Monday, September 19, 2022

         Today will be a day of great power. A multicolored sky will have the ability to softly blow clouds and light along the softly passing hours, and peacefulness will rule over silly worries and fears. All decisions will be made by the eternal present with its natural authority, and quietness will have a secret command over everything. Each and every moment will be masterful in making everything happen that needs to happen. Feelings will flow under the sway of the universe itself, and awareness will show its supremacy in its hidden, humble way. I won’t have to grasp anything today, because everything will be in the easy and supreme grasp of right now, and I won’t need to resist anything since everything will have satisfaction sitting in dominance inside it. Today will be a day of supreme and everlasting power – for me, for all of us, for everything, and forever.   


There is a power that works inside us,
a wind from a forest forever. 
There is a motion 
like ships on the sea
in our hearts, 
and a quick whistle of kindness
in every morning of our minds. 
There is something you must see – 
a breeze inside you all the way,
the start of springtime every day.  
“Flower Power”, oil on canvas by Julie Hermanson



Sunday, September 18, 2022

         It should be fairly easy for me to live with poise today, because that’s the way the universe always lives. There’s always a lovely balance everywhere, whether in the gracefulness of both strong and easy winds, the equilibrium among successes and failures, or the composure shown by both sorrows and joys. I should be able to have presence of mind today, because, in a way, everything around me will have it. All the roads we drive on will be calm beneath us, in both bumps and smoothness, and the scenery, even when somewhat unsightly, will have its own special serenity. There will be elegance in the way my breathing brings me fresh power each moment, and my 80-year-old eyes will, as usual, behave with dignity as they bring the wonders of the day into my life. In a universe as suave as this one, no doubt I should be able to live with poise and self-assurance today.   

(an elderly friend in Blessings, CT)

She finds it effortless
to fly inside herself,
to float and hover
in poised ways
inside the immeasurable life
the universe started sharing with her
so many years ago.
There is grandeur, she knows,
in going where the winds of life lead,
in letting goodness sail her along
to even more light and liberty
than she always has.
Hold on, she reminds herself,
and simply show the universe
that you totally trust it.



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!



Thursday, July 21, 2022

         There are many kinds of power, but to me the power of gentleness is the greatest. For example, consider the strong gentleness of a river. Water is one of the softest of all material things, and yet it can move trees and houses when it floods in the spring. This gentle substance that washes your dishes can effortlessly wash away an entire town in flood season. Then there is the persistent power of even the softest breeze. A cool breeze in the summer can cool the lives and nerves of an entire town in a matter of minutes. One minute you’re sweating and frustrated, and the next minute you’re relishing your life as a tender breeze rustles your hair. Finally, the strongest, bravest, and most admirable people I have ever known were also the gentlest. These are people who know that the most important battles are won only by powerful and authoritative gentleness. Like rivers, these people flow along softly with enormous power. Like the breezes of summer, they change our lives with their sturdy, relentless gentleness.

(about Shay M., 91, Blessings, CT, USA)

Shay's become a soft touch in his elder years. 
He softly touches problems
and they easily dwindle away,
and fears always fall victim 
to his easy-going touch.  
He lightly strokes his worries
as if they're his friends.
and they slowly fade off with smiles. 
If he smoothly rubs a sorrow,
 it whispers its wisdom to him,
and sometimes stays for weeks 
as his special instructor. 
At the gentle age of 91, 
Shay's spoken words have a soothing touch,
as if you could stroll with them 
and softly toss away your worries.   

Below, two happy riders on the Kingston Rail Trail yesterday …



June 13, 2022

         Today, lucky for me, ‘being’ will be everywhere and all-powerful. Yes, ‘doing’ will also seem to be ever-present, but beneath and behind all the doing will be the simple, always accessible power of being, of aliveness. Wherever I am – at my desk, in the yard, or walking with Delycia to our weekly breakfast-out – the vital force of quiet, simple being will be ubiquitous. Even when I’m just sitting outside in the springtime shade and doing nothing but sitting, ‘being-ness’, the soul and spirit of all of reality, will be drawing empowered breath all around me. Even in total non-activity today, life will be always arising, always being. A stone sitting among other silent stones on a wall has, in this sense, as much life as a youngster racing around on the playground. The stone is being present, being around, being available, being at hand – and so am Iand always. I just hope I can always be aware of it – the peaceful and boundless power of simply being. 


Here are some photos from our walk this morning in Elm Grove Cemetery on the Mystic River …



Tuesday, May 31, 2021

         I sometimes worry about our car engine, wondering if it might one day break down on some lonesome road, far from friends and repair shops. However, I know that I never have to worry about the engine that drives my life, because it’s precisely the same engine that manages the entire universe. The sun has been dutifully rising for billions of years now, and the same power that steers the sun steers the countless thoughts that rise inside me, and steers my little lungs that reliably lift and fall about 21,000 times every 24 hours. Each day – each moment – is made by a motor that never starts and never stops, a machine that’s been making miracles since time began. It can’t break down, because the ever-present present moment can’t break down.  Actually, I’m an integral part of this everlasting motor. I think because it thinks; I smile because it smiles. 

         I love riding in our car, feeling the smoothness of movement over the roads, and I should love far more just sailing smoothly along inside the engine called Life.  



Tuesday,  January 18, 2022

            How amazing are the powers of this universe, and none of them belong to or are controlled by me! The abilities I see in winds and sunrises and always-swirling feelings and thoughts are not my abilities, but belong simply to a reality that’s vaster than the farthest skies and stars. Somehow, forcefulness is flowing endlessly through all of life, and somehow I am able to feel it powering its way through me, but I have no authority over it. It is not mine to make or guide. This ever-present and mysterious influence – this power that gives mastery to sunshine and darkness and sorrow and words and winter storms – has no boundaries, no beginnings or endings. It’s here and everywhere, now and forever, and what is called ‘I’ and ‘me’ is simply an essential and inseparable motion within its never-ending flow. While I’m sitting at my desk this morning, typing out these words, the limitless capacities of the universe are displaying themselves in my elderly but reliably nimble fingers, in my spanking new thoughts, in the rising and falling of my still-lively lungs, and in our old furnace steadily sending warm air up from the basement. There’s power in these early morning moments, and the power will move through all the moments to come in this influential, irresistible day – and old, happy Hamilton will move right along with it. 

… a poem about a make-believe guy…
our chalkboard poem for today



Wednesday, December 29, 2021

         I’m sure all of us elderly folks sometimes worry about being unprotected in the face of all the apparent perils that surround us – Coved 19, for sure, but other illnesses also, as well as the various dangers, risks, and hazards seemingly widespread everywhere.  It’s easy for we old-timers to feel confused and defenseless in these dark days.

         However, sometimes a light shines through for me – sometimes as bright as sunshine –  and I see again that I am always thoroughly protected. There’s a power in the center of all of life that’s not made of material ‘stuff’, and thus knows no bounds, and thus knows no dangers and has no enemies. It’s known by various names – love, gentleness, patience, kindness – and, whatever its name, it offers absolute protection, because, once recognized, it immediately obliterates all adversaries and hazards. What can possibly harm real love, which is not a material ‘thing’ but a limitless force? What enemy can threaten gentleness, as if a wind can threaten the boundless sky? What dangers exist for patience, which just keeps on keeping on, like rivers roll around the biggest boulders? And kindness – can any kind of meanness and malice do violence to kindness, or does it actually make it grow stronger and larger?  

         Today, as on all days, I am totally protected. Love, gentleness, patience, and kindness carry me along with their ceaseless powers, turning supposed enemies into guides and helpers. 

         80-years old – and sheltered in endlessly safe hands!

(about 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
which 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.   

Below, some scenes from a wonderful beach walk yesterday with Gabe, Annie, and Louie …


In the Driver’s Seat

An Old Saying for a New Day

Saturday, October 16, 2021

            Today, fortunately for me, I will not be in the driver’s seat. I will not have to operate my life as if it’s a small, multifaceted ship in a mysterious ocean. Luckily, another power is in charge, a power that’s more immense than the starry sky and more harmonious than the most perfectly performed symphony. The minutes of this day will be steered in a serene and flawless way by a force that’s been flowing since before time. The manager of all things will be bigger than countless oceans, and brighter than the brightest sunrise. It will be like riding in a limousine with an astute chauffeur, or perhaps like hiking steep hills and billowing valleys with a meticulous and sagacious guide. Luckily, I won’t be the the pilot today, just a passenger prepared for surprises and fresh wisdom. 

(what Joe K., age 43 and homeless, said)

I show drivers a sign that asks for money
and also shows 
that I’m a shameless disappointment.
I guess I should stay under a rock somewhere,
since I’ve made an absolute mess of my life
for forty years. 
I’m sure love is something special, 
but I never learned how to do it, 
how to hold life lightly and gently, 
instead of always warring with it. 
I thought life was a fight to be fought, 
but now I see it’s maybe
just a river to follow, 
or perhaps
a pony to ride wherever it wishes to go.
I hope I still have time to learn.
I used to love pony rides as a kid.
… on a late-afternoon walk yesterday around the circle of our neighborhood, with the Mystic River just beyond the trees


Wednesday, September 22, 2021


            There is only one truly irresistible force in my life – the eternal present. Other powers come and go, arise and disappear, seem strong and then dwindle down, but the present is always irrepressibly steady. It’s constantly and permanently right here, right now. There’s no way for me to escape from the Present. (The uppercase ‘P’ seems appropriate.) And if it’s always here, then it’s infinite – without boundaries, limitless. There’s no place where the Present doesn’t exist and have power. The past and future may seem to have separate, persuasive existences, but the truth is that nothing exists – or has power – but the inexorable Present. No doubt it would be good for me to stop resisting this unavoidable, imperative force. It is right here, right now, in all its enchanting ways. The compelling Present is holy ground. Perhaps, like Moses (Exodus 3:5), I should take off my shoes. 


One day, 
a man found the present. 
It had prepared itself for him 
by holding its usual lights
in its lighthearted way, 
and waving to him 
like it loved him, 
as it always has. 
He held its hand, 
and all of life
lifted up and let itself loose
inside him and out to the stars. 
He stood in silence
and a new and endless sky spread out,
and then another,
and another. 

* below, a scene from Delycia’s garden yesterday – a sparrow atop a sedum blossom, while St. Francis quietly contemplates the birdbath *

And some scenes from a lovely walk yesterday on the Beebe Pond Trail in Groton …