life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “forgiveness”

world changer 

You have to go through the falling down in order to learn to walk. It helps to know that you can survive it. That’s an education in itself.

    – Carol Burnett


So many religions and philosophies, ancient and modern, set forth paths to happiness, fulfillment and the end of suffering. Many of these paths are filled with great wisdom and deep spiritual insights that have helped countless people throughout the ages. I have been inspired by so many of these spiritual traditions; and I have learned so many hard lessons though my own inner struggles and challenges, as we all have. Consistent with so many of the spiritual traditions, I have found that one of the keys to happiness and finding a deep spiritual connection is cultivating a spiritual humility — reaching beyond our egos as best we can by quieting our minds with a bit of wisdom, by opening our hearts to a bit of unconditional loving-kindness, and by expressing a bit of gratitude for the light and wonder that has been given and that touches us even in the dark times.
1. WISDOM AND THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF ALL EXISTENCE. We — and all of life — are interconnected in a vast and boundless divine tapestry. Our belief that we have a separate, “fixed” self is a delusion that cuts us off from the flow of life and the interdependence of all things. We are nothing but a wondrous part of a larger, interwoven whole. To see all this, even a little, leaves us humble, but also touches us with a deep wisdom that we are connected at our core to something so much greater than we can imagine.
2. THE INNER SPIRIT. As a part of that greater whole, we are truly children of God, at one with the divine essence. Yet, when we come into this world at birth, we put on a limited and fragile ego mask that we wear throughout our lives, believing that the mask is our real self and forgetting our true, inner spirit that is a part of the greater divine radiance. So, we struggle to keep this mask-self safe, closing our eyes to the flow of the divine presence through our lives. Seeing all of this, even a little, we begin to see the futility and childishness of so many of our self-important dramas; and, with the resulting humility, we begin to let go of the ego games and begin instead to focus humbly and joyously on our connection to others and to the greater divine reality. 
3. JUDGE NOT. Looking with an open heart at the cosmos, we may begin to see, even if dimly, the presence of a boundless divine power that supports all of existence, guiding the planets in their orbits, causing the flowers to grow, holding all of the law of physics in the palm of a hand, and supporting our very existence. But, when we grasp after our ego-mask self, and forget our own inner spirit and its connection to the greater divine presence, we begin to make judgments, limiting and defining God, ourselves and each other. We think that we know better — indeed, we think we “know” what is really going on — but the mystery and wonder of existence is beyond any knowing. We do not know, for instance, the truth of another person and where he or she is on the spiritual path. Indeed, we do not even know who we are ourselves. How, then, can we presume to judge others and where they stand in God’s plan? How can we truly judge ourselves? And, even more importantly, how can we judge God, the ineffable foundation of all existence and non-existence? Seeing all this, even a little, we can only begin to humbly let go of our limited, ego-based judgments and open our minds and hearts to a gentle faith in the divine, in ourselves, and in each other. 
4. SPIRITUAL PRACTICE. So, how do we come to see all of the above and cultivate a joyous spiritual humility? Each must find their own way. For me, it come from a gentle spiritual practice: 
(a) First, I try to be mindful of the interconnection of all life, as well as of the impermanence and transience of my own ego-mask self. Then, with a little inner quiet and stillness, I try to watch for the presence of ineffable wonder; I listen for the quiet whispers of my own inner spirit; and I open my heart to the rumblings and reflections of the presence of a boundless God beyond all knowing or grasping.
(b) Next, each day I try to practice a little kindness and unconditional love, as best I can and with as much wisdom as I can muster, quietly shining some light in the darkness on myself and those around me. We all can open a window in our hearts to the divine and let the divine presence shine through us, as if through a glass darkly — but we can polish that glass each day to let in more and more light.
(c) I judge God, myself and others so much. So, I practice not judging by being mindful of how much I do judge, and examining how much of that judgment comes from my own arrogance or insecurity. I then think about the the mystery and power of the divine presence — and the preciousness and miracle of all life, including my own — and stop for a moment and acknowledge, as best I can, that the divine presence is boundless in ways I cannot begin to fathom or judge.    
(d) Finally, I try to find reasons to be grateful: for the presence of wonder, wisdom and light, even in the darkness; for the preciousness of my own life and that of others; and for the blessings, sometimes hidden, that grace my life. There are so many opportunities to express that gratitude to those around me through words and deeds; and to God in my prayers and in the songs of my heart. Finally, I try to express gratitude to myself in the words I use in speaking to myself. We all can begin to appreciate more our own inner, luminous spirits. Humility in the face of the overwhelming wonder of the universe may cause us to begin letting go of our ego games, but it also opens our vision up to the magnificence of the cosmos and to the luminous wonder of our place in it.
Simple Inner Truth by Steven Jay

words and eye above by Jen Lemen 

getting to know me, myself & I  

Spending time with myself

a day apart


 (sort of….I’m never really alone)

I sing my soul

I confront my blocks

I challenge my status quo

I confront my ambivalence 

I shake the foundations of my acceptance

I shatter long shadows of my shame

I resolve erroneous stories 

I let go of my need to stay the same

I enter my griefs 

I accept my feelings

I forgive my failures

I write my treasures

I talk to my people

I connect with the world beyond my knowledge 

I laugh…just because

I move into new freedom

I express my thanks

I smile and smile because of you

the sheer ecstasy that you are my friend (humming a little tune here)

Then I keep letting you go and letting you go

I destroy expectations 

I combust my wanting

I celebrate my freedom 

I explore how it will feel to have a structure

my structure

a home of my own

that important moment

I delve into my desire for a circle of true accountability 

I call into being this right time for like minded friendships

responsibility in its highest and best format

I rise to meet my new 

I give away my longing for the familiar

I slash the tires of my comfort zone

I conjure magic 

all kinds of magic

I walk into this new room 

the theatre of my making

hung with velvet curtains

the colors are mystic and navy blue

I am ready

I am willing 

to bear this new badge

of courage

to assume the custom role 

only I can fill

to step into these shoes…

designed just for me…

I love new shoes…(happy sigh)

central player of this fabulous life 

I’ve been given

for this very time and place

I walk center stage

content with my integrity

proud of my accomplishments

prouder still of my strength of doing right

doing the hard things

of my open heart

my truth-filled speaking

which, sometimes,

brings silence to the room

I have done the work

I am prepared to preform 

my calling is sure

leaving everything else far behind me

I saddle up

I put my game face on (Michael Phelps Style)

grace drips down my back

puddling around my feet

love clouds surround my going

like dust clouds of glory 

keeping pace with my steps (Pigpen shout out)

I acknowledge the truth

I didn’t want to be here

hopes illusion lay dead 

I didn’t know how I could go on

I challenged my very existence 

I refused to save myself (I acknowledge my own sheer foolish audacity and ruthless trusting of Love)

and in doing so

I, somehow, saved myself

arose on the wings of the glorious morning

I bow to your wisdom

I thank you for this moment

this day of acknowledgement 

this touch

this state of being just so

this satisfaction of discord 

this testimony of salvation

this pilgrimage of miracle

this pathway of true glory

this victory of faith  

this resolution of the awkward 

this life of waterfall grace

the lighting bolts of my own thoughts

the thundering intensity of my own worded quotes

hanging chad of my living

scale of justice balancing in my favor

karma smiles at this boomerang harvest of goodness

this resurrection of Phoenix

 rising and rising (there should be birdsong here)

this burning bush of unrelenting passion

all this is

just me myself 

burning away

stripping away

chipping away

throwing away

breaking away

continual discovery






All is well (shhh…do you hear the fireworks here?)


Amy Lloyd (AL)

If anything matters then everything matters.       – Wm Paul Young

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.
Your love

Should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger,

Only to someone who has the valor and daring

To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife

Then weave them into a blanket

To protect you.
Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.
Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.
There are different wells within your heart.

Some fill with each good rain,

Others are far too deep for that
Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.
Even after all this time the sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me”
There is no pleasure without a tincture of bitterness.


   – Hafez

I stand in the cold surf


for what I am to receive 

I look at,

then past,

glistening rocks,

colored shells,

green sea glass,

none of them right. 

My back to the Sound,

head down,

Waves coming and going,

Sand shifting under my wet feet. 

I scan, 

wait for what I must recognize –

 then I see it. 


a black glob of rocks stuck together 

browns and grey and bits of reds

it’s ugly

it’s heavy

it’s rough

it’s jagged

it’s not what I thought I wanted,

it’s not what I thought was valuable. 

what is it, that the water has just delivered, 

and I feel lead to pick up

to take home with me?

I want it to be romantic. 


I search for romance…

Could it be a meteorite?

a mystery from another planet?  
I walk the mile home,

wondering what lessons I will learn from this ‘gift’

I have just received from the ocean. 

Almost home,

one more curve,

I spot my favorite kinda caterpillar,

the brown and black,

softest, loveliest velvet

crawler in the world. 

I loved the feel of them as a little girl,

let them crawl all over me.

I pass it,

then double back, 

as directed by intuition,

to visit this small friend. 

I am bent down,

as my fuzzy friend moves along,

and recognition comes. 

I carry, 

in my hands….

a piece of the road,  

which came to me by way of the ocean. 
I belly laugh 

as I my lesson, 

my gift,

becomes clear. 

I am,

 right now,

every moment,

in the ocean of grace

no matter where I am

the path is in the ocean of love,

of God. 
This road is everywhere!
It rises to meet me,

no matter where I stand!
I comes one small glimpse at a time. 
This is gift –

teaching me what I need,

bringing me diamonds with each step. 






is the best gift. 
We are always loved

The message is waiting in 

every surf,

every leaf,

every tree,

every song,

every heart beat,

every tiny created thing,

every little moment,

breathes and burns. 
Oh, Beloved,

Remove your shoes. 

Dive into the sky! 


holy, holy, holy!

then fly away 


I’ll meet you there! 



(slowly) happy birthday to Me… 

Midnight poem

The clock has crossed the finish line 

of yesterday

and begun this beautiful new day

This very minute everything begins new

I start this day soft,

in the darkness,

adjusting to the new date,

this particular date, 

the date of my birth –

51 years ago now –

this year is passing quickly

I am living in this now,

in this wow! 

It’s all happening! 

No more filling time 

No more empty spaces 

No more waiting for…

I breathe my gratitude, 

float away on a smiling cloud

as I drift back to sleep 



 I am a recovering addict- addicted to artifice, disguise, misidentification, distraction, substitute gratifications, materialism, being right, winning every silly battle. Now I want to be a re-uncovering addict- addicted to baring my naked soul for all to see, particularly me. I want to see straight through my armor to the essential being quivering below. Nothing to hide, no place to hide it.


   – Jeff Brown

I hereby break all contracts I made unconsciously & consciously before I knew the depth of my own Spirit; the silent ones, the ones I inherited, passed down & accepted as my own from generation to generation.
I hereby severe all ties with that which holds me down & back, unable to see the glimmer of what I know to be true, whether by my own creation or by expectations tied like weights around my ankles by others lost in the sea of their own confused hearts.
I hereby reclaim my right to choose how my story unfolds, armed with creativity, a heart made of gold & reverent humility.
I hereby fully accept all of this living & what-is-yet-to-come with brash integrity & loving determination.
I hereby swear to use my superpowers for the love of all beings & I return anything that no longer serves my Higher & Lower Self (& the ones Caught-in-Between) with gratitude & consciousness.
I do this all with love, from the great source of it found in my very own beating heart.


      – Bryonie Wise

going on  

You have burned your bridges.

You have passed through the gate

marked “no return”

And for you there is no going back

No going back to the security of

the known, familiar house,

To the well-worn dispensations

and the threadbare coverings.

Now you are out there in uncharted


heavy with threat and shadows not

yet entered.

The risks are high, and yet you

strike out boldly,

Guided only by unwavering conviction

And the longing for the true centre

of the land.

This is what it means to do a new


So, you travel lightly.

You are abandoned, given up in all


To the task that lies ahead.

Therefore, you may be exactly who

you are.

You have inhabited yourself,

You are at home,

And home is where you are,

Even if it is the desert.

No one can dispossess you of your own in-dwelling.

This is what it means to be free.

We stand, one foot upon the bridge,

Wondering if we too have the courage to go over

And strike the match behind us.


The Dream of Learning our True Name by Kathy Galloway 

Trees not yet leafed out,

the woods aren’t green,

just tiny flakes of green
in their childish little hands,

soft and small.

Something larger than them
from deep down stirs,

exceeds itself in them.

Among those who dare
a new thing

God grant me

such ancient courage.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

photo sources found at

the art

When they say 

Don’t I know you?

say no.

When they invite you to the party

remember what parties are like before answering.

Someone telling you 

in a loud voice 
they once wrote a poem.

 Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.

Then reply.

If they say 

We should get together

say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.

 You’re trying to remember 

too important to forget.


The monastery bell at twilight.

Tell them you have a new project.

It will never be finished. 

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store 

nod briefly 

and become a cabbage.

When someone you haven’t seen in ten years

appears at the door,

don’t start singing him all your new songs.

 You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.


The Art of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab Nye

there is terrible beauty in every human heart 
tell me a story that will live with me forever
love always shares grace always wins
you can’t miss if you show up
pay attention…
the message is always revealed at the appointed intersection 
letting go brings the right miracle
at the right time the song playlist repeats 
crazy love flows into mystic waters
deep calling to deep
honor chooses to say yes to the best invitations
making the call brings me the messages I need to build the new bridge from the friend bench of this manna-filled moment
there is always more than enough to share
gratitude buckets fill and overflow
removing scales from blurry, tearful, kaleidoscope eyes 
as perfect peace falls into rightful place
color shards blooming into new masterpieces of never before seen glory
diamonds dance on the water
flaming beauty evolves, drives me to my knees,
shedding shoes, and fear, 
as we talk 
I lift my face to the sun and free soar 
full wing, open soul, with the gulls,
who always fly in trust, never a shadow of doubt, that they are loved to the sky 
right here, and in every tick of time,
in, and in between, every click of the second hand,
around the bend of eternity and back again



amazing grace


 God, save me from the lie 

of an acceptable death,

the heroic sacrifice (too many spent),

a crazed god’s scheme

to sell forgiveness for blood.

Save me from the anticipated gesture,

the deal agreed upon.

Deliver me instead into truth’s sordid lap,

the bewildering perversion

that comes of fear, and death its only issue, 

violence its only hands and feet;

the way we judge, the way we think we can.

Let me not blame this on you.
No: only in the jumpy torchlight 

of the unnecessary flames

of another lynching, another rape,

a war, an execution,

the tragedy of power,

only here in honest horror

do we see your awful love in all its range,

your inexplicable grace unbending,

mercy nailed and crowned with thorns.

Only here in our deepest depravity,

not planned, not paid for, but accepted,

can I know love strong enough

to save me and all this trembling world

not from that but this,

not from the fear of hell

but from the hell itself of fear.

Only in my deepest loss, and yours,

do I see love win

and raise me up to something new

and really alive. 

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

walking by faith
expecting miracles 
we rely on things to come
we hope in what is not seen
we stand on invisible ground
fly without evidence of our wings
we fight battle with foes from another dimension
we teach without seeing the whole vision
we trust what we cannot see with our eyes
we walk on 
for sure, 
we are going the right way
directed by the silence
in bright, beautiful pathways of grace
and dark, eerie forests of fog
somedays we are surrounded by fellow pilgrims, or foes, or strange bed-fellows,

other days we seem to walk alone
no matter
we walk on
or we sit and wait
relying on radical trust
we learn the virtues by living 
because we have truly learned
what we could never learn
by our own understanding 
faith is the victory
everything is grace




doxology and dreams in the dark   


 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. 
– Job 30:26 

Smack dab in the middle of the fight 

While I waited for right 

my day turned to night 
I thought I was fine 

the good I would find 

then early one morning I found I was blind
I lay on the ground 

this dark hell I found 

fluttering wings the only sound 
I drank this dark brew 

no way out but through 

this darkness just grew and grew
Overtaking me, Helpless I turned 

My hope was all burned 

I could not choose what I thought I had earned 
I lay in Your hand 

in Your arc I did land 

trusting the truth I had already found 
Watching life pass 

going ever so fast 

oh how long will this dark, dark night last? 
In spite of the fear 

I am still here 

I give thanks even through tears 
I trust in Your plan 

My life is just sand

I am a follower and not a just fan
and if I should die 

The truth does not lie 

The sun will still be here when I say goodbye

I trust in the way

I open and say

Come open the door today
So light come and hold me 

Love come, grow boldly 

Till every bush, and bud, flames holy 





everyday hero

Quote of the Day: Virtue 
Next to the seven deadly sins, the seven cardinal virtues are apt to look pale and unenterprising, but appearances are notoriously untrustworthy.
Prudence and temperance, taken separately, may not be apt to get you to your feet cheering, but when they go together, as they almost always do, that’s a different matter. The chain smoker or the junkie, for instance, who exemplifies both by managing to kick the habit, can very well have you throwing your hat in the air, especially if it happens to be somebody whom for personal reasons you’d like to have around a few years longer. And the courage involved isn’t likely to leave you cold either. Often it’s the habit kicker’s variety that seems the most courageous.
If you think of justice as sitting blindfolded with a scale in her hand, you may have to stifle a yawn, but if you think of a black judge acquitting a white racist of a false murder charge, it can give you gooseflesh.
The faith of a child taking your hand in the night is as moving as the faith of Mother Teresa among the untouchables, or Bernadette facing the skeptics at Lourdes, or Abraham, age seventy-five, packing up his bags for the Promised Land. And hope is the glimmer on the horizon that keeps faith plugging forward, of course, the wings that keep it more or less in the air.
Maybe it’s only love that turns things around and makes the seven deadly sins be the ones to look pale and unenterprising for a change. Greed, gluttony, lust, envy, and pride are no more than sad efforts to fill the empty place where love belongs, and anger and sloth just two things that may happen when you find that not even all seven of them at their deadliest ever can.


~ Frederick Bruechner originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words





photos found at 

decisions determine destiny 


Today I want to feel my way 

into a familiar name 

for the One who holds us all:

a name of endearment,

like the names lovers use in the tangled sheets

a name that ripples through sunlight and tears.

I will listen for that name today, 

Knowing it is the name the Beloved uses to call me.


~Oriah House (c) 2015   My child, don’t be afraid. I am here. I know how hard it is to feel, sometimes. This moment, I know, is difficult to let yourself feel. Don’t hold back. Don’t protect yourself from feeling, your emotions this way and that. This is a gift from Me, the way your heart swings from high to low. I am the constant one. I keep you still. 


There are things you will have to face now. I know you want to bury your head, and I let you do that, your head buried on my chest. But know when you lift your head, I will be there to help you to rise. And you will rise, and your feet will find firm footing, and you will square your shoulders and take one step forward, and then another, and you will find you know your way.


There is much ahead, and the path does not always seem clear. But I help you to rise. I go ahead, and I help you to rise. And when you stumble, I will help you to stand again. And when you are scared, I will firm your trembling lip and I will navigate you through the storm of emotions and I will quiet your quivering heart.


You are fierce and gentle. You are beautiful and strong. You are chosen and delighted in. You are all I’ve made you to be. I took everything from you that has kept you from rising. I have taken everything that makes you feel small and unsure and hesitant. 


You can go forward, to the places I lead you. And you will know who you are. My child, the one who knows your Father, the one who knows your own name.



You are loved. Always and forever. 

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