just be

be yourself

Being yourself means being honest with yourself. I sometimes forget that and fall into the trap of “this is who I want to be” or “this is what I want to believe to be true”.

Those feelings are based on opportunity, desire, and a hundred other feelings that stand in opposition to truth and love and they ultimately lead to internal conflict and pain and obfuscate the Self.

I remind myself
I am also part of “the world”
that tries so hard
to make me something else
something less than myself
and release
the untruths
revealed to me
through them
by simply standing back
from what others might see
or believe to be
in order to hear my reflection say
“This is who I am”
not what I want to see
or want to be
or what others believe
but what I know to true
and though what I see
may not yet be who I am
trying so hard to become
I can see that person
looking back at me
and I say to him
“You are perfect just as you are”


Lit by smiles
and sweet laughter
I hear when I close my eyes
By the soft touch
Of loving hands
That still tingle
like electric current on my skin
By kisses
That took my breath away
and left me breathless
By endless talks
Of hopes and dreams
I carry with me
My soul burns with a passion
That can not
Should not
Be extinguished
It is not what I have
That kindles the fire
I have nothing
It is the memory of those things
And the promise of their renewal
That drives me



Note to Self

Recently, I was introduced to the term “imposter syndrome” which is defined as “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Since I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything yet I argued that it really doesn’t apply to me (“that’s the point” she replied in silence). I am, however, quite intimate with the “fraud” part.

There’s so much I want to say. So many things I want to write about. I have a passion in me that has been ignited in a way that is impossible to extinguish. Nor would I want to extinguish it.

But the words won’t come.

Instead all I hear is:





How can I write about those things I feel and the lessons I have to share if I am unable to create and maintain them in my own life? Why should anyone listen to me? Why do the people I know continue to come to me for advice? I have had no success in love (or in life, really) to point at as an example and what I have learned I have learned painfully.

Rather than expose myself as that fraud I have written nothing but in doing so I prove that sense of failure because what I write about most often is hope and gratitude.

Some time back I read an article in the Buddhist review “Tricycle” by the Zen monk, Shozan Jack Haubner, who says:

“The only thing worse than trying to look younger than you are is trying to look wiser than you are.”

So I remind myself that my only failure is in thinking I’d be wiser by now and forgetting that I am only as wise as I allow my experiences to make me.

It is the suffering that has taught me the things I write about and though I don’t write about them in a “woe is me” manner does not mean I am pretending, it simply means I am learning.

Today I recommit myself to sharing what I have learned and to expressing the fire that burns in my soul because to hide it, or to hide from it, would truly make me a fraud.

As Shozan says, “…we all must commit wholeheartedly, moment after moment, to the life we have…”

This is my life. I will live it to the fullest. Even if that means pretending a little.

An instrument of peace

“Lord, make me an instrument of peace.”

With that single line St Francis defined a life of mindfulness and loving kindness long before those terms were first used. Long before pop culture turned them into an industry. A t-shirt slogan.

He goes on to describe how that instrument looks. It is one of understanding and giving. A life in service of love.

“Lord make me an instrument of peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy

Oh divine master grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console

to be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”

This is how I want my life to be yet I often fail in these intentions. Instead, I want to be understood. To be consoled. To wade deeply in my sorrow. To be loved despite my shortcomings.

When I find myself on the needy end of the spectrum that runs from giving to receiving I remember that I can not only offer these gifts to myself, I should.

My efforts to be an instrument of peace must begin with myself because to offer peace to others I must first have it within me. The good news is that inner peace is often gained in the offering of it to others. It is a beautiful, endless, self-sustaining circle.

This was my meditation this morning:

That I forgive myself and not beat myself up for being human.

That I keep strong the faith that brought me here.

That I keep the flame of hope ever burning within me to light both bright days and dark nights.

That I be willing to find and feed my joy, especially when it seems so far away.

That I love myself as I wish to be loved by others and that I share that love regardless of my pain.

That peace isn’t just something we feel, it’s something we practice.

I believe I need more practice.

Peace be upon you.

Numinous Experience

Here at the edge of the world, where men reach into the the sea with heavy line and glittering tackle attempting to join the massive Oneness of the ocean by removing from it those that truly belong, I find a sure and sudden calm as if sedated yet awake and aware. Fully aware.

I have spent so little time in my life by the ocean though I have always heard its call. A gentle tugging. It is the lure, I am the fish, and it is trying as hard to be a part of me as those men standing on the edge of this expansive pier are trying to be part of it.

In 1917 Rudlof Otto wrote Das Heilge, which appeared in English in 1923 as The Idea of the Holy. He suggests that while the concept of “the Holy” is often used to convey moral perfection It also contains another distinct element, beyond the ethical sphere, for which he uses the term “Numinous” and defines it as “non-rational, non-sensory experience or the feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self.” (Thank you Wikipedia)

I won’t go into the whole Jungian psychology surrounding the archetypes and Numinous because I believe I can sum it up in this one example: An artist creates a sculpture to give form to something that has taken life inside him. What he feels is Numinous, the influence of something “other” than himself. Years later I see his sculpture and literally feel the spirit he has put into the stone looking back at me.

This is the Numinous Experience.

I look into the ocean, this beautiful and powerful creation of the Divine, and see it looking back at me. Calling me. Reaching into me and igniting a spirit within me which I release onto the page of this blog where it lives and, hopefully, reaches into you and ignites the “other” that lives within you.

Life is truly a spiritual experience if we allow it to be.


Image by JMGreff at the end of the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, AL

Beaver Moon

There’s a full moon tonight. It is a moon of introspection. A time when impulse gives way to doubt. Doubt gives way to resistance. Resistance gives way to rebellion.

If, however, we are able to separate our feelings of rebellion from a need for change we open ourselves to new ways of communicating because it is also a time of inspiration, security, steadfastness, and loyalty.

If you find yourself ready to bolt today, from whatever it is that feeds that resistance, whether it be work or a relationship or yourself, then stand back. Take a breath. View the situation in its entirety. And be grateful.

I spent a couple hours at the beach earlier. I felt alone. Truly alone. I wanted to run. To hide. I was balled up tight and wondering why I would feel that way in the presence of such shear power and beauty.

I straightened up. Put myself in a meditative position; back straight, palms upwards in my lap, shoulders relaxed, jaw loose. I breathed in that amazing energy. Connected to those feelings of insecurity. Embraced them. Listened to them. Loved them.

In loving myself I released those feelings and found that sense of security that lay just under the surface.

I wish I could share this with you. The feeling that everything will be okay because I feel those same doubts coming from you.

Relax. Breathe deep. Feel yourself connect to the earth through your feet and the base of your spine. Breathe deep and long, filling your lungs from the bottom up. Then release the air, squeeszing it out from the bottom up.

Focus on a point in front of you. Just in front of your eyes whether slightly open or loosely closed. Imagine a white dot of light there. The light moves and when it moves it makes the slightest sound. Listen to it. Feel it. Let it expand. Allow it to envelop you. When your thoughts stray listen to them, release them, then return to that point of light.

That light is surety. Stability. It is the strength of the Universe that lives within you. It is your divine spark. It is you and it is telling you everything is going to be okay.

Tonight the moon is full and so are you. There’s nothing to run from.



Still as my breath
Slow as my step
Yet I wander
Lost in thoughts
That invade

A silent army
Of recollection
That tramples my peace
Despite the calm

I turn 54 today. My body turns 54, I’m not sure, cant be certain, how old my soul is. Surely, it is far older.

Today I feel the age.

I have pushed myself
Let myself go
Gave in to the ways
I put to the side
In favor of ways

I thought they were better. Maybe they were just different. I do that sometimes; change ways simply because I know the way I was traveling was somehow wrong. Which doesn’t necessarily mean the new way is right. Just different.

My eyes in a glaze
Peer through the haze
Of what i thought was wrong to see right

Here I am. Full and alive. Willing. Capable. I see where I am going. Know each step. Know where they lead. Know.

Not whether I will breathe another breath
Take another step
Type another word

I’m okay with that. Really, I am. I think it might be worse if I did know. I commit to the path I chose with faith.

Today I am 54. My body is, anyway.

My soul
Ripe fruit
Flowering vine
That reaches for the light of the Divine
And breathes
Every second with joy
Ignites the heart
That lives within this withering shell
And maybe burns it a little
Like fragile paper
Left too long in the sun
I breath
And still as my breath
My step
My mind
i look only to a future
Of my making
And smile


Happy birthday, James.