life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “balance”

awareness is the key to change 

I tell my father about the way 

I collect small things

in the sacs of my heart—

thick juniper berries

apple cores that retain their shape

and the click of shells

that sound like an oven baking.

He presses the mole on my shoulder

that matches his shoulder,

proof that I was not found

at the bottom of the sea.

I also got his feet, far from

Cinderella’s dainty glass slippers

and fingers, too wide for most

Cracker Jack wedding rings.

I read how some mammals never

forget their young—

their speckled spots, odd goat

cries, or birthmarks on curved ivory tusks. 

There must be some

thread of magic there

cooling honey to stone—where

like recognizes like or how

a rib seeks its twin.


A Taste of Blue by Cynthia Manick

Our survival adaptations are so tough, but our wounds are so delicate. To heal, we have to lift the armor carefully- it saved our lives, after all. It’s like moving your best friend off to the side of the path. You don’t trample on her, you don’t hit her with a sledgehammer. You honor her presence like a warm blanket that has kept you safe and sound during wintry times. And then, when the moment is right, you get inside and stitch your wounds with the thread of love, slowly and surely, not rushing to completion, nurturing as you weave, tender and true. The healing process has a heart of its own, moving at its own delicate pace. We are such wondrous weavers…


 – Jeff Brown

is to stand

at the center

of circle 

after growing circle

and reach

in the mind

for a far circumference

that holds as focus

an interior so far in

so concentrated

with origin

we find ourselves

by looking out

at what looks back,

the lighted edge 

of rock and sky,

the sweet

unmoving darkness

over the horizon 

that makes

a perfect 

beckoning symmetry

to the night

beneath our feet,

the underground

where light cannot live

but whose darkness

makes a ground 

on which to stand.
The central 

ancestral story

of those who

lived here

looking out

at the same horizon

and the same 



who saw a world

that witnessed them

at a privileged 


their lives caught

like ours

in the glance

of what lies beyond


for a fleeting



From Pilgrim: Poems by David Whyte

Refuse to fall down

If you cannot refuse to fall down,

refuse to stay down.

If you cannot refuse to stay down,

lift your heart toward heaven,

and like a hungry beggar, 

ask that it be filled. 

You may be pushed down.

You may be kept from rising.

But no one can keep you from lifting your heart

toward heaven

only you.

It is in the middle of misery

that so much becomes clear.

The one who says nothing good

came of this, 

is not yet listening.

–Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

   – Mahatma Gandhi

I’m not here to live up to your expectations and you’re not here to live up to mine. 

    – Bruce Lee

the wild & salty now 

Welcome and entertain them all

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.


Parker J. Palmer with a light-hearted metaphor from Rumi — on the unexpected visitor and welcoming her in, serendipitous chaos and all.

I paddled a small boat

through wind and waves in the open sea,

the wind wanting to wipe me sideways,

waves lurching me about,

the constant pressing, the effort, 

the all aloneness of it,

a little dot in an ocean wide of green,

the struggle so welcome, so satisfying,
because I was there. 
I have climbed mountains and hiked deserts,

raised children and journeyed through a marriage

simply to be there.
You have swung the hammer, sewed the seams, 

taken the bus, changed the diapers,

recovered from the illness, done the time.

You run races, you wash dishes,

you row your body through its failings,

you work the work of youth or of aging,

you put your shoulder to it.

Even in prayer’s stillness

you go the distance.
This is the holy pilgrimage:

to meet the given day.

You give yourself to this moment as it is,

hand to hand, all in,

and beyond all accomplishment

you are given the gift 

of this life.

You come home with salt in your hair

and a whole wide sea in your heart. 


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

Yesterday afternoon I watched Kate Hudson die in her movie,

A Bit of Heaven,

and I thought about how important our little bit of time is here on this earth. 

The vast importance of now! 

To never hold back sharing our love,

our bit of time here with the ones we love. 

This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed,

I read posts from various friends,

anniversaries of loss. 

The shock of too young loss. 

The bewilderment of unexpected loss. 

The anger of longing for the love loss. 

Missing persons. 

Persons missing persons. 

I listened to the music these friends shared. 

Music chosen in a very personal, intimate way,

helping them deal, 

bringing them comfort,

tapping into their passion, 

their anger,

their extreme feelings,

their great oceans of emotion. 

Music helping them allow,

helping them to move,

helping them release,

as they remain here, feeling left and bereft. 

Music. Always music. 

I cried with them, 

for them,

for my own tsunami of losses. 

As their music poured into me,

I felt their particular loss, 

and I stood along side them and held them in love. 

I honor the grieving hearts of the world. 

I honor the gift, and power, of music. 


Amy Lloyd (AL)

check in

“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

— from LEAP by Terry Tempest Williams
With Leap, Terry Tempest Williams, award-winning author of Refuge, offers a sustained meditation on passion, faith, and creativity-based upon her transcendental encounter with Hieronymus Bosch’s medieval masterpiece The Garden of Delights. Williams examines this vibrant landscape with unprecedented acuity, recognizing parallels between the artist’s prophetic vision and her own personal experiences as a Mormon and a naturalist. Searing in its spiritual, intellectual, and emotional courage, Williams’s divine journey enables her to realize the full extent of her faith and through her exquisite imagination opens our eyes to the splendor of the world. READ an excerpt:

hanging in this green moment 💚  

From Jen Lemen 💚 sign up for Soul Snacks


There was a sentence halfway written.

There was a thumbprint ridged in ink.

There was a crease in sheaved paper.

There was a ring left from the drink.

There was a chair turned, facing outwards.

There was a door hung from its hinge.

There was a drop that wasn’t water.

There was a dog that knew to cringe.

There was tall grass, dazed and listing.

There was dirt sporing the air.

There was a quiet cleft by birdsong.

There was ragged breathing, barely.

There’d been a plan, the traces told it.

There was a shovel in the back.

There were gloves and tape and sibilant teeth.

There were constraints that held them fast.

There was no way they would believe her.

There was no cold hand that made fists.

There’d be floodlit eyes for every move

And no coming back from this.
Sing, stolid choir of objects, eyeless and aghast,

of a world that came to stay.

Add to your claythroat concord what lies in a hole

that took all day.

If an account remains ungiven,

if the seams close sheer and smooth,

if God’s own mind forgets, this time,

a scene will bear the truth. 


-Matthew Caldwell
Scene – Matthew Caldwell

Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven

That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,

And thereupon imagination and heart were driven

So wild that every casual thought of that and this

Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season

With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;

And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,

Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,

Riddled with light. Ah! 

when the ghost begins to quicken,

Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent

Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken

By the injustice of the skies for punishment?


The Cold Heaven by W. B. Yeats

Floating here 

some three thousand miles off Portugal

I hang in your green,

breath held, limbs still, 

ears just under water,

feet pointing down into mystery.

The sea in my veins 

is so close to you,

blood of the planet I throb in.

In your silence I feel the crashing 

of waves in my heartbeat,

the wind in and out 

when I come up to breathe.

It may look just barely

but I feel so alive.

You have no ill will

yet I know if I breathe wrong

you will take me. 

This far north your hands are cold, 

your lips are cold.

Still I float in your womb 

and you say

“I will hold you.”

Sitting in my umbilical prayers I hear you.

Mountains and deserts say this, too.

And beside a little white church

on a North Dakota prairie

a plot of ground, 

surrounded by family names,

says as well,

“I will hold you.” 

I hear you. 

I hang here in this green moment. 


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

My heart is green

with the fuzz of springtime growth

borning life again

from the rich, bloody soil

it throbs anew
My mind is blue

as the sky in sunshine


like the night full of stars and glittering tears

it diamond sparkles 
My life is orange

as flames in a forest 


breathing the wind 

it grows wild
My love is red

there is no hiding it


real as anything

it woos pilgrims
My touch is gold

hands, lips on wounds


for velvet skin, shared breath

it heals all
My soul is pearl

creamy and warm


to all who come

it opens hearts
My word is platinum 

I seek only truth


life with integrity 

it unlocks doors
My work is emerald

deep as the world


full of riches

it creates wealth
My legacy is silver

of the finest made


all about me

all about You


Amy Lloyd (AL)


In the tower the bell

is alone, like a man

in his room,

thinking and thinking.

The bell is made of iron.

It takes the weight

of a man

to make the bell move.

Far below, the bell feels

hands on a rope.

It considers this.

It turns its head.

Miles away,

a man in his room

hears the clear sound,

and lifts his head to listen.


The Bell by Richard Jones

You are a bell

that rings

in another world.

You are a flower

that blooms

only when you are asleep.

Your soul is a bird that flies away

and in your grief you cannot see

how God delights in its return.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

both sides now 

in giving we heal ourselves 

in receiving we heal others


             – unknown

do you know

the importance of 

both sides of the gift?

We have become an addictive, unbalanced, people, full of extremes. There are givers. There are takers. We see there are two categories: victims or assholes and we choose one side or the other. Completely destructive on both sides. 

We have taken sides on an issue which needs us to be both in order to be truly successful in the most important areas of our lives. Being balanced on both sides leads us to create a new category for ourselves, our relationships and the world. 

Think about yourself. How good are you at:



acknowledging your need of another/others?




accepting the gift without competitive thoughts of payback?

accepting compliments?

gratitude to the other?

giving/receiving from a balanced place?

come on let your guard down. 

give a little. take a little. 




From this bench 

I can see four Miles

I have walked Miles ahead with each

two have shared 

this very spot with me

in flesh and bone

two have been here in the spirit

of friends benches

and Anam Cara soul connection 






a dog named Miles –

and many the Miles

to come –

each of my Miles inform my living

have had vast impact 

in my heart 

Letting go is my continual lifework

surrender my career

I’ve let go of everyone,


I’ve ever loved. 

I carry them,

green, rooted trees,

within me. 

I am done with questions,

I am committed to this process of my becoming. 

I am a force of the nature of love. 

I have no regrets,

no demands. 

I fly with the seagulls,

bend low before the burning bushes,

I sit in the holy hush of the Sound of silence,

letting go,

seeking new understanding. 

the deep places within me

give thanks for each piece of love I have experienced,

The blue sky shouts out to me 

all that is coming…

the best is always yet to be,

Yes, coming to me and through me,

as I break the newly discovered 

hardened edges of my heart

to allow 


for you





this spud’s for you

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

     / Elie Wiesel

Pomme Frites

drizzled with truffle oil,

sprinkled with sea salt…

who can stop,

once you’ve tasted heaven?

Why have we been taught to protect our hearts?

to live without passion?

told that our sensitivity is a weakness,

not a gift?

We settle for what we consider control,

which is a sham,

an illusion of the most fragile,

arrogant tomfoolery. 

We shut down,

become indifferent,

avoid the messy feelings,

shields holding our hearts at bay, 

afraid of breaking, 

in desperation, keeping grief out of our business,

allowing life, and love, to go limp and cold, 

lying in the oily, paper-lined, basket,

no one wants to eat this. 

What will it take to taste ourselves again?

to reach for another emotion,

and then another,

unable to resist,

as we do for another hot, crunchy, delicious french fry?

Only when we allow all of our emotions,

the full spectrum of our living,

pain and sorrow,

love and joy,

all felt passionately 

within our living moments,

our numbered days,

can we become our true selves,

will we allow our highest and best to be revealed?

Only then, can we even begin to step into our lives,

our true hearts,

the love, which we truly deserve,

our humanity. 

Once we have have been stripped of our need for perfection,

love begins,

once we get a taste of this,

we can’t stop reaching,

exploring the shadows,

and the light,

eating the good fruit of the ground,

opening further and further 

to the mystery dug in this ground. 

Only then can we begin to open into our own unique and precious gifts

Only then,are we finally ready to begin authentically sharing ourselves, 

and our gifts,

with others. 



let us never forget to make our days count and be aware that how we live, and what we leave behind us, matters. 

do the work

Each of us in our own work, our own play,

can transform the earth,

can ring a thousand stars

with any insignificant

anonymous sacrament

of the commonplace…

This little bowl of tea

could bring peace to 

all my ancestors,

to a hundred unborn 

generations, if I hold it 

tenderly, like a planet 

in the vast ancient space

of my palm, sip darkly 

without naming the flavor, 

and taste nothing with my 

mind but This…

then give thanks 

with a breath of silence in

no hurry to go.

Fred LaMotte

Your faith is not your steadfast belief,

not certainty beyond questions.

Your faith is not what you think of God

or God’s anointed, for you yourself

have done some powerful anointing.

Your faith is giving your gifts,

without questioning how valued they are,

without questioning how worthy you are,

but simply offering what is in you.
What saves you is knowing you are received

without price, without judgment.

The Savior’s love is indeed powerful,

but how precious 

is what you have done for the Beloved.
God’s giving and receiving

are married in you. 
All that is broken is forgiven,

all that is wounded is healed,

all that is offered is cherished. 
All that is broken is forgiven,

all that is wounded is healed,

all that is offered is cherished. 


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

we do not need to stay broken
healing is our natural state of being
once we are whole again
we must be aware of the release of our pain
and open ourselves to move 
to the next natural state of living
we leave the brokenness behind
and dance in the light again
stronger than before
spreading our wings to fly 
higher than we ever dared before!



circles keep circling 

This is the beginning.

Almost anything can happen.

This is where you find

the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,

the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.

Think of an egg, the letter A,

a woman ironing on a bare stage

as the heavy curtain rises.

This is the very beginning.

The first-person narrator introduces himself,

tells us about his lineage.

The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings.

Here the climbers are studying a map

or pulling on their long woolen socks.

This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn.

The profile of an animal is being smeared

on the wall of a cave,

and you have not yet learned to crawl.

This is the opening, the gambit,

a pawn moving forward an inch.

This is your first night with her,

your first night without her.

This is the first part

where the wheels begin to turn,

where the elevator begins its ascent,

before the doors lurch apart.

This is the middle.

Things have had time to get complicated,

messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore.

Cities have sprouted up along the rivers

teeming with people at cross-purposes—

a million schemes, a million wild looks.

Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack

here and pitches his ragged tent.

This is the sticky part where the plot congeals,

where the action suddenly reverses

or swerves off in an outrageous direction.

Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph

to why Miriam does not want Edward’s child.

Someone hides a letter under a pillow.

Here the aria rises to a pitch,

a song of betrayal, salted with revenge.

And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge

halfway up the mountain.

This is the bridge, the painful modulation.

This is the thick of things.

So much is crowded into the middle—

the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados,

Russian uniforms, noisy parties,

lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall—

too much to name, too much to think about.

And this is the end,

the car running out of road,

the river losing its name in an ocean,

the long nose of the photographed horse

touching the white electronic line.

This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade,

the empty wheelchair,

and pigeons floating down in the evening.

Here the stage is littered with bodies,

the narrator leads the characters to their cells,

and the climbers are in their graves.

It is me hitting the period

and you closing the book.

It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen

and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck.

This is the final bit

thinning away to nothing.

This is the end, according to Aristotle,

what we have all been waiting for,

what everything comes down to,

the destination we cannot help imagining,

a streak of light in the sky,

a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.


Aristotle by Billy Collins

So that 

I stopped 


and looked 

into the sun,
seeing not only

my reflected face

but the great sky

that framed 

my lonely figure
and after a moment

I lifted my hands

and then my eyes

and I 

allowed myself

to be

by the great 


calling to me

like an


and unspoken


like something

in one moment

both calling to me

and radiating

from where I stood,
as if I could 



I had been given

and everything 

taken from me 
as if I could be


I have learned 

and everything

I could know,
as if I knew

in that moment

both the way 

I had come

and, secretly,
the way

I was still 

promised to go,
brought together,

like this,

with the 

unyielding ground

and the symmetry

of the moving sky,

caught in still waters.

I have been,

and someone

I am just, 

about to become,
something I am

and will be forever,

the sheer generosity

of being loved

through loving:

the miracle reflection

of a twice blessed life.

Twice Blessed by David Whyte

From Work in Progress

the path keeps winding

I keep walking

always into surprises

always into adventures

today an unexpected ‘wow’ on the path

love always wins,

though the windmills of God 

do grind slowly, for sure!

grace always changes us

I keep seeing it

reflecting back at me

from eyes I meet in every place

I let go into the the flow

the mystery keeps expanding

this thing, love, is truly the only thing 

that could possibly change this world….

or anyone……








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