I like your wide open window soft abandon
your wild free wheelin rambunctiousness
a soft new invention
a concoction of sensual indigenous aromas
and I want to hear you sing
your wild buffalo song
my axe wailing some new chord
with the sun on our backs
cool water in our packs
I want our hikes to go on for days
exploring everything wild
fully contaminated with green forest and wild herbs
till our blood is so fully and completely inoculated
with chlorophyll and light
that our dreams become plainly visible
as the light runs from the skies
and the sun dims
we will lie on warm ground
inventing a new perfume
under a blanket of whispering stars
Adam A. DeFranco
with my heart.
How can I contain my passion for snails?
For otters, milkweed in autumn,
the holes in old socks that live
for decades in a drawer,
stray cats, lonely porcelain
Sleeping Beauty and the Prince
salt and pepper shakers,
coyotes moaning in the wetland,
wayward petals that wander
far from their roses
on rain-swollen breaths of September.
Each creature, I’m afraid,
is my favorite partner.
You, you above all.
I say that to everyone, don’t I?
After love making,
the universe and I just lie here
gazing through our tears.
Who is the sweat-beaded Dancer?
Who is the Witness wearing only
a necklace of stars?
One who burns completely,
leaving neither smoke
Alfred K. LaMotte
Yes, God is mysterious as fog,
but please, don’t give me that stuff
about God playing hard to get.
She is so into you
I can’t believe you don’t see it.
She’s flagrant about it.
She writes you the steamiest letters
in the colors of sky and leaf,
in stone and sea and child,
her hands are all over you,
she has moves that—admit it—
make you blush.
He’s in your dreams,
whispers to you when you aren’t listening.
You think those scriptures are some dry text
but it’s him, fawning all over you,
saying your name.
She wears the most revealing outfits,
struts her stuff, begs for attention.
They’ve always been like that.
Going on singles cruises,
trolling the skankiest bars in town,
hoping for luck.
She has no shame, no holding back.
I’d take her aside and talk to her
about decorum and such,
I can’t even get in the same room with her
without her climbing all over me.
She’s yours, mate.
Yeah, it’s a little wild. Razor’s edge.
I get why you pull back.
Secretly, so in the dark you don’t even know,
it’s your own heart that’s flirting
with everything that moves.
She’s the one
who’s holding you quietly, calmly, murmuring,
“Easy. Easy. I’m right here.
You’ve got me. It’s OK.”
I want to lay with you
in a tangle of sheets and tongues and crazy, wild hair
with the rain beating against the foggy windowpane
and touch your face
as our warm
eyes and souls and bodies
melt into one
the perfect trifecta
I want to stay there
and then another endless, beautiful day
I’ll not ever ask for more
than to love
and be loved
Amy Lloyd (AL)
die for it–
or the world. People
have done so,
their small bodies be bound
to the stake,
fury of light. But
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun
for everyone just
as it rises
under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?
What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it
whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter
~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems
Remember: Joy is not a sin; sacrifice is not a virtue.
❤️ Paulo Coelho ❤️
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
at the center
after growing circle
in the mind
for a far circumference
that holds as focus
an interior so far in
we find ourselves
by looking out
at what looks back,
the lighted edge
of rock and sky,
over the horizon
to the night
beneath our feet,
where light cannot live
but whose darkness
makes a ground
on which to stand.
of those who
at the same horizon
and the same
who saw a world
that witnessed them
at a privileged
their lives caught
in the glance
of what lies beyond
for a fleeting
From LON’S FORT
From Pilgrim: Poems by David Whyte
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
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
there’s this whisper promise
in the breeze,
a bit of ethereal fog slipping between the sheets
and dawn breaking.
there’s this rumor running
afoot in this new born day,
a sideways glance of something –
Oh it’s JOY!
and all this glory burning hot.
there’s this holy hushing
songs of angels,
a chorus of bluebells
as they watch it all approaching.
there’s this first blush of light,
a bit like the bitter and sweet
mixed each day with our longing
for joy to come nest.
there’s a song playing on low
sometimes you forget to remember
be still and know
as sure as spring follows winter
love always wins
listen to your heartbeat
joy is our birthright
morning has come
Amy Lloyd (AL)
It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
and look out — no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
i am the fire by the sea
i am the fire in the forest
burning down all of the trees
i am the fire in the snow
i am the fire that will warm you
when your bones have grown cold
i am the fire for your shelter
i am the fire for your bread
i am the fire for your hunger
whenever you go to bed
i am the fire on the water
i am the fire that is near
i am the fire burning your words
consuming your doubt and your fear
i am the fire of your soul
i am the fire of your loving
i will never grow cold
i am the fire for your spring
i am the fire of your living
passion and life i will bring
i am the fire where you die
i am the fire of your Phoenix
as you rise, as you soar, to the sky
Amy Lloyd (AL)
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
A KEY TO HAPPINESS — SPIRITUAL HUMILITY
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
the guarded place
in unrelenting confidence
then marches on
In lively steps
Take off the façade
let it fall away
Turn around and face me
I search the infinite depth
where beyond all entrenchments
I find your thirst
to be met
the sadness in your bones,
the want of your silent cries
to be heard
and be known—
abiding within those
is a world of precious
Let me touch where
the battle wounds
lie quietly healing—
an armored sheath
rests a lifetime of love
blame and triumph,
honor and defeat
Within this blended web
of scars and treasures,
glistening with honesty,
there you are—
I found you,
beneath the soldier’s plated heart
So loosen the knots around my own
see all its agony bared and mending
and in between each open space
we’ll breathe upon the frailty
All the wishful longings to be had
bring to me yours
as I meet you there with mine.
Quest in Hope is a Traveler by Susan Frybort… https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Traveler-Susan-Frybort/dp/0980885973/
What Your Heart Knows
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
Oh, darling, I know you want to touch Me—to reach out your hands and feel Me tangibly. Might I feel more real, then? Might I be more easily recognized?
Where is your restless heart? To what does it turn, if not to Me?
What can you see more tangibly that distracts you from Me, when all my creation calls out my name? What calls out something else? What does not cry out holy? What does not cry out these words: I have you. I want you. I rescue you. I redeem you. I claim you. I made you. I beautify you. I hung on a cross for you and faced death and won?
What tears you away?
From what do you get your self-worth? How do you decide the value of a day? How do you choose what is yours to do? What is your rhythm? How do you receive energy? How do you find rest?
Oh, my dear, where do I fit in?
My beloved, I did not come to play second. I did not come to trick you, con you into loving Me. You only know who you are and what you’re worth through my love for you—my dying for you on the cross. I would do it again for you.
I would, you know.
But here’s the thing: I did. I did. For you.
I do not ask you to love Me out of guilt, out of obligation. I give you a heart that knows its way to Me. It knows its true self. It knows its name. It knows its place. It knows by whom it was made. It knows the giver of all good things and how things began and how ending isn’t an option until the time is finished here.
I say ‘it is finished’, and the beginning began again. I called ‘Father, I commit my Spirit to thee’, and that Spirit is now yours. And your heart knows my Spirit. You know Me. My children know their name.
So touch these scars. Touch these hands. Let these fingers wrap around yours. My Holy Spirit—Me in you—holds on tight.
So, come on now, sweet one, you hold on tight, too. We’ve got things to do together.
As you stand there
In the pale grey air
Frozen to these four walls
Feet turned to stone
What is worth saving?
Can you will your hands
To grab the memories
You carry only in your heart
Can you pack your boxes full
With the laughter that rings in your ears
The clouds taunt you
There is no time left
Three red flags declare your fate
The defiance of your feet
The moan caught in your throat
Your hands still empty
This Does Not Belong To You by Salyna Gracie
At any given moment
we get to decide what we keep
and what we leave behind
what truly matters
what creates value for us
As my friend, Barbara McAfee, says,
“Who ya gonna be while you’re passing through?”
No one can answer that question for anyone else,
though many times we allow them to do so.
Sometimes it’s a radical loss
we have lost everything we have kept dear
all our treasures in this world
in fire, flood, loss of jobs, health,
bloody battles with power hungry ex’s,
even flukey things never expected.
These are our opportunities
when we only have ourselves left
and we burn as we adjust to this new space of being
the grieving takes us into different,
often difficult, spaces
where we get to (ok, have to) do a new thing
this is where life can reveal our best,
because, it’s always our choice!
My wish for us is that
this becomes a beautiful foundation
to rebuild our new ships –
the latest and greatest in technological wonders –
the kind which will catch the best wind
to take us to the next adventure
for which we set sail!
Where our very lives become
our grandest home ever!
The best is always yet to be!
Amy Lloyd (AL)
aka The Oracle of Hope & Happiness
When there has been too much pain, we often forget that we have the built-in capacity to move through it to another state. The Divine gave us tears to be cried, the capacity to express our anger, a vast range of emotional devices that, when healthily unleashed and expressed, can clear the toxicity out of us, and lead us to lessons of self-love at the heart of them. In our authentic vulnerability lies our greatest power—the power to re open our hearts after loss and disappointment. The idea that feeling the pain gives power to those who have hurt us is completely wrong. Feeling the pain is an act of self-empowerment and the only way to make a break from the prison of repressed emotions. Reach inside and unlock the door…
– Jeff Brown
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-
And then the wall rose,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky-
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
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
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
And farther apart
Now she lives in the house of broken dreams
Time stands still
All the shadows standing in their places
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
Time stands still
All the shadows standing in their places
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
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.
“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”
The true inner self
must be drawn up
like a jewel from
the bottom of the sea,
rescued from confusion,
in the common,
Seed of Contemplation
from the other room
in due time
of the heart
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
the travesty of religion
it happens so often
doctrine and old false belief systems
masters of deceit filled lives
rather than the servant
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
you can never be too sensitive
you already know the real truth
flaunt your true colors
they’re so very beautiful
remember to remember
only love is real
Amy Lloyd (AL)
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