Thursday, December 24, 2009

How To Build A Smile


A child can fall in love
with a piece of string.
A cat can fall in love
with drops of dust.

What did you fall in love with today?

Oh. Oh.
You forgot to fall in love?

Try it now.

Let’s love the day we’re sitting in;
revel in how it rolls out its mysteries
like a drunken artist, hoping someone,
anyone, will notice its design.


Whatever we bless
turns into a poem.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are You Here?

Right now, are you here?

Is your mind paying soft attention to your world?

Are you conscious of the ground beneath your feet, the in-and-outness of your breath, the beating of your heart? Do you notice the brilliance of your fingers that wrap perfectly around a pen? Are you aware of the brother or sister who sits next to you in your office or on the train?

Are you seeing the vast sky? Are you noticing the deep silence that underlies every sound? Are you clasping the hand of your own divine spirit?

Your spirit is the wealthiest asset you will ever possess.


Do not forsake it to dance with fear.

Come back to here. Come back to now.

Come back to You.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What I See Now

What I see now
that I couldn’t see then,
was that people’s cruelties
flow out from their scars.
Just like mine do.
And yours do.

It stays that way
until Awareness,
that great merciful mindquake,
taps us wide open.
And then,
instead of seeing
from certainties,
we start seeing
from heart.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pavement Poetry

Walking along to the Post Office the other day, I began noticing the pavement. There it is: ordinary, foot-friendly, home to a fallen leaf, chewing gum, dogshit, grime. An endless weave of gray canvas. I began to ask myself the question Pema Chodrun recommends: 'What IS this?' That simple inquiry is just Pema's way of encouraging us to see without judging. 'What IS this?' After several minutes, voila! I began to see the pavement as a work of art. I thought: 'I could slice out two feet of this, frame it, and put it in a museum." I wasn't kidding. Even now, I can see it hanging with aplomb on a long slow white gallery wall. Artist: God. Cost: priceless.

My inquiry continued. When I got to the Post Office, I found myself in line behind a blind woman with her ultra-kind seeing eye dog. 'What IS this?' The woman's turn came, and I helped direct her to the clerk. It turned out she wanted to fill out a Change-of-Address card. The clerk leaned out to me and said: "Will you help her?" I said, "Sure." We walked to the side table, and the woman gave me her name and address while I filled in the form. Then I directed her back to the clerk, who thanked me. The woman thanked me. Yes, and the second clerk next to the first one thanked me. Thankmania! Well appreciated, I got my stamps and left. On the walk back, I kept on asking:'What IS this?' A stranger passed by me, turned around, smiled, and said "Hi!". I smiled back. Shortly afterwards another stranger came towards me, smiled, and said "Hi". I responded. Then a third stranger, turning a corner, looked at me and waved. I waved back. 'What IS this?'

I don't remember having strangers on a street greet me before this. All I know is that if ever there was evidence that human angels exist under our facades and are able to hear the footsteps of a judgment-free walk to the Post Office, this was that evidence.

'What IS this?' I have no idea. But I do get one thing: that under the apparent multitude of divisions before us, everything is connected. Always.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bent Trees

I was enjoying a cup of coffee on Starbuck’s patio when I noticed something unusual about one of the trees in front of me. It was oddly bent. Its leaves were sprightly and green, but its trunk tilted at an awkward angle over the street. Amazingly, because of that steep tilt, it was able to cast massive shade on the cars parked beneath it.

I don’t know how the tree felt about being tilted - or whether it even cared. But I'm certain the cars parked below it must have been grateful for the umbrella of cool green shade protecting them from a blazing sun.

Sometimes we too grow up awkward or tilted. When we look around our universe and notice the unblemished stance of others, we can feel envy. Or, we can notice the healing shade our past wounds now provide; and the comfort we often bring to those who also feel tilted or scarred in some way.

Unbent. Bent. Who can say which is more valuable?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Future Tales

Case #785

A man, deeply in love with power, had enjoyed a hectic and busy life making commands, building empires and fending off detractors. Not surprisingly, he was rewarded with many plaques and titles and bank accounts.

However, when his power began to wane, he became very depressed and fell ill. A friend stopped by to see him and asked, “Is earthly power the only happiness?” The man sighed and said, “Yes, I believe so.”

Arriving in Heaven, he quite naturally expected his high status to be admired. Ah, the tragedy of expectations! When he became aware that God ruled All, he was stunned. “This isn’t right,” he thought. Being an avowed activist, he decided: “I know what! I’ll lodge a complaint.”

It was at that very moment he discovered he had no lips to complain with.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Future Tales

Staff Reports from Heaven on Recent Arrivals:
Case 784

A really cute and important CEO entered last week, resume in hand. The Entrance Angels read through his material and all thought it quite impressive. So, after the usual plush meal of WhateverYouWant, the illustrious CEO was assigned to the task of getting up each morning at 6 AM and persuading all the birds to start singing.

“Hmm...pretty important job,” thought the CEO.

A few days later he reported back to the Assignment Desk, quite annoyed. “Are you guys pulling my leg?” he complained. “These damn birds don’t need me to persuade them to sing – they’re babbling and warbling on their own even before I get out there.”

“Oops,” murmured the Assignment Angel. “My bad – it was a typo. Forgive me. Your task is quite different.”

“Ok, well – what?” barked the CEO.

“Your task is to get up every morning at 6 AM and listen to the birds sing.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Future Tales

Practically everyone knows that Heaven is a formless and timeless life space. But few suspect –as I do- that after we shed our bodysuits, there is a Rehab Center through which we all pass prior to our total immersion in the One.

I think of it as a kind of pre-Heaven workshop, where we get prescribed a variety of Mental Rinse treatments. This is to ensure there aren’t any leftover hiccups within us to spoil the silkitude of Oneness.

These Future Tales, then, are my imaginings of what happens to our Souls when they arrive, baggage in hand, at the entryway to Heaven. Well, they are either my imaginings or some rebel angel leaked them to me when the Boss wasn’t around. Either way, here they are.

Reports from Staff Angels on Recent Arrivals:
Case 982

A woman arrived who had spent her life despising fat people. Naturally, she was immediately assigned to a crew of fat angels. In Heaven, angels come in all sizes, and five radiant plumpettes were assembled and sent to her room. When the fat angels entered, the woman stared at them, drawing back as though stung by a wasp.

“I thought everyone in Heaven was beautiful!” she said, aghast.

“Oh yes,” the head fat angel assured her, “everyone here IS beautiful. And here’s the good news,” she continued gently, stroking the woman’s cheek, “after two weeks in our Vision Therapy program, you’ll be beautiful, too.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Future Tales

Case #782
Staff Reports from Heaven
Case 782

Last week we admitted a highly intelligent and creative thief, one who had never actually been captured. He confessed he was surprised that karma hadn’t caught up with him during his earthtime.

“Ah,” said the angels, “you do realize, don’t you, that everything you stole you stole from yourself?” The thief was silent. “Here,” continued the angels, “your task will be to secretly dispense gifts on those you stole from.”

“Agreed,” said the man. “But what is my punishment?”

The angels smiled. “Your punishment is discovering how joyful it feels to give, and to realize you spent your entire life living without joy.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Future Tales: Case #781

Staff Reports from Heaven on Recent Arrivals.
Case #781:

A woman, famous for being giving and generous, discovered at one point that her giving came with a hidden motive. She wanted to be loved for her efforts.

The truth was, some loved her and some didn't. When she saw being loved was not an automatic return for generosity, she decided to be more honest. She began giving only when it felt good to do so. All the inauthentic caring flew away, and she felt a hundred pounds lighter. She thought: Apparently, giving for a payoff isn't really giving.

In Heaven, she said: "Oh! Oh! I see the one who didn't love me most was me." Then she sat down in a chair and let the angels braid her hair.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


When I succeed at worldly things,
but never look within,
do I not reject the fruit of life
and only eat the skin?

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Twitter Metaphor

As one of many people who Twitter spiritual reminders, I have been struck by how much this experience reminds me of the practice of meditation.

In meditation, we start out with a focus –our breath, the word love, or I AM, and from there we go into the Place within where we find our True Self. Always, in the midst of this practice, the ego begins to tug at our attention: “nose itching”, “forgot to call dentist”, “boring”, “what time does this end?”, “knee hurts”.

And so on. Our practice, of course, is to brush these thoughts aside and keep returning our attention to the breath, to within, to now.

And so it is in Twitterland. We post a reminder “All is One” or read another’s reminder “Go Within” and in that moment our mind expands into the infinitely wider Self that underpins our local identity, our ego. Then! come the marketing tweets, the “Make $100,000 at home” tweets, the “Here’s what I have for sale” tweets.

There’s nothing wrong with these Tweets – they are the same flow of thoughts that stream endlessly through all of our minds. But if we happen to be thirsty for a drink of Peace, we have to temporarily brush our egotweets away, just as we do in meditation. Return to the breath, to the “I AM”, to the reminders of our True Self.

So at Twitter, just as in real life, we are offered a feast: idle thoughts, distracting thoughts, worry thoughts, exciting thoughts, silly thoughts, doubt thoughts, empowering thoughts, divine thoughts. And, just as in real life, we get to choose where we place our attention.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What happens when I exile blame
and let life be my friend?
Will the ground beneath me crumble,
or will all my bruises mend?

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Lesson

Once upon a time,
Jesus stopped by to give us
a life lesson.

And I got it.

I want to be like water,
to dance with each moment
without holding onto the past.

I want to be liquid and forgiving.

I want to put yielding into life
instead of judgment.

I want to curl around stones
instead of hurl them.

I want my movements to be
informed by oneness.

I want to be a living yes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today is a no-temperature day, the kind where there seems to be zero separation between one’s skin and the surrounding sea of oxygen. If heat and cold are mood-despoilers, then this amazing flow of neutrality must be called pure nurturance. People, animals, cars all move about unprotesting. Everything seems held together by kindness.

Of course, it won’t last. Tomorrow could easily toss out gusts of wind and wet. But the mere appearance of this strifeless day reminds me of the space within which is not subject to tides, seasons, quakes, storms. It is not now -not ever- subject to our temporal turmoils because it underlies them. It is the unseen bed of life which is still, formless, unrockable.

Hidden beneath my tightly spun thoughts, there is always a door open to this space. I know this. You know this.

Why do we not use it more often?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Yes Road

If I took Yes,
and stretched it out for a mile,
then walked on it in my bare feet,
life would like that
and probably tickle my toes.

If I took Yes
and stretched it out for a mile,
then refused to embrace it
with my naked feet,
I would end up walking on sharp stones.

But if I took Yes
and stretched it out for a mile,
then walked on it in my bare feet,
life would like that
and probably tickle my toes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How To Build A Smile


A child can fall in love
with a piece of string.
A cat can fall in love
with drops of dust.

What did you fall in love with today?

Oh. Oh.
You forgot to fall in love?

Try it now.

Let’s love the day we’re sitting in;
revel in how it rolls out its mysteries
like a drunken artist, hoping someone,
anyone, will notice its design.


Whatever we bless
turns into a poem.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Speaking of Beauty

Any way you cut it, here’s a truth: there’s nothing like sheer smarts flavored with compassion to make the angels dance.

And that’s exactly what we’ve got moving into the Oval Office: a mind with a heart. How did we get this lucky?

What’s riveting about this luminous and brilliant new president is that he doesn’t come from privilege, he has flaws, he was dumped by his father and he can’t bowl. Despite these obvious dents, he has what really counts: he's ecstatic about ideas and his consciousness is wide enough to include all of us.

When a country’s psyche is in shreds, as ours is now, what we need is a blazingly fresh pair of eyes. Eyes that can imagine. Eyes that can explore. Eyes that can hear as well as see.

We got it.