life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the month “June, 2014”

Stay curious

When we face a new situation our temptation is often to ask, “What do I like?” Do I like this new thing? Do I like these people? Do I like this set-up?

Sometimes that’s a helpful question to ask. But it’s always good to ask,”What can I learn?” From this new thing, in this new life situation, on this new day—what can I learn? In this moment, like it or not, life is giving me the opportunity to learn more about the universe and about myself, and more of God. I am being given the chance to grow, to deepen my practice of forgiveness, say, or attentiveness, gratitude, litheness or compassion.

Everything is a teaching, a chance to learn and practice. It’s a gift. But only if I stay open and curious. Even if it’s a rotten situation, nine times out of ten curiosity beats misery. Compassion always covers the rest.

Stay curious.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes (edited)
Unfolding Light


the great adventure


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

“Ithaka” by C. P. Cavafy


But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. – I Corinthians 1:27


The society in which we live suggests in countless ways that the way to go is up. Making it to the top, entering the limelight, breaking the record – that’s what draws attention, gets us on the front page of the newspaper, and offers us the rewards of money and fame.

The way of Jesus is radically different. It is the way not of upward mobility but of downward mobility. It is going to the bottom, staying behind the sets, and choosing the last place! Why is the way of Jesus worth choosing? Because it is the way to the Kingdom, the way Jesus took, and the way that brings everlasting life.

– Henri Nouwen


Forever Oneness,
who sings to us in silence,
who teaches us through each other,
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
honor the Purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm,
and leave music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader.

Untitled [“Forever Oneness”] by Marlo Morgan


Do not think that I have come
to bring peace to the earth;
I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother.
—Matthew 10.34-35

It’s not a sword of conflict or violence.
It’s the cutting edge of making choices,
splitting what you choose from what you don’t choose.
And making your choices will set you apart
from others, even friends and family.
This is the work of becoming your own self.

When your choices upset those around you
it may be because you’re being foolish.
But it may be because you’re making your choices
instead of letting them. It will be like this.
Abandon that owned self, and find your own self.

Listen deeply to God.
Let God alone lead you.
Make yourself available to God
as an instrument of righteousness,
and know that even as you let go of your life
you receive life.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

where do you want to go?

You cannot know where you are going unless you know the path that brought you to where you are now. Imagine yourself at a crossroads. Trace in your mind’s eye the path that you have taken to bring you here. Consider that path in a neutral light, neither understating nor exaggerating its hardships and wrong turnings. You cannot unwind the path of the past but you can change direction now. Choose your route and travel on in confidence.
-Modern Affirmation









These Things A Prayer
by Tere Sievers

As a child, I had a patron saint,
St. Theresa of Lisieux, the Little Flower.
the saint of small things:
a washed dish, raked leaves,
clothes hung on the line,
these things a prayer.

Sometimes I remember
that my life is like all others,
the past gone, the present here,
the future, what future?
Sometimes I remember
to look for the present
under the pepper tree.

There I find a green prayer
in the rustle of leaves,
a brown one, as silent bugs
burrow in dry earth,
or white, like the cat,
stretched warm in the sun,
still, on the stone wall.

God’s friendship is the unexpected joy we find when we reach His outstretched hand. –Janet L. Weaver Smith


Matt 9 – 13
9 This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one”.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22


















For my beautiful soul friend, Anni Macht Gibson, on her first full day of freedom. I love you, my dear Anamcara!

Leaving the wilderness: Advice for leaders and pastors

Leaving the wilderness: Advice for leaders and pastors.

called to go every day


Arise, and depart.

The hour is approaching when the message will come to us, as it comes to all–“Arise, and go forth from the home in which thou hast dwelt, from the city in which thou hast done thy business, from thy family, from thy friends. Arise, and take thy journey.” And what know we of the journey? And what know we of the country to which we are bound? A little we have read thereof, and somewhat has been revealed to us by the Spirit; but how little do we know of the realms of the future!
– Charles Spurgeon

God said, “Go from your country
and your people and your family home
to a land I will show you…
and you will be a blessing.
—Genesis 12.1-2

These days many of my United Methodist clergy colleagues are preaching their last sermons in their churches and packing up to go to a new appointment. Students are graduating and heading off into new chapters in their lives. Some of us are staying put, but invisibly all of us are moving on, even if it is simply to a new way of living, a new depth of forgiveness, a new place of awareness or openness or compassion. God calls us to go, to leave behind the familiar and to venture into the mystery, because that’s where we meet God. We meet God in the place of not knowing, not being in control. Our unknowing opens our hearts to the presence of the One who is beyond all comprehension.

In the strange place, God is with you. In the awkward, hesitant moment, the Beloved accompanies you. In the tricky passage you have never encountered before, where you don’t quite know what to do, you are a gift, not because of your expertise, but because the Holy One is in you, radiant with blessing. Someone needs you to be right there, even if they haven’t been born yet.

Let go of what you must. Grieve what you leave behind. Do not seek self-confidence but God-confidence. Go into the mystery, where you will meet God. You will be blessed to be a blessing. And know that you are held in prayer, in gratitude and in solidarity as you go.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

i double-dog dare you!


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