Slaking Soul Thirst

Rilke's Autumn invitation

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up, as if orchards were dying high in space. Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”

And tonight the heavy earth is falling away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We’re all falling. This hand here is falling. And look at the other one. It’s in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

          —Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Robert Bly)

being present

To what extent is the rhythm of your life a result of

careful thought as opposed to adapting,

without thought,

to the flow that surrounds?

(Rod McIver)

I am certain of nothing

but the holiness of the heart's affections

and the truth of the imagination.

(John Keats)

Here is a poem given to me by one of my old friends for my 60th birthday. I am saving it to be read at my funeral. It's by a Newfoundland poet, E.J. Pratt:

A Legacy

The will she made contained no room for strife,

for twisted words concerning gold or lands

For all the wealth she had saved from life

was such as lay within her folded hands.


She would have been less rich with other store

and we the poorer if she had not willed

only her heart, and then gone out the door

Leaving that cupboard on the latch, and filled.

"As we learn to live fluidly and generously, leaning into the wind of that divine abundance, we literally participate in making manifest the Mercy of God, which saturates our planet with meaning and draws all things together in a single dynamic web of belonging." 

~ Cynthia Bourgeault


We stand on the threshold of a great unknown...

Individually and collectively, we launch into an uncertain future -- at once, both perilous and saturated with possibility. Our accustomed, culturally-determined roles and identities are inadequate to navigate the sea change of our time. Our collective journey requires a radical shift in the human relationship with the community of all life -- a cultural transformation so profound that future humans might regard it as an evolution of consciousness. Safe passage requires each of us to offer our full magnificence to the world. Popular culture cannot help us uncover our singular gifts; contemporary institutions do not invite their expression. Our particular genius can be discovered only in an initiatory journey -- an accidental or intentional descent into the mysteries of soul.  


Stop talking

Stop thinking.

And there is nothing

you will not understand.



Not at the pointed

hour of ecstasy

nor at the furthest edge

of being,

but here, in the even

close-knit hours

among the weekday

goings on

of wind and weather,

here is our hidden threshold

of perception,

here we must wait

until the doors of the present

swing open

on new hinges.

    (Paul Murray)

Merton on urgent activism

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting  concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work in the world. (Merton)


Prayer is nothing but

inhaling and exhaling

the one breath of the universe.

(Hildegard of Bingen)

Waiting in Silence

"Contemplation is first of all a series of losses, largely of our illusions. If we  did not enter deeply the early learning process of "how", we will use our actions to defend ourselves, protect ourselves from our shadow, and build a leaden manhole cover for our unconscious. We will settle for being right instead of being holy and whole, for saying prayers instead of being one.

The ego wants containment and control. It is only the soul that wants meaning and mystery...if I have not found a way to hear and allow that deeper level of soul, I will use all my roles and relationships and even my religion to fortify my ego and my private agenda. I might even say a lot of prayers, but it will not be the spacious prayer of contemplation...

Ego insists on knowing and being certain; it refuses all unknowing. Most people who think they are fully conscious (read "smart") have that big leaden manhole cover over their unconscious. It gives them control but seldom compassion or wisdom. That is why politicians, priests and CEO's will predictably continue to fail and fall as the Inner Mystery shows itself to them and through them.  (Richard Rohr: Dancing Standing Still, p.3)

at the core

"I am alone, but not alone enough to make every moment holy." (Rilke)

Helping and More Helping?

How might you have been trying to make the lives of others conform to your view of the world? (Dr. Elspeth Masters to Maisie Dobbs in Elegy for Eddie, p. 185)


Much of our unhappiness comes from insisting on what we want as the only path to contentment. (Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk, p. 238)

Japanese card

My barn having burned to the ground,

I can see more completely the moon.

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Latest comments

23.11 | 19:20

Hi Marilyn...can you share your writing when there's a chance? Love to read some!

04.01 | 19:04

Thanks, Andie...that's it exactly ! So glad you experienced it!

04.01 | 18:36

'Whatever you need
and wherever you go next -
will come to you'
My holiday experience.

28.12 | 15:12

Hi Brenda,
I've just finished reading The Choice - got it from the public library. What an amazing story and an unbeatable spirit. I'll check out youtube now