Wednesday, November 28, 2012


More than a hundred years ago Henry Ford understood that if he was going to sell his cars and make a profit, his workers needed enough income to buy food, clothing, shelter, and his cars. Not either-or. Both-and. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Fear is my deepest, most intense, most reliable response. 

My most powerful, profound desires are for compassion for myself and others and connection with my whole self and with others. 

The most courageous thing I do every day is to find the opening to allow those deepest truths around and beyond the dam of fear, allow compassion and connection into the overt flow of my life.

I conquer fear often, now. I will never win any medals. I will never even be called courageous, or any of those glowing words that mean the same thing. I will never be held up as the example. 

My struggles and victories, right here in my obscure little plot of place, are the example of how every invisible one is called to bravery in her own life. You, too. And I give you, my friends, high credit for refusing to give in and give up. 

As Mary Anne Radmacher says, "Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Burnished Copper Light

This morning for about five minutes the world glowed with a burnished copper light.
Wendell Berry, in his poem "How To Be a Poet" [the title immediately followed by "(to remind myself)"] writes,
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.

Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.

There are no unsacred places;
There are only sacred places.

And desecrated places. 

Nothing mundane. Only the sacred or desecrated. Can we discern?

So I stepped outdoors for a few moments, aware that ultimate control of my breath is not mine, ultimate control of the air is not mine. 

On this huge and tiny planet, that is not the center of the solar system, which is not the center of the Universe, I stand in no central place at all, yet I stand centered in my unique life. You, too.

This morning I stood in place and noticed my own breath in the brief, full-view gift of glowing, burnished copper light. In my small, full being I give thanks for all this sacred.

Monday, November 19, 2012


We pause to give thanks

For the voyage of life from seed to harvest, the kiss
of rain and sun and growth, the gifts of the earth given

into the hands of strangers, friends, and family
whose efforts now bring such bounty to this table.

Thanks for the soft animal body that carries each life
here present, so sturdy and so fragile;

thanks and praise for fellowship, and for the lives
of those now absent whose essence lingers among us;

thanks for the complex ways we each continue to seek
and find our place, unique like everyone else.

Lead us to the gift of regular silence until it silences us;
bring us to choose gratitude until we are truly grateful;

fill us with praise until we ourselves become
a constant act of praise.

So we give thanks for all things, including joys
and sorrows deeply felt but left, here, unspoken.

(Also published in my book, Inherited Estate: A Song Cycle and, in a slightly different form, in the Winter 2012 issue of UU World.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Complex and Multifaceted

My friend's mother has died, and my heart yearns for her, and all I have to offer is the raw stuff of my own life. I light a candle and my thoughts and prayers go with her. We have shared so much of our lives―and now this too, this too.

Observation and experience with my own mother shows me that mother-daughter relationships are full of wonder and awe. That is, wonderful and awful. Both-and. A "normal" mother-daughter bond (and what's normal?) again and again ties us into the concept of love, that most challenging, marvelous, difficult, many-faced prize of life. 

We go alone and together, marching along, step by step. As we open to others―slowly, petal by petal, shy roses unfolding―those rare and wonderful times happen when we experience ourselves as not alone and also not merged, and in those moments we have the chance to experience something as larger than our skin-contained lives.

I love my spouse and children, my siblings and other extended family, and I love my friends. How blessed I am to be meshed in this complex and multifaceted world of opened, unfolded love. You, too. Don't you know places where you open and share this too? Awful. Wonderful. Love.