This morning, as we were waiting for our snow-plow guy to come and clear the streets so we could go out for our usual Friday cafe breakfast, I started thinking about some other kinds of plowing. There’s the plowing, for instance, that I often find myself doing as I try to push my way through a day’s apparent problems. It’s all about ‘me’ then – me the brave tough-guy who thinks he can bulldoze his way through barriers with sheer resolve and self-discipline, the macho muscleman whose ego-centered actions usually lead to more frustrations and fears. But – there’s another kind of plowing, the kind the boundless present moment is constantly doing. Each present moment, today and every day, softly pushes its way through oldness, and – presto! – the streets of life are instantly clear and free to travel. It’s like each moment of life is a freshly-fashioned snow-covered landscape with pristinely cleared roads and trails ready for free and easy travel. What’s wonderful is that I don’t need to call the present moment to come and plow us out, since it is always right here, right now, doing its smooth and thorough and magnificent work.
This morning we were waiting to go out for our special cafe breakfast, but we were already ‘out’ in the wide-open and wondrous world of the present moment, thanks to its eternal power that never stops plowing and clearing the way.
This day will be a day of dedication. The Universe will dedicate each moment to just being its full and immense and stunning self, and I hope I can dedicate myself to paying careful attention – even devotion – to each of those moments. Life itself will be dedicated today to being fresh and new and boundless each moment, and I will – I hope – stay committed to being attentive to its beautiful unfoldment moment by moment. In a sense, I’d like to set aside each moment today as something sacred – perhaps even consecrate each moment, the way a priest might consecrate an altar in a church. Who knows? Delycia might see me bowing every so often as I praise and pay homage to a brand-new moment.
This day, and this moment, like all of them, has been set aside by the universe as something singular and superior, and I hereby devote myself to holding it dear.
WHAT THEY SAID
I’ll be right with you,
said the stars above his house,
and so will I,
said some enthusiastic breezes,
and me too,
said sincerity and kindness and
the careful, devoted flow of moments.
We’ll all be with you,
as it brought its faithful gift
over and over again
to his grateful, lucky lungs.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, December 6, 2021
In a way, life is always leading a crusade. Every present moment is a historic movement for freedom. It’s like the here and now is always a drive toward excellence and boundlessness, a campaign that is successful the moment it begins, which is right now. Even though I only occasionally realize it, I am part of a solemn but pleasant struggle toward deliverance and enchantment. The present moment – including me – always does battle with fears about the future and past, and is always victorious. Each and every moment waves two flags simultaneously – that of battle, and that of victory. I feel fortunate to be part of such a serious and satisfying offensive.
THE SKILLFUL GARBAGE BAG
(about Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)
(written with the help of
random words taken from
She said she was sure
if she wore a silky,
the garbage bag would be good
to her, would give her
the guarantee of tenderness
in the tough job
of cleaning up the yard.
As the skirt swirled along,
she felt like she was skiing
around the yard,
easily winning the big battle
with brush and twigs and limbs.
The garbage bag
brought her hope
as it sat there
getting stuffed and smiling.
It was like an accomplished,
doing what its master
with the stunning knees wished.
The cowardly so-called tough job
as the dexterous garbage bag
filled itself full
and the skirt cooperated
in its impeccable,
And here are some scenes from our sunrise walk along the Mystic River yesterday morning …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Each moment today has the potential to be very rewarding. They won’t all be to my liking, or exactly what I hoped for, but they could all be satisfying. I could take a deep, grateful breath each moment and say, “Yes, this is precisely what I need.” The key is getting my small, pesky ‘self’ and its pestering desires out of the way so I can clearly see the prizes offered in each and every moment.
(about Bill M., 87, Blessings CT)
His grandchildren are growing up,
but at the same time,
their Grandpa Billy is growing down –
and grateful to finally be doing it.
Instead of reaching for higher achievements
and superior status
(which he spent decades doing),
he's walking down into the sweet valley
Instead of climbing toward ever more knowledge,
he's resting with the easy wisdom
that comes with contentment.
Instead of higher and better awards and rewards,
He's searching for the commonplace prizes
presented by every present moment.
The sight of a small toad
hopping down in the grass
means way more to Bill
than reaching some lofty goal
or accomplishing some tricky task.
He says let kids be the ones who grow up.
This elder citizen is growing down
into the friendly fields
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Friday, October 8, 2021
Today, I hope to be a devoted practitioner of curiosity. I want to have a spirit of inquiry all day. I want to explore each moment as though it’s a brand new, pristine territory, which it actually will be, and I want to rummage around among my thoughts and feelings to see what fresh treasures are there. Countless novelties and oddities lie ahead for me in the next 16 hours, each of which could be a conversation piece in the evening. Strangeness I’ve never seen before lies ahead, and I hope to practice inquisitiveness hour after hour. Who? what? how? and why? are questions I’ll be asking all day as I zealously watch the wonders of October 8, 2021 unfold.
(Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)
Everything is always responding to her,
holding her close and caring for her,
answering the innocence in her
with the innocence of the universe.
She listens, and answers,
and then they continue to question –
breezes, sparrows, easily passing clouds, silence, herself –
the queries of a curious universe
and the responses of an inquisitive, sympathetic person.
She gives, and then they give –
attention, interest, consideration –
a sensitive person sharing with sunshine and roses
and lines of geese above,
sharing, distributing, welcoming, responding.
And here is Delycia’s son Aaron presenting her with her birthday cake (#81) yesterday. We celebrated the grand occasion in fine style!
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
It will be wonderful to hold in thought today that life is always chock-full of chances. There are endless possibilities in each moment, each one an opportunity for me to experience a miracle. Absolutely anything is feasible today, from a sparrow shaking its wings in special ways, to a super-new idea dancing into my mind, to the descending of raindrops never before seen on earth. All the moments today will be gambles of the finest kind, leaps in the adorable darkness of the universe. Unforeseen windows of opportunity will constantly be opening. Today I will take part in thousands of lotteries, and will always win, and the prizes will be plentiful. I can take risk-free chances over and over again today, smiling as I foresee the flow of bewildering rewards.
She loves finding fragments of pleasure.
Happiness is made simple in her hands --
a smile from a stranger,
the silence of a book before she opens it,
a lily leaning toward her in the garden.
Sometimes she finds reassurance
in a single stray sentence,
or in a word
that separates itself from a sentence
and stands up
like something she should listen to.
On mornings made of blessings,
thoughts thrown out like yesterday's trash
will glitter for her
like pieces of gold.
You can come to her
with just crumbs of kindness,
and she will be satisfied.
We saw these lovely deer on the rail trail bike path yesterday, and – lucky for me – they inspired a poem …
BASIC AND BEAUTIFUL
Two deer doing the simple things -
standing on homespun grass,
giving hunger some gifts,
finding the simplicity that's always shining,
even in old leaves,
even in old bike riders
with 80-year-old ease and unfussiness,
like two deer daring to be workaday deer,
just basic and beautiful.
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.
If we say a best friend is one who is always faithful, then, strange as it seems, the present moment is one of my best friends. Being always by my side – always, no matter how bad things get – the present moment is unswerving in its promise to me. In the sunshine of bliss or the darkness of sorrow, the present moment is right there with me, as new as a new day. It’s the most steadfast of friends, and, more importantly, the most perfect of friends, since it is always exactly what it has to be. Something is perfect if it is as good as it is possible for it to be, which means this present moment (and the next one, and the next) is, indeed, perfect. I can make the next moment be different, but this exact moment, right now, is superbly what it must be. What luck, to have a faithful and perfect friend with me, moment by moment!
Sometimes he feels his life
flutter like a butterfly.
his life is a bush
with so many blossoms
he can't possibly count them.
Sitting at home
in the flash of afternoon sunshine,
his life looks like something
from a land of gold.