Ring the bells that can still ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! . . .

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures

Antonio Machado,
translated by Robert Bly


Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface of the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown away by those who wished for something else.

David Whyte


And the day came
when the risk
to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
to blossom.

Anais Nin


The Hippo

The hippo floats in swamp serene,
some emerged, but most unseen.

Seeing all and only blinking,
Who knows what this beast is thinking.

Gliding, and of judgment clear,
Letting go and being here.

Seeing all, both guilt and glory,
Only noting. But that's MY story.

I sit here hippo-like and breathe,
While inside I storm and seethe.

Would that I were half equanimous
As that placid hippopotamus.

By Steven Hickman Enough.


These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.

David Whyte


If I Had My Life to Live Over

I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I'd
have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over
again, I'd have more of them. In fact,
I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments.

One after another, instead of living so many
years ahead of each day.

I've been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.

If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter next time.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

By Nadine Stair (age 85)


Why wait for your awakening?
The moment your eyes are open,
seize the day. Would you hold
back when the Beloved beckons?
Would you deliver your litany
of sins like a child's collection
of sea shells, prized and labeled?
"No, I can't step across the
threshold," you say, eyes
downcast. "I'm not worthy"
I'm afraid, and my motives
aren't pure. I'm not perfect,
and surely I haven't practiced
nearly enough. My meditation
isn't deep, and my prayers are
sometimes insincere. I still chew
my fingernails, and the refrigerator
isn't clean." Do you value your
reasons for staying small more
than the light shining through
the open door? Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have
to be whole. Now is the sole
moment that exists to live in
the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite
for anything but pain. Please,
oh please, don't continue to
believe in your disbelief.
This is the day of your awakening.

Danna Faulds


Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.
All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.
Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.
Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.
The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.
I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.
The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

Octavio Paz


There is a brokenness
Out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out
Of which blooms the unshatterable,
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy
And a fragility
Out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space
Too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of darkness
We are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
And whole,
While learning to sing.



The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott


Now, by the small body of my sleeping son
the hidden river in my chest flows with my son’s
and I time my speech to the rhythm of his breath

joining my night with his, singing his night song
as if those waters underground
were secret rivers washing through the soul

bringing out the untold life
which is the stream he’ll join in growing old,
in silent hours when his sureness

of his self recedes. There he’ll find
the rest between the solid notes
that makes the song worthwhile.

David Whyte



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