

Once in the subconscious they are able to influence and affect freely and ceaselessly, bringing suffering into your experience - perhaps in unexpected ways. Thus the agony you hoped to sidestep comes regardless, but remains inaccessible to treatment.

Sometimes God catches us and we feel love. But sometimes He appears to miss.

That "fall," where God's catch wasn't there, is the sword aimed for our very heart.

We know it will hurt, so the choice is whether to avoid or accept it. To push it out of awareness or to make it as conscious as possible.

This is the life lesson that our deepest relationships bring to us over and over

. . . until we get it.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I am learning it is possible to not live in fear, to not expect the doom of loss.

I am learning it is possible to trust.

What is the worst that could happen? Well, it's already happened.

You weren't loved unconditionally.

But . . . no one ever HAS been! We are all in the same boat, searching for someone who has the ability to love us unconditionally.

Yet, no one can. No one outside can provide what can only come from inside.

Once we get that, the sense of fear diminishes and the desperate need to find security in this world eases.

And one day you realize . . . it's over.

The seeking for safety, for that mythicial longlasting superhuman affection from some other body is over.

Then Trust comes forward.

You look inside and ask, what has been there all along?

SOMETHING has been, and something still is. Something that has NEVER abandoned you.

Do you feel it? Of course you do. So . . . trust that.

Be with it. Surrender to it.

Love it, and let it love you in return.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Problems Solved

Your 'problems' will be solved through you,

but not by you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009



Ha! That produced a laugh!

Which is kind of a rare commodity these days.

Well, OK I guess some explanation of the dry spell is in order.

For me this has been a time of facing inner shadows – dark scary ones. And when they are hovering I just feel backed into a corner and damn near speechless with apprehension.

And every so often I think it must be great to be one of those happy go lucky sorts of people who manage to sing and dance through the days and have clever things to say no matter what.

Or else I think, OK this is what’s happening now: the world is going through the wringer. So don’t beat yourself up for feeling like crap.

Or else I think that this blog, much as I actually love it, is just a reflection of my dysfunctional egoic state that serves no really beneficial purpose to anyone.

Or else I am so overwhelmed with a sense of catastrophic and claustrophobic doom that there is no motivation to do anything anyway.

Wow! And someone really wants to hear more about that stuff?

God bless you, man!

And thanks for the laugh!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Graveyard

The Graveyard

I walked in the graveyard under a filmy moon. The spirits had risen from their tombs and floated uneasily in the night air.

“Who are you?” I asked one that hovered over a stone cross.

“I am Delight,” it answered.

“And you?” I asked another.

“Joy,” it replied.

As I looked upon the restless spirits they began to spontaneously name themselves:

“Contentment, Simplicity, Selflessness, Honesty, Hope, Trust . . .”

Below each, a corpse lay buried and decayed in the earth. Never having been released, their spirits haunted the unhappy past.

“What can be done?” I asked, seeing my name above the cemetery gate.

“Have you never heard of Christ?” they asked. “He who resurrects the dead must descend into hell to rescue them.”

I recalled the Savior’s words:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

For hours we communed together, I and the spirits of childhood. Then dawn began to edge the horizon.

“Now I know where you lie,” I said to them. “You shall be remembered and mourned.”

A sigh of gratitude passed through the gathered ghosts.

“And in God’s time,” I promised, “the Messiah shall come.”

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Haven't felt able to post for awhile. In the meantime, this song expresses my hope for everyone and our country and the world as well. Another CD original featuring my daughter Victoria.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cosmic Heart

Cosmic Heart

The heart’s understanding is fine and inscrutable.

It does not grasp and grind upon the subject of its love, but rather reaches with tender tentacles of intuition into the void.

It hesitates to disturb the everlasting ethers with its inquiry.

In the radiance of forever it senses and sees the light of its beloved.

It feels the intensity of life, keen as a knife blade.

Yet, from this feeling the heart does not cringe.

It embraces such pain eagerly, as its own meat and drink, the blood of its vital sustenance.

The heart is a voyager in the vast cosmic currents of mother/father God.

It wanders in its own true home,

Both ever-known

And ever-unknowable.