The Destroyer

If you want to find out where everything went wrong

If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started

If you want to discover when the loving stopped

Or the joy vanished

And the easy became hard

If you want to track down the villain in the story

And punish him

Then do it quickly

Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now

Because it is faster than cancer

And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs

It has tutored your ego into malice

And baited your intellect into stupidity

It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie

From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed

And it was you all along

You! who gave fear the key

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Name Written on Water

The early death of love poet John Keats was probably from his misguided medical treatments as much as from Tuberculosis. The tragedy and pain of his death (without significant success at the age of 25) was further complicated by his financial struggles, even though he had a substantial inheritance that could have greatly helped him, but was never made known to him.

Upon his deathbed, he asked that his epitaph be, “Here lies One/Whose Name was writ in water.”

This insight into the absurdity of taking our existence too seriously, his work, and the frustrations of his life and death, too many to recount, often rescue me from despair when I am confronted with senseless injustice or confounded by seemingly random or easily preventable pain and loss.

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Life only makes sense in this context. Learning to love.

Happy V-Day.

And Can It Be?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in fear and nature’s night

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray (what the heck?)

I woke. The dungeon flamed with light

My chains fell off and my heart was free

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee

These are words to a powerful, ancient song by John Wesley. Many of us can relate to the imprisoned spirit and dungeon parts. But, this morning, I thought for the first time about the very strange “eye diffusing a quickening ray” line and (from personal experience) translated it as…You focused a laser of life-giving power directly upon me and, in a millisecond, I was free…

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So, if today I need freedom (miracles, hope, direction, wisdom, forgiveness, power), can it be that the laser of life-giving power might focus on me, one more time?

When the First Thought Finds Me

When the first thought finds me

Let it be the weight of light

When consciousness comes

Let it be a tiny whisper of surprise

That I have survived the night

Helpless and adrift in those dark hours

And have somehow landed safely

On the sun-soaked shore of another day

 

When the first thought finds me

Let it not be an anchor of dread

Or a tangled net of worry

Tugging me to the bottom of myself

Away from the light playing purposefully

Above my head

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I wrote this poem for a personal reminder to purposely choose a first thought in the morning: a thought that doesn’t call for a sigh or a groan.

Knowing I Don’t Know

Knowing I don’t know is real knowing

and my best days will always start here

Painful experiences have shown

I don’t ever know what a day might bring

even if I have a good plan

I don’t know what I’ll do that will actually help

or what I will do that will do significant harm

I often don’t know what my friends truly think of me

or how my enemies have helped me

I didn’t really know what I thought I knew yesterday

and that is particularly embarrassing

So, I will fall into the knowledge of my unknowledge,

Abruptly, ungracefully, wounded, and bleeding 

But, a fraction closer to the appointed resting place

In the arms of an omniscient Universe

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(Which, btw, is inexorably tied to “fearing” God)

Today, I Inaugurate Myself

Today, I inaugurate myself

As the commander in chief of my own future

I celebrate my promotion

To the role of the productive leader

Of my life, full of promise and hope

Out off yesterday’s role of

Chicken little, hopeless victim, or discouraged martyr

Today I will usher myself

With a flourish and a solemn promise

Into my new position of power

Supported by the noble and the brave

Who have gone before, and will come after

Those who chose, and will choose

Action over words

Mercy over malice

And resolve over fear

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Very Slowly Letting Go

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

When I reached No. 3: Give up Playing Small, in Zdravko Cvijetic’s “13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful,” it reminded me of two things:

  1. The fears (that kept me small) I have already challenged and banished
  2. The fears I am still hanging on to

Conclusion: My progress may not be impressive, but at least I am very slowly…letting go.

 

As I review two thousand and sixteen

I celebrate the fears I no longer claim

And, trembling, plan an attack

On the terrifying ones that remain

Here’s to hoping (for everyone’s sake)

That you will resolutely do the same

 

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https://medium.com/personal-growth/13-things-you-need-to-give-up-if-you-want-to-be-successful-44b5b9b06a26#.jh4eimhwc

I Always Come Back Changed

I cannot read a book, take time to hear another’s story, or let a movie give me its message, without coming back to my regular life changed. Forrest Gander captured this truth in his intro to the new book of Neruda’s lost poems:

The truth is that I disappeared from myself. I was concentrated entirely into the durable moment of translation–which begins in humility, a sublimation of the self so extreme that the music of someone else’s mind might be heard. And for a while, no remnant of me existed outside of that moment.” – Forrest Gander (translator of The Lost Neruda Poems)

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When my friend gave me this book, I wasn’t very excited about reading obscure love poems, yet the book begin to change me in the prologue when the translator mentioned the same skepticism when asked to translate the work.

Today will change me…if I allow it. It will improve me if I listen to the music of someone else’s mind intently enough to receive the gifts they offer and translate them to my own journey home.

What Pearl Harbor Day Can Do For Me Today

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  1. Remind me that life is much larger than my own drama.
  2. Confront me with my need for historical knowledge.
  3. Challenge me to care about the millions everywhere who suffer in the wake of war.
  4. Confirm the fragile nature of life as I know it.
  5. Give me a sense of urgency to contribute good to the world.

Those of us who are younger than WWII most likely will think of the movie or give the day a passing nod. But, if we choose to give it more than that, we will be the beneficiary.

Our short lives are pleading for us

Begging for us to stop and care

Our mission here might simply be

To be aware

How Can I Make the Best of It?

How can I make the best of it?

Wherever I find myself

In whatever circumstances

It is this question

That makes me a hero and a joy

One who thrives

And one who makes it better for the rest

When I have decided not to say, “There’s no way.”

Or ask, “Why me?”

Or “What if?”

But, “How can I make the best of it?” instead

That is when pain and sorrow have a fighting chance

To become more than a burden

That is when I give life permission

To make sense

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