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?

A Balanced Inventory

I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).

I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).

I may have  a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).

I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).

Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.

I am in charge of the feed.

Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example:

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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)

Our Life in the Shadows







This overcast sky of clouds, puffed like dumplings with sunlight peeking through between them, cast a beautiful patchwork light pattern on the buildings around me as I walked the dog a few years ago.

It reminded me of the beauty I unexpectedly find in others sometimes; light peeking through clouds here and there, casting a unique and odd shadow upon me. Unfortunately, I have often missed the interesting light patterns because my focus was totally on the clouds.

Owning my own shadows and clouds; remembering that light has somehow found a way to peek through, gives me patience to see beyond the clouds others bring my way. Then, instead of saying, “WTF,” I can  be fascinated; “Look, they are flawed too…just like me.” 

Help Will Come When You Need It

Faced with the necessity of caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s, I was completely distraught: This will never work! How am I going to take care of her? Why can’t my siblings do it? I have no time and no money for this!

Then, these words came to my mind: “Do you want your mother to be cared for?” “Of course I do,” I answered. “Then, accept the responsibility, do it with joy, and don’t worry about the “how.”

I did, and contrary to my fears, everything did work out, and with unexpected gifts along the way.

I now know that playing the martyr, despairing, or arguing with reality is a waste of time; when I do the right thing, help will come.

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“Love is Not an Emotion; It Is a Way of Seeing…”

“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.” – David Hawkins

This quote describes the most significant and productive shift in my life.

Before this shift, instead of putting on “love glasses” to look at life, I wore “make-it-through-the-day glasses,” “what’s-next glasses,” or worse, “I-hate-this glasses” through which life appeared a chore. Especially when I had been hurt, when life had been harsh, or when there seemed to be no hope of change, “looking at the world with love” seemed ridiculous.

Yet love always turned out to be the only lasting way out of pain.

Relief never depended on someone or something else. It was always my choice.

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Put on a new pair of “love glasses.”

Find unexpected ways of being: ways to love even what is unlovable.

And watch the world change.

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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It’s a Good Start for the New Year

If you haven’t already done so…

New Years Day is a perfect time to challenge yourself to go twenty-four hours without saying anything negative, critical, or fearful, AND catch those thoughts (that led to the words) before they have a chance to become destructive. It’s a small request…sort of.

It is actually much more difficult than it sounds since most of us have been on auto pilot for quite a while when it comes to complaining, criticizing, and condemning. On my first try, I was reeling from the quantity of thoughts and words that needed retrieving. I hardly had time to do anything else! But, removing my toxins from the airspace and using the space for productivity instead benefited so many people that it was well worth the effort.

And, there was another lingering benefit: my awareness.

Once I realized how whacked my everyday words and thoughts were, I had the impetus for serious change. So…I did it again. And again. Until now. And the beneficiaries will be:

  • me
  • you
  • friends
  • coworkers
  • family
  • strangers
  • politicians
  • people (such as me) who need the benefit of a doubt


Have a REAL Happy New Year…for a change.