When Simple Presence Is Enough…


Sometimes, dear friend, words elude me. I just want to stare out the window and watch the leaves fall, attend to the shifting light on the no-longer green trees, become one with the warmth of the teacup against my palms.

This is when I am especially grateful for the poetry of others, the gentle gathering of words that speak the depths of what I am feeling. Here is a particularly beautiful offering by the late John O’Donohue….from my heart to yours.

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses. Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May the warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue Copyright 2008

Love and blessings,


The short, the sweet, the essential

As an avid reader and less-avid writer, I often find myself swimming in a sea of words. I know that many blame TV and the Internet for decreasing the human attention span, but I wonder…how many words do we really need to get our point across? Are we truly saying something of interest and import (or amusement), or are we mostly filling a void or meeting a word count for arbitrary publishing purposes?

I’m sure you’ve found yourself reading a blog post or article or book and thinking “yeah, yeah, OK, you’re a good writer but just get to the point already?!?” Do we all really have ADD, or are there simply more words than there need to be in most writing? After all, how much more pithy and meaningful can you get than a well written haiku (three lines consisting of 5, 7 and 5 syllables), or the less known monostich, a one line poem such as “It was a huge small world in the court where our apartment dwelled.” You fill in the blanks yourself — at best, these short pieces open up a well of responses in us, rather than telling us how to respond.

So I commit myself to short posts that provoke thought through the less is more theory. I’m not even committing to once a week, or every other day or any other rhythm; I’m going to let the rhythms find their own way, syncopated and uneven as life tends to be. I invite you to write some haiku or monostichs yourself and see what can open through a commitment to brevity and succinctness.  In a “more is always better” world, take a stand for the beauty of simply this. And share that beauty with the weary, bloated, overflowing world.

A Poem to Warm and Lighten

Today I offer a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, from her book Words Under The Words. Read slowly and savor — poetry offers a feast of sensory information. May its light and warmth guide you as we move from these short days into the increasing expansiveness of this cold and stark season.

The Song

From somewhere
a calm musical note arrives.
You balance it on your tongue,
a single ripe grape,
till your whole body glistens.
In the space between breaths
you apply it to any wound
and the wound heals.

Soon the night will lengthen,
you will lean into the year
humming like a saw.
You will fill the lamps with kerosene,
knowing somewhere a line breaks,
a city goes black,
people dig for candles in the bottom drawer.
You will be ready. You will use the song like a match.
It will fill your rooms
opening rooms of its own
so you sing, I did not know
my house was this large.