Wednesday, August 31, 2022

         On these hot summer days, it would be good to occasionally step inside a soft, refreshing cascade of water . . . and fortunately, something like this is always happening. Right now, as I sit in the early morning at my computer, an easygoing waterfall of fresh thoughts is flowing through me, just as it will be five minutes from now, and all day tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Also, a peaceful stream of blood is rolling through me, as always, and showers of new feelings are spilling over, and quiet currents of breath are tenderly entering my lungs. This life I am part of is an unruffled outpouring of good gifts, though I am often unaware of this ever-present cascade. Will today be different? Will I purposely stay still and feel the streams of life carefully cooling and washing me?  


He loves his coffee and his wine,
but truly revels in the drinks
that have no end.  In several winks
the wine is gone, but the divine

rewards within a cup of Love
can never end. A glass of Trust
holds deep and endless harmony,
and Kindness, like the sky above,

cannot be kept within a cup
and keeps on spilling over while
he drinks and drinks. A smile
fills his face when he takes up

a mug of Gentleness, for he knows
there's always more and more
to have. He loves to freely pour
a cup of that which flows and flows.

Below, some scenes from our beach-walk this morning, with Delycia leading the way …



Tuesday, August 30, 2022

     Earlier today, when I was worrying myself silly about some supposedly large problem, the word ‘effulgence’ floated up in my mind, and fairly suddenly there was the light of relaxation instead of the darkness of distress. It seemed, for a few moments, like all of life was actually full of brightness. Even my worries seemed strangely dazzling, as if they were shiny but harmless specks of light. I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, and the yellow walls looked luminous. I felt like I was floating in a strange kind of splendor. I saw an old, disheveled truck pass by outside, and even it seemed to glitter and gleam. For those few moments this morning, the lustrousness of life was so clear, even in the doctor’s quiet, ordinary, but oddly bedazzling office.


One morning 
he saw a silver coffee cup 
shining on the edge of his sink. 
Soon he noticed other shining things 
in the house. The old stove seemed 
to be living in light again, 
the mouse beside the keyboard 
was covered in a blanket of brightness, 
and his socks seemed lit up, 
by which he knew his bicycle 
would shimmer down the streets that day. 



Friday, August 26, 2022

         A friend recently bemoaned the gradual disappearance of privacy, but I’m not sure it should be grieved over. One dictionary says the word “private” refers to something that “belongs to some particular person or pertains to and affects a particular person or a small group of persons”, but is there really anything in this universe that is private in that sense? Yes, I realize that I ‘own’ a certain amount of money, but does the value of that money belong only to me? Did I alone make that money valuable, or was it not, rather, the hard work of countless strangers, over many years, that made the dollars in my pocket worth something? Yes, at this point in time they are in my pocket and my bank account, but they have passed through innumerable hands to reach me, and their journey will continue far into the future after I spend them. In a sense, I don’t ‘own’ my money; it doesn’t belong to a particular person named ‘Hamilton’. I just use it for the time being before it passes along to others. In that sense, it’s not my own private property. The material goods I ‘own’ are also not strictly mine – not a personal, exclusive possession. Like my money,  my wife and I  are only ‘borrowing’ the couch and chairs in our living room (even though we paid cash for them). The craftsmen who made them and the people who may use them after us surely own them as much as we do. The furniture is ‘on loan’ to Delycia and me — and so, as a matter of fact, is everything else I theoretically ‘own’. ‘My’ heart certainly does not ‘belong’ to me. I did nothing to earn it; it was freely given to me by the Universe some 80 years ago. The same goes for ‘my’ lungs, ‘my’ muscles, even ‘my’ thoughts and feelings. Ideas and emotions aren’t ‘made’ by me. They’re not my private possessions, things I can own and be proud of. They come from the vast world of ideas and feelings that’s been re-creating itself for eons and eons. They’re created from the books I’ve read, the people I’ve listened to, the movies I’ve seen, and so on. Like all of us, I’m lucky enough to share in an immense and very public wealth of thoughts and emotions. So what’s the big deal with privacy? As far as I can tell, we live in a universe in which, the dictionary notwithstanding, nothing “belongs to some particular person” or “pertains to and affects a particular person or a small group of persons”. Everything belongs to everything, everything affects everyone, and everyone belongs to everyone. Privacy would seem to be essentially impossible in this kind of universe, so we may as well bid the charade of it a grateful farewell.



Thursday, August 25, 2022

         The word ‘acquiescence’ often carries a negative connotation – a sense that a person is reluctantly giving in – but it’s interesting that the word derives from the Latin word for ‘quiet’, which offers a fresh perspective on it. When I acquiesce to whatever’s happening in my life, perhaps I’ve simply decided to settle into a quiet posture of acceptance. Perhaps it implies embracing even the worst situations with calmness and respectfulness, and then studying them and trying to learn from them. Rather than necessarily suggesting a submissive attitude, acquiescence may actually stem from understanding that saying yes to the universe’s plans for me can prepare the way for a wider kind of wisdom. I may not always love what’s happening in my life, but bowing to it can bring the inner quietness and light that learning something new often produces. I might even drop the ‘a’ in the word. Perhaps I want to keep the quiescent kind of life I seem to have fallen into, a life marked, not by the sluggishness that sometimes shows up in retirement, but by a powerful kind of peacefulness, which often can come from just accepting what’s happening. I guess I’ve slowly learned to extend a welcome to problems instead of opposing them, partly because acceptance is simply more restful than resistance, but also because working with a problem instead of against it seems to make my old life, in little and large ways, more triumphant day by day. Back in my youthful 50’s, I was often stressed and frenzied from fighting with problems, but now, in my fairly hassle-free 80’s,  I’m putting out a quiet hand of welcome to trouble, just to see what possibilities it might present.


Going along, you can get to a place 
where peace can prepare feasts for 
finding you rest in every moment,
making your life like a lighthearted
and holy and endless event.
 A silent signal is sent out each moment, 
a sign 
to choose to let go 
and to give.  
* on Tuesday, ducks on the Mystic River at sunset *



Wednesday, August 24, 2022

When I feel like I need some inspiration, the greatest gift of all is that it’s everywhere. I can get instant encouragement just by feeling my lungs rise and fall as my body does its amazingly graceful – though elderly – breathing, or by seeing new light laying its freshness across the land each morning. There’s newness everywhere – always – and that by itself can be a stimulant to a seemingly discouraged 80-year-old fellow. Just watching my old legs move fluidly as I walk through the house is quiet encouragement that life is still amazing. Seeing raindrops sitting with ease and elegance on the leaves of a holly bush can be an inducement to stand up and smile and even sing a little song, and listening to our clothes dryer doing its skillful work can boost my incentive to keep my eyes on life itself as it works its daily, delightful miracles. Discouragement comes only when I can’t see the simple but inspiring wisdom that’s always waiting for me to open my mental door and say a sincere and appreciative welcome. 

(about 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 very lucky grandfather with my son James and two of my grandchildren, Ava and Noah *



Tuesday, August 23, 2022

         It seems strange, sometimes, that the word ‘indefinite’ is so beautiful to me, since, to most people, it probably carries a somewhat negative flavor. We usually want our lives to be the opposite of indefinite – like understandable, and clear, and user-friendly – but I see, more and more, the beauty of obscurity and uncertainty. For me, at the ripe young age of 80, life has become more and more beautifully limitless, a reality without confining borderlines and constrictive explanations. In my younger years, I found it fun to apply easy labels in order to define and understand various parts of my life, but now I know that labels always overlook the vastness and nebulousness of reality. All of this life I’m part of is as indefinite as mist and smoke, as unfixed as breezes and sunshine. After my wonderful long years of searching and studying, I’ve come – happily – face to face with the immeasurable mystery of everything, and it makes me want to wave my arms in thankfulness. I’m a free-and-easy 80-year-old ripple in an unsearchable ocean, happy to simply appreciate the indefinite, open-ended grandeur of things instead of hopelessly trying to define and understand them.


One day,
no one knew anything,
and this knowing nothing
made a saintly kind of happiness.
Little lights of unknowing
shone everywhere. 
A silky sea called Ignorance crashed
in spectacular surf on the shore,
and thoughts were so light
they lifted off from people's heads
like light-hearted butterflies.
Broken lives were refurbished
simply by this awareness of ignorance,
and a gentle bewilderment
kept everything sheltered and hushed.
You could see something shining
inside you, because artificial
understanding was no longer there.
Thoughts were shining 
with the salutary light of simplicity,
and soft, medicinal 
explosions of puzzlement 
were everywhere.



Monday, August 22, 2022

         Today, I hope I can keep in mind what is really true about life, even though this truth sometimes seems unbelievable. Throughout the day, I need to occasionally say to myself that, yes, it is really true that the present moment is the only moment that ever exists. In reality, there is only the wide-ranging and far-reaching present, never the past or the future. We often ‘think’ about the past and future, but the thinking definitely always takes place in the ever-present present. I should also constantly remind myself today that, since there truly is no past and no future, but only the limitless present, then the present moment is actually, in point of fact, always brand-new. This moment, right here and now, each of them, is genuinely fresh and first-hand, the very latest in moments. Each and every moment today, in truth, has never existed before, which means that I will be present with new-born wonders, over and over again, all day long. And, finally, I hope I can often remind myself today that, since the present moment is, in truth, all there ever is, then each moment actually has no beginning, no end, no boundaries, no limits. The real truth is that I am always living in a boundless, brand-new, mind-bending heaven, right here in our small home in our small town on our small planet in a universe that is, in plain fact, way beyond my meager human understanding. I guess, if truth be told, I am a very lucky old dude!


Really winning could be
studying the words of a book 
so they switch on like lamps, 
or chewing a bagel you've chosen 
with boldness and sincerity, 
or sitting in any chair in your life 
like it's a throne, 
or writing a sentence 
with juice in its words 
and power and its punctuation, 
or even making a mistake 
and seeing the miracle inside it.



Sunday, August 21, 2022

         Today I want to work on being always alert for the unfolding marvels of each moment. I am so often inattentive during the course of a day, daydreaming and distracted by swirling thoughts and befuddling events, but today I’m hoping to stay steadily observant as the moments pass. Luckily, this doesn’t haven’t to be seen as hard work. Actually, it only requires that I keep the doors and windows of my life wide open, welcoming with interest and attentiveness whatever happens. It doesn’t mean I have to like everything that happens, but just that I carefully care-for and study each moment as it presents its matchless miracle. If I were on the summit of a spectacular mountain, I’m sure I would be wide awake with wonder and appreciation for the sights and sounds, and today – and every day – I’ll be constantly on the peaks of brand-new moments as their wonders are unveiled. Just coffee warming in the microwave is worthy of my total attention as I stand beside the stove, as is the look in Delycia’s eyes as she shares her thoughts with me now and then, as are the pecans in a small bowl beside me now as I sit at my desk. Life today will be a sight worth seeing and appreciating, so I’d best keep my old eyes – and heart – peeled.    

(about Bernice D., 61, Blessings CT)

At 59,
on a sleepy, sultry day
she saw, for the first time,
that each moment is made new,
and that she, too, is always new -- 
a fresh, stirred up assembly of cells
every single second. 
She saw that, in a sense, 
she was always waking up,
and she realized 
that she can’t help it, 
that rousing and rising 
was just what the universe always does, 
constantly and endlessly 
spurring itself on. 
She realized that even 
the airless languor of the day
was continually awakening 
into new and unspoiled airless languor, 
and that even her fears and sorrows 
were unceasingly bestirring themselves
into unprecedented designs
so she could better see and understand them
 in every respect
in this always newly-alert world. 



Saturday, August 20, 2022

         It’s always reassuring to remember how supportive every aspect of life is. All the moments of today will quietly care for me – always sensitive to my needs and helpful in guiding me down and up the most instructive trails. It’s as if I will have a concerned companion called ‘life’ always at my side, supporting me in my travels through troubles and triumphs. Every moment today will be strictly on my side, responsive to my needs and sensitive to my irreplaceable existence. Every situation, even the troubling ones, will be somehow nurturing, somehow helping me develop the strength and astuteness that rightfully belongs to me and to everyone. In a way, I am a bald and white-bearded 80-year-old infant still just starting to see the glories and mysteries of life, and this special day – special like all of them – will be helpful to me in the happiest and most surprising ways. All the moments will be like supportive moms and dads for me, looking after my needs and fostering my ever-new friendships with the vast universe of life.  How lucky can an ancient and crinkly kid get?


He’s always backed-up,
which brings him an easy, consoling feeling,
like flying in an infinite sky
with never-failing, always-helpful winds.
When worries assail him,
simple presence has his back,
reassuring him that now
will never be any better than it is now,
which means it’s matchless
right at this moment,
and that miracles can arise
even from fear and fretfulness.    
He gets help from the happiness 
he sees in old, simple streets 
and in stones that sit in peace. 
His support is always present
in every spreading-out 
and restfully soaring 
new moment.  

* in Delycia’s garden this morning, a feast for a preying mantis *



Friday, August 19, 2022

         Today I hope I can be a loyal follower of the present moment. As each moment makes its way across the landscape of the day, I don’t really need to do anything myself except quietly follow and be steadily surprised by what’s unfolding before me. I can be a quiet companion as the day discloses its surprises –  a loyal supporter and admirer, going along with each moment just for the joy of seeing it and appreciating it. Of course, this day might lead me along some roads of discomfort or sadness, but even then I hope I can be faithful companion, just walking beside the infinitely wise present moment, watching and learning and being quietly thankful that I can follow such a sensible guide.  

(on Sanibel Island)

This is flat country,
perfect for following life,
just floating along
and letting life
unfold the way
it wishes to.
You’ll wonder where
it’s leading you,
but light and warmth
will work in thoughtful ways
to comfort you,
and millions of beautiful,
benevolent shells 
will help you accomplish
the feat 
of following life
like a fervent, loosened up