Meditations on anger, forgiveness & reconciliation.

“what the heart hears”
Speak my name
Meet me here
I am not your enemy
I am your teacher
I may even be your friend
Let us tell our truth together, you and I
My name is anger: I say you have been wronged
My name is shame: my story is your hidden pain
My name is fear: my story is vulnerability
My name is resentment: I say things should have been different
My name is grief
My name is depression
My name is heartache
I have many names
And many lessons
I am not your enemy
I am your teacher
(excerpt from chapter: ‘naming the hurt’ from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu,
see also: www.humanjourney.com)


Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. — Henry Nouwen


Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. — Buddha


Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing. — Edward Abbey


“We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them.  We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance … When we are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.” — Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Daiai Lama from The Art of Happiness


“Actuarial File” (excerpts) by Jean Valentine
Orange peels, burned letters, the car lights shining on the grass,
everything goes somewhere—and everything we do—nothing
ever disappears. But changes …
“Everything that happens, happens once and for all. Is this true?
If so, what then?”
Yes. Your story; all of your hope; what you do, breaks. Changes.
“If so, what then?” Nothing disappears. And you do last …
Come stay here, at my place, a while.—Someday we will be able
to say, I did this thing; I did that other thing; I was that woman.
Someday, we will be able to take it in, that violence, hold it in our
hands … And the ones who come after us, maybe they can
understand us; forgive us; as we do forgive our parents, our
grandparents, moving so distantly through their lives … their
silences … And the ones we were with maybe our friendship can change, can mend …
Come stay here. Things change …
“If there is to be reconciliation, first there must be truth.”
— Timothy Tyson from Blood Done Sign My Name


“Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.” – Katy Hutchison & Ryan Aldridge from TheForgivenessProject.com


“Truth can be told in an instant, forgiveness can be offered spontaneously, but reconciliation is the work of lifetimes and generations.” — Krista Tippett from Speaking of Faith


The poet dreams of the mountain by Mary Oliver
Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking
The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping
Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
That we have smothered for years now, a century at least.
I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,
And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

Meditations on Superbowl, salt & light

Wide Receiver (excerpt) by Mark Halliday
… so come on, star boy, fling a Hail Mary
with a dream-coached combination of muscle and faith
and I will gauge the arc and I will not be stupidly frantic
and I will time my jump and—I’m just going to say
in the cool gloaming of this weirdly long game
it is not impossible that I will make the catch.
Love Like Salt by Lisel Mueller
It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought
It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it
We carry a pinch behind each eyeball
It breaks out on our foreheads
We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins
At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.


Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. — John Muir


So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. — T.S. Eliot


Dear sisters and brothers, we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. — Malala Yousafzai


It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. — Eleanor Roosevelt


When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. — Tecumseh


“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” — Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times


Salt (excerpt) by David Harsent
They weighed the human soul — twenty-one grams — a tremor
on the air becoming trance, becoming nimbus. No. It is a deadweight,
a plummet, drawing down to its harbor beside the heart. It is Breath
and Word, they said. No. It is pig-iron and salt. …


The Salt Stronger (excerpts) by Fred Marchant
I have seen the legislators
on their way, the jacketless men
in mid-winter who will cast
their votes like stones …
wherein I am writing to my friend in Baghdad,
he a “witness for peace,”
a poet who for years has wondered
what good poetry is or has been or does.
I compose today’s answer from here,
saying, I think of poetry
as a salt dug from a foreign mine
that arrives like a miracle …
as pellets to break underfoot
and melt the dangerous plated ice
and cling to the acknowledged lawmakers,
to stay with them in their dreams …

Meditations on Beatitudes and Blessings

Bodhisattva Prayer for Humanity
May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.
— Shantideva, Indian Buddhist sage 700 A.D.


A Blessing for Wedding by Jane Hirshfield
Today when persimmons ripen
Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow
Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song
Today when the maple sets down its red leaves
Today when windows keep their promise to open
Today when fire keeps its promise to warm
Today when someone you love has died
or someone you never met has died
Today when someone you love has been born
or someone you will not meet has been born
Today when rain leaps to the waiting of roots in their dryness
Today when starlight bends to the roofs of the hungry and tired
Today when someone sits long inside his last sorrow
Today when someone steps into the heat of her first embrace
Today, let this light bless you
With these friends let it bless you
With snow-scent and lavender bless you
Let the vow of this day keep itself wildly and wholly
Spoken and silent, surprise you inside your ears
Sleeping and waking, unfold itself inside your eyes
Let its fierceness and tenderness hold you
Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days


Lines for Winter (excerpt) by Dave Lucas
… Bless the traveler and the hearth he travels to.
Bless our rough hands, wind-scabbed lips,
bless this our miscreant psalm.


Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness. — Rumi


“Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people– lots of people– pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?” — Dorothy Day
A deep man believes that the evil eye can whither, the heart’s blessing can heal, and that love can overcome all odds … — Ralph Waldo Emerson


“To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger—these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life.” ― Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith