life: acoustic & amplified

poetry, quotes & thoughts about life

Archive for the category “Habits”

chances are something you give yourself. – The Universe (TUT)

It was a long time ago. 

I have almost forgotten my dream. 

But it was there then, 

In front of me, 

Bright like a sun- 

My dream. 

And then the wall rose, 

Rose slowly, 


Between me and my dream. 

Rose until it touched the sky- 

The wall. 


I am black. 

I lie down in the shadow. 

No longer the light of my dream before me, 

Above me. 

Only the thick wall. 

Only the shadow. 

My hands! 

My dark hands! 

Break through the wall! 

Find my dream! 

Help me to shatter this darkness, 

To smash this night, 

To break this shadow 

Into a thousand lights of sun, 

Into a thousand whirling dreams 

Of sun!

As I Grew Older by Langston Hughes

It’s a story as old as time itself

Girl meets boy

There they go

Falling in love
It’s an ending no tale wants to tell

Girl and boy

Drifting farther 

And farther apart
Now she lives in the house of broken dreams

pictures fade 

Time stands still

All the shadows standing in their places

Cracks appear

Clock feebly striking on through the gloom

As the tears fall down her face
It’s all just the way it all was then

Just the same as the day when life broke 

30 years ago

although lots of things have gathered

 into every available surface and corner

Dust falls down

Settling on fading glitter

Grime on glass 

Fogging up the window panes 

mold grows free 

covering years of freeform piles

She still smiles that painted smile

You can’t see the lonely spaces

when you meet her on the street

Life moves on and on without her

It’s illusion that you see
Because she lives in the house of broken dreams

pictures fade 

Time stands still

All the shadows standing in their places

Cracks appear

Clock strikes weakly at each hour

As the tears fall down her face
It’s the ending no reader wants to read

Girl and boy

Drifting farther 

And farther apart

until he leaves

and she fights 

to get something she can keep forever 

as she always dreamed it would be
Never letting go

Never moving on 

It’s the hardest part

Nobody wants to read this ending

This extreme dirty secret behind estate gates

stone lions eternally guarding 

heartbreak frozen in time

hoarding only she can stop


Amy Lloyd (AL)

If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.

– Roopleen

“I have a firm belief in this now, not only in terms of my own experience, but in knowing the experiences of other people. When you follow your bliss, and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it, and doing what the push is out of your own existence—it may not be fun, but it’s your bliss and there’s bliss behind pain too.
“You follow that and doors will open where there were no doors before, where you would not have thought there’d be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anybody else.
“. . . And so I think the best thing I can say is to follow your bliss. If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement, you’re on the wrong track. I mean, you need instruction. Know where your bliss is. And that involves coming down to a deep place in yourself.”
Joseph Campbell, “The Hero’s Journey”

preserving by excusing  

The true inner self

must be drawn up

like a jewel from

the bottom of the sea,

rescued from confusion,

from indistinction,

from immersion

in the common,

the nondescript,

the trivial,

the sordid,

the evanescent.

-Thomas Merton

  Seed of Contemplation

words silently spoken

from the other room

words fitly 

uttered aloud

in due time

silent revelry 

of the heart


to defeat

successful in distraction 

sidetracked by our addictions of choice

too brilliant to be truly seen

waiting to die

too damaged to brave transparency 

too convinced that ‘nothing can be done’ to brave self responsibility 

too comfortable to say no to that monster keeping us chained to the weakest parts of ourselves

the bullsh** of wasted lives

the emptiness of wasting time

the cruel decisions of men drowning 

the hopes of the weak trampled

the tragedy of the parental misguidance 

ingrained foundations 

the travesty of religion 

gone wrong

it happens so often

doctrine and old false belief systems

 becoming the 

masters of deceit filled lives

rather than the servant

of love

oh soul arise and fight 

break up the hallowed ground of the falsified truth

oh, my friend, take back your life

open the beautiful box 

of your most vulnerable, passionate essence

the pope will never take your case

your parents will never grant permission

but then again,

why would you want them too?

This is your life! 

Only you can stand for what is given you

take that buried coffin

out of the ground

plant a seed or two inside

No one else can do it for you

or take it away from you

just you

 you can never be too sensitive 

you already know the real truth

celebrate yourself

flaunt your true colors

they’re so very beautiful 

remember to remember

only love is real


Amy Lloyd (AL)

Help Me
As they’re used psychologically, words like repression, denial, sublimation, and defense all refer to one form or another of the way human beings erect walls to hide behind, both from each other and from themselves. You repress the memory that is too painful to deal with, say. You deny your weight problem. You sublimate some of your sexual energy by channeling it into other forms of activity more socially acceptable. You conceal your sense of inadequacy behind a defensive bravado. And so on and so forth. The inner state you end up with is a castle-like affair of keep, inner wall, outer wall, and moat, which you erect originally to be a fortress to keep the enemy out, but which turns into a prison where you become the jailer and thus your own enemy. It is a wretched and lonely place. You can’t be what you want to be there or do what you want to do. People can’t see through all that masonry to who you truly are, and half the time you’re not sure you can see who you truly are yourself, you’ve been walled up so long.
Fortunately there are two words that offer a way out, and they’re simply these: “Help me.” It’s not always easy to say them-you have your pride after all, and you’re not sure there’s anybody you trust enough to say them to-but they’re always worth saying. To another human being-a friend, a stranger? To God? Maybe it comes to the same thing.
Help me. They open a door through the walls, that’s all. At least hope is possible again. At least you’re no longer alone.
~ Frederick Buechner 

originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words

how far will you go?      

Better to live your life open rather than exist on borrowed time, waiting for the great unmasking.

      – Kate Jacobs

love is the flame
all people yearn for the flame

some people never discover there actually is a flame

some people ignore the flame

some people avoid the flame 

some people examine the flame

some people research the flame

some people control the flame

some people fear the flame

some people are fooled by fake flame

some people admire the flame

some people use the flame

some people walk on the flame

some people dance with the flame

some people dance in the flame

some people become the flame

some people are consumed by the flame
your choice…

how will you burn?



Those who are drawn to the root of love are mystics. Mystics are not satisfied with the surface patterns of love, with the emotional tangles and insecurities of human loving. They seek a purer wine, a more potent passion. They need the essence of love, its divine substance.

         ~ Irina Tweedie

On the day I died

water ran through pipes,

footsteps identified people in the house and

the dogs nails clicked quickly on the wood floors above my head,

insisting it was time to go out for relief. 

I still needed coffee,

light with cream,

2 sugars. 

The sun was bright 

and I remember the sky was that deep blue,

romantically named, azurite. 

There was cockscomb, 

half alive in pots near the wooden footbridge I walked over. 

I used to love them when I was alive. 

I touched their red, velvety, blooms seeking to feel something. 

I mistook fluttering angel wings for birds,

battles fought,

 just beyond where I lay

on the words of Wendell Berry –

the only thread

keeping me tethered to this world. 

I sat on benches beside ghosts 

of those who had gone before me. 

I could still only feel them beside me,

I was in the world between worlds. 

There was darkness, a fire swamp, screaming, clashes of swords, 

I could not save myself. 

God was everywhere. 

I found myself in a boat,

where I stayed for 2 years, until, 

in recent weeks,

the call came to step out,

to start walking on water. 

Late in the day, 

I stood in the bathroom, 

accepting the most insulting job offer I have ever received,  

then sat on a stool,

 trying to act as if I was alive,

pretending to look for puzzle pieces,

slightly aware of the colors and shapes,

singing echoes of songs I used to love,

with my beautiful Robin,

who seemed very much alive. 



In Memoriam of my death, consumed by the flame, 

December 3, 2012 – 

may I be remembered as 

Daniel J O’Connell having the:

Spirit of a warrior

Soul of a poet

Irradiat your mind with the light from within, allow your existence to move along within the unbroken continuity of nature. The ideal of authenticity lies deep in the heart of one’s union to the world not the possession of it. The grandeur of unity holds a definitive place in the infinite. When you calibrate your spirit with that of the world you are left open to respond to your life harmoniously with the universe. Unmask your illusions from those artificial ideas you have build your lives upon with walls and boundaries solidifying your thoughts about a tragic disassociation to nature. It’s up to you to be open now or wait for the great unmasking…the choice is yours but unmasking now allows you to reconcile your existence while you still have the chance to live it.

    – Lissette T. Hesmadt

We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them.  1 John ‪4:16‬

No matter the results and outcomes,
     the thousand possibilities,

          you are here now. 
Why even try to trace

     what the beggar will do with your money?

          Let your giving be the whole horizon.
Be lovingly present

     and wars and stars and grief and cats alike

          will be unable to trouble you.
At the center of the world and in each breath

     this is the holy temple, the birthing moment:

          giving and receiving love. That is all. 
This is the sacred point,

     the love in you 

          meeting the love in the world.
However broken or weary you are,

     bring yourself here, in love, 


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

photo sources at

feeling it down to the marrow 

Life itself is the great sacrament through which we are wounded and healed. If we live everything, life will be faithful to us. 


  – John O’Donohue

this birth of awaiting changes
this for that
tit for tat
tuxedo memories
pinstripe debonair
glamour hangs
like confetti in the air
life goes 
round and round
flinging dreams
synthetic roads
leading nowhere 
screams and laugher 
hardest when not fair
up one side now
down the other there
we hang on
we stomp our feet 
and swear
this ain’t right
this we cannot bear
life goes forward
ever on and on
wanting only
to change our point of view
we are loved
no matter what we lose
love will win
love always life’s sweet muse
sight or blind
the vision ours to choose

Men must endure / Their going hence even as their coming hither; / Ripeness is all. 

    – William Shakespeare / King Lear 

read all about it

Especially in the afternoon when light slants

through the window, grazing her cheek on its way to the page.

For a woman who appreciates that kind of light for reading. 

Especially in mornings, when coffee makers groan. 

When everyone else is still climbing, still hand-over-handing their way

up from dreams. 

For the book

that fell into the bath

and was fished out — quickly. 

For the line

that swam before her as she fell


In stolen time: 

the check-out line, 

the way to work.

In fits and starts of traffic, 

in the press

of bodies. 


for anyone who’s ever missed her stop. 

For anyone who’s laughed out loud while reading

in a restaurant. 

Or ever thought of writing

to a stranger:

You told my story. 

How did you know?
Especially for a teenage girl whose touch

turns bookmarks into ash. 

And so she uses rubber bands, 

a roll of tape, 

a stray sock, 

a receipt, 

or my book

to hold her place open. 

Who won’t

come to supper till she finishes her page.

For a grandmother I know

about, who stirred with a book in one hand. 

For everyone stirring

with words in their hands. 

For anyone who’s ever grasped a book in two hands.

Hold your breath, and crack it open.

For books that have burned to be written. 

Books thrown into the fire

because supper wasn’t ready, or her chores had not been done.

For anyone who’s ever had anyone tell her:

All that reading makes you think too much.
 Especially when the leaves against the window

are a chorus from another time.

When evening comes, a woman stretches one curved arm to reach

the light behind her. 

She is reading while the birds take roost, and punctuate

the branches. 

Reading till her book is finished. 

Reading like a girl. 


~Sue MacLeod

I didn’t intend to eat my 

Chocolatini Godiva Truffle 

until the very last. 

It was my shooting star. 

my most special to look forward to. 

my magic bullet. 

my favorite. 

Intented for the ending of the box celebration.  




but then I finished my book!  

I finished reading 

The Night Circus 

and my chocolatini was the closest thing

I could find to a chocolate mouse…

and so, I had to eat it! 

to celebrate!!!

What a cool book! 

Reading is my life,

books my passion, 

the smell of old libraries one of my favorites. 

Yet, I have not read a novel for a long time… 

have not found one that captured me in years…

until now. 

No hesitation with my truffle choice today,

it was the best show of respect

and gratitude I could give. 

The circus arrives without warning…

the circus of dreams…

and we are swept away by the very taste of it…



all things new 

God is not doing an old thing. God is not doing the next thing. God is doing a new thing and new things don’t fit in old vessels. As I was praying I believe the Lord is saying that He is making old vessels new again. Shedding off the old and making it new. This may mean old ways of thinking, repetitive ways that don’t work anymore or don’t yield results as they used to. Old bodies that don’t function the way they used to. Feeling any younger yet? Old and achy bodies will be regenerated into young, flexible and new bodies for the new thing to be placed into. New wine doesn’t go into old wine skins. God needs us 50ish people (give or take a few years) to impart into the younger generations and we need to be as active as they are.


      – David Hoffman

I meet you in the dark 

with my secret information,

my furtive questions.

I bring my grainy picture.

You bring me out into light

and give me yours, so much better,

for you too have been observing 

even more keenly

and loving even more deeply. 

God I come over and over

to give you 

my view of myself

and walk away with yours.


Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

warming trends

        On May 24, 1738 John Wesley recorded in his journal: “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

God, I thank you for your love, alive in me without my knowing or feeling. Open my heart to trust your grace.  
I pray for those whose hearts have not been warmed, who do not know they are so cherished, forgiven, gifted, blessed and loved. I pray for all who are afraid you don’t love them, for those who live under a “law of sin and death” enforced by abuse or violence in word or flesh, who have been labeled, violated, condemned, judged or rejected. I pray especially for those who have been hurt by life and its hurtful teachings. 
I pray that I may bear your love to all I meet today, that I may be the sign, the word that your grace may warm their heart. For all who may come “very unwillingly” to this life, may I be a gentle, welcoming, saving word. Amen. 

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

when you’re ready     

I don’t think that anything happens by coincidence. No one is here by accident. Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us. Otherwise they would have taken another path, or left earlier or later. The fact that these people are here means that they are here for some reason. 


        ― James Redfield

I make a distinction between relationship challenges that are sourced in trauma and those sourced in developmental stages. Quite often, they are inextricably linked, but not always. Sometimes what is blocking someone’s emotional availability and fueling dysfunctional behavior is primarily related to unhealed  traumas. But sometimes the deeper issue is that they are at a different emotional stage. In the latter case, it is not simply a question of holding the space for their healing. It’s a question of waiting, often for years, in the hope that they reach the stage you are at. An impossible scenario, both because you will have to stop growing yourself if they are to catch up, and because you really don’t know who they will be at the next stages of their developmental journey. They may grow into someone perfectly compatible with you, or they may move in another direction altogether. Perhaps the most important questions we can ask about a partner relates to their emotional age: How emotionally mature are they? What areas have they developed and integrated? What aspects are still under-developed?  And how will their stage of development intersect with ours? Don’t be fooled by chronological age. Stage—not age—is what matters most.


(~Jeff Brown an excerpt from ‘Spiritual Graffiti’)

I am no teacher

To teach you how to love,

For the fish need no teacher

To teach them to swim

And birds need no teacher

To teach them flight.

Swim on your own.

Fly on your own.

Love comes with no textbooks

And the greatest lovers in history were illiterate.


~Nizar Qabbani

We must not give up. It takes so much time to heal because we are not just healing our own wounds- we are healing the world’s wounds, too. We think we are alone with our ‘stuff’, but we aren’t. With every clearing of our emotional debris, with every foray into a healthier way of being, with every excavation and release of old material, we heal the collective heart. So many of our familial and karmic ancestors had little opportunity to heal their pains. When we heal, their spirits breathe a sigh of relief. We heal them, too.


   – Jeff Brown

Lissette Hesmadt

Lover’s Leap Bridge

January 2016

goodness runs wild everywhere 

Too bad you weren’t here six months ago,

was a lament I heard on my visit to Nebraska.

You could have seen the astonishing spectacle

of the sandhill cranes,

thousands of them

feeding and even dancing

on the shores of the Platte River.

There was no point in pointing out

the impossibility of my being there then

because I happened to be somewhere else,

so I nodded and put on a look of mild disappointment

if only to be part of the commiseration.


It was the same look I remember wearing

about six months ago in Georgia

when I was told that I had just missed

the spectacular annual outburst of azaleas,

brilliant against the green backdrop of spring


and the same in Vermont six months before that

when I arrived shortly after

the magnificent foliage had gloriously peaked,

Mother Nature,

as she is called,

having touched the hills with her many-colored brush,

a phenomenon that occurs,

like the others,

around the same time every year when I am apparently off

in another state,

stuck in a motel lobby

with the local paper and a styrofoam cup of coffee,

busily missing God knows what.

The Sandhill Cranes of Nebraska by Billy Collins

On vacation I witnessed
birds and whales

that had traveled farther than I.
They take with them

their memories, their songs

and the sacred longing
that guides their migrations,

that leads me

in all my rambling,
the silent knowing

that seems like hunger,

seems like not knowing,
the sure desultory path

that is life, the way

that is the blessing,
the holy wandering

to life that awaits,

always toward you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Unfolding Light

layer upon layer


I was born out of love and with a purpose unknown to me then, but revealed to me one day at a time.


 Today by Walter Dunlevy

This world doesn’t improve by demanding perfection. It improves when we reach through our armor and touch another with tenderness. It improves when we bust through the walls of our conditioning, and try a new way of being on for size. It improves when we work through our unresolved shadow and share what little light we can find. It is the small, positive steps that we take when we are at war with ourselves that change the world.


   – Jeff Brown 


it keeps appearing…
I delete…
I delete…
haven’t I already written this poem?
haven’t I already done that one?
What is left that I haven’t taken out?
haven’t examined properly?
There are always layers…
As Shrek reminds me…
I am an onion…
truth left to excavate…
healing to be won…
motivations to uncover…
mystery to be discovered…
always more!
God keeps getting bigger…

and bigger…
as I examine…
help me to stay in this mode of self realization…
humble me…
my best self emerges within this process…
send it again…
remind me again…


photo sources at

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