Oh, the comfort—
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

—Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

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posted by ashley


What Aisle Did You Find Your Serenity In

I went for a walk with a beautiful 4 year old yesterday. She had amazing skills for approaching strangers and inviting engagement. She quickly got to where her heart wanted to be... holding a woman's hand crossing the street, petting a dog, offering a flower.

The poem below invites me to step up my efforts and attention, becoming more skilled at getting to the heart of what my being wants to communicate to another... to go right there with stranger, friend, family or self? The poem inspires me to get creative and be real. Just like this little boy who asked Obama if he could touch his hair to see if it felt like his own. What a genuine way to relate with the world. Do you want to join me in this challenge?

I Confess
by Alison Luterman

I stalked her

in the grocery store: her crown

of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,

her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,

the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,

beaming peace like the North Star.

I wanted to ask, “What aisle did you find

your serenity in, do you know

how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,

excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess

some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis—“

But we don’t request such things from strangers

nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

Thank you 37days for the poem and The Official WhiteHouse Photostream for the photo.

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posted by ashley


We Are All Truly Miraculous

An Evening of Poetry, Music and The Spoken Word at The White House May 12, 2009.

I'm incredibly moved and inspired. Beautiful opening performance by ELEW and Esperanza Spalding, soulful spoken word by Mayda del Valle and a powerful performance by ELEW.

“We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty and also to understand pain. To inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope." President Obama tells the crowd as he opens the evening.

"It is one thing for people to tell their stories in their own spaces and quite another for those stories to be welcomed in this space. Barack is president today because many people who thought their voices didn't matter or wouldn't be heard decided to show up on election day and vote anyway." Michelle Obama

"Abuela, how did you pray before someone told you who your god should be? How did you hold the earth in your hands and thank her for it's fecundity? Did the sea wash away your sadness? How did you humble yourself before your architect? Did you lower yourself to your knees or rock to the rhythm of ocean waves like I do? "

“To be able to go in the White House and to represent my grandmother and my ancestors, it really means a lot. It’s a generation of women that don’t often get heard, you know, these old Puerto Rican women that no one ever really thinks about. To be able to use my voice to represent them on this kind of platform is really powerful.” Mayda del Valle


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posted by ashley


A Radiant Feeling Pounces

The Poem in my Pocket:
Walking in the Forest

Walking in the forest
a radiant feeling pounces
on my misty
heart, clearing
my bad thoughts.
Good memories leap,
alert, brought to my mind
by a cool breeze.
Then they sleep.
Magic flows through me
like a child running on cool summer grass.
by Tevon Dubois in A Child on The Island: The Ageless Wisdom of a Ten-Year-Old

p.s. I will return to actually writing posts here some day. It feels like it will be soon, but we shall see!

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posted by ashley



So many humans
of an infinitely different variety
we are all living
we are all living on this planet
we are all living at this time

completely separate bubbles of reality
of experience
of perception

The impact of our actions
harbors resentment and celebration
in the bruises of our pathways

capillaries stretching eternity
carrying our history and opportunity
webbing the circuitry highway
that is here

currents of connection
making contact
slipping into wonderment
in the presence of one anther
with gratitude

this is a reality that knows existence
a social fabric sewn into our magic carpet

photo by Powerhouse Museum

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posted by ashley


We Are

My first "We Are" poem:

We Are Here Now Together
December 21, 2008

Here now
the moment is ripe
life awaits

we are suffering, we are blossoming
we are waking up, we are falling asleep
we are tormented, we are hopeful
and inspired
we are pleading and searching
we are grieving and hurting
we are lost in a maze of disconnect and desertion

There is wisdom calling us home
There is faith, joy, gracious wonder
wrapped in a moment of least expectant
wrapped in an action beyond pure comfort

We are opportunities
We are responsible for making a difference

We are
compassionate and sometimes trembling hands
open and receptive hearts attuned to grief and suffering, akin to giving and glowing
unbridled intellect and curiosity, committed to cause and inquiry

We are
devoted to the seen and unseen
listening to the mystery
informed by wonder and awe

we are

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posted by ashley

Solstice to Inauguration

I'm participating in a Woven Essence ritual. Honoring the potency that this time seems to hold, I am committed to doing a specific ritual every day between Winter Solstice (today) and the United State's Presidential Inauguration (January 20).

Right now I'm up in the North Carolina mountains. Shifting from the freezing cold and brilliant white snow of Seattle, last night I was cradled in the misty bright cloud-haze of Lake Toxaway. Today's shortest day of the year shines glowing sunrays upon my eyes. Slightly bundled up and deeply embraced by creativity, life's force, family and this heart's land, I open space for what me, this time, and life have to share with each other.

At the core of this learning journey, I am dedicated to listening to, embracing and sharing wisdom. In order to do this, I invite myself to release more fully into who I am... to become more intimate with my inner world, listening to the wisdom that emerges from that deep place within. I also invite my inner world to come into deeper alignment with the outer world. May I discover ways of loving, knowing and acting from wisdom, listening, seeing, feeling, receiving, tasting, smelling, experiencing, expressing and embodying.

One practice that I am doing every day is to write at least two poems. One "I am" poem and one "We are" poem. The first poems this morning were a free-flowing expression. There is so much I don't know and have to discover about who is this "I" that I am. And I don't know who I'm referring to when I write about "we"... I look forward to seeing what growth, learning and transformation emerge from this practice.

I will share poems as I feel called and any new practices that emerge as well. Should you want to join me in this poetry practice, I have found a couple of websites that offer a variety of different forms for writing "I Am" poems: a template and 8 different types. And if you are doing your own Solstice to Inauguration ritual, please come join us at the Facebook event or leave a comment!

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posted by ashley


Breathing is Important

Breathing is Important

...like when you meditate and your mind wanders
you don’t beat yourself up for it
you just gently go back to focus
so be sweet with yourself when you worry
it's ok
it's not like you are shooting heroin
you just got distracted from what's best for you
the present
so delicious
it's peach season and i just thought of juicy sweet peaches
seems so simple and pure and good

~Wisdom from Cynthia Stewart

Grayson, our granddaughter, eating a Georgia peach and enjoying every bite photo by Savannah Grandfather
The World is a Peach photo by wanderingnome

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posted by ashley



Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle
to see who can sing
the highest note
or the lowest

or the most expressive of mirth
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for the sheer delight and gratitude-
believe us, they say
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world
I beg of you

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance

it could mean something.
it could mean everything.
it could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote
You must change your life

by Mary Oliver from her new book Red Bird

Thank you Lucianne for the poem
And tcd123usa for the photo

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posted by ashley


Pieces of a Puzzle

Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For some there are more pieces.
For others the puzzle is more difficult to assemble.
Some seem to be born with a nearly complete puzzle.
And so it goes.
Souls going this way and that
Trying to assemble the myriad parts.

But know this. No one has within themselves
All the pieces to their puzzle . . .
Everyone carries with them at least one and probably
Many pieces to someone else's puzzle.
Sometimes they know it.
Sometimes they don't.

And when you present your piece
Which is worthless to you,
To another, whether you know it or not,
Whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the Most High.

--Lawrence Kushner, Honey from the Rock

Photograph by Right Eye

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posted by ashley


Absolutely Clear



Your loneliness so quickly.

Let it cut more


Let it ferment and season you

As few human

Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight

Has made my eyes so soft,

My voice so


My need of God



-- By Hafiz

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posted by ashley


Balancing Knowing and Not-Knowing


my cells breathe
a deep knowing clarity

my body resonates
with recognition

my heart is awake
a full knowing awareness


I open, accept, surrender

being with
the mysterious emergence
of this moment

falling, floating, flailing, flying
a flower turning inside out
a void of total stillness

knowing is trusting
the sacred listening
of my human instrument

not-knowing is trusting
the sacred wholeness of wisdom
transcending my personal reach

~ knowing photo by Right Eye in an inspiring series called Essence: What shapes our identity?
~ not-knowing photo by Denis Collette
~ monkey photo by pandiyan
~ poem a Woven Essence collaboration

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posted by ashley


Gentle Breath of Being

…To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others…
— David Whyte

A beautiful New Year's wish from Mike. Thank you.

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posted by ashley


"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." ~ Rumi

photo by kiri :D

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posted by ashley


Leave the familiar for a while

Today I open a gate, inviting myself into a journey where I hope to learn more about some of my habitual patterns of relating... relating with myself, relating with others, relating with the internet, relating with time and space.... this list could go on and on... so much relating!

I am entering an inquiry. I am experimenting through a practice of shifting what is known and comfortable so that I may better feel what it's like to sit with the unknown and to be with myself in discomfort. If some of the habits and routines I have grown to depend upon are shifted, how will I respond? How might I come to better know and relate to myself ? to others? Where have I used these habits to help me feel whole? How might I grow towards wholeness through new ways of facing and relating with myself and others?

I've recently returned to referencing a 13-Moon Natural Time Calendar. I enjoy seeing when my day resonates with the tone and glyph of this calendar. Below is part of today's description... feels in alignment!
"With deep roots into the earth and broad antennas into the sky, receive the medicine your soul needs to endure life's transitions and discover trust in the unknown."

"As we release that which no longer serves, we make way for new opportunities and understandings to emerge. Setting us free from expectations or definite notions, Spectral energy breaks us out of routine, releasing us into the spectrum of possibility, provoking us to see aspects of our wholeness that may be yet undiscovered."

~from 13 Moon Natural Time Calendar
As part of this shift I am inquiring into my relationship with the internet. I don't know how regularly I'll be posting in this coming time. I leave you with another poem that caught me sweetly today. I found this one at Rich Life Cafe.

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadow and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new watermark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

Hafiz – 14th century Sufi mystic and poet

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posted by ashley


The Way WIngs Should


What will
our children do in the morning?
Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play,
the way wings

Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gathered
the strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance
the wonderful charms of
the earth

so that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own?

I know all about the ways of the heart - how it wants to be alive.

Love so needs to love
that it will endure almost anything, even abuse,
just to flicker for a moment. But the sky's mouth is kind,
its song will never hurt you, for I
sing those words.

What will our children do in the morning
if they do not see us

~ Rumi ~

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posted by ashley


Embracing Love

"I knocked on the door
of the One who embraces Love.
He opened it, saw me there and began to laugh.
He pulled me in....
I melted like sugar cubes...
in the arms of the Lover,
that wizard of the world... "


photo source and poem found at Ineffable Bliss

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posted by ashley


Emerging Independence

More personal confessions...

It’s strange to me how much I “need” to have others validate things that I do or experience, how much I can deny my own experiencing, minimizing it, not honoring the fullness of intensity that is my living or the guided action that emerges from my listening. For example, I've noticed lately how I experience a touch of wholeness when someone validates how deeply I feel. It surprises me (and then often moves me to tears) how healing and confirming it is to have someone else simply acknowledge that I experience life intensely, that I feel deeply. How curious that I don’t trust my own experiencing as proof. Intellectually I do, but at a sensing level there is still so much I am learning to trust.

I am grateful for people in my life who reflect these realities back to me. Through the interdependence of our relationships, I am invited into greater independence, a fuller knowing of what it's like to be me. What a blessing.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

~ Mary Oliver

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posted by ashley


The World I Want to Live In

A sunny morning reflecting, writing and creating. This poem and post catches my attention and leaves me with tears in my eyes. It's possible. Keep dreaming your dreams. Let's celebrate our connections and bring these visions to life... together.

This is the whole post from CharityFocus Blog
The wonderfully inspiring Arab-American poet, Naomi Shihab Nye wrapped a poem around an unexpected experience of kindness she encountered at an airport in Albuquerque and sent it off to exactly two friends ... who passed it on to friends, who passed it on to friends who ... and so the ripple of poetry and goodness went, and courtesy of Daily Good reader, Cynthia Loebig, here it is in front of all of you. At a recent reading of the poem, Nye ended the evening remarking, that this spontaneous series of people passing the poem on had probably resulted in more people reading it than would have had it appeared in a print magazine ...

Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal
by Naomi Shihab Nye
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well -- one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew -- however poorly used -
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we're fine, you'll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let's call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her -- southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies -- little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts -- out of her bag --
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo -- we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers --
Non-alcoholic -- and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American -- ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend -- by now we were holding hands --
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate -- once the crying of confusion stopped
-- has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

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posted by ashley


Dear Loving You

Dear loving You, (says the moon)

I see you lying there
held with earthen hands.
Your radiance reaches me
in an arc of divine light.

Your warmth is like a blanket of love
draped over your friends, family, and kin.

I see your light reflecting upon all that you touch,
the nearby waves shimmer with
your gratitude and devotion.

Dear loving You,
Your companionship has been unfailing.
Each time I seek you
you have always been there.

You are my familiar friend -
So wise and still full of surprise.
You are a beautiful mystery,
A paradox of known and unknown.

You and I breathe into the space
between us, dear One.
I, too, feel this expansion --
now filling again with light – yours
(I am a mere reflection of your light).

I wonder how it is
that you can be so loving?
such radiance pours from you. . .

I am illuminated with gratitude, dear You
(says the moon).

Poem by Meredith at Graceful Presence and comic from Ineffable Bliss

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posted by ashley


A Dear Companion

Settling into the sacredness, I lie in the moon's light . . .

her radiance bathing me in divine light
showering upon me a familiar blanket of love

so close... family... kin

a wave and another and another
of gratitude and devotion

memories of how this moon has been
such a dear companion throughout life
for me. with me

so much dependability and so much mystery

lying here in the moon’s light
i feel the earth supporting my back

i breathe into the space between me and the moon
i feel my space -- my self --
filling to touch her light
i feel the warmth between me and her
as my sense of self
she's so close

how can she be so loving?
such radiance. . .

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posted by ashley


At black water pond
the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
Oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

Mary Oliver

(thank you graceful presence)

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posted by ashley

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