What The World Needs

Spirit of Life,
You who urge the spring salmon upstream
and the geese back to their nesting grounds:

There is so much pain in our world.

It is tempting to shut our eyes
and shut our hearts
just so we can survive.

But what the world needs
is for us to keep them open.

Help us keep our eyes open
to the suffering we see.

Grant us the strength
not to turn away,
but to move toward
those beings and places
where our love is most needed.

Help us open our hearts.

Help us know
that it is when we are most open
to your movement through us
into our beautiful and hurting world
that we will feel the most joy.

Help us open our hearts to joy.

Blessed be.


The Organizing Technique of Snow

One snowflake, when it falls,
is insubstantial.  It melts
the moment it touches the ground.

It is beautiful as it falls,
a unique structure
of crystalline water
so perfect that when we
magnify it to see
we nearly swoon
from sheer amazement.

And yet, by itself,
a snowflake melts
the moment it touches the ground.

Only if many snowflakes fall
and cool the earth
melting themselves in the process
can one snowflake
remain intact.

And then the next one,
and the next,
and the next,
until soon there are so many
that trees are bowed to the ground
and cars are crashing on the highway
and power lines are falling down
and humans must slow down
or die.

This is not the fault of the snow,
let us be clear.
It is just being itself.
We are the ones
who must accept reality
and change.

And if we do—
if we slow down,
and learn to pay attention—
snow offers itself to us for our joy.

O the beauty of it in the quiet wood,
and on the mountain slope,
and falling like feathers from the sky!
The joy of sliding fast downhill
with people we love all around us!

One snowflake, alone,
is insubstantial.  It melts
the moment it touches the ground.
Massed together,
snow has weight, and power,
and brings all of our hurrying to a halt—
and then spins us around
until we are breathless,
and our faces are turned toward joy.

Let us take a lesson from the snow.

Her Body

A Blue Green Wave of Healing Washes Over Me by Peg Green

For Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Her body is holy.
Her body is beautiful.
Her body is to be respected.
Her body is to be cherished.
Her body is here for her own joy.
Her body belongs to her.

Her body belongs to her.
Her body is here for her own joy.
Her body is to be cherished.
Her body is to be respected.
Her body is beautiful.
Her body is holy.


(Women:  Repeat these words with “My” instead of “Her.”  Repeat them with “Your” to any women and girls and gender non-conforming people you love.  Try repeating again several times, substituting the words “mind,” then “heart,” then “spirit,” then “whole self,” for “body.”)

(People whose genders fall outside the gender binary:  Repeat these words with whatever pronouns make this passage most meaningful to you.  Repeat them with “Your” to any women and girls and gender-nonconforming people you love.  Repeat again several times, substituting the words “mind,” then “heart,” then “spirit,” then whole self,” for “body.”)

(Men:  Repeat these words over and over again.   Repeat them with “Your” to any women and girls and gender-nonconforming people you love.  Repeat again several times, substituting the words “mind,” then “heart,” then “spirit,” then whole self,” for “body.”)



How to Remember

The world will give you gifts if you pay attention:

A curl of red madrone bark,
fallen from the shiny surface
of the brilliantly colored tree.

Half of a tiny paper wasps’ nest,
wavy striations of white and gray
painstakingly arranged around a perfect circle.

A bird’s nest woven from pine needles
and lined with grass and lichen and moss.

Acorns whose caps fit exactly so,
each holding within it
the beginning of a giant oak.

A piece of maple bark drilled by woodpeckers,
the holes lined up with perfect precision.

Iridescent blue feathers from a Stellar’s jay,
and bright orange ones from a flicker.

A clump of moss and some blue-gray lichen;
most of the shell of a blue robin’s egg;
an owl pellet with tiny bones in;
bark from a pine and more from an oak,
each vastly different from the other.

If you watch carefully, all of these can be yours—
they land at your feet
every day.

What will you do with them?

Make an altar.

Place each item carefully,
considering its relationship
with all the others.

Each time you walk by,
let your eye land
on one small, perfect thing,
and think of how it was made.

Be astonished.
Be joyful and filled with gladness.

Then you will remember
(then you will re-member)
who you truly are
and why you are here
in this gorgeous and hurting world.


Spirit of Life,
You who rise greening in our hearts
as well as in the vines of zucchini plants:

Now is a time of great abundance,
when fruits and vegetables of every kind
are piled in great heaps in the markets.

Queen Anne’s Lace blooms in the meadows,
the clear pools of the river beckon,
and the trees are so fragrant
we want to gulp in the delicious air.

Yet fire season has already begun
taking the homes and lives of many beings,
little children are still crying for their parents,
and many we love are sick and in pain.

Help us know that
this is the way of things here,
on this little blue planet
hurtling through the vast starry deeps:
there is always both at once.

Both ravishing beauty and terrible suffering,
both immense joy and agonizing pain,
both glorious celebration and overwhelming grief.

Help us know that whatever we are experiencing
You are with us, whatever we call You—
Love, God, Universe, or no name at all—

for You are the love that binds all wounds
dries all tears
and frees all who are captive
and You are right here in our hearts

Blessed be.

Artwork: Aditi – Goddess of the Boundless Sky by Peg Green

Time Between Storms

Spirit of Life, Spirit of Beauty and of Springtime:

Now is the time when the weather is unsettled,
with showers following sun following rain
and treetops dancing wildly in the wind.

Between rainstorms there is often a day
of sunshine and towering white clouds
when we can roll along in town
and see the little bells of cherry blossoms
hanging from their twigs and branches
so sweetly they make us want to weep
and the camellias so perfectly formed
among their waxy leaves
and the brash forsythia
loudly proclaiming spring.

And we can roll along through the woods
and hear birdsong filling the air
and see the fairy lanterns
nodding on the embankment
and imagine the little folk who came before
and tell stories about them to the children.

Each hollow at the base of a tree becomes a house
for a fairy or a gnome or the Little Fur Child
and we go looking for them together
in the dark and sunny woods
until the sky grows wild and red.

We need time like this:
time between storms.
Time when we rest
from all that disturbs our sleep,
time to sing songs of love
and eat chocolate cake
and lie with our beloved
and cuddle our pets
and play with our children
and take a hot bath:
time between storms.

Spirit of Life, Spirit of Joy and of Springtime:

Help us know that this kind of time
is not a luxury we must earn.
It is not something we must only indulge in
when the work of healing the world
is complete—
no, it is part of the healing.
This is why keeping the Sabbath
is one of the ten commandments.

Help us claim our time between storms.
Help us enjoy our rest.

Blessed be.

(With thanks to Margaret Wise Brown’s The Little Fur Family.)

The Beating Heart of Love

Up on the hill
against the sunset
I saw some dark ragged thing
–a clump of leaves?–
twirling down from the sky

Before my eyes could adjust
and identify the shape

it broke apart
and two acorn woodpeckers
flew up together.

I replayed the scene in my mind
and understood that what I had taken
for leaves was, in fact,

Two birds joined together and fell,
in a mad twirl,
toward the ground.

At the end,
they might have crashed.

For some animals,
love does end badly.
We have all heard
the cautionary tale
of the black widow.

But these birds did not crash.

They joined together
in a twirling fall toward the earth,
and then they rose up in joy.

May the beating heart of love
give us all
such courage
and such joy.


Open Our Hearts

Spirit of Life,
You who body forth
as our starry universe
and this luminous,
blue-green planet:

Now is our hot blue and gold time,
when the air smells of oaks
and pines and dry grasses,
crickets sing all night,
and the rivers get lower and warmer.

Grapes swell with the liquid sunshine
that delights our tongues
sunflowers and zinnias bloom
in glorious colors
and zucchini plants run riot in the gardens.

Help us ground ourselves
in all this beauty
so we can open our hearts.

Help us open our hearts so wide
and so deep
that they can fill with
an entire ocean of love.
Help us feel the joy of that love.

Help us open our hearts so deep
and so wide
that they can hold all the pain
of this suffering world,
and soothe it with our love.

Help us open our hearts to one another.
Move through us as compassion
for all those who fear
and all those who mourn.
Move through us as celebration for all
who are experiencing great joy.

And help us know who we really are:
each a beloved, essential being,
all part of one great
living breathing changing shining whole
whose nature is love.

Help us open our hearts to love.

Blessed be.

Prayer at Summer Solstice

Spirit of Life, Source of all Being:

We stand on the edge of the Summer Solstice,
the longest day of the year,
the time when the earth’s tilt brings us
closest to the sun.

It is the time of most promise,
the most lush growth—
and yet also the time
when daylight begins receding.

Both at once,
both splendor and loss at once.

This is how it is here
on this beautiful blue-green ball
hurtling through the vastness of space.

There is great joy here.
There is terrible pain here.
And with it all,
there are moments
of illumination and grace.

May we be thankful for all of it
for in better and in worse
this is where we belong.

Here on Earth is where we belong.

Blessed be.

Prayer for Hope and Dread

Spirit of life, you who body forth
as this starry universe
and our shimmering blue-green planet:

Now at last the sun has come out
and the sky is a glorious clear blue
and the oak leaves
are such a tender new green
that it seems all the world
is poised in hope!

Fresh north winds blow
and the pines sing
and the hummingbirds
return to the feeders.

And yet the news each day
is filled with such terrible things
that dread rises like a tide in our hearts.
Some of us can’t help but wonder
how long this world can last.

Spirit of life, immense ocean of love,
help us give ourselves over to you.
Help us know that in all of our
fear and anger and grief,
we are held.
In all of our amazement and joy and wonder,
we are held.
In all of the changes that are coming our way,
we are ever safely held
in love.

Blessed be.