Hold the question, until you live into the answer ~ Rilke

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This way, my love

When I’ve forgotten how to Pray

And the words won’t come

Give me two,

Forgive me


When my heart searches for

The comfort of gratitude, but

My mind invades the space with



And angst

Give me two,

Restore me


When loneliness threatens to

Imprison me

And the only color is gray,

When I’ve lost my way back from

the illusion of separateness,

her depths threatening to

Claim me

Give me two,

Receive me


When I forget, you point me to the poets

New England, Belfast

Caged or Free

Ancient, Asian, Greek

And my heart cracks open

Once again


There you are.

There I am.


And we sit

And I pray.


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The Art of Pain Management

To remember is to receive a gift.
Receiving gratefully today.

going outwords & inwords


A couple of months ago I was talking to a sangha friend of mine about the nature of physical pain.  Knowing that I’ve been focusing diligently on the cultivation of joy over the last few years and that I’ve experienced a great deal of physical pain in relation to my chronic illnesses he asked me specifically what I did to deal with pain and how to cultivate joy in the midst of it.  As I see this as a common struggle (knowing how to deal with ongoing physical pain, limitation, and illness) I thought I’d take to writing about it, as that often helps me to better understand things for myself as well.

It’s important to note that I spent years doing the “wrong” things when it came to dealing with physical pain.  Doing the wrong things was what helped me to know and understand what the right things to…

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Getting to Neutral

A transition is the space between an ending and a beginning. I’m not a fan of them. As often as they occur, I’m still pushed off center by them. The graphic below uses the word “neutral” to describe the space between an ending and a beginning. “Neutral” is NOT the word I would choose for this space. On a good day, I would choose awkward, unnerving, or messy. On a bad one: terrifying.


Of course I’d like to be “neutral” towards the transitions in my life and maybe one day I will be. I suppose my negative bias toward navigating change is due to the fact that I’ve made a few critical mistakes along the way. These mistakes while useful for cultivating maturity and wisdom also caused great pain. As best as I can, I’m learning to be still through the rough waters of transition. I notice the pressure, the awkward-unnerving-messiness that comes with moving forward through the neutral zone. My mind demands, isn’t there a faster way? Isn’t there a way to skip this part? Are we there yet? It’s not easy to slow down and be with what is but I’m finding it helpful. Slowing down allows space for possibilities to arise.

I love these words from John O’Donohue…….

“What is being transfigured here is your mind,

And it is difficult and slow to become new.

The more faithfully you can endure here,

The more refined your heart will become

For your arrival in the new dawn.









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I walked by the ending of this track today.  It was strange.  The end seemed so abrupt.  I thought, why here?  Why now? Then my mind began to reminisce through some of the endings in my life.  Some endings were a welcome relief; even celebrations full of joy.  Others were filled with pain, long suffering, avoidance, and resistance.

I am reminded that endings are unavoidable and inevitable.  Trying to control them is an illusion.  What I have control over is my relationship to the end.  I can control my response by being mindful of my emotions.  I can allow myself to grow into acceptance through the path of compassion and love.  Clinging, gripping, trying in vain to prolong or contain the joyful-present moment only serves to strangle it.  What if this is as good as it gets?  What if I never have this again?  I can never let this end.  But it does.  Of course the opposite is true as well.  When will the end come?  I can not suffer like this anymore.  Despair, avoidance, or a hyper focus on needing an ending only causes deeper suffering.  How can I befriend the despair of needing this moment to end, until it does?  Can I grow into a compassionate relationship with this suffering? Perhaps an end will bring relief, perhaps it won’t.

All things end.  With the right tools, I can choose how to respond.

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Winter spirit, prolonged night, muted speaks

Walks with burden along her barren path

Wrapped in warm gray, while the ridged branch creaks

Blows bitter air about, releasing wrath

Transformed solemn worship song rising

Labor for fertile grounds desired change

Requests for her blessed authorizing

Silences, returned from eternal range

For her wisdom seeks but trust, less is lost

Replace evicted presence of peace sought

Reflect, to muse, to co-create the cost

Veiled souls landscape no longer distraught

Emerging threshold, world of between-ness

Coarse and tender, Winter Guardian bless.