Sunday, July 31, 2022

(written on 11/22/02, when I was still teaching)

Paying attention to something always makes that thing clearer and deeper. This is a truth with magical powers. If I am attentive to a book as I read, the book invariably becomes better, richer, more powerful. If I am attentive, really attentive, to my students, they grow stronger and more capable before my eyes. If I am attentive to the present moment, that moment – any moment – grows stronger, more intense, and more exhilarating. Attention is to anything what sunlight and rain is to plants. Attention feeds and energizes whatever it is focused on. Today, I will try to be attentive to each moment, and therefore I will have the pleasure of watching each of them sprout and spread and blossom.

Below, a scene from this lucky morning …

… our very tall shadows on the beach …

(Sharon Z.,82, Blessings, CT) 

At her age, she says she has 
more scraping-the-heavens kinds of days 
than she ever had in younger years. 
She has little money, 
so she’s always surprised 
by the grand scale of her life, 
the way, over 8 decades of years
she seems to have slowly
come from a cave into sunshine,
and finds herself now 
on the spectacular summit
of old age, 
with a trove of young talents inside her,
and all her worries fallen 
into a silent and bottomless hole. 
It happened, she says, 
when life, not she,
became the center of attention
and this galloping good life 
took her for a ride
and shouted 
This is what it’s all about!



Saturday, July 30, 2022

         ‘Waiting’ is a wonderful word. It implies so many things. If we are waiting for something, then we are expecting it to happen, to come to us. We don’t have to do anything ourselves; we just have to ease up and wait, because we know it will come. If we are waiting, then, in a sense, we are relaxing, because we are totally confident that what we are waiting for will arrive. Waiting does not imply worrying and fearing. Rather, it implies being patient, because we know that what we wait for is definitely coming. Today I want to wait patiently for the power of the infinite universe to exert itself and to control my life. Of course, I don’t really have to wait for that, because it’s already happening at every moment today. What I have to do is resist the temptation to start doing things to bring happiness into my life. The happiness is already in my life, because I am an inseparable part of the peacefulness of this vast and marvelous universe. What I have to do is simply realize that, and wait to see this peacefulness effortlessly disclose itself each and every moment.


She enjoys waiting 
on the phone 
for a human being’s voice,
because for her, 
nothing is better 
than waiting.  
She loves waiting  
for her breath 
to bring a rise to her lungs
and then a comfortable fall,
and she feels fortunate 
to wait faithfully for thoughts 
to flow into and through 
and then out of her,
like an always helpful river. 
She waits for wonder 
to arrive for her, 
as it always does, 
and she delights 
in waiting for fear 
to shrivel up 
and float away, 
waving and smiling 
like a friend.
“Waiting for Mom”, oil on canvas, by Ty Livingston


July 29, 2022


I guess all of us, me included, sometimes feel like an outsider, like there are all kinds of important communities out there, but we have no membership in any of them. The truth is, however, that I, and all of us, are life-long members of the only community that’s important – the community of the universe. All of us – squirrels, whales, old folks like me, leaves loosening up in the wind – are members of a marvelous gang of good-looking, lovable creations of the cosmos. We are all important building blocks in the construction of each beautiful moment. All of us, even the smallest housefly, even pieces of dust on a desk, are brothers and sisters in a vast and endless partnership. We all belong to an alliance of faithful friends, an exclusive clique that calls all of us to join with joy. Not only am I a member of this wonderful club, but I actually have no choice. Just the fact of being born 80 years ago brought me instant membership In this universal coalition made of love and leadership. Even though I am often blind to it, there is no possible way that I can resign my fellowship in the serene and easy togetherness of the universe. It’s a club I can’t leave – and I love that wonderful fact.


Become a member and save,
the ad said, and she said
she already was a member
of a marvelous club, 
the one that includes the clouds 
crossing the sky just now like ships,
and the light that looks
down on her from them,
and the squirrels and birds
that live in that light
right in her yard 
that has a place for her 
whenever she steps out of her house,
which to her is the home
of this quiet club
she's already a member of.

Below, my son’s two wonderful dogs that we cared for yesterday, Hogan and Patchy …



Thursday, July 28, 2022

Sometimes – maybe even usually – I live my life on the topmost surface of reality, just ambling along in a fairly mindless manner, making progress straight ahead across the surface of tasks and problems, but rarely looking down to see what’s below me, what’s hidden under the skin of all these slapdash activities, thoughts, and feelings of mine. If I did take a quiet moment to look below my very busy ‘self’, I would surely be astonished by the boundless scene, the measureless depth of my seemingly little life. My personal comings and goings take place in a limitless and bottomless sea that sways the way it must, and takes me easily along. I may sometimes pretend I understand my life, but that’s as silly as saying I understand all the stars in the sky. Every moment of my or anyone’s life exists in a mystical depth that can’t be explained, but only appreciated and praised. Right here and right now is always infinite, inestimable – and very beautiful.



Wednesday, July 27, 2022

         Today, like all days, I will simply be a ripple in the boundless ocean of the universe – and I hope I can be a grateful one. Indeed, why wouldn’t I be grateful –  undulating along, like I am, in a soft and sympathetic cosmos? Each moment, a new little wave rolls ‘me’ along, and what I call ‘me’ is actually the wave itself, a brand new ripple in the ever-flowing sea of life. What’s really wonderful is that this sea has no boundaries, no limits, and therefore neither will I as I roll and tumble along today. Even if sadness or distress appears, each moment of consciousness will be as vast as an ocean, and each thought will be thoroughly fresh, a never-before-seen ruffle in the boundless mind of life. Wondering where these thoughts come from is like wondering where waves in an ocean come from. Instead of speculating and analyzing, maybe I should just be amazed – and grateful – moment after moment, in sorrow or gladness, as life ripples along and takes me for an endless, always surprising ride.     


If you seek harmony, 
you can get help from the happiness 
of trees balancing themselves 
with winds of all kinds, 
and from the fun flowers have 
in swaying together in harmonious ways. 
You could easily fit yourself into
the tuneful flow of moments 
as they ripple along, 
and the lyrical roll of sorrows with delights
and disappointments with successes
can carry you along in friendly fellowship. 
Harmony has a way of staying with you, 
like vastness always stays with the sky. 
Seek harmony, yes, 
and be sure to smile 
when you see that it's always here. 

“SKY HARMONIES”, oil on canvas by William Hawkins



Tuesday,  July 26, 2022

         An old hymn says “They who seek the throne of grace / find that throne in every place.” This reminds me of something I have always enjoyed meditating upon – the idea of personal, universal royalty. Today, I want to live like a king, because I am a king, and for a very simple reason: I am at the center of all power – and, by the way, so is everyone else. In each present moment, all the power of the universe is present, and it’s present in thought. Try as I may, I can find no other power in this moment – or any moment – than thought.  Thought is everything, does everything, changes everything, and what is called ‘me’ and ‘we’ are at the precise center of thought. So … we are all kings and queens, and today, I hope I can act in a royal manner. I hope I can be confident, calm, and strong, because all power is on the side of royalty. This can be a beautifully imperial day – a day of queens and kings.  

(Harrison P., 61, Blessings, CT)

He's often guided with glory,
as if he's a king who's cared for
by servants. Some days, seeing leaves
loosening in a breeze brings him
inspiration about what to do next
and how to do it. Some days,
the sky suddenly darkening
guides him to hold the light
of his life up higher. He can't help
being guided, because goodness
always gathers near him
to show him how to go.  You feel
victorious when you have
that kind of guidance, the leadership
of leaves and darkness, and of course
the flow of kindness,
the river that cares and steers.
* a fresh bouquet for the dining room from Delycia’s garden *



Monday, July 25, 2022

         Today will be a day of continuous birth. Each moment will be a fresh emergence, an arrival of something I’ve never truly seen or experienced before. If life sometimes seems tedious today, it will be only because my eyes and heart are closed to the nonstop special deliveries of miracles. The present moment is persistent in making everything brand new – it’s been doing it for timeless eons –  and today will be no different. It will be as if each moment is the dawn of a new age, a fountainhead of unprecedented freedoms. Even the most commonplace tasks – pouring coffee into a cup, carrying clothes to the washer, washing my hands at the sink – will be brand new possibilities never before presented in precisely that way. This will be a day of countless dawns, moment by moment, each of them astonishing beyond words. Perhaps Delycia will occasionally say, “Are you o.k., Ham? You look like you’re always staring at a spectacular sunrise.”  


You can’t stop it.
The sun will stand on hilltops today,
despite your efforts.
Morning will wear its finest shirt,
noon will wish you well,
and evening will bring
its beautiful book.
Yes,  storms will speak
their pristine words somewhere,
and stars will shimmer
in their birthplace above you.
There's nothing you can do
about it.
The world will show you
what rejoicing is,
no matter what
you decide to do.

*early sunlight over the Mystic River on our walk today*

* the first morning glories*

* our front-yard poem for today *

Below, the latest from Delycia’s garden …



Sunday, July 24, 2022

         It’s easy for me to lose sight of the fact that everything in life is important – every occurrence, person, thing, and thought. Nothing happens except the useful and the momentous. Each moment today will be far-reaching in its value to me and to the universe. Every breath I take will be of immeasurable benefit, and each feeling that flows through me will be somehow pivotal. The earth will slowly spin, and all of its slight movements will be indispensable. I so often get lost in the apparent unimportance of moment-by-moment happenings, but today I hope I can be alert to the preeminence of even the smallest things – the tick-tock of the clock in our living room, the look of the lamplight on my notes on my desk, the sounds of tires in streets. Every moment today will have prestige, as though its grandness goes beyond that of the sun and stars. Every thought, in a secret and miraculous way, will be entirely epoch-making. Today, truly, will be historic. I should probably take meticulous notes as it discloses its prominence.   

(about Ellie G. 42, Blessings, CT)

One day, Ellie arrived
at the most important moment
of her life, 
and it was right now, 
at this moment in time. 
She saw that she was currently 
precisely where she should be, 
that presently she was in the midst 
of a vast power. 
She understood that, 
right away,
she was living the life
the universe designed for her, 
and that, this minute, this instant, 
she was standing
in the exact center of that life. 
Life was immediately all hers, 
and power was being promptly presented to her.

Without delay, 
she was delighted with everything.
She stood very still,
and smiled –

which she still does, 
a lot.

* a scene from our walk at Bluff Point State Park yesterday morning *

* Delycia’s good friend *



Saturday, July 23, 2022

         Today, like every day, I can count on the unconditional support of the present moment. Whatever I need will be all set for me, here and now, ready to provide me with unlimited wisdom and power. I will have unrestricted access to treasures like kindness, gentleness, acceptance, and patience, and everything I see – trees tossing in summer winds, my wife’s sweet smile, a cup of coffee standing ready beside my hand – will be wholehearted in its ability to literally transform my life. Each moment will be unquestioning in its ability to make life perfect for me, right there and then. I don’t mean that there won’t be challenges today, the fears and disappointments that do their crazy dance all over the earth, but I know that life will be unequivocally able to show me how to accept whatever happens with a respectful bow. I may experience sadness today, but I know I can do it with a gentle willingness. And it’s not little ‘me’ that’s able to be agreeable and easygoing today; it’s life itself. I just have to be open to the all-out, unconditional love that life has ready for me each moment. 


about Sharon Z., 82, Blessings, CT
(a poem based on an old saying

She knows she has friends
in high places,
like the power lines
above her street,
where sparrows sometimes smile at her,
though no one believes her
when she tells them.
The clouds are her friends, too.
She sees them sailing
and sometimes waving to her,
because they’re soft
like her,
and they understand.
The sunlight
that’s always unfolding in the sky
is her friend,
and also the limber tree limbs
high up
that help her remember
to be loose with life,
to freely allow it
to lead her
with its wholeheartedness.
Perhaps the friend she’s proudest of
is the sky itself,
since its vastness
and openness
reminds her of herself.