Today, I want to appreciate what life gives me moment by moment. The word ‘appreciate’ derives from the Latin word for ‘price’, and so to appreciate means to understand the price, or value, of something. Since we’re planning to sell our house sometime fairly soon, Delycia and I often talk about its value – what price we can set on it -, but what about the value of the precious daily occurrences in my life? Do I fully appreciate the value of each breath that comes to my lungs? of each thought that arises inside me? of feelings that flow through me moment by moment? of the swirl of our soft curtains as I sit at my desk on this warm September morning? Indeed, there is no way to set a price on these occurrences, because they are priceless. Their value is absolutely inestimable, as is the value of the friendship Delycia and I enjoy, and the value of sunshine, and September rain, and books on an old man’s bookshelf. It’s impossible to set a price on these miracles in my life, but at least I should make an attempt – at least do my best to appreciate them. After all, I’m surrounded, and filled, each moment, by wonders worth more than many millions of dollars.
a man suddenly understood
how prosperous he was.
His thoughts, for instance, were thriving,
throwing themselves around like lightning bolts
from faraway, and his feelings
were flourishing inside him,
where they were as numerous and as spirited
as stars in the sky.
He saw that his heart was very successful,
producing profitable results through his body,
and that his old lungs were more lucrative than ever,
yielding profit-making freshness moment by moment.
on this burgeoning day,
that he was wealthy beyond belief.
He was beyond well-off
in his ability to wonder and welcome and appreciate,
and was opulent in his capacity to say please and thanks.
Oh, and he also saw
that he had substantial wealth
Here are two best friends pausing yesterday on a lovely bike ride on the Kingston (RI) rail trail …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Each day – each moment – I am lucky enough to participate in the eternal unfolding of the mystery called ‘reality’. It’s happening continually, this miraculous emergence of brand-new, moment-by-moment marvels, and I have an important part to play in this phenomenon. Whether I realize it or not – and I usually don’t – I enter into a vast, new creation each moment, a creation that involves all the oceans and mountains and stars and ants and fellow humans, a creation with more power than numberless nuclear weapons. Each moment today, I will have a hand in waves washing up on shores, in families falling into sorrow or happiness, in sunshine showing its goldenness across the earth. I may not notice my active participation in these wonders, lost as I usually am in daydreams about ‘me, me, me’, but nonetheless, it’s always happening – me and the whole universe intermingling to make endless miracles. I am no more separate from everything else than a drop of water is separate from its ocean, or an atom of oxygen from the boundless air. Each moment today, I will enter into a celebration with planets and people and trees and butterflies. I just hope I can wake up and enjoy it.
If you go to Giving, Oregon,
you’ll see sharing everywhere.
The air lets you have a hand in its good life
by freely giving you breath for your body,
and sunshine divides itself equally among everyone.
Any wind generously lets all
the trees participate in it equally,
and peacefulness finds a way
to divide itself up among flowers and vivid birds
and even noisy streets and sorrowful folks.
When you visit here, you will also see
fun measured out uniformly
among the young and the sick and the old.
Even stores seem pleasantly amused
as they share their goods in Giving.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
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,
to start miracles spinning
moment after psyched-up moment.
He likes to be primed for action,
geared up to meet
what a moment
whether a hundred
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.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
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.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
I often am not aware of it, but life – all of it – is infused with a kind of leaven – a pervasive influence that is constantly transforming things for the better. In the very midst of my busy, sometimes scatterbrained days, the silent power of goodness is slowly reshuffling thoughts into wisdom, and peace, in its hushed and pervasive way, is steadily reworking seemingly disordered events and actions into a blessed kind of synchronization. Trouble is, I usually don’t notice this powerful, secret influence that’s all around and inside me. I’m part of a sort of boundaryless bread dough that’s always becoming a lovely loaf, but I’m mostly unaware of it. I plod through the days like a heavily-laden old horse, while, at all times, I’m actually a beautifully evolving miracle. All around me, and inside me, life is infused with the irresistible force of friendliness, every disappointment is suffused with the strength of perceptiveness, and sorrow is always ready to stimulate new understanding. A secret kind of endless galvanization is always going on. Life is continuously perking up, right where difficulty and distress seem to be. Today, I hope I can slow my mind down and see this beautiful enlivening process, this slow and steady easing-up that’s always making the everlasting loaf called life.
HOW TO NEVER GET LOST
Wear a special ring.
Set down a trail
of tender thoughts behind you.
Let your light shine
so you can see where you are.
Listen to everything.
Live the way a table stands,
At the end of a day,
lay down that day
and let it speak.
Here’a a quick video of our kayak float on Monday ….