Archive for October, 2011

Down the rabbit hole

Everyone slips down the rabbit hole

from time to time, often quite unexpectedly.

A simple turning of a phrase, a critical glance,

and we are off to the races,

stumbling through worn mind tracks,

bumping into walls built by self doubts.

It is a dismal and familiar place.

When we grope blindly along the mental labyrinth

without finding an exit, it is time to curl up

under a soft blanket with warm tea or chocolate

and watch the inner log jam with detached curiosity

much like a scientist, who discovers

a stubborn woolly creature lodged in his own gut.

There is little to be gained by further rumination —

that ensnared us in the first place.

How about taking a sip of comforting brew

or nibbling bits of confectioner’s delight

and just for the moment —

accept our sorry state and simply relax?

Given a bit of luck we may glimpse

a break between Melancholic reflections — a tiny gap

enough for insights to drop like pennies from heaven.

We could even become so disenchanted

with those cheerless homespun woes

that we are suddenly on our feet washing the dishes

or run outdoors to pull weeds in the garden.

Next we may arrange flowers of exquisite design,

paint raindrops on canvas with sable hair brushes, or …

Truly magnificent solutions are conceived in rabbit holes.

The possibilities are endless.

— Monika John


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God speaks to us

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like a flame

and make big shadow I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

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The Real only reveals itself

if we look long enough.

You see, the world

is really, inside and out, on fire

with divinity:

but cannot see this if we rush past life.

— Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffman, in Presence, Vol. 17, No. 1, March 2011, p. 25

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But it is you, my equal,

my companion, my familiar friend,

with whom I kept pleasant company;

we walked in the house of God with the throng.

— Ps. 55:13-14

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Grace and gratitude

I love that grace and gratitude are such guttural words. There’s nothing soft in their sound, and yet their effect is disarming, melting through hardened categories and old walls in a way that good intentions cannot. Grace is that moment of sweet in-filling when I am unexpectedly caught up in goodness beyond my own making; gratitude is the response of recognition that flows from the heart back into the world. It’s like the in-breath and the out-breath. Grace received, gratitude shared, and both in the ground of ordinary life.

— Sandra Lommasson, “Grace, Gratitude and Grit: The Growth of Spiritual Directors International”, in Presence, Vol. 17, No. 1, March 2011, p. 54

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Lush stillness


everything is wet.

The birch trees are soaked

with great drops of moisture

rolling down their white chins.

Transparent rounds of rain

pull together at needle points,

creating shining mandalas

of beauty on the scotch pines.

Cardinals shake their wet wings

and fluff out red feathers,

unembarrassed about bathing

in such a public place.

The air is filled with dampness.

Furniture feels its sticky touch

and even my own breath

bears the wearing of wetness.

In this serene day

my heart slips easily

into the arms of peace,

content to be lost

in the love of receiving,

cherishing the heart of rain

as it sprinkles its moist grandeur

on the green forest before me.

I shall not fight for headiness

I will be quite satisfied, instead,

to live in the lush stillness

that marks its truth upon my soul.

— Joyce Rupp

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How shall I address You

How shall I address You?

I do not know how.

Every name that I have called You

seems suddenly threadbare

and ill-fitted to this space and time

in which we sit.

I am frustrated;

naming is important.

But then, again

slipping silently between

my own frustration, longing and my need

in words as soft and fresh

as downy snow

You breathe, smiling, into my ear…

“My darling,

it is I who have called you.”

There now,

that is a name:


— Katherine E. Krause, in Presence, Vol. 17, No. 2, June 2011, p. 26

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