Archives for the month of: March, 2016


This morning two thoughts met in my mind and began to dance. They extend their hands to you in hopes you will join them in composing your day, especially if you are one who is searching for your life’s purpose.

The first thought comes from yesterday’s meditation in Joan Borysenko’s Pocketful of Miracles. It reminds us to pay attention to the “still, small voice within.” It is that voice which holds the clues to our unique calling in the universe. Our task is to pay attention to it and dance with it.

Patience is related to authentic spiritual courage. It is the deep faith that the universe is unfolding as it should, even when things are not happening according to our own plans or timetables. All we can do is act in integrity, in accordance with our priorities and the guidance of the still, small voice within. After that, we must surrender all attachment to the results.

The companion theme comes from M. J. Ryan’s anthology, A Grateful Heart. As the father of four children who dance to the music of their own callings, the image has particular resonance.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost, the world will not have it.” So said dancer Martha Graham…we pray that each of us find our unique life force and express it as fully as we possibly can.

May each of us tune in to the still, small voice within and embrace the gifts of our special dance in the world.



This past week I was in touch with friends who faced an unexpected turn in their life’s path. One of them, a survivor of a previous severe cancer, confronts a newly discovered and different form of the disease. The second friend battled a blaze that could have dealt his small family business a damaging blow.

My heart goes out to each of them. Having lived through a couple of life altering challenges of my own, I am aware of the depths of darkness that can accompany the initial news. I have also known the light of new life that is possible from their lessons.

With synchronous pull this week I was drawn into David Whyte’s entry on Disappointment in his book Consolations. While many of us think of disappointments as frustrating interruptions in the day’s trajectory, his use of the word focuses on our life threatening and life opening distresses.

Our attitude toward our circumstances and our effort are the only dynamics we control, and the choices we make facing our travails define who we are. May these words from David Whyte bolster each of us in confronting our disappointments.

Disappointment is inescapable but necessary…a friend to transformation, a call to both accuracy and generosity in the assessment of our self and others, a test of sincerity and a catalyst of resilience.

 Disappointment is just the initial meeting with the frontier of an evolving life, an invitation to reality, which we expected to be one particular way and turns out to be another, often something more difficult, more overwhelming and strangely, in the end, more rewarding.


The temperature reached 60 yesterday cutting short the maple sugaring season. The snow retreats before the ascending sun. The earth reappears. It’s early yet – no doubt there will be more “weather” this month – but the days pronounce spring’s imminent arrival.

The return of spring renews the promise that below the surface of an apparently frozen landscape life’s energy continues to create its abundance. There is the assurance that we will surface from our winters of disappointment or arrested expectation. We are meant to be where we are – on track to resume our growth into the fullness of who we are becoming.

For me spring’s arrival is accompanied by the music of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring and the Shaker hymn on which it is based. Stretching from Maine to Georgia the Appalachians have provided the backbone for my life’s journey. On its shoulders Peggy and I have worked and played and launched our family. Its hills have schooled us in the lessons of self-sufficiency, community and interdependence. Now in our later years we return home to its gentle slopes and their essential truths.

For your meditation today I suggest you listen to Copeland’s composition reflecting on the return of spring in your own life and the message of the Shaker hymn.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free.

‘Tis the gift to come round where we ought to be.

And when we find ourselves in the place just right

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.

To turn, turn, will be our delight

Till by turning, turning, we come round right.



Have you ever wished you had more time to finish all that is on your plate? What if you had an extra day? Would you spend it any differently? I doubt most of us would. Case in point: this year is leap year. According to the rules we have created, every four years we grant ourselves one more day. So, did you use this past Monday any differently? Or did you pretty much follow your routine for the first work day of the week?

Whatever the amount of time granted us in life, we control our attitude and our effort toward it. Suppose you allocate 15 minutes per day differently. Depending on your goal you may devote that time to rest, a relationship, meditation, prayer, exercise or working on that project you are postponing.

Here’s the calculation: assuming you allocate 8 hours for sleep and hygiene, you have 16 waking hours each day. 15 minutes X 365 days = 5,475 minutes; divided by 60 minutes = 91+ hours; divided by 16 waking hours = 5+ days. That’s five times more than leap year!

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that it all begins with focusing on the present moment.

To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

 Peace is all around us – in the world and in nature – and within us – in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.

What practice will you begin or resume today?