Prose & Poetry  2022

A Gift of Love


Usually when Death is chasing me - which he almost always is, disguised as one of my plentiful fears - I just run. I can’t bear the thought of looking him in the face, so I bolt down one of my many well-worn escape routes. I call various friends, watch TV, go shopping, eat chocolate, drink a glass or two of wine, etc. etc.… 

Lately I’ve been doing those things a lot, because the loving old man I’ve lived with for many years has just died.

At first when he departed I was just vastly relieved at not have to watch him suffer. But after the initial euphoria wore off, I found my biggest fear staring me in the face: my old fear of abandonment was suddenly coming horribly true. 

Naturally, I turned tail and ran, escaping into as many distractions as I could possibly find. At last, however, I got tired - none of my escape routes led anywhere at all interesting. I was at a loss - until it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I could try going somewhere new, somewhere higher up, where there might be a better view. 

I liked the idea, but I knew I could never do it on my own. I’m basically lazy, a creature of habit, I love the comfortable lower altitudes, and I’m certainly no mountaineer. I do know someone who is, though…

I’ve known my Guide for years. He’s a good friend, always nearby, within shouting distance, and always ready to help. Usually he’s so unobtrusive I don’t  notice him - but when I really need him, he’s always right there.

All I have to do is call him. That involves some ceremony, as it does with any Guide worth their salt - but he taught me the ceremony, it’s quite simple. One only has to have some solitude, but of course in my current situation that’s no problem. 

I sit down and prepare myself, sitting up straight and spending a few minutes trying to relax and quiet my chattering mind. Finally, when I feel more or less quiet inside, I call:

“Oh Guide, open the door to the inner roads!”

And I know he’s heard me, because right then and there, I see before me the old wooden door I always go through - the one with the little diamond-shaped window that lets through the gentle golden light from the other side. As I watch, the door slowly opens, and I step through into a beautiful green-gold valley.

To my right is an enormously tall mountain range that goes almost straight up, its snowy peaks lost in mists and sunlight. Covered in lacy green forests full of magical creatures, these are the magical mountains where the future lives…

In the distance on this middle plane that represents the present, is my city, the place I live my daily life.

And under my feet, under this meadow that fills the valley, lies the dark, secret realm of the past.

Now I see my Guide coming toward me, emerging from the forest at the foot of the mountain. As usual he’s wearing white, but today he’s also carrying a staff, and incongruously also wearing an old-fashioned powdered wig that curls around his shoulders. That makes me laugh and touches me - he knows I love J.S.Bach, who has saved me from many a pit of despond. I call out, “Thanks for coming!” and he smiles, “Of course!” When he reaches me he gives me a warm hug, which I appreciate.

I’m think he’ll be taking me up the mountainside, into the future, so I can re-imagine my solitude as something more pleasant than abandonment. Or maybe he'll take me to my city, to work on my "now," since everything is so topsy turvy, and I have to figure out what to do, where to go with my life now that I’m alone. 

It turns out my Guide has other plans. Winking at me, he takes his staff - which I’m sure he borrowed from Gandalf - and strikes the ground three times. With a rumble the earth opens, and to my alarm, I see a nearly vertical tunnel plunging at a crazy angle down into the earth. It looks like an old mining shaft, its narrow steel tracks disappearing into the black depths. Surely not….!

Before I can protest, a little train of empty cars comes trundling up out of the dark, and without a care in the world, my Guide gets in. Looking back at me over his shoulder, he says, “Come on!” - so, reluctantly, I climb into the car behind him and sit. My skinny Guide has no problem, but for me, well-endowed in the hips, it’s another story. I grab onto the cold metal rim, and with a little jerk, the train slowly begins to descend…

Down, down, down we go, the rock walls closing in on all sides. At first the air is chill, but little by little, as we descend, it grows warmer and warmer… 

At last, very deep in the earth, we come to a jerky halt in a round, rock-walled chamber, dim and warm and smelling faintly of sulphur. My Guide climbs out, and as I follow, he strikes the wall with his staff…

And I am surprised to find myself looking in on Whimsey House, the house my parents built when they were first married. 

There they are, my beautiful mother and father, both of them young, strong and well-meaning, going about their daily life. Far from perfect, they have their struggles - but they are also valiant, kind, shining people who  are trying their best to make things better for each other and for everyone around them. Being descended from puritans, of course, they don’t give themselves much credit... 

My mother is the powerhouse here. With her huge smile and contagious laugh, her passionate love of people and music and adventure, she is also full of confused longings and often doubts her self-worth. And because of her ferocious father, who frightened her into chronic asthma that flared up whenever he looked crosseyed at her, she distrusts men in general. That’s why she chose my father, a mild, kind man. She loves him, but also criticizes him for being weak and indecisive. She wants so many conflicting things - to be an independent woman, but also to be with a strong but gentle man; to have a home and children, but also to give her whole self to music…

My father is a soft, deep and quiet soul, full of tenderness for the people he loves - for his ancient mother and his difficult, diabetic sister, for his beautiful young wife who has pierced his heart with her bright arrows, and for me, his first little one. Shy, worried, indecisive, careful, he’s stronger inside than out, and unfailingly kind. God and Jesus are very real for him; he talks to them silently inside himself, but never mentions them out loud. My mother is Christian too, but more in theory… 

My young parents clearly cannot see me - it’s as if I am looking through a window into their life. 

Now the scene changes, and I see my mother pregnant, with her beautiful round belly, and my father admiring her…

And just a little later, I’ve been born, and she is holding me in her arms, loving me utterly…

Now, in a meditative moment, she takes a small, luminous sphere from her heart, touches it gently to her forehead, and then to mine, giving me all her joy, her inspiration, her strength, her love of life and laughter, her determination…. And tiny and new as I am, I receive her gifts with gratitude and delight.

Then she passes me to my father, that gentle man. He takes me so tenderly and holds me in his arms, just looking down happily at me…. At last he, too, takes a luminous sphere from his heart, touches it softly to his forehead, and then to mine, endowing me with all his best qualities: his deep caring, his love, his dedication, his humility, his faith. 

And receiving all these gifts, I know that I am safe for all of timeless time.

My Guide smiles at me - you see? You had a good foundation - you were born into great love. Coming from love like that, how can you ever be alone?  I nod, unable to speak, full of gratitude. 

At last we take our leave, returning to the round chamber and boarding the little mining train, which carries us slowly upward, back to the surface. As we near the opening, the light streams in, warm and welcoming. When we reach the top, the train stops, and we climb out into the grassy meadow. Again the Guide strikes the ground with his staff three times, and the earth closes, leaving the grass undisturbed. 

In the distance, my city shimmers, waiting for me. I bow to my Guide and thank him, and we embrace. Then I set out walking, back to my daily life…

Now, remembering where I came from, I give thanks for all the gifts I was given, and for the love that has carried me all through my life, always helping me overcome so many obstacles, giving me meaning and direction and joy. And I am comforted, knowing this love is the foundation of my very being, and that it will help me through whatever is to come - through the rest of my days in this world, and after I pass on into another time and another space…



Night and the Coming of the Dawn - the Story of Frank the Crow

Frank woke, beady eyes alert in the unaccustomed dark. Nearby, Molly, Jasper, Fred, Curly, and Jess were all sound asleep, as they should be, hunkered in the highest branches of the elm, grasping their respective perches with tenacious claws. In the various levels below, the other twenty or thirty of their crow tribe bobbed, doggedly dreaming while they awaited the arrival of the Prince of Light with his promised kiss...

Frank had been dreaming, as usual, of shiny things - coins, diamond rings, tin foil… Damn! He remembered the time he’d landed on that boy’s head and the bright silver coin had turned out to be nothing but a circle of unpigmented hair in the middle of his crewcut. Mortifying! But of course that had been long ago, when he was a mere fledgling, and this was now, and why was he awake??

Looking around him, he rocked from foot to foot, wondering. The night was cool, the stars winking endlessly in the black depths, and it seemed to him that they were gently beckoning, sending him subtle scents from another world… 

But what was he thinking? He really should not be awake - he was no owl… Ruffling his feathers he shifted his grip, closed his eyes and waited… 

Sleep always came instantly to him, as it did to all his kind, but for some reason, now it was nowhere to be found. At last he gave up, opened his eyes and gazed about him, curious. This wakefulness was bad, no doubt, but he couldn’t deny that it felt rather good. Something beguiling seemed to be afloat in the dark, calling to him, as if the Night were inviting him into herself…

Well why not? Why should owls be the only ones to fly at night? Cautiously, not to wake the others, he spread his wings, pumped them once - and the dark air opened, lifting him like its own child. Then he could no longer resist. With a few powerful wing strokes, he soared up into the night…

Up and up he flew, higher and higher and higher, until the tree where his tribe slept was swallowed in darkness far below. And the luminous night enveloped him, holding him close like a mother, lifting him into herself, opening her secrets to him… 

And the joy of the flight filled him like water overflowing, so that he forgot the world below, forgot about the irresistible imperatives of food and sex and treasure, forgot even about his tribe’s appointed mission of waking the world with their unruly cries.

Up and up he flew, the silent depths breathing all around him, welcoming and endless. The higher he rose, the more effortless his flying became, and there arose in him a reasonless longing, a yearning that was happiness itself, a powerful happiness about all and everything. Perhaps he would have called it “gratitude” if he’d known the word - gratitude for the silent planet below, for the cradle of Space in which the earth slept like a child, wrapped in her mantle of soft air and clouds, and for his tribe and all the sleeping and waking creatures who called the earth their home… 

And all at once a wild crow of delight lept from his own throat, making him laugh in surprise as it ricocheted all across the span of night. And the moon crooned her gleaming melody, and the stars showered the interloper with their luminous voices, and Time took a breath and stopped, listening... And all was well.

Frank never knew how long that endless moment held him, suspended...

But at last something whispered to him that his tribe was stirring down below where the rim of the world was just beginning to glow… And full of gladness, he plunged back down, homeward… 

He came to rest beside his friends just as they were opening their beady eyes, snapping awake (as they did every morning) as the ritual word reached them (as it did every morning) that yes! It was true! Once again, the sun was up! 

And with that, just as they did every morning, Frank and all his tribe, and all the crow tribes everywhere where morning was breaking, exploded into caws of astonishment and joy. Taking to their wings, their raucous cries ringing out all around them in the burgeoning dawn, they flew out all across the great awakening world to break the wonderful news of the Coming of the Light. 

Losing reveries to simplify life

Officially old now at 75, I’m looking back on a life made of fictions - a whole tapestry of them, all woven around a central reverie. It’s funny, but I never really noticed that central reverie until now, when I’ve just watched it uncurl like a snake and go up in smoke.

Whoa! At first watching that was a real bummer - seeing the overriding dream of my entire life swept away, obliterated.

But I swallowed that pill - what else could I do? - and lo and behold, now that it’s done its work, all I have to say is it simplifies things no end.

Let me tell you how my central reverie got torched.

It was what my comfort buddy - the human being I share an apartment and some history with - told me. Just the other day he informed me that he was sorry, but he would soon be disappearing. 

I couldn’t believe it. We had our situation set up really nice, running pretty much on automatic, like a autopay at the bank. Our basic needs were fulfilled without me having to lift a finger or a thought. 

And now, this bombshell - it disarticulated my situation in every possible way. Not only would I have to find a new place to live; far worse, in fact unthinkable, I was losing the main character in my central reverie, my comfort buddy.

My central reverie is something I’ve had with me all my life. It was at the first sign of danger that I created it, long, long ago, when my body was still very small and my experience tiny. I built it and then retreated into it like a snail retreating into its shell. And that’s where I’ve lived my whole life ever since, until just a moment ago.

The reverie was simple: it was all about refuge, being safe. The way I took refuge morphed as I grew - at nursery school I hid under my mother’s chair instead of playing with the other kids; as a teenager I hid in art and music and writing. But when I left home and went away to college, I was too lonely to hide anywhere by myself. That was when I launched my obsessive search for someone who would hide with me: a comfort buddy, with whom I would spawn little comfort buddies, who would comfort me forever! 

And I succeeded! Over the decades I found several comfort buddies, one after another, and spawned several little comfort buddies, and they all did a great job, right up to now, when the last one, a perfect exemplar of comforting, is biting the dust. 

But this time, somehow, I’m not looking for a replacement - I’m just not interested. Somehow the whole dream seems suddenly a bit hollow. Because not even a million comfort buddies can protect me from the void inside me. 

Which leaves me no other option than to stand here, naked, before my personal apocalypse.

At first I couldn’t bear to look, so I kept my eyes shut. And instantly, in spite of myself, I fell into a new reverie, which quickly devolved into a real doozy of a nightmare. Forget that! In a panic, I opened my eyes, first one, then the other… 

And was surprised to find that it’s not so bad being here, exposed. It’s just me, a friendly if clueless consciousness, afloat in this bodily energy field, this living space full of lights and shadows, warmth and tingling, breath going in and out - languid - no hurry…. And the great Silence in the deep center of everything…

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not permanently awake. On the contrary, I’m so used to being asleep that I keep drifting off, stumbling into dark and labyrinthine dreams based on what’s going on around me.

But at least I know now how lovely it is to step into wakefulness for a long, sweet moment. As I said, it’s a wonderful way of simplifying things. No need for intricate plots and schemes and disguises… Even the unknown is less scary with my eyes open…

Love and my crimes against humanity - a tribute to Walt

In my dream, my dead lover Walt and I are in France, traveling with a large group. Walt is bored with a certain woman who talks too much, so when she invites us to her party he says we are busy - which is a lie. 

I go along with the lie, inventing a pressing engagement. That’s when things start to get messy, as others notice that we are still here, when we’ve told them we have to be gone… 

Thinking we really do need to leave, and having somehow gotten separated from Walt, I start looking for him. At first I can’t find him, but then my phone comes glowing to life and shows me his face. 

To my surprise, he seems to be at a big meeting in the town square, along with everyone else. In keeping with the seriousness of the situation, he is wearing a formal white dinner jacket. He looks confused, and I think he is looking for me.

It turns out everyone is looking for me, calling my name. Clueless, I hurry to join them, hoping Walt and I can escape and go on our way. But before I can find him, the woman we lied to confronts me. I start to speak, to defend myself…

Suddenly everything grows silent, and I see Fernando, my dearly beloved friend, approaching. Staring at me in cold appraisal with narrowed eyes, unsmiling and unspeaking, he is pointing a rifle straight at my face, the long barrel wrapped in brown paper. Without taking his eyes off mine, he comes closer, presses the muzzle against my mouth, and keeps on pressing…

“What are you doing? What are you doing???” I scream -

And I die.

The tribunal has ended.

I have defended myself to the best of my ability, have admitted my guilt, and have accepted the judgment of the King.

He tells me: 

You are all things - good and bad, loving and selfish, sensitive and callous, weak and needy and strong and shining. I see no problem.

At that my Deep I wakes up, yawning after her long siesta, and agrees with the King. All is well. There is no contradiction - everything is made of love, just love. The darkness, the fear, the cowardly self-protection, the betrayal - everything is part of the great unfolding web of life, which is simply Love.

All you need is Love… My Deep I can be really corny sometimes. 

My little i, trapped in her own contradictions, doesn’t buy it. 

Wallowing in needy self-loathing, she is dying of guilt and shame. At last she bursts into tears, weeping and weeping, “Let me out of here!”

With her pitiful attention span, of course, she doesn’t last long. After a few moments, seeing that no one is taking her seriously, she gives in and accepts her punishment, which is humbling and embarrassing - because it’s just Love. No one gives a fig whether she deserves it or not.

And so, even having been summarily betrayed and executed for my crimes against humanity, I endeavor to embrace the unity of all things.

There’s simply no other way I can live with myself. 

But the unity of all things was way beyond me when I met Walt. At that point, I was not looking for love. Because I’d already had my “one love,” and that one love had died. So all I was looking for was the comfort of companionship. And maybe a little sex. 

That didn’t keep Walt from loving me. And his love was such a powerful force that after a week or two I couldn’t help loving him back.

Which threw my little i into utter confusion and denial. 

Her problem is that she can’t see more than one thing at a time. And so she simply could not grasp that there could be more than one true love - and that they could both be completely different and equally real. 

But they can be. And so, my dear Walt, I give in. Just as you always insisted, I was - and am - in love with you. 

The day I fell for you is bright in my memory. That day, when I walked in your door and saw you, my heart leapt into my mouth and I kissed you, and shyly offered you my life, not knowing why.

And so we set out on our trek together, slogging through swamps of confusion, climbing peaks of exaltation, frolicking in gardens of longing and delight, getting lost in deserts of distraction…

All the while, I loved you in spite of myself, without admitting it. And my little i was understandably upset with me, because my memory then was so full of other loves and losses - my beautiful Jorge who had died and left me, my wonderful children who had grown up and left me, my past that had slipped out of my grasp and dissolved into the present, like the tide sinking into the sand. But that’s the way it works - we stand on the present and the water of our life sinks into the past and nourishes the earth, rises up as mist, falls as rain, and fills the ocean…

My life with you, dear Walt - amazing lover, grudging philosopher, stubborn materialist - ran its course, our happy little steam burbling down the mountainside, the two of us spilling over and around the rocks and boulders, together and apart in our folly and laughter and earnestness, our loneliness and pain, our guilt and our joy, our capricious self-serving, and our deep simple caring for the world.

You struggled long at the end, in pain and dignity and good humor, until at last, your tender being exhausted, you gently bowed your self to the ground, and the great world rolled off your shoulders, and you were free.

And the world was fine, kept spinning without you, grateful for the vast and passionate love with which you gave it your whole life.

Report from the Trenches - observations after the death of a beloved partner

How real is Anything???

My “reality” changes with whatever I imagine. Fear and hope run me.

Now that I’m “alone,” I’ve been repeatedly overwhelmed by a primal fear of abandonment, imagining myself washed up on some lonely shore, broken and friendless. In those moments I feel such crushing meaninglessness, such darkness. - the future weighs like a poisonous lead, and I am afraid of sinking irretrievably into the darkness - for that, too, is a choice… 

After being under the heel of this bleak state for many days, I manage to compound its horrors, adding mortal fear to mortal fear, by convincing myself I am dying. 

I mean, I give myself good reason. In my queasy, on-the-edge state at being suddenly alone (no more alone than ever, but more apparently so) - I lose my appetite and therefore also lose a little weight. 

Then, when I consult my doc about another minor issue, she tells me my issue is probably nothing - but, “if you also have any unexplained weight loss, be sure and let us know - it could be cancer.” So of course you know the story…

In a panic, I determine to force myself to eat more, so as to gain weight and prove myself immortal again - and I lo and behold, I eat so much that I gain three pounds overnight!

What a relief! the whole world is now beautiful. Safely immortal again, I am no longer oppressed by my solitude - instead it is a peaceful, lovely and privileged state… 

So it seems that, swimming in illusion, we flounder “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily” down the stream of our dream life….

It really is quite hilarious and diverting watching “myself” - an entire fiction - tumbling and floating and twisting and turning down the emotional rapids of my life, full of angst and hope, deep dark foreboding and lovely fantasies…. 

And NONE of it is real, save the serene outlook of the kind Watcher (who is also myself) who so graciously stands aside, observing the “little I” as she takes the bait again and again, clinging first to one shred of illusion, then to another. Not that the Watcher is cruel - apparently this is just the only way the little I can learn to see beauty and meaning in this strange entrapment called “Life.”

Whatever the reason, somehow both of us are fascinated with this show.

When will we tire of this entertainment??? 

Never, as long as the little i insists that she alone and helpless in the clutches of the vicious twins, Time and Death. Which of course, she is, if she believes she is.

But is Time not exactly this stream of illusions, this self-perpetuating round-robin of pain and pleasure, from which, with all its helpless heart, the little i yearns to escape? 

And can it not be possible that Death - whether before or after the body dies - might offer just what we need: a moment for the little i to just let go, and fall into the arms of the Kind Watcher?

River Light

This is an ancient story about humanity and most other species. It's a story about holding on and letting go - the story behind all wars and violence, all failure and despair. And since I am human, it's my story too, as it is very likely yours. But it was only yesterday that I really noticed it playing out in my personal life. 

You may have heard how people trap monkeys in some parts of Asia and Africa. They put a banana inside a cavity, say in a tree trunk, leaving a hole just large enough for a monkey’s hand. A monkey comes along, and it can’t resist. It reaches in and grabs the banana - and then it’s stuck. It can’t pull its hand out of the hole and run away, because it simply cannot let go.

That’s me.

I simply cannot let go.

In my case, it’s not a banana I’ve grabbed onto - it’s love. Because somehow early on I became convinced that in order to be happy and live a good life, I needed love from other people. So ever since then, I’ve gone through life looking for people to love, and when I find someone I fancy, I grab onto them like the monkey grabs onto its banana, and I won’t - or actually can’t - let go…

I’m not saying I’m a bad person, or even unusual in any way. For whatever reason, this seems to be the way most of us are made. Not that we are all obsessed with love - but we all want something. We humans are creatures of desire, constantly on the lookout for what we want, and when we find the right object, we grab it and hold on. The only thing that varies from person to person is the object of desire, which can be anything - money, power, prestige, fame, love, sex, comfort, success, knowledge, enlightenment…

For me, like I said, it’s always been love. I hold onto my loved ones, and if they resist, I hold on even tighter. That’s what I’ve always done. Which of course can quickly become uncomfortable, especially when a loved one starts to feel trapped. Then things can get strained fast, and suffering can ensue…

Knowing this, I’ve told myself for years that I really must learn to let go - and I keep thinking I’m starting to do that. But it’s tricky. Even when I believe I’ve finally let go once and for all, it turns out I’m just pretending… 

Today this story came to a head for me. I’d been mulling yet again over a favorite tense relationship, reviewing my latest strategy for proving to both of us that I’ve finally let go for good, when reality slammed me in the face. Suddenly I saw, with blinding clarity, that I had not been letting go at all, but only putting on a show of letting go - in order to keep holding on. 

That was when I saw for the first time what I believe Silo meant by “profound and essential change” - and saw what a staggering, impossible proposal it is. 

Because if I’m right, what profound and essential change really means is completely turning around the way I look at myself, at others, and at the world. Instead of seeing myself as needing love - or anything else for that matter - I need to see myself as already filled with everything I could ever need, including love. 

This is a change so fundamental that, wonderful as it sounds, I can see no way to achieve it short of dying, of losing myself entirely. And even if I wanted to, the grasping little “me” who pretends to let go in order to hold on tighter could never, on its own, “do” such a thing - it would be simply impossible… 

Yet making this impossible change is clearly the only way forward - the only way to be true to myself, to those I love, and to the world…

Seeing this impossible predicament, I found myself utterly and completely at a loss.

As I often do in difficult moments, I walk down to visit my friend River and ask his advice. 

Here in Portland, the Willamette flows north - flows and flows, brown-gold, through the middle of the city. Twelve bridges cross him, and he is wide and strong, and full of fishes. I love walking  beside his deep waters, even on such a warm day, in this summer of ever more violent heat…

Usually the River’s calm comforts me quickly. But today, even after walking beside him for some time, I am still clueless, filled with a glum foreboding. Because I can see so clearly what must be done, and I know I cannot do it.

At last I stop and go to look out over the water. Leaning my forearms on the smooth metal railing atop the balustrade, I look out across the River… Impassive and joyful, it flows and sparkles in the sun, the dozens of boats frolicking on its surface making not a dimple in its trajectory.

As I look, little by little I begin to feel calmer, until at last my gaze wanders down to the green-bronze wavelets 20 feet below me…

And there I notice something intriguing. From a certain point on the water below me, just downstream from where I’m standing, I can clearly see a fan of golden light opening outward across the river. How curious! I stand there studying this phenomenon, this trembling fan of golden beams that opens out like a peacock’s tail of light, twinkling and dancing across the water… What on earth could it be?!

I squint at the center point, the place the rays seem to be coming from, trying to make out what it is - and then it hits me. How strange! I must be wrong - it’s too ridiculous - but as I keep looking, I can see no other explanation… Preposterous as it seems, the center from which all the rays are emerging is nothing more or less than the rippling shadow of my own head. Pouring outward in a great fanning arc from my shadow-head is a great crown of light beams, shafts of golden light casting themselves out and out across the river like the beams of the setting sun, or the golden rays emanating from the heads of the saints in old paintings. If the opposite shore were not there, those rays would stretch to infinity… 

How can this be?!? There has to be some simple scientific explanation - some well-known silliness, some optical illusion that everyone laughs at. But if there is, I don’t want to know about it. 

Because, even if this phenomenon is something every school child already knows about - some cute and very explicable trick of light rays - for me it can have a great and liberating meaning. Why not take it that way: as evidence that I am far more than just a body with needs. That I am a being made of Light, a being from whom radiates an aura so powerful that even my shadow emits its own light? If that is true, then I have no choice but to redefine myself and my way of looking at myself and the world. No longer can I imagine myself to be a limited being, a needy creature who has to depend on others for her wellbeing. Instead I must take on the stature of an energy being, a being of Light, with the gaze proper to such a being  - a gaze full of peace and generosity and the joy of giving…zzzzz

Ridiculous and grandiose as it might seem, the possibility moves me deeply. Confounded and overcome with inarticulate emotion, I can only stand gazing down at the water through the tears flooding down my face. 

Because what greater evidence do I want? This has nothing to do with reason, with accepting the worldview of the socioeconomic system we live in. Silo urges us to “learn to recognize the signs of the sacred” inside us and around us. No matter how silly could this not be such a sign?

I know I could find some rational explanation on Google - but I discard the possibility. Much more interesting to simply accept this phenomenon as an answer, a response from the Profound to my plea for help.

And so I accept. Today and tomorrow, again and again, every time I lose my hold on “the golden thread” of my Destiny, I resolve to choose this path of hope anew. Today and tomorrow, whenever I forget who I am - or who I can be, where I am going - I promise to tickle myself into leaping into the void, knowing that I really can fly, and that if I forget how, I need only call out to the playful deities of River and Wind and Sun, and their wise cohorts, Peace, Force, and Joy. Perhaps that way, gently and little by little, failing again and again and beginning again and again, I can transform my way of being in the world. Perhaps that way, little by little, all of us helping each other, we will all be able to make the profound and essential change and surrender to the unfathomable love keeps us all evolving toward the Light.

The simple truth…

Yesterday, finding myself in turmoil, I walked down to the River, as I usually do when reality is giving me problems. This time it was my most intimate reality that was acting up: my significant other, Walt, had just told me he was getting ready to make his exit from this world. Not that he wants to leave - he’s delighted with living, and would love to stay a while, as I would love him to. It’s just that his body isn’t cooperating… 

So I went to the River and sat on the floating dock and talked to the joyous, imperturbable, flowing waters. I sat for a long time, and shed tears, and wrote down lots of thoughts and feelings. Especially about how Walt had told me it was “hard” for him to be facing his own death all of a sudden up close, instead of sometime off in the future where we usually place it. 

It’s hard for me too, the thought of losing him - and I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I lose myself. But I temper that harshness by telling myself, most insistently, that death is not the end. 

Walt, on the other hand, has no such pretensions. To me, such a lack of faith would mean suffering. So I determined to steer him toward my own faith - as much to make me feel better as to help him. 

So there I sat, thinking and writing, trying to come up with some way to give him my faith…

But nothing I wrote convinced me. So at last I stopped and asked the River: How can I help my love find peace?

And the River said, How should I know? Why don’t you go ask him?

So I went home, and that night I asked him. I took a bit of a round about approach, but I was going to get there eventually: Can you tell me, I asked him, what you mean when you say “it’s hard”? 

My plan was to listen understandingly, and then, somehow, gently lead him to my own wellsprings of faith

But he doesn’t speak that language. He speaks Worldese. He told me quite simply that it was hard for him to tell his friends and loved ones that he is soon to die. It’s hard for him partly because he’ll miss being here, with all of us; but more than anything it’s hard because he doesn’t want us to suffer. That’s what he really cares about. Us.

Since I barely understand worldese, I didn’t know what to say. I kissed him goodnight and went to sleep.

At 4:30 the next morning, I woke. Something or someone must have explained things to me in my dreams, because now I understood. I turned on the light and wrote the following - it’s a bit over-dramatic, but I was scarcely awake:

After talking with you last night, my love, my old self died. So now I am giving you my beating heart, that you might live.

All my life I’ve wanted to be strong and good, a helper - the one with the answers, the one who holds the magic key, the one who rescues you from the burning ship of your life.

And now - surprise - you have no need of being rescued! On the contrary, you are ready to go down with your ship, happy with your open heart.

When you said that all you care about now is the people you love - your children, your friends, me, and all the suffering world you’re leaving behind - I thought you were just avoiding something deeper. I was sure you must be suffering inside, fearful of the end of everything… 

But when I probed, asking you, “What exactly are you feeling” and “how can I help,” and all you told me was that you wanted me to hold you when you take your leave - that undid me. All night I held you in my heart…

And I woke knowing that was your truth,  simple and complete. You are as loving and caring a person as I’ve ever met - as selfless as the day is luminous. And when I saw that that was all, that was your whole truth and that there was nothing more, no hidden fear for your own little self, only your deep, vast and joyful love - it broke my heart. 

That was when the old “me” had to give up the ghost. Now that old “me” - the one who wanted to be the wisest, kindest, strongest, the chosen one who saves all souls, the quintessential giver, helper, and fixer - has dwindled into a meek little person who simply sits dreaming beside the generous void…

But what a relief! Because now there’s nothing for me to do for you or for myself or for anyone. All I can do is be still, be silent, be no one at all - just be present, with and for you, as we watch love fill the world. 

Our little selves will not be the ones who go to “the place where we do not die” - because that place is not of their world. 

But you and I can glimpse that place even from here, if we look with the eyes of love. That is where we both are going, dear one, and where we will one day meet everyone who walks with us this path of love.

After the small rain

After the small rain

Overwhelming beauty

Lush combs of green grass

Innumerable blades

Each lying prostrate

Under its diamond necklace 


This one small slip of oak

Trunk going straight up

Leaves going every which way

Such great gladness!


The Cat with half a tail

Would-be bobcat

Scales a giant oak

After the squirrel

Who drops into the void



Bird song stitching together 

all parts of me

With a golden thread

teasing and nudging my innards

In hushed and healing celebration


And I cherish this moment

And all past

And all future moments

As the Great One 

Cherishes me

All Will Be Well


When the great day comes 

my love -

that day you dread and fear - 

all will be well.

So said sainted Julian 

a thousand years ago:

All will be well

and all will be well,

and all manner of thing

will be well -

And so say I.

I know whereof I speak

my love

for I know the way

you’ve lived your life

putting love before money

and power and pride

Love before everything.

That is why

when the great day comes

you’ll slip past the trap

of the logical mind

and its fearful need

to be someone

and you’ll simply remember

all the good you’ve done

For Love rules all  

and what looks from here

like your demise,

will be to your clear eyes

that longed-for moment 

when you arrive,

whole and sound

and wonderfully alive,

in that warm and shining

deathless place

where all life waits

to wrap you in her embrace

And all the world will sing

to celebrate the gift 

of all you are,

have been,

and yet will be:

a deeply cherished member

of that great and wondrous We,

the human Family -

beyond the end of time

through all eternity.

For so said Julian

in her cell,

and so say I:

“All will be well

and all will be well

and all manner of thing

shall be well!” 


It's a whining, hungry creature

created by mistake,

a feeble tantrum

perfected in its imaginary power

over millennia

by all who have objected

to the apparent reality 

of their lives.

Hunkered down

just beneath the breastbone

it gobbles every thought

and feeling, 

digests it poorly,

and spits it out 

with a sorry moan

as pure bile

painting all the world

a ghastly chartreuse

What is there

to give it credence?

Only a million million human years

Only oceans and oceans of tears

Only Death

And yet

it is a mere construct,

a falsifying formula

with no solution,

a mistake

waiting to be erased,

an integer


by recognition.


Encountering the Sacred Feminine while out walking 


Scarf swathed 

soft as faith

around her shining face

she approaches 

like a wind

or a warm embrace

filling all of space

with the kindness

of her smiling eyes

before she vanishes

leaving only 



Inoculation Against Fear: The Liberation of Persephone

Serpent bright

Lord of night

kneeling I bow

wrap me in power

give me leave

to taste the red flower

seed of light

conceived in night

to receive the sting

of love beyond fear

Let me enter the city

of the open heart

where night is day

and day is night

cradle of destiny

deep within

home of unity

beyond light and dark

world without end

amen amen


Every time I breathe a sigh of relief

after losing endless 

precious moments

in agony 

over some imaginary personal loss

I remember

that I live my life 

standing on the brink of a precipice

from which

at any instant

an ill wind

could send me tumbling

to my death

The only reason

this seldom bothers me

is that I’m standing

with my back to the abyss


by the endless fairy-dance

that keeps unfolding before my happy face

I am blissfully unaware of the gulf that yawns

so hungrily behind me

with its horrible sucking maw

I guess what I need to do

is get some of those children’s fairy wings

they sell at Walmart,

strap them on,

turn around,

and leap

Looking for peace

Emerging drenched

in sorrow

from the cauldron

of our grief

I go out walking



for some peace.

And as I look

I see the things

the thoughts

and feelings

that I flee

and thus I do 

become them all

and find no peace

Yet I know peace 

is not far off

but sweetly waiting

planted deep

inside of me 

and all of us


in all I see

For all forms 

are receptacles

made of 

purest peace

gently holding 

all of us

in the stillness

that we seek

I cannot catch 

and hold 

that calm

but when I listen deep

then I am

the silence

and then 

I am at peace.

Outside and Inside


in the frozen world

the wind in the bare trees

plays the harp of mourning

and the flute

of weeping

But inside 

we are warm and safe.

Going in and in

and deeper in,

we find the kindest 

of companions,

our true Guides.

There we are given 

the gift of Knowledge

without judgment.

There the days 

are luminous,

the heart is warm,

the nights deep

and long and sweet.

There Time

is set free.

Only Because

Only because we are held

In the palm of the Beloved

Can we reach

Into the black void

Can we walk through the fire

Hand outstretched

in friendship 

and in peace

Song of the Sacred Unity of All Things



in forest or in city

on two legs

or four

or many more

the conscious human 

moves deliberately

all parts in harmony

and thus 

all things are kept in balance

and Sacred Unity

The Old Ones knew this

for they could see

the Sacred 

that lives in all and everything:

lives deep inside us 

in its chalice of Light

and all around us

in the miracle of life

And so

waking and sleeping

living and breathing

moving and speaking

our Ancestors were careful 


to honor and maintain

the balance

by mixing the two:

bringing inside out

and outside in

And the reverence 


in their every act 


of all Things

and all Beings

One Sacred Unity



you do not believe

in the Sacred Unity

of All Things

Be that as it may

the Sacred

does not go away.


from Time Immemorial

all the world

and all beings 

in this

and every time

and space

have been 

One Sacred Unity

If you are afraid

of the Sacred

thinking it 

some foolish throwback

some dangerous


and primitive mistake

that will only drain 

your strength

rest easy, Friend

For true Strength 

and her cohorts

Peace and Joy

abide precisely there:

in the Light 

that lives

(and always has

and always will)

both inside 

and around us all

in everyone

and everything

The Light

rings out

in every song and every cry


in every scamper, dive and glide

Dreams and gleams

in every pause

between two breaths 


in each drop of blessed rain

and in every leaf and blade

all across this generous earth

And it shines in every birth

and in every death


Born out of stillness

we tumble into this world

where nothing

is ever still for long

and all is two-

or muti-fold,

two or more hands

two or more feet

up and down

in and out

yes and no

no and yes

and round and round

and round

And in a lovely paradox 

where one plus one - 

but also two plus two

and three plus four

and me plus you

and more and more and more -

is always simply one,

all this ceaseless movement - 

this shifting whirling morphing

of realities -

does exactly what it should and must:

It mixes up the worlds 

to make the Sacred Unity

where All is at once

the wildest diversity

is also absolutely One.


So come 

awake and rise my love

the long, dark night is done!

Shake off your trance!

Come dance with me!

What - Now??

Yes now, right now, 

no time to waste!

For listen

and you will hear

the titillating

funky jazz hop 

wailing and thumping

in the village square

Yes, rise and take my hand 

and come

and let us celebrate this day

with love 

and laughter

and dance and song!

Come with me my darling

Let us join the throng

and dance together

one and all

in the Endless Joy Dance 

of the ever-changing