Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Inner Worlds

Within this world lives another, a space of contentment and peace where what is right and true shines forth. From here, deep roots anchor us in what lies beneath and bright wings bind us to what soars above.

Once we acknowledge this inner refuge we can never fully turn away. Try as we may to swim at the surface, this deeper life calls to us in the most unexpected moments of our days.

Fur surely, some unshakable truths are nestled in the landscape of this inner world. Some deeper sense of what is most nourishing and illuminating. Some sense of true union with the greater world. Some understanding of where the roots of love are bound. It's as the wise ones have always told us: The way in is the way out.

And so eventually, we are called irretrievably to the inner world. We dive in. We commit fully to its wisdom and its truths. We acknowledge and embrace this life within, this sense of communion with everything and all. Over time, we learn to cultivate the inner life, to spend time gazing into the depths and cherish what we find there, to be nourished and fueled by its rich bounty.

And then inevitably we are called to bring what we have found in the depths back to the surface of the known world, like a diver returning with glimmering pearls from the ocean floor, as a gift to those around us. Quietly, happily, we share these tender offerings of unshakable love and light back to the visible world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Today, may you choose peace.

May you not make war with yourself, your family, your world.

May you choose calm over chaos, acceptance

over aggression, and surrender over struggle.

May you be kind to your body, and thankful

for how steadfastly it carries you through life.

May you be merciful to your mind,

and grateful for how clearly it guides you.

May you be thankful for your good heart,

which aches to be full and open and bright and true.

May this be the day when you soften the hardened world

with your kindness and goodwill.

May this be the day when

whispers of peace carry you through.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Big Mind

Slough off your too-small skin.
Stretch into the enormity of your being.

You are not a small earth-bound soul.
You are the whole wide world.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Meditation Instructions

Settle into a quiet space of alert repose.
Soften. Relax. Let go.
Welcome the moment, 
just as it is. Breathe freely and easily.

Notice the world around you. Sense the earth 
beneath. Sense the sky above. Rest in the center 
of life and grow still..

Soften. Watch. Melt. Notice the world within you.
Sense the body's gentle rhythms. Feel the pulse of 
life deep inside.

Relax more. Cultivate calm. Welcome peace.
When you're ready, settle your small self into the 
open arms of the universe. Let yourself be held.

Feel. Merge. Let go. Dissolve into the light of 
the world. Rest in its clarity and deep presence.
Be illuminated. Shine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The "Little Alleluias" of Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is my patron saint of poetry. Whenever my vision grows dim and I need help seeing clearly to the beauty of the world, I turn to her wise and shimmering words. She calls her poems  "little alleluias" and says that they are her way of singing praises to the world. I feel that sense of amazement and awe in almost every single one of her images and stories. I cannot imagine anyone reading her words and not feeling enlightened, emboldened, soothed and inspired.

Mary Oliver rarely gives interviews; she seems content to let her words speak for themselves. But just last week Krista Tippett's On Being radio show released an extended interview with her. If you admire Mary Oliver's poetry and are curious to learn more about where, why and how her poetry is born, I highly recommend the interview.

You can find the interview on the On Being website here. The show releases both the produced one-hour show and the longer, unedited interview - I especially recommend the longer version for its depth and authenticity.

And for a sample of some of her words, this link will take you to many of her poems on my First Sip website. I hope you enjoy them all.

There are a hundred more questions I wish I could ask Mary Oliver, but still I am grateful for the little glimmerings of insight and inspiration she offers in this interview. It has inspired me to pull off my shelves every single one of her books of poetry and prose with renewed hunger and admiration. (And since she mentioned in her interview that she reads Rumi everyday, I have dusted off his books as well.)

All of This

For at least a few moments of each day, 
may you let your story, your gripes, 
and worries and melodramas
melt away completely. 
May you rest back and breathe, 
relinquishing your tight hold on 
who you think you are.

Is it possible that you are just a simple creature, 

moving and watching and shining and breathing? 
Just a little bubble of life 
floating through the cosmos? 
One small but shining fragment of this great play of life?
The answer is clear. 
You are all of this, and more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


How beautiful it is to know you are alive, and to be thankful for the many gifts that color your days. To give thanks for the people who bring your world to life. To offer gratitude for the rich experiences that add texture and taste and love to each day. To acknowledge those small sparkling moments that bring happiness and inspiration.

How beautiful it is to be thankful for even the challenges in your life. To appreciate all they have to teach you, and the many ways life's difficulties both strengthen and soften you. And especially to offer thanks for those invisible hands of support that appear, just when you need them most, to hold and carry you when you can no longer manage on your own.

How beautiful it is to be thankful for moments of peace when they sneak into your day. To be thankful for the ability to recognize those tranquil moments when they appear. And to offer gratitude for the wisdom to welcome them in, to cherish them, to let them inspire you to spread peace in all directions, in every way we can.