Words of Reflection

Poems of Presence – Autumn 2023

Autumn in the San Francisco Bay Area brings cactus blooms and the last of the summer harvest, as we ready a winter garden. Our mindfulness practices support all the savoring and the letting go into quieter spaces. As always, a new crop of poems to reflect and enliven our weekly class themes:


Remember (Joy Harjo)

… Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember. (entire poem here)




Poems of Presence – Summer 2023

Celebrating summertime here in the northern hemisphere. Loving awareness, like the sun, shines on everything. These poems reflect and enliven our weekly class themes. 


“We are stars wrapped in skin;

the light you are seeking

has always been within” ~ Rumi


What Do We Know (Mary Oliver)

The sky cleared

I was standing

under a tree.

and there were stars in the sky 

that were also themselves 

at the moment

at which moment

my right hand

was holding my left hand

which was holding the tree

which was filled with stars

and the soft rain —

imagine! Imagine!

the long and wondrous journeys

still to be ours.



Walking Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere. (entire poem here)


Breath of Life (Danna Faulds)

I breathe in All That Is-
Awareness expanding
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.
From the unnamed vastness beneath the mind,
I breathe my way into wholeness and healing.
Inhalation. Exhalation.
Each Breath a “yes,”
and a letting go, a journey, and a coming home.

Quote by Phillip Moffitt: “Life dances. It dances with you and it dances with me however it’s going to. Good things are going to happen, unpleasant things, scary things, and that’s not a choice. So the willingness to show up in your own life moment to moment, to know the fire of your life, takes genuine courage. But it’s not a kind of invincible courage–it’s the courage to be with the up and down, to be with the movement, to be with the dance. That’s the opportunity of practice. 

Transitions: Doing and Being

Rest (Nikita Gill)

Every day is not an opportunity

to improve yourself.

Some days are just there

for you to accept yourself

and look at the clouds… (entire poem here)


Hope (from Everwood TV series)

“If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next… don’t. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness. Don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present – each moment as it comes – because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart, where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again…”

The Door (Miroslav Holub)

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city… (entire poem here)


The Road (Victoria Erickson)

It’s ok not to know.

It’s ok to rest 

through in between.

Until you don’t

need the breaks. 

Until the

view unfolds.

Until resistance 

gives way.Until the road

is clear.


The road will clear.


The Way of Truth

Grace (Alice Walker)

gives me a day
too beautiful
I had thought
to stay indoors
& yet
washing my dishes
my shelves
throwing out
the wilted
onions … (entire poem here)

I’m Not The River (Mary Oliver)

I’m not the river
that powerful presence.
And I’m not the black oak tree
which is patience personified.
And I’m not redbird
who is a brief life heartily enjoyed.
Nor am I mud nor rock nor sand
which is holding everything together.
No, I am none of these meaningful things. Not yet.


Grace (Frederic Buechner)

Listen to your life.

See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.

In the boredom and the pain of it

no less than in the excitement and gladness:

touch, taste, smell your way

to the holy and hidden heart of it

because in the last analysis

all moments are key moments,

and life itself is grace.


I Worried (Mary Oliver)

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless… (entire poem here)



The Jewel of the Lotus

Unconditional (Jennifer Welwood)

Willing to experience aloneness,

I discover connection everywhere;

Turning to face my fear,

I meet the warrior who lives within;

Opening to my loss,

I gain the embrace of the universe;

Surrendering into emptiness,

I find fullness without end… (entire poem here)


Mantra for insight and guidance: OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA (Jay Shetty, Think Like a Monk, with gratitude to Charles T fromFriday Meditation) “I offer praise unto the all-pervading divinity present within every heart; who is the embodiment of beauty, intelligence, strength, wealth, fame, and detachment.” 


Balancing Doing With Being

“We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.”

― William Butler Yeats, The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore


The God Who Only Knows Four Words (Hafiz)

Has known God,

Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird…(entire poem here)


I’m There Now With You (Loren Wilber’s gift to our Friday Meditation Group)

I’m there now with you

When we all get together:

Meditation Time



Be like the flower; turn your face to the sun. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Why I Wake Early (Mary Oliver)

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe… (entire poem here)



Effortless Action

Effortless Action: relaxed, supported, playful — with easy presence.

It was a challenging hike, so my companion put her hand on my back to help me up the steepest part. She used no force, just a gentle, loving touch, and that’s all it took to make it easier. 

Since then, when I’m climbing alone–or facing another challenge–I imagine a strong, loving hand supporting me from behind or somehow all around. I surrender the tension of trying to control and ride the current of support that’s always here. 

When a tree grows it’s not doing the growing; It’s just growing. The same with a flower opening, so gracefully evident in time lapse photography. And with any action–a yoga pose, a deep breath–how does it feel to allow this body to open and these limbs and spinal column to grow? 

What about everyday tasks, like cleaning my glasses? When I invite myself to do it effortlessly, I notice I turn on the water in a relaxed way, I easily add some soap, I’m present, and feel as if someone or something is moving my hands. Easy, playful joy.

In meditation I invite this: “Be present with the sensations and movement of each breath the way you naturally would show up for someone or something you find easy to love; No agenda, no expectations, open-hearted, listening, present. Give yourself these qualities of attention now.” Easy to love. Easy to be.

What happens when you allow a deeper, slower breath to support every movement and action? Reaching, speaking, singing?

And when you notice efforting, what happens when you stop for a moment? How is it to remember the feeling of being supported by a friend’s hand and heart, by spirit, by higher power, nature, community, love, and begin again?

For me, easy grace. 


Poems of Presence – Spring 2023

The joy of springtime! These poems reflect and enliven our weekly class themes. I’m grateful to find and share these expressions of Awareness and Presence.

Equanimity (Upekka)

Forget About Enlightenment (John Welwood)

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be… (entire poem here)

Perfect Equanimity (Hafiz)

Look how a mirror
will reflect with perfect equanimity
all actions

There is no act in this world
that will ever cause the mirror to look away.

There is no act in this world that will
ever make the mirror
say ‘no.’

The mirror, like perfect love, will just keep giving
of itself to all
it. (entire poem here)

Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)

Joy (Hilda Conkling)

Joy is not a thing you can see.
It is what you feel when you watch waves breaking,
Or when you peer through a net of woven violet stems
In Spring grass… (entire poem here)


Kind, Loving Presence (Metta and Karuna)

Compassion (Miller Williams)

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it… (entire poem here)

Black Cherries (W.S. Merwin)

Late in May as the light lengthens
toward summer the young goldfinches
flutter down through the day for the first time
to find themselves among fallen petals
cradling their day’s colors in the day’s shadows … (entire poem here)


Effortless Action

Enough (David Whyte)

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.


Daily Praise (Miranda July)

Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it’s worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It’s okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.


Finding Neutral (Sherry Sheehan) The poet is a longtime participant in our Friday Mindfulness Meditation practice group, now online

Friday at four

in a room at the Pinole Library


Folding chairs form a circle

to hold our selves,


muscles and bones at rest,

minds attending to each breath,


vehicles un-revved,

finding neutral in slowed flesh


that moves

mere millimeters for many minutes


as we follow the pull

toward oblivious presence,


leaving the world outside

for interior residence.


Effortless (Clea McLemore)


Were like breaths breathed

I, Inhaling, exhaling

loving you

Without even trying



Paradoxes of Being

(by Anais Nin, read by Charles in Friday’s meditation 5/5)

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.

We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly

We grow partially.

We are relative.

We are mature in one realm, childish in another.

The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. 

We are made-up of layers, cells, constellations.

(Anais Nin)

[Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell (Feb 21, 1902-Jan 14, 1977; French-born American Diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories and erotica.]


Slowing Down (the breath & life)

All the Instructions Needed (Danna Faulds) 

posted by the poet’s permission


Open the back door

as well as the front.

Open the skylights and

side windows. Open your

heart and the door

to the basement. Let the 

divine pour in, presence

as palpable as breath —

and then sit in this

awareness. These are all

the instructions needed

for a full and joyous life.


Curiosity and Appreciation 

The Good News (Thich Nhat Hanh)

The good news

they do not print.

The good news

we do print.

We have a special edition every moment,

and we need you to read it.

The good news is that you are alive,

that the linden tree is still there,

standing firm in the harsh winter. (entire poem here)


Invitation (Mary Oliver)

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air… (entire poem here)


Walk Slowly (Danna Faulds)

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection… (entire poem here)

Allowing and Trust

“Don’t trust what you have been taught, what you think, what you believe, or what you hope.

Deeper than that, trust the silence of your being.” ~Gangaji


The Inner History of a Day (John O’Donohue)

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides… (entire poem here)


Savoring Pleasure [contributed by Marybeth F.]

The Materialism of Angels (Jack Ridl) 

Of course the angels dance. If not
on the head of a pin, then maybe
on the boardwalk along the ocean of stars.
And they eat hot and spicy: salsa,
tabasco, red peppers. They love
mangoes. They can munch
for hours on cashews. Olives
sit in bronze bowls on the cherry
tables next to their canopy beds
where the solace of pillows swallows
their sweet heads and the quiet
of silk lies across their happy backs. (entire poem here)


Lila (Playfulness)

Warning (Jenny Joseph)

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. (entire poem here)


Poems of Presence – Winter 2022/2023

A new season — the last days of one year and the beginning of the next — moment by moment. These poems reflect and enliven our weekly class themes. It’s truly a joy to curate these expressions of Awareness and Presence.

Inner Light

Solstice (Robyn Sarah)

A sly gift it is, that on the year’s
shortest day, the sun
stays longest in this house– (entire poem here)


Kind Presence

Twenty-four Hours (Thich Nhat Hanh, from Peace is Every Step)

Every morning, when we wake up

we have twenty-four brand new hours to live.

What a precious gift!

We have the capacity to live in a way

that these twenty-four hours

will bring peace, joy and happiness

to ourselves and others. 


What Are You Practicing?

My Work is Loving the World (Mary Oliver)

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished… (entire poem here)


From True Meditation (Adyashanti)

“Effortless doesn’t mean no effort; effortless means just enough effort to be vivid, to be present, to be here, to be now, to be bright…We each need to find out for ourselves what this means. Too much effort and we get too tight; too little effort and we get dreamy. Somewhere in the middle is a state of vividness and clarity and inner brightness.”


One Cleaning the Closet of the Mind (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

how threadbare these thoughts

I’ve chosen to wear every day–

replacing them with nothing


For a New Year (Holly Wren Spaulding)

Let plain things please you again

and every ordinary Monday.

Bean soup in a white bowl,

firewood in your arms. 

The weight of longing. (entire poem here)


Being With Things As They Are

Smart Cookie (Richard Schiffman)

The fortune that you seek is in another cookie, 
was my fortune. So I’ll be equally frank—the wisdom 
that you covet is in another poem. The life that you desire  
is in a different universe. The cookie you are craving 
is in another jar. (entire poem here)

Fluent (John O’Donohue)

I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.


Threads (Rainer Maria Rilke)

“She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life, and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth— it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall and clears it for a different celebration   where the one guest is you…” (entire poem here)


Radiating Love

Aimless Love (Billy Collins)

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table. (entire poem here)


Because (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

So I can’t save the world—
can’t save even myself,
can’t wrap my arms around
every frightened child, can’t
foster peace among nations,
can’t bring love to all who
feel unlovable.
So I practice opening my heart
right here in this room and being gentle
with my insufficiency. I practice
walking down the street heart first. (entire poem here)



“Tension is who you think you should be; relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)

“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.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)


Resting with the Breath

May there only be a Letting Go (Lissa Edmond)

May I be with this breath
resting my senses
against the way
the body breathes
rising and falling
in response to the breath’s
comings and goings. (entire poem here)


Poems of Presence – Autumn 2022

Each week I settle into my favorite chair to gather poems that might resonate with our class theme. I always find my body-mind-heart uplifted, soothed, somehow renewed. And then, together in class, we share in the poem’s invitation. (Photo Credit: Mindful Eating, Louise Taylor, Sept 2022)

Breathe into Presence

One conscious breathe in and out is a meditation. (Eckhart Tolle)

Ancient Language (Hannah Stephenson)

If you stand at the edge of the forest
and stare into it
every tree at the edge will blow a little extra
oxygen toward you

It has been proven
Leaves have admitted it (entire poem here)


Take Love For Granted (Jack Ride)

Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
In the garage… (entire poem here)


Heirlooms (Jim Keller, Camus’ Camel)

This watch reads a half hour slow

It’s too damn complicated to change it

Easier to change the time in my head

It was my father’s watch

The wrist band is much too long

I got my small bones from my mother

my brain from my father I hope

She got Alzheimer’s

along with her three sisters

This is a Seiko watch


wound by my movement

It’ll keep going for a few hours

after my heart stops ticking

My heart is from my father I think


Connection and Acceptance

Sometimes I am Startled Out of Myself (Barbara Crooker)

like this morning, when the wild geese came squawking,
flapping their rusty hinges, and something about their trek
across the sky made me think about my life, the places
of brokenness, the places of sorrow, the places where grief
has strung me out to dry.  And then the geese come calling…. (entire poem here)

The Poet Compares Human Nature To The Ocean from Which We Came (Mary Oliver)

The sea can do craziness, it can do smooth,

it can lie down like silk breathing

or toss havoc shoreward; it can give…(entire poem here)


“Every thought we think, every feeling we have, every word we speak goes out into the atmosphere to either heal or harm. Let us be healers. Let us be harmless.” (John R. Price – Contributed by Ann Berry)



Adrift (Mark Nepo)

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze… (entire poem here)

Become a Lake

Once an unhappy young apprentice came to an old master and told the master that he was deeply sad and asked for a solution. The old master instructed the unhappy young apprentice to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. Then he asked “How does it taste?” “Terrible!” spat the young apprentice. The master nodded and asked the young apprentice to take another handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to a nearby lake and the apprentice swirled his handful of salt into the lake. The older master said, “now drink the lake.” The apprentice cupped his hands and drank. Again, the old master asked, “How does it taste?” “Good!” said the apprentice. The master then asked, “Do you taste the salt?” and the apprentice smiled and said, “No.” The master sat beside the trouble young apprentice and took his hands. “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same. But the amount we taste depends on the container we put it into. So when you are in pain, the wisest thing to do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.

Remembering Love is Essential as Oxygen

(Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


If Prayer Would Do It (Stephen Levine)

If prayer would do it
I’d pray.
If reading esteemed thinkers would do it
I’d be halfway through the Patriarchs.

If discourse would do it
I’d be sitting with His Holiness
every moment he has free.

If contemplation would do it
I’d have translated the Periodic Table
to hermit poems, converting
matter to spirit.

If even fighting would do it
I’d already be a blackbelt.

If anything other than love could do it
I’ve done it already
and left the hardest for last.


Healing Journey

Updates about Wendy’s health:

May 25, 2022: Thank you for your supportive thoughts as I prepare for surgery June 2. The ovarian mass is localized, I have excellent doctors, and am hopeful for a successful outcome. While I pause for healing, I hope you will enjoy connecting with each other in loving presence through self-guided Mindful Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation via the usual Weekly Schedule Zoom links. I will post updates when I can. Love to all!

June 3, 2022: Success! Surgery went well, and I was able to come home same-day due to laparoscopic wonders. So grateful to be cleared out and healing in comfort. The mass was malignant, but contained. We’ll find out more details in the coming weeks including any further treatment recommendations. Thank you for all the healing wishes, prayers, and other support, my dear family, friends and beloved mindfulness community! It helps tremendously! 🙏❤️

June 6, al fresco with the steady support of my spouse Karen and my parents Nancy and Steve.

June 13: I’m doing really well, stronger each day and appreciating all the mindfulness tools during this healing time. Your good thoughts and wishes are helping too! How wonderful to know that some of you are meeting at class time for community-supported practice. Breathing in what’s here; breathing out love and gratitude for this precious life.


June 23, 2022: Making great progress, walking strong, holding each moment with reverence and plenty of joy. I will receive a short course of chemotherapy July 11 to Aug 22 Aug 29. I hope to resume teaching [a little at a time] by mid-Sept. This week’s epiphany: I can live a great life while going through this. And I am doing just that–feeling the full spectrum, including continued gratitude for all your well wishes! 

Point Pinole, one step at a time.

June 30, a warmhearted visit with my brother Joel.


July 9: Fun moment! Pre-chemo haircut allows me to donate my locks before losing them. Receiving all the good vibes and sending love and light to all.














July 31, 2022: Tomorrow is my 2nd of 3 chemo treatments. I’ve been doing quite well, thanks to so many supportive beings and practices.  The hair loss has been an adventure, symbolic of this time as a rebirth. Resting, nourishing, reflecting, reading, singing, hiking, laughing, being playful, just being. Relaxing around discomfort of body sensations, emotions and thoughts, shedding old hurts and anything that is not essential. Envisioning (and experiencing) joy, inner radiance, creative spark and loving life all the way through. Sending blessings of gratitude for your continued good energy and healing wishes. 

July 26 with my brother Ken on his sweet brief visit, holding our breath without masks for a moment.


Aug 1, 2022: Change of plans–My white blood cell count is a little low, so we’re delaying my 2nd chemo a week to Aug 8. This is common. Adding some more high-quality meat and more rest. Should be good to go next week. 

Morning walk on the neighborhood trail.

Miraculous August rainbow.







Aug 6, 2022: Good news! My white blood cells are up in the normal range again, so I’m ready for the second chemo on Monday, 8/8. Appreciating every success, every step. 

Aug 19, 2022: Whew! After making it through last week’s tumultuous side effects (the chemo doing its job), I’m enjoying some gentle days and simple pleasures: Luxuriating in a spoonful of peanut butter. Singing a new tune (not at the same time as the peanut butter). Sensing the loving presence that is always here. 

Aug 28, 2022: Tomorrow is the third and final chemo infusion. I’m ready. Feeling the power of your loving wishes; each one a breath of light. 

My partner Karen’s resonator guitar collaborated with the sun to bloom something magical above our hearth of healing cards.

Aug 30, 2022:  The chemotherapy is complete! Healing forward from here. CT scan in a few weeks for the all-clear and a new baseline, plus continued integrative medicine support. And loving life.

In quiet, joyful celebration.

Sept 18, 2022: The side effects of the final round of chemo were challenging, and all the great support is carrying me through. After tomorrow’s CT scan, I’m preparing to resume teaching classes a little at a time. (Schedule coming soon.) Feeling tremendously grateful.

Sept 21, 2022: Dancing with joy and relief!  Monday’s CT scan report says no residual, recurrent or metastatic disease. With a lightness in my step I enter the next phase of close monitoring for five years, easing progressively. And continuing healthy practices and complementary care always. 

Please check the Class Schedule for updates as I get back in the saddle, slow and steady. 

I wish I had just the right words of appreciation for all the incredibly generous support — beautifully written emails, uplifting photos, sweet texts, a glorious mountain of cards, warm voice messages, donations big and small, creative gift cards, abundant fresh food, healthy and artistic desserts, cashmere leggings (really!) and other lovely and sassy adornments, inspiring books, flowers galore, and most of all your true prayers, good thoughts and constant love. I have received every offering with an open, grateful heart. And I’ve discovered that receiving is part of the healing. Thank you.

Nov 30: After particularly poignant and celebratory birthday/Thanksgiving with my family (warm hugs with Mom and Dad’s flourless chocolate cake), I’ll be resuming some yoga classes next week!







Poems of Presence – May 2022

Each week I settle into my favorite chair to gather poems that might resonate with our class theme. I always find my body-mind-heart uplifted, soothed, somehow renewed. And then, together in class, we share in the poem’s invitation. 

The Space Between

Silence (Langston Hughes)

I catch the pattern Of your silence Before you speak I do not need To hear a word. In your silence Every tone I seek Is heard.


The Awakened Heart

One More Chapter in Letting Go (Rosemary Wahtola Trimmer)

Today it slipped into my daughter,

the seed that all is not right in the world.


In a matter of hours, already

the tap roots had grown beyond


my ability to pull them out.

I wonder if I have been wrong…(entire poem here)


Awe and Appreciation 

Theme inspired by awe-inspiring article Be Here Wow! (Wes “Scoop” Nisker) Audio version read by Wendy Beckerman (15 mins)


What Issa Heard (David Budbill)

Two hundred years ago Issa heard the morning birds singing sutras to this suffering world… (entire poem here)


Everything That Was Broken (Mary Oliver)

Everything that was broken has

forgotten its brokenness. I live

now in a sky-house, through every window the sun… (entire poem here)


“There are two ways to live your life; One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

“One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, or of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.” ~ Albert Einstein


“Tension is who you think you should be; Relaxation is who you are.” ~ Chinese Proverb


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (from The Little Prince)


Poems of Presence – April 2022

While these poems support each week’s class theme, reading and listening to them also draws us together in the present moment. 

The Pulsation of Life

To Know The Dark (Wendell Berry)

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.


Everyday Sacred

Hold Out Your Hand (Julia Fehrenbacher)
Let’s forget the world for a while
fall back and back
into the hush and holy
of now

are you listening? This breath
invites you
to write the first word
of your new story

your new story begins with this:
You matter (entire poem here)


Curiosity and Listening

When Beginning the Poem (Andrea Potos)

may there be a listening
rather than a making

curiosity over expectation,

lightness and ease,
no straining
toward some glut of air.

May you step aside
like a watcher at the meadow’s edge
as the doe
finds her way to the center... (entire poem here)


Right Here (Dane Anthony)

Stop moving. Stand in
one place – this place.
Breathe slowly; in, then out. Repeat.

Repeat again. Let your
shoulders sink and relax. Unclench
your jaw; slowly close your eyes.

Listen for your heartbeat; really
listen. Feel it pulse in
your fingertips… (entire poem here)


Poems of Presence – March 2022

While these poems support each week’s class theme, reading and listening to them also draws us together in the present moment. 

Awareness Connects Us

On a Clear Day (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

The way the field holds
   the shadow of the cottonwood,
      this is how life holds me.
Holds me, no matter my shape.
   Holds me with no effort.
      Holds my darkness and knows it
as weightless, as transient,
   as something that will shift,
      disappear, return, and shift again. (entire poem here)


Allowing Space

Storage (Mary Oliver)
When I moved from one house to another

there were many things I had no room for.

What does one do? I rented a storage

space. And filled it. Years passed.

Occasionally I went there and looked in,

but nothing happened, not a single

twinge of the heart. (entire poem here)


Loving Awareness Holds it All

For When People Ask (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer)

I want a word that means
   okay and not okay,
     a word that means
devastated and stunned with joy.
   I want the word that says
     I feel it all all at once.
The heart is not like a songbird
   singing only one note at a time… (entire poem here)


Beginner’s Mind

I Have this Way of Being (Jamaal May)

I have this, and this isn’t a mouth
           full of the names of odd flowers

I’ve grown in secret.
           I know none of these by name

but have this garden now,
           and pastel somethings bloom

near the others and others… (entire poem here)



Birdwings (Rumi)

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence
is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.
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