Tuesday, August 31, 2021


            In my youth, I was taught that it is important to ‘grow up’ and gradually learn how to ‘act like an adult’, but now, in my 79th year, I understand a different truth – that ‘growing down’ is actually the best way, the way of wisdom. It’s good to get younger as you get older. If I was advising fellow elderly folks, I would encourage them to grow down, and to truly live, as best they can, like a child. In one of his most shocking – and wisest – statements,  Jesus told his followers that, if they want to enter ‘the kingdom of heaven’ – to feel the pure joy of life – they must become like little children. I now think that what he meant was that they must accept the fact that they actually are little children – actually are innocent, inexperienced, and naive  – and that they should rejoice in that fact. Perhaps that’s what I mean when I say that we elders must learn to ‘grow down’. We need to realize that we actually know very little – that life is a constantly astonishing and mysterious miracle, and we should gaze at it – as a toddler does – in absolute amazement.  Like a 3-year-old, I should live today in a state of continuous wonder and surprise. I should understand, at all times, that I truly understand almost nothing – that life is a non-stop, wondrous, and pleasurable puzzle, and that I should simply revel in it instead of trying to ‘figure it out’. Like a child, I should trust this miracle called life, instead of – like most adults – trying to grasp and control it. And, like a child, perhaps, today, I should leap and skip sometimes, and chase seagulls at the beach, and stare in astonishment at the simplest things – ants on our patio, toast on my breakfast plate, a pen beside me now as I type like a lucky little boy at my desk.

(about Sharon Z., 82, Blessings, CT, USA) 

Sharon loves to sit just about anywhere.
There is a grassy space beside 
the sidewalk where she sits and sees 
the stores rising up at sunrise. 
She sits on the steps of the library 
because ideas reside inside 
and she listens
for their whispers and disputes. 
She sits on the childlike earth 
as it slowly rolls, 
as the sunshine brushes away worries,
as the rain runs kindly along. 
Feeling the fullness of life,
she sits on the floor at the nursing home, 
in silence, as her skin 
stretches with satisfaction. 


Monday, August 30, 2021


            It’s reassuring to realize, each morning, that thousands of things are ready to assist me during the day, and that they were made ready with absolutely no assistance from me. I sometimes smugly think of myself as my own source and supplier of the tools of success, but it’s simply not the case — not when I consider, for instance, my car that is occasionally cared for  by master mechanics, with no help from me; the streets that have been kept smooth and clean for my car, with no help from me; the stoplights that successfully send me and others from one intersection to another, with no help from me; the sunshine that makes it easy to see the copious summer trees, with no help from me; and the trees themselves that make major miracles on these warm August days, with no help from me. I’m ready to have a fine day each morning, mostly because of the countless tasks undertaken by people and forces unfamiliar and far away, the loyal laborers who do their duties so that ease and coziness can be a much bigger part of my life than pressure and stress. 


He always likes to be ready. 
He knows the universe itself 
is always in readiness, 
all set 
to start miracles spinning
moment after psyched-up moment.  
He likes to be primed for action, 
geared up to meet 
what a moment
 brings him, 
whether a hundred 
wonderful feelings 
or a wild 
situation that screams and dances. 
He keeps on the lookout,
always alert for little births, 
small arrivals from this world
that always wishes him good luck 
but he has to be
bright-eyed and on his toes 
to take the luck and truly love it. 



Sunday, August 29, 2021


            More and more, it seems to me that true happiness comes only when I live with the spirit of allowing – when I’m willing to permit more than prevent. I’ve spent far too many years trying to keep things from happening – trying to fence my small self in so that I won’t be hurt by the countless enemies I seem to see around me, enemies like mistakes and misfortunes and fears.  This kind of fencing-in and fending off and turning aside can be exhausting, and now, at 79, I’m tired of being tired, and so I’m doing much more allowing than preventing.  I’m reveling in the joy of simply stepping back and giving life the permission to carry on as it wishes to. After all, life is a generous patron, an infinite, bountiful giver, and all I have to do is stand aside and welcome its bighearted contributions. Daily life’s gifts come in many forms – joys, disappointments, successes, failures, understanding, ignorance – all containing wonderful wisdom wrapped in various ways. My task – my opportunity – is to simply allow. I need to stand aside with a smile and enable life to flow through me with its thoroughness and astuteness. I need to bow and give my blessing to worries and pleasures and troubles and triumphs, for they are all consummate gifts from the grandest of all givers. 

A Sonnet

We can always come home again to life
by simply opening this moment now
and seeing that the problems and the strife
of all our days can actually allow 

the light of truth to silently unfold
for us. This quiet, steady, loyal light
is even inside sorrow and the cold 
discomfort of defeat, and just the sight 

of it can help us know that we are still
at home, inside the simpleness of now. 
Each moment is a door that can fulfill
our hopes. We simply have to smile and bow

and truly welcome anything that’s there,
for everything brings light that clears the air. 


Saturday, August 28, 2021


            This morning, as I write this at 4:26 a.m., I am gratefully receiving, once again, the ultimate truth about life, as well as the ultimate of all gifts. 

            Filling my thoughts right now is the most basic of all truths – that the present moment is all there ever is. No matter how far or how long I look, I am never able to find any other moment than this one, right here and now. If I say, ‘Of course there’s a past and a future’, that past and future always exists only in my thoughts in this present momentright here and now. And, amazingly, if the present moment is all there ever is, then it has no boundaries, and therefore is infinite – no beginning and no ending. The most fundamental of all truths is that I live – always – in the completely boundless realm called ‘presence’. 

            And … in this vast kingdom of presence, I always receive the ultimate gift – eternal newness. Right here and now, as the curtains beside my desk swirl in an early-morning breeze, I am a totally new part of the universeand so is everything else, including this breeze that’s caressing the curtains in an utterly fresh way. Also – astonishingly – this moment, right here and now, is the best of all moments – the supreme and unsurpassed moment in the entire history of the universe. Of course, the wonderful truth is that every moment is unsurpassed – the absolute epitome of moments, the utmost, the pinnacle and peak. Every single moment. 

            I’ve used so many italics in these sentences because I’ve wanted to shout out in wonder so many times as I typed the words. Now, at the end, I’m going to stop typing and simply sit in shock and amazement, and realize, again and again, that 

I live in paradise, right here and right now!


“Laughter may well be the ultimate act of letting go and letting be.”
-- Matthew Fox

there was a man who laughed a lot, 
which helped whole flocks of worries 
fly out of him. 
When he was seriously lecturing his students 
about some essential principle of sentence punctuation, 
laughter sometimes burst from him 
like a soft and pleasant explosion,
and all solemnity streamed out of him,
leaving a tranquil mellowness
that allowed his best teaching to begin. 
In situations when 
he was holding on to his personal safety, 
laughter sometimes suddenly shook him, 
and thoughts of personal safety 
loosened and sailed off
into something like a misty sunrise,
and he swayed with the understanding
that safety is always everywhere.  
When he thought he was absolutely right
in an argument, 
laughter often softly fluttered up from inside him 
and helped him see himself 
as simply a star in a sky 
full of sextillions of them, 
and he smiled and shook hands 
with his surprised adversary
because she or he was also a star.  


Friday, August 27, 2021


            When I was a boy, I thought of heaven as a specific place somewhere above the sky, a place of flawless happiness that could be entered, with luck, only after death. Now, though, in these more discerning senior years, I see that heaven is always present, a place of boundless peace and prosperity, available to me in every moment. Paradise is right here and right now – always. Wherever I am, contentment quietly awaits me. My seemingly small life, supposedly separate from all other lives, is actually an inseparable and special part of a seamless miracle called ‘life’, a miracle that unfolds with precision and perfection each moment. Ecstasy can come from simply standing still and listening and seeing, and euphoria will always follow me if I just carefully follow the disclosing of daily marvels. I don’t have to die to reach heaven. It always – always – holds out its open doors in welcome, even as I sit at my desk at 4:56 a.m. and my elderly, lovely hands tap out these words on the keyboard.   


Heaven is harmony.
Heaven is what you get 
when you hold a pencil,
or a breath of air, 
or a person.
It is what you see when the sun 
settles on the grass beside you.
It is just a streetlight flashing,
or a strong hand holding yours. 
Heaven comes to you
when you call it,
and then you can carry it 
in your heart to others. 


Thursday, August 26, 2021


            I need to look more carefully for the natural exuberance of life, the way it seems to constantly revel in its own liveliness. I should think more about the marvelous fact that, in our little neighborhood, lungs are regularly rising and falling, hearts are pumping with good predictability, and lush darkness and vivacious sunshine take turns cleansing us each night and day. Yes, there is tragedy and terror all across the earth, but there is far more ebullience and buoyancy. Just now, my jaws are vigorously moving in order to chew some tasty pretzels, thousands of cars and trucks are efficiently flowing along the nearby interstate, and water is irrepressibly pouring from the kitchen faucet as Delycia rinses some dishes. There’s sorrow across the world, yes, but there’s also jubilation – in the breezes that dance around millions of homes, in the lively sounds in kitchens as food is prepared, and in the bouncy way that branches bend and rise in winds.  I need to look for the exultation in life more than for the gloom. There’s celebration even in the way birds feed at our feeders, and I should share in it by sometimes simply standing still and watching and cheering.     


In Abundance, South Carolina, 
there is a profusion of pleasant feelings
flowing out from everywhere - 
from homes, from stones in fences, from puzzles 
people are putting together together. 
Here, there is affluence 
even in grilled cheese sandwiches, 
even in raisins sitting on a plate beside a magazine.  
Citizens have noticed exuberance in sunrises,
in scissors slicing through paper, 
even in legs lifting and falling while walking. 
In Abundance, there's always opulence 
in the zestful zigzags of life,
and when disasters have struck, there's speedily been 
the bulldozing of problems by friendship 
with its lavishness and its feeling of blue skies. 

Better bring big bags to hold all the goodness
when you pay a visit to Abundance, SC.  


Wednesday, August 25, 2021


            I hope to keep in mind today that I am always surrounded and softly held by our pretty-as-a-picture universe. Even just sitting at my desk in the early morning, doing my daily writing, I see the striking patterns in the wood of the desk, my moderately graceful handwriting on post-it notes, and the silver shine of my small pencil sharpener in the lamplight. Even if I were in a hospital bed, being treated for a serious illness, I hope I would notice perhaps the appealing patterns in the woodwork, or the way clouds curl and slowly flow across the sky outside the window, or even just the elderly elegance of the hairs on my arms. There is some pleasing splendor in even the saddest situations – the delicate tears of sorrow, the bowed-down beauty of friends consoling friends, the sublime service freely given by first-responders. For sure, this is a bewitching world I’m lucky to be living in, where there’s something stunning in even the simplest moment. 


One night a woman heard voices 
 inside her. 
She couldn't seem to stop them.
It was as if her mind was spilling songbirds
all over her bedroom. The brightness she saw
as she walked the floor was the brightness
of the suspended stars, the understanding
that all she ever needed 
was with her
at this very moment. 
The voices she heard
 inside her 
were the voices of forests
 on the sides of mountains, 
and schools of fish celebrating in infinite rivers. 
They were
 the songs of minutes 
made in heaven,
of sunglasses so happy on a sunny day.

And here’s a slideshow of some scenes from recent days …


Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Nothing is more resourceful than this universe into which I was warmly welcomed 79 years ago. Everything about it is ambitious – stars in the sky trying to be the best stars, curtains ruffling breezes in enthusiastic ways, pretzels sitting in a dish with eagerness to please. Every single moment has the zest and sparkle of fountains – if only I could open my eyes and heart to notice it! Today will be a bright and talented teacher, quick-witted and vigorous, and capable of blessing me in millions of ways. Once again, I realize how lucky I am!

Philip M., 89, Blessings, CT

He loves the abilities shown 
in the breaking up of clouds, 
and in the comings and goings 
of gifted breezes.
He believes he belongs 
to these abilities, 
that he’s a part of the expertise 
of sunrises and the talented trees
that shake and frisk for him. 
He praises the powers 
of his hands 
that can come together 
in camaraderie,
and can dance at his side 
as he walks 
and wonders 
at this stunningly skillful world. 


Monday, August 23, 2021


         It’s reassuring to remember, at the start of each day, that the entire day will be praiseworthy. Every single occurrence – every sight I see, every thought that presents itself, every breeze across my arms – will be commendable. Even situations that seem repulsive – some shock, some frightening incident – will, in some perhaps concealed way, be worthy of praise, since they all will contain a quiet but wide-ranging kind of wisdom, just for me.  It’s like treasure lies in wait for me in every golden moment, which is all of them. 

         The coming hours will be exemplary in countless ways. I had best be ready to bow and receive and praise.  

a poem about Bill M., 87, Blessings, CT

He used to love to answer questions 
with excellent answers, 
but now he responds with questions, 
especially "Who knows?",
and he loves those two words - 
since who knows 
where wind comes from? 
and who knows 
if the sky has an end?  
and who knows 
when silence started?
and hey, who knows 
who he or she really is?
and who knows 
if all power isn't present 
right here and right now?  

Bill now knows 
that he truly knows nothing, 
and that's why he loves saying
"Who knows?" 
and then smiling. 


Saturday, August 21, 2021


            The word ‘comfort’ derives from the Latin word for ‘strength’, and today, with Hurricane Henri hurrying toward us, I need a super kind of strength, and I’m finding it this morning, once again, in some simple words: Spirit is stronger than things.  Henri is a ‘thing’ – a material force of immense material power – but, because it is made strictly of material substance, its force, though very potent, is limited. Its windspeed has maximums, and its duration will be relatively brief as it swirls through New England. Our inner spirit, on the other hand, knows no limits – none. The power of ‘love’, for instance, has no boundaries, and is totally insuperable. No limited, short-lived ‘thing’ like a hurricane has a chance when faced with the power of boundless love. And ‘patience’: what storm, as wild as it might be, can overcome the quiet, unwavering power of patience? What mighty winds can disturb, even slightly, the endless equanimity of patience? And then there’s ‘acceptance’, which, like a bottomless, hospitable ocean, receives with open – and even grateful – arms whatever falls into it, including a howling hurricane called Henri. 

            The never-ending power of inner spirit will be available to me in these coming turbulent days, and I hope I can find strength in that simple, comforting truth.  

(what Ellie G., age 42, Blessings, CT, said)

"I always say at least
I have a roof over my head,
and sometimes I see it up there,
the stretching sky, the consecrated stars,
the silent mystery that makes
my life seem small in an illustrious way.
I get comfort from finding strength
in small things, maybe mist among trees,
or the way curtains curl in breezes,
or the sounds of birds that rinse
my mind with songs.  My comfort
comes from the soothing earth,
the simple, reassuring sky."