We Need Only Be

Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love in which
we live and move and have our being:

Sometimes words fail.
Sometimes the catastrophe is so great
and the pain and fear and bewilderment
are so overwhelming
that we run out of things to say.
It feels impossible to pray.

In those times help us remember
that it is not our words
that connect us to you,
though they can help.
It is not our deeds
that connect us to you,
though they can help too.

No, it is rather that
we can never become disconnected.
Like a bird soaring on an updraft,
we need only be
and we are held in you.
We need only breathe,
and we breathe in you.

I breathe in God,
God breathes in me.
I breathe in Love,
Love breathes in me.

I rest in God,
God rests in me.
I rest in Love,
Love rests in me.

I move in God,
God moves in me.
I move in Love,
Love moves in me.

Help us remember:
we need only be,
and we are held in infinite love.

Blessed be.

God’s Porch

If you just lost everything in a fire
If the floods have taken it all away
If the diagnosis is worse
than anything you imagined
If the pain just won’t let up

If you are afraid for the life
of your grown-up child
If you can’t keep a baby growing
If your failing parent is far far away
And you can’t afford to travel

If you spend every day in the car outside
the worksite of your toddler’s father
singing to the baby and praying each moment
that ICE won’t come today

If you are hiding in the hills with no place to go
because the trailers for the workers
burned down

If you can’t go outside
without some jerk shouting comments
about every aspect of your body

If you fear for your life
when you see a police car
If you fear for the life of your son

If you worry every day
about what kind of world
this is for raising your children
If you’re scared of the man
with his hand on the button
If you’re afraid of what’s happening
to your marriage

Come to my house.

Come sit on the porch a while.

Look up at the trees. Listen to the quiet.
Allow peace to enter your heart.
A dragonfly darts to and fro above the yard
and butterflies silently flutter.
Hummingbirds drink from the feeders
and bees work in the clover.

There are wind chimes of metal
and one of bamboo
and they sway
sometimes sounding
in the breeze.

Come sit on the porch,
or lie down if you prefer.
We have many different kinds of chairs.
Breathe in the sweet air.
Gaze up into blue sky.
See the bright colors of the zinnias.

I will bring you something
delicious to drink
and if it is cool I will tuck you in
with a blanket

You can lie back and rest and relax
And just leave it all to me.

My love will wrap around you
and you will know you are safe
and nothing will ever hurt you

Come sit on the porch a while.
Come on up and rest.

I am here waiting
for you.

Be Not Afraid to Grieve

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
now is a time of lamentation.

It seems the whole world is on fire.
The smoke hurts our eyes and our lungs,
making it hard to breathe.

Ash falls on every surface,
the gray and white powder all that remains
of innumerable beings who once were alive.

Help us know that our grief and our pain
are the appropriate response
to what is happening here.

If we are weighed down by misery
and can hardly move our limbs
we are experiencing the normal reaction
to catastrophic loss,
which is what this is.

It is appropriate to feel pain
because we are part
of the body that is burning.
Our body is burning
and it hurts.

The First Peoples in this place
knew how to use fire
for its proper function:
Renewer of Life.
Each year when it began to rain,
the people painted with the fire stick
lightly, gently, lovingly,
and they managed these dry hills and forests
for every kind of being under the sun.

Trees, birds, elk, shrubs, flowers, mushrooms, deer:
all were part of the great interwoven circles of life
and all flourished with the gentle use of fire.

But when the whites came and took away the lands
they didn’t learn how to care for them
and fire went from Renewer of Life
to Destroyer of All Things
and this is the cost of believing
Nature is something outside ourselves
and all beings exist to serve us:
we are burning ourselves alive.

And so we must grieve.
There is no other way through this mess.

We have to let ourselves feel this pain
because it arises from our interbeing
with all that is;
it arises from our love.

Only when we know in our bones
how deeply we inter-are with this world,
and how passionately we love it,
can we change how we act
from now on.

Spirit of Life, Source of all aid:
help us be not afraid to grieve.

Blessed be.

The North Wind

So polluted by my own complicity
so full of anguish and rage
and disgust and shame
that I could no longer breathe
I called upon the North Wind.

It came, cold and pure,
clearing the sky ahead of it
to shine fiercely blue.

The treetops were swaying and singing
and in that windsong I stood
and opened my coat
and pulled down my shirt front
and invited the wind in
to carve out all the filth.

I scooped with my hands too,
reaching in to clear my eyes
which have seen so much cruelty
my ears
which have heard so much hate
my nose
which has smelled so much pollution
and my mouth
which has tasted so much death.

My throat was completely clogged
and I could no longer speak
so I cleared that out too,
and then the wind and I
worked together on my heart.

Oh, there was so much detritus
and it was rotting without air.

The wind blew hard
the way it does at the top of the mountain
when you can hardly stand
and snow is blowing
over the edge of the peak

I wanted to howl my pain and agitation
but the wind took it and blew it away.
I kept scooping and casting away the muck—
all the piled-on anger all the fear all the rot—
scooping and casting away
scooping and casting away
and all the time the clean wind blew.

Finally I could breathe again.
I could breathe and stand up straight
I could speak and move
and I could do the work I am meant to do.

Then I gave thanks to the wind.

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.

Hearts Underwater

heart underwater

My mother came back from a walk last week with a beautiful photo of a heart shape she had seen in the creek.  She had tears in her eyes and her voice was wobbly with pain.  “This is how I feel right now,” she said.  “My heart is underwater.  There is just too much.”

So many of us feel this way.  Our hearts are underwater.  There is too much happening, too fast, for us to be able to process it all.  We feel like we are drowning. Our hearts are underwater.

May we know that our pain is the expression of our love.  It is the expression of our interconnectedness with all that is.  Our pain and grief and rage are the natural outpourings of huge hearts, full of love.

A teacher once reminded me that the heart is a very strong muscle.  The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets.  So let us weep when we must.  Let us weep and rail and pound our pillows, and let the salty tears wash us clean.  And then let us pick up our strong and beautiful hearts and take them out into the world to keep loving.

Photo by Nancy Kubik

Prayer for Atonement

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

When we turn away from our true selves,
when we forget our interbeing with all that is,
we hurt.

How we hurt.

Only turning back can help us.

May we know the relief of turning.
May we hold one another in love
as we open up to our pain
and work to repair the damage we’ve done.

May we then feel the soothing balm of at-one-ment
as we offer each other these words:

“It’s all right. Everything’s gonna be all right.”


Channels of Love

Spirit of life, Great Immensity of Love
that holds all:

This life can be so hard.
There is so much pain,
so much suffering
everywhere we look.

How can we stand it?
How can we manage?

Perhaps by being here, together.
By breathing together.
Perhaps by singing together.
By taking action, together.
Perhaps together we can find our power.

Spirit of Life, when we feel small and helpless
Help us know the great power that is ours
if only we will open ourselves to it

Help us open our hearts and our minds–
help us open our whole beings!–
to the suffering that is here,
so we can meet it with love.

May we be such enormous vessels of love
such enormous channels for love
that neither hatred nor cruelty
can survive in our presence.

May we walk on this earth beaming with love
shining with love
bringing love into every situation we meet.

May we know our shared life
as one opportunity to love after another.

Spirit of life, source of all love:
We thank you for this life that we live.

Blessed be.