I have learned,
actually relearned,
to use my heart
which produces insight, 
vastly superior to the power of thought, 
which produces opinions.

My heart 
is capable of seeing and thus understanding truth 
which not only informs my mind 
but liberates my soul.

With my heart
I gain insight and understanding,
using the world of ideas within. 

The truth cannot be seen by the senses alone
but only with that special instrument 
my heart,
 which, in a mysterious way, 
has the power of recognizing truth 
when confronted with it.


What is it that gives my spirit 
wings to soar above the trenches of religious tradition, 
above the flatlands of doctrine and dogma, 
above even the highest peaks of rites and rituals
into ever-greater altitudes of possibility?

I undertake this journey
 not for some definite, measurable result, 
but because, not counting the costs or calculating the consequences, 
I am moved by curiosity, 
the love of excellence, 
a point of honor, 
my compulsion to understand,

I work to overcome the inertia
 which would keep me bound forever in religion's trap. 
I have in me the free and useless energy 
with which I can surpass myself.

The energy cannot be planned and managed and made purposeful,
 or weighted by the standards of utility 
or judged by its religious consequences.

 It is wild and it is free. 

But all the heroes, the saints, the seers, the explorers and the creators 
partook of it. 
They did not know in advance 
what they would discover. 

I do not know where my impulse is taking me. 
I can give no account in advance 
of where I am going 
or explain completely where I have been. 
I have been possessed for a time 
with an extraordinary passion 
which is unintelligible in ordinary terms.

No preconceived theory fits me. 
No material purpose actuates me. 

I do useless, divinely foolish things
which sometimes end up being 
the very wisest things.

What I have proven to myself and to others  
is that I am no mere creature of habits, 
no mere religious automaton, 
no mere cog in an ecclesiastical machine, 
but that in the dust of which I am made 
there is a spark of Love,
lighted now,
being turned into a raging inferno by 
the great wind of the Holy Spirit.


How I react
to experiences
is Who I am.

Despite any goals or objectives
I might have for myself,
over which I have little, if any, control
provides the framework
for my development.

I used to believe
 I could think myself into
a new way of acting,
of being,
learning from experience, instead,
I had to act myself
into a new way of thinking.

Everything Belongs

I learned that
it is a sign of great inner insecurity
to be hostile to the unfamiliar.

It is fear
that keeps one falsely secure
in a set of beliefs
to the exclusion of all others.

is not a piercing of mystery,
but an acceptance of it,
a living blissfully
with it,
 in it,
through it
and by it.

A rich life
is one living and thriving
in the unknown,
living the Questions,
not burrowing into
some set of answers.

Mysteries are not unknowable,
but indeed,
infinitely knowable.

My faith
is not some set of doctrines and dogma,
not something chiseled in concrete,
but simply
being comfortable in uncertainty,
being secure enough
to be insecure,
strong enough
to be vulnerable,
wise enough

No Longer Mere Belief

Slowly, but surely,
the idea
of God
(noun and verb)
in Love
has been sinking
my mind 
my heart.

Less and less,
I simply believe it;
More and more,
I know it
to be

With that sinking
into my heart,
I come to realize
that I am
One with God
as BEING-in-Love
being in Love.

It keeps sinking;
not only from my mind
into my heart,
but ultimately
into my gut,
my way of being
in the world.


I can only connect the dots that I collect, 
which makes everything I write about me.

 My experiences 
are the thread that I weave into the cloth 
that becomes the story that only I can tell.

In order for it to work, 
my door had to remain unlocked. 
People entered without knocking, 
they crashed my party and drank my wine. 

I let them in, and let them drink
  because I thought I might meet somebody interesting.

Some said it is not the time for dissent.
It is not the time for heresy.

But once I shared 
and it resonated with a single person, 
it was no longer just about me;
 once I shared it, 
it was about everybody. 

And when my poetry was found by a single soul,
 shared with a friend who linked it to a friend, 
and the response was whatever it was,
I started to see how it became about everybody,
 just through the act of being shared.

without authentication and without that wand of legitimacy 
brushing my shoulder
 is scary. 

But I’ve found what resonates.

What I write can change somebody, 
can change an opinion, 
can scratch an opening in a scared heart of a human being
 and it really doesn’t matter how I do it.

When my writing is good,
 when it resonates, 
when it connects the dots for anybody out there, 
the lovers come, 
the haters come, 
support comes,
  sometimes in a form unexpected
sharing is good.

Treasure Within

I asked myself
if I had the courage 
to seek the treasures hidden within.

Surely something wonderful is sheltered inside. 
I say this with all confidence, 
because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories 
of buried treasure. 

I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks 
played on us human beings.

Creation buries strange jewels deep within us all, 
and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels; 
that’s creative living.

The courage to go on that hunt in the first place
 that’s what separates a mundane existence 
from an enchanted one.

The surprising results of that hunt 
are often Magical.

To seek my treasure
I had to  risk delight.
I had to have the stubbornness 
to accept gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.

I had to live in a state of uninterrupted marvel, 
encouraging many others to do the same. 

Without some courage, 
I would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of my own capacities. 
Without courage, I would never know the world 
as richly as it longs to be known. 
Without courage, my life would remain small,
 far smaller than I wanted my life to be.

If my courage died, 
my creativity would die with it. 
Fear is a desolate boneyard 
where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun. 
This is common knowledge; 
sometimes I just didn't know what to do about it.

While the paths and outcomes of creative living 
will vary wildly from person to person, 
I can guarantee this: 
A creative life is an amplified life. 
It’s a bigger life, a happier life, 
an expanded life,
 and a hell of a lot more interesting life. 

Living in this manner,
 continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels 
that are hidden within
is a fine art, in and of itself.

Creativity is sacred;
What we make matters enormously
and though alone,
we are accompanied by the Spirit.

We may be terrified, 
but we are brave,
 for life is a crushing chore 
and a wonderful privilege.

Only when I am most playful 
and creative
does Divinity finally get serious with me.

In and Out, Right and Wrong

With years of weekly Liturgy,
my passive resistance grew
and grew and grew.

Even on the very rare occasion
when the homily
could have been life-changing,
I was conditioned
to expect nothing.

I had gotten so used to 
these gatherings Not being meaningful
and arousing more anger and upset
than inspiration,
I no longer knew how
to let them touch my heart or
change my mind.

For me,
the Holy Spirit
was missing.

Without the Holy Spirit,
my religion had become 
a tribal sorting system,
defining who's in and who's out
and who's right and who's wrong.
And of course,
we were always in and right.

I learned that my challenge
is not to decide
who is going to heaven and hell,
not destinations at all,
but present-tense life descriptions,
but simply to
exemplify heaven now.

I just needed to let Love happen,
to Be in Love

Books of Life

As Paul wrote,
obeying Commandments
lead not me,
nor likely anyone else,
to the experience of God.

I could not come
to an experience of God
by doing something right,
Be it rites, rituals,
doctrine or dogma.

There is no evidence
doing something right works.

In fact,
a preoccupation with being right
and doing something right
creates anal-retentive people
who are usually
judgmental, preoccupied with themselves,
not in Love with God or Life
or their Fellow Humans.

The Right Way

As Paul wrote,
obeying Commandments
led not me,
nor likely anyone else,
to the experience of God.

I could not come
to an experience of God
by doing something right,
be it rites, rituals,
doctrine or dogma.

There is no evidence
doing something right works.

In fact,
a preoccupation with being right
and doing something right
creates anal-retentive people
who are usually
judgmental, preoccupied with themselves,
not in Love with God or Life
or their Fellow Humans.

Love is

Not an exchange of mutual favors, 
or calculated in advance as a profitable investment of time,
love is a unique trust 
placed in chance. 

is a quest for truth,
truth in relation to something quite precise,
from the point of view of two and not one.

 is experienced, developed and lived 
from the point of view of difference 
and not identity.

slices diagonally 
through the most powerful oppositions 
and radical separations. 

The encounter between two differences is an event, 
is contingent and disconcerting.
On the basis of this event, 
love can start and flourish. 

 unleashes a process 
that is basically an experience of getting to know the world. 

Love isn’t simply about two people meeting 
and their inward-looking relationship: 
it is a construction, 
a life that is being made, 
no longer from the perspective of One 
but from the perspective of Two.

 is above all a construction that lasts,
a tenacious adventure. 

The adventurous side is necessary, 
but equally so is the need for tenacity. 
To give up at the first hurdle, 
the first serious disagreement, 
the first quarrel, 
is only to distort love. 

Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, 
sometimes painfully, 
over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world.

is a declaration of eternity 
to be fulfilled or unfurled as best it can be 
within time: 
eternity descending into time.

The joy of love 
is the proof that time can accommodate eternity. 

One, in Love

For me,
(with Being
verb as well as noun.)

being in love,
I am
One with God.


Love flows toward me 
in every moment: 
through a flower, 
in a petoskey stone, 
in a wisp of cloud,
 in any person 
whom I allow to delight me. 

I experience this flow of love 
when I find myself smiling at things 
for no apparent reason.

Spiritual joy has nothing to do with things going right.
It has everything to do with things just going on, 
going on within me.

Joy is  an inherent, inner aliveness,
almost entirely an inside job,
not first determined by the object enjoyed 
as much as by my very own eye.

When the flow is flowing, 
it doesn’t matter what I'm doing. 
I don’t have to be a priest on the altar 
or a preacher in a pulpit, 
that’s for sure. 

It’s all inherently sacred and deeply satisfying. 

All is whole and holy in the very seeing, 
because I am standing inside a flow of Love 
without any negative pushback of disbelief. 

This is all that there really is. 
Call it awareness, 
call it God, 
call it Love; 
this is Being, 
out of which all things come.

I Doubt; Therefore, I Am

is a sign of a healthy faith.

The opposite of faith
is not doubt,

Doubt creates the space
in which my faith may live.

kills faith,
turning it into
a rigid caricature of itself,
a wax museum 
of the real thing.

There is no health
in certitude.

is not vibrant;
It is comatose.

is a tool of evil;
a journey toward
epiphany and enlightenment.

church teaching
never to question it,
keeps us thinking
and asking Questions,
living faithfully.

For me,
faith is being comfortable
in uncertainty,
secure enough
to be insecure,

for the Holy Spirit continually reveals to me
uncertainty after uncertainty after uncertainty.


is a particular state of awareness: 
penetrating, unified, and focused, 
yet also permeable and open. 

This quality of consciousness, 
though not easily put into words, 
is instantly recognizable.

 It is  the moment doors of perception open; 
an epiphany. 
The experience may be quietly physical
 a simple, unexpected sense of deep accord 
between self and everything. 

It may come as the harvest of long observation
leaving me too deep for tears.

 In action, 
it is felt as a state of grace: 
time slows and extends, 
and my every movement and decision 
seem to partake of perfection. 

Presence can also be recognized in things 
it radiates from art,
undimmed from paintings, 
from marble figures, 
from musical notes, words, ideas. 

In the wholeheartedness of presence, 
world and self begin to cohere. 
With presence comes an enlarging: 
of what may be known, 
what may be felt, 
what may be done.

For me, 
presence in making a poem 
is neither a wholly conscious activity 
nor an act of unconscious transcription
 it is a way for new thinking and feeling 
to come into existence, 
a way in which different modes of meaning and being 
may join. 

This is why writing a poem is no arbitrary tinkering, 
but a continued honing of my self at the deepest level.

For me,
poetry moves my consciousness 
toward empathy.

Poetry leads me into self, 
but also away from it. 

Free to turn inward and outward, 
free to remain still and wondering 
amid the mysteries of mind and world, 
I arrive, for a moment, 
at a kind of fullness that overspills into everything. 

One breath taken completely; 
one poem, fully written, fully read;
in such presence, 
anything can happen. 

A poem 
can blaze up into music, 
into image, 
into my heart and mind’s knowledge.


A Listening Silence

Silence can be frightening, 
a graveyard of fixed assumptions. 

Real silence puts any present understanding to shame; 
orphans me from certainty; 
leads me beyond my well-known and accepted reality 
and confronts me with the unknown 
and previously unheard conversation 
about to break in upon my life.

In silence, 
my essence speaks to me of essence itself 
and asks for a kind of unilateral disarmament, 
my own essential nature slowly emerging 
as defended assumptions atomize and fall apart. 

As busyness dissolves 
I begin to join the dialogue 
through the portal of unknowing
and a robust vulnerability, 
revealing the way to listen
with a different ear, 
a more perceptive eye, 
an imagination refusing to come too early to a conclusion, 
and belonging to a different person 
than the one who first entered the quiet.

Reality met on its own terms 
demands my absolute presence, 
and my absolute giving away, 
living on equal terms 
with the fleeting and the eternal, 
the hardly touchable 
and the fully possible, 
a full bodily appearance and disappearance, 
a rested giving in and giving up; 
another identity braver, more generous and more here 
than the one looking hungrily 
for the easy, unearned answer.


Longing has its own secret, future destination, 
and its own residence within me,
a ripening from my core, 
a seed growing in my body.

It is as if I am put into relationship with an enormous distance inside me 
leading back to some unknown origin 
with its own secret timing,
indifferent to my will, 
and gifted at the same time 
with an intimate sense of proximity, 
to a lover, to a future, to a transformation, to a life I want, 
and to the beauty of the sky and the ground that surround me.

Longing has a dangerous edge, 
that cuts and wounds me 
while setting me free and beckoning me 
exactly because of my human need to live in the right kind of peril. 

My instinct 
is that I am here essentially to risk myself in the world, 
that I am a form of invitation to others and to otherness, 
that I am meant to hazard myself 
for the right thing, 
for the right woman, 
for a son or a daughter, 
for the right work 
or for a gift given against all the odds. 

In longing I move and am moving 
from a known but abstracted elsewhere, 
to a beautiful, about to be reached, 
someone, something or somewhere 
I want to call my own.

Longing . . . 

Wild and Free

I write what I write,
I do what I do,
not for some definite, measurable result,
but simply because I am moved by curiosity,
and an attempt to make a difference.

 I try to overcome any inertia
which would keep me stuck in a rut.
I attempt to tap into the free and useless energy
with which all of us can surpass ourselves.

Such energy cannot be planned and managed
or made purposeful,
or weighted by the standards of utility
or judged by its social consequences.
It is wild and it is free.

But all the heroes, saints, seers, explorers and creators
partake of it.
They do not know what they will discover
nor do I know where my impulses are taking me.

I can give no account in advance
of where I am going
or explain completely where I have been.

I have been possessed for a time
with an extraordinary passion
which is unintelligible in ordinary terms.

No preconceived theory fits me.
No material purpose actuates me.
I do many useless, divinely foolish things.

And what I have proven to myself
and some others
is that I am no mere creature of habits,
no mere automaton in routine,
no mere cog in the collective machine,
but that in the dust of which I am made
there is a fire, lighted now
and hoping the wind of the Holy Spirit
fans the flame of my Love
into a raging inferno.