mercy

this is how it’s supposed to be.
you’re supposed to be begging 
for mercy.
your knees should ache from kneeling 
& your chest should be heavy
with the weight of it all.
if you don’t fall to your knees now 
& then, swearing up and down
you can’t take it any more—
how can you know the limits 
of your own heart?
& if you don’t cry out 
for forgiveness
all the while hoping in secret 
that your folly can continue—
how do you know what it is 
to be humbled?

pain/remedy

the truth is contained in your weeping.
you will be in some form of discomfort every moment of your life
of that you may be certain.
 & sometimes discomfort gives way to pain & pain to grief
& you will pray because other than death
there is no place to go for relief.
but notice as you weep how sweet 
is the sound of a loved one’s voice
or the vision of their memory
in your heart.
feel the sweetness when the right music 
matches the cadence of your sorrow
or the delight in your bones
when a single word offers comfort.
yes
of pain you may be certain
but be certain also
of the remedy of Spirit.
they go hand in hand
it cannot be otherwise.

again & again

it seems to me that all these books
contain again & again
a single truth
each breath
each page
an iteration never-ending
we seek it
in each new
book
taste
lover
until one day
if we're lucky
we see we've held it
in our hands all along.
even the wisest among us
so long as they draw breath
are fated to repeat
the lesson over and over.
the only difference
between the enlightened & you & I
is that the masters do not read doom
in each new trial.
instead they welcome with open arms 
the certainty of loss & the uncertainty
of what is yet to come.
where we see a curse they see a blessing
& even in their weeping
they smile with all the radiance of youth.

a handful of water

Time is like a handful of water slipping through your fingers. One moment your hand is full, and the next, it’s gone. Fleeting though it is, its touch is familiar, and curiosity gets the better of you. You watch it for awhile, eluding you. Feel it, cool, trickling over your skin. Listen to the tinkling of it dripping into the sink, the pond, the ocean. Only reluctantly do you turn away and return to the task of living.

love is a safe harbor

Love is a safe harbor
a refuge for the grieving
a shelter for the windworn
a steadfast tree in a storm.
Too often we think that love should be a whirlwind
of desires long unfulfilled
a reflecting pool
of our deepest
most secret wishes.
Love is more a steady beating
a slow but sure walk home
a light leading through fog and dark.
Do not get lost in dreams of not enough.
Listen instead for the familiar greeting
of another weary traveler returning home.

song for the world weary

when your heavy bones
wish to sink to the depths
go now to the quiet place
where the world cannot
overcome.
remember:
all of these things will pass.
thoughts
--
feelings
--
pain
--
heartache
--
all will dissolve someday
replaced only by light.
your decision lies 
in the dissolving.
will you cling bitterly
to sinking stones
or will you swim
flailing & gasping
to break the sunlit surface
& let that which does not serve you fall?
it is always our choice
yours and mine.

this is our power.

why I deleted my blog…and started again

HPIM3090

Four or five -ish years ago, I had the urge to start blogging.

One of those nagging longings that stuck around in the back of my mind so long, I knew I had to take action.

I found the perfect name scrawled in purple graffiti on a harbor pier and located its origin in the poet Rilke: Face to Face with the Sky.

I started a Tumbler.

It went nowhere.

A year later, I discovered Word Press, and launched Face to Face with the Sky again.

That also went nowhere.

My content sucked. It lacked focus. It lacked depth. I wasn’t sharing what was real and on my heart.

Another year went by, and my mental health, which I have struggled with all my life, was deteriorating.

Writing became my refuge, scribbling and typing my solace.

I started another blog, The Wishing Well, focused exclusively on mental health. In one year I had over 500 followers and lots of activity on the blog. The content was good. It was real. I was sharing what was on my heart.

So what do you think I did?

I deleted the whole thing.

Steven Pressfield wrote in his wonderful book Turning Pro about migrant workers who “rode the rods,” or stole away on trains across America. The migrant workers have a saying about abandoning one place and moving on to another: “pulling the pin.”

Train cars are attached by a single “pin” holding together their joined parts. Pull it out, and the car rolls away, no longer attached to the train.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve “pulled the pin,” or completely bailed out of things in my life.

When it comes to writing, I don’t want to do that any more.

Fall seven times, get up eight.

Start a blog seven times, keep it up eight.