WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

OBSERVE

            I am usually a doer and a thinker, but I realize more clearly now that I can also be an observer, and that observing can bring me more peace than I have ever known. As an observer, I can quietly watch, as if from a vast distance, whatever my thoughts are doing. I’ll feel like I’m sitting atop a sky-scraping mountain and simply witnessing these small, frisky thoughts as they fly around in their crazy ways.  As an observer, I won’t judge or manipulate the thoughts; I’ll just watch and realize and learn – and what I will love learning most of all is that all these thoughts are absolutely harmless. They are not ‘things’ that can hurt me. They are infinitesimal, harmless wisps of energy with no more power than the smallest housefly, and the more carefully I observe them, the better I understand their innocuousness, and the more peaceful I feel. 

            Today I hope will be a day of observing. I want to spend hours and hours on the mountaintop inside me, just peacefully watching the wondrous – and harmless – workings of my thoughts. I’ll probably grow calmer by the minute.  

WATCHING - AND LETTING GO
Jimmy Lee H., 38, Blessings, CT

He loves considering the look of skies, 
the way they stay so soft and yet so vast. 
He watches all the ways of bees and flies
as they enjoy their little lives and pass

his windows with the sounds of songs and hums. 
Considering the work of winds is fun
for him, the way they sometimes sound like drums 
and sometimes sing to comfort everyone. 

When he sits back and sees the way things flow,
he marvels at each moment’s mysteries. 
The whole of life appears to be aglow,
and all things work in partnership with ease. 

This life, to him, is something to be loved, 
not ruled, or fought, or made just right for him. 
He loves to see himself be softly shoved
by life till glory fills him to the brim.

Just letting go is what he does for fun,
which makes life almost dazzle like the sun. 
    


WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Monday, August 16, 2021

SOFTEN

            If I am open to it its gift, life has a wonderful way of softening the seemingly ‘solid’ things I come into contact with. When my world seems rock-hard and hostile, just a few moments of quiet contemplation can reveal a universe of endless ease and peace, a cosmos that cushions rather than frightens. I so often fall into hours and days of struggling with supposedly solid enemies like privation and pain and uncertainty, but just a glimpse of the  boundless vastness of life – which includes ‘my’ part of it – can immediately alleviate the stiffness of everything, and then I feel again the softening that the truth does so well and so beautifully. Hardness then subsides into universal ease and rest, and the solidity of my so-called ‘problems’ dwindles down to the smoothness of clouds and sunlight. Today I hope to feel the cushions that life creates, moment by moment, as its wonderful way of allowing peacefulness to always prepare the way. 

SOFTENING
(Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)

She’s sometimes softened 
just by being around roses, 
or by rising up in the morning 
under a merciful and trustworthy sky. 
She gets soft by giving showers 
of herself to friends and strangers,
as if she sprays you with kindness 
when she’s with you, 
as if something silky has been suspended around you
and promises to protect you forever. 
Braelynn’s softened by finding, 
over and over again, 
the lightness and buoyancy of life, 
even when hardness happens,
which only makes her tenderness 
softer and stronger than ever.   


WORDS LIKE LIGHT 

Friday, August 13, 2021

ASTONISH

         The word ‘astonish’ comes from the Latin word for thunder, so it could literally mean being thunder-struck, shocked like sudden thunder and lightning can shock. I’ve been astonished like this – ‘stopped dead in my tracks’ – countless times in my long life, but much more so in the last few years. In fact, it’s truly a daily, sometimes hourly, experience now. Life, more and more, seems like almost constant ‘lightning and thunder’, but in the best and happiest of ways. I am now, at the age of 79, truly amazed, stunned, and startled by almost everything. I know now that I have absolutely no answers, but only awe-struck questions, and I am loving the questions (as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke advised a young poet to do). “Why did this just happen? Where did this thought come from? How did I get here? Who the heck am I?” In these elder days, I walk around in an almost constant daze, but it’s a happy daze, a bewilderment that brings me grateful joy. I feel like I’ve reached the summit of a mountain where the view is both striking and mystifying, both beautiful and utterly baffling. And strangely enough, I am totally at peace with this astonishment I’m feeling in my 79th year. In fact, I am grateful for it, for I feel like I’ve entered a land of both constant surprise and absolute safety. Somehow, my bewilderment brings with it quietness and contentment. There’s lightning and thunder, yes, but it’s the kind that carries illumination and instruction and a smile. 

IN MAZE

In Maze, Mississippi, USA, 
the residents seem always thunderstruck, 
as if astounding thoughts 
are constantly ascending 
like stars inside them. 
They seem almost speechless,
like words couldn’t possibly describe 
the miraculousness of their lives. 
They see their lives as shoreless rivers 
flowing in a poised and imperishable way. 
As with all of us, 
they sometimes must take a trip
with sorrow, 
but they’re astonished that its hard road 
always leads to new kinds of light. 
They’re staggered by the freshness
of every single moment, 
as if life is always
starting over with a sparkle. 
They’re flabbergasted by the simplest sights – 
leaves moving in winds, 
a single bird sitting in grass. 
These folks of Maze often look totally lost, 
but somehow in a lovely, lucky way.





And here are some scenes from our recent walks, and roses outside our dining room window, and Queen Anne’s lace beside our patio, and two loving friends named Hammy and Delycia …