A Winter Blessing

National Geographic

National Geographic

A Winter Blessing
Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr

Blessed are you, winter,
dark season of waiting,
you affirm the dark seasons of our lives,
forecasting the weather of waiting in hope.

Blessed are you, winter,
you faithfully guard a life unseen,
calling those who listen deeply
to discover winter rest.

Blessed are you, winter,
frozen and cold on the outside,
within your silent, nurturing womb
you warmly welcome all that longs for renewal.

Blessed are you, winter,
your bleak, barren trees
preach wordless sermons
about emptiness and solitude.

Blessed are you, winter,
you teach us valuable lessons
about waiting in darkness
with hope and trust.

Blessed are you, winter,
season of blood red sunsets
and star-filled, long, dark nights,
faithfully you pour out your beauty.

Blessed are you, winter,
when your tiny snowflakes
flurry through the air,
you awaken our sleeping souls.

Blessed are you, winter,
with your wild and varied moods,
so intent on being yourself,
you refuse to be a people-pleaser.

Blessed are you, winter,
when ice storms crush our hearts and homes,
you call forth the good in us
as we rush to help one another.

Blessed are you, winter,
your inconsistent moods
often herald spring’s arrival,
yet how gracefully you step aside
when her time has come.

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A Spring Blessing

spring 2

A Spring Blessing
Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr

Blessed are you, spring,
bright season of life awakening.
You gladden our hearts
with opening buds and returning leaves
as you put on your robes of splendor.

Blessed are you, spring.
In you is a life no death can destroy.
As you exchange places with winter
you harbor no unforgiving spirit
for broken tree limbs and frozen buds.

Blessed are you, spring.
You open the closed buds of our despair
as you journey with us
to the flowering places.

Blessed are you, spring.
You invite us to sing songs
to the frozen regions within
and to bless the lessons of winter
as we become your partner in a new dance.

Blessed are you, spring.
Like Jesus, standing before the tomb of Lazarus,
you call to us: “Remove winter’s stone, come out,
there is life here you have not yet tasted.”

Blessed are you, spring,
free gift of the earth.
Without cost we gaze upon your glory.
You are a gospel of good news
for the poor and rich alike.

Blessed are you, spring.
Your renewing rain showers and cathartic storms
nurture the potential that sleeps in Earth’s heart
and in our earthen hearts.

Blessed are you, spring,
season of resurrection, sacrament of promise.
Like Jesus you rise up out of the darkness,
leaving around you a wake of new life.

Blessed are you, spring,
miracle child of the four seasons.
With your wand of many colors
you work your magic in the corners of our darkness.

Blessed are you, spring,
season of hope and renewal.
Wordless poem about all within us
that can never die.
Each year you amaze us
with the miracle of returning life.

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Gone From My Sight

Gone From My Sight
~ Henry Van Dyke ~

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

ship III

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This is My Wish For You

herondance.org

This is My Wish For You
by Charles Livingston Snell

This is my wish for you…

That the spirit of beauty may continually hover about you
and fold you close within the tenderness of her wings.

That each beautiful and gracious thing in life
may be unto you as a symbol of good for your soul’s delight.

That your soul may be as an alabaster cup,
filled to overflowing with the mystical wine of beauty and love.

That happiness may put her arms around you,
and wisdom make your soul serene.

This is my wish for you.

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print: herondance.org

Speak to Us of Children — Kahlil Gibran

gibran arrow

(From) THE PROPHET
~ Kahlil Gibran ~

Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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If You Want His Answer

If You Want His Answer
by Paramahansa Yogananda

Whether He replies or not,
keep calling Him —
ever calling in the chamber
of continuous prayer.

Whether He comes or not,
believe He is ever approaching
nearer to you
with each command of your heart’s love.

Whether He answers or not,
keep entreating Him.
Even if He makes no reply
in the way you expect,
ever know that in some subtle way
He will respond.

In the darkness of your deepest prayers,
know that with you He is playing
hide-and-seek.

And in the midst of the dance of life, disease and death,
if you keep calling Him,
undepressed by His seeming silence,
you will receive His answer.

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A New Year’s Eve Blessing

new year's eve

A New Year’s Eve Blessing
~ Teo Bishop ~

May you look back on the year,
and feel a sense pride.
May you remember the strength of your character,
the resilience of your spirit,
and the inherent worth of your being.
May you know that you are a part of an ecosystem,
and that your life is sustained
by countless other living things.
May you have gratitude for what has been;
for all that you have lost,
and all you have gained.
May you laugh at your mistakes.
May you forgive yourself, and love yourself.
May you be resolved to be more fully alive in the year to come;
more present in your body, in your mind, and in your heart.
And most of all, may you be blessed with unexpected joys,
undeniable happiness, and unending compassion in the year to come.

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Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street

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Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

santa III

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“Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from September 21, 1897, The New York Sun, Francis Pharcellus Church.

________________________________

A Winter Blessing

National Geographic

National Geographic

A Winter Blessing
Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr

Blessed are you, winter,
dark season of waiting,
you affirm the dark seasons of our lives,
forecasting the weather of waiting in hope.

Blessed are you, winter,
you faithfully guard a life unseen,
calling those who listen deeply
to discover winter rest.

Blessed are you, winter,
frozen and cold on the outside,
within your silent, nurturing womb
you warmly welcome all that longs for renewal.

Blessed are you, winter,
your bleak, barren trees
preach wordless sermons
about emptiness and solitude.

Blessed are you, winter,
you teach us valuable lessons
about waiting in darkness
with hope and trust.

Blessed are you, winter,
season of blood red sunsets
and star-filled, long, dark nights,
faithfully you pour out your beauty.

Blessed are you, winter,
when your tiny snowflakes
flurry through the air,
you awaken our sleeping souls.

Blessed are you, winter,
with your wild and varied moods,
so intent on being yourself,
you refuse to be a people-pleaser.

Blessed are you, winter,
when ice storms crush our hearts and homes,
you call forth the good in us
as we rush to help one another.

Blessed are you, winter,
your inconsistent moods
often herald spring’s arrival,
yet how gracefully you step aside
when her time has come.

______________________________________________

Meditation Prayer on Love

heart III

Meditation Prayer on Love
by Thich Nhat Hanh

  1. May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
  2. May I be free from injury.  May I live in safety.
  3. May I be free from disturbance, fear, anxiety and worry.
  4. May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
  5. May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
  6. May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
  7. May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
  8. May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
  9. May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.

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I Trust…

abstract

I Trust…
by Mary Anne Radmacher

I trust
the goodness
extended from my hands

to circle around me.

I wish
no harm to others
but rather
an embrace of healing.

I extend
my highest effort
to the world of my day
that it may be better
at the end
than when I
first touched it.

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In Flanders Fields — Veteran’s Day

poppies II

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

remembrance II

fallen

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Thursday Re-View — “Walk On”

In my work with loss and bereavement, music is a powerful tool.  It not only comforts the dying, but the living as well.

“Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying,” produced by Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin, blends messages and music about life, death, forgiveness and acceptance, narrated by spiritual thinkers from a variety of faith traditions.

One of my favorites, which I use for myself from time to time to affirm my life journey, follows. Here, Jeanine Prevatt holds sacred her Cherokee lineage and her deep connection to the Earth. You can also find the accompanying music on iTunes if the words speak to your heart, as they do to mine.

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mocassans II

Walk On
~ Jyoti ~

Good morning, Grandfather.
I entered this life a ways back
and put skin on to walk two-legged on this Creation –
and what a glorious time it was.

It taught me about breath
and about sensing and feeling and caring through my heart.
And I walked on around that Red Road,
looking and trying to understand more
about the mystery and the secrets She holds.

And You spoke to me through the wind,
and You sang to me through the birds.
And You brought challenges forth so that
I might listen to the message You bring me more sincerely.
And I kept walking down this road.

And I came ’round the bend
at the middle of that curve in the road
and I began to find a secret in the Spirit of my Self…

And still I walked on, sometimes blind and deaf,
and sometimes with pain.
But I fought with my fears and I embraced my unknowingness –
and still I walked on.
And my children and my family stood with me
and we came to know each other in those later years more than we
had before – for some of our falseness had fallen away –
and still I walked on.

And I kept walking on this road towards You,
towards that other world that grew closer to me with each step.
And as the door of the Great Spirit world came closer
my fear loomed up inside sometimes…

But something called me forth –
the Morning Star rose with each day –
and my prayer became a centering – and still I walked on,
until I began to hear the Song of the Mother,
and Her arms embraced me so,
that instead of walking She carried me right to the door.
And as the door opened, I heard Her Song,
and Her Song lifted me up, so I could soar.

herondance.org

herondance.org

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In the Twilight of Memory

waterfall gibran

The Farewell
from The Prophet
by Kahlil Gibran

Farewell to you and the youth I have spent with you.
It was but yesterday we met in a dream.
You have sung to me in my aloneness,
and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky.
But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over,
and it is no longer dawn.
The noontide is upon us and our half-waking has turned to fuller day,
and we must part.
If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more,
we shall speak again together and
you shall sing to me a deeper song.
And if our hands should meet in another dream
we shall build another tower in the sky.

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For all those who have lost a beloved,
may you meet and speak and love once again
while singing a deeper song.
~ Theresa

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The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Life
by Elisabeth Kubler Ross

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The Mouse
(early years)

The mouse enjoys getting in and out of everything, is
lively and mischievous, is always ahead of the others.

The Bear
(early middle years)

The bear is very comfortable and loves to hibernate. It looks back
at the early years and chuckles at the mouse as it runs around.

The Buffalo
(late middle years)

The buffalo loves to roam the prairies. It reviews
life in a comfortable setting and is looking forward
to lifting the heavy load and becoming an eagle.

The Eagle
(later years)

The eagle loves to soar high above the world, not to look
down on people, but in order to encourage them to look up.

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Leaf by Leaf by Leaf

leaf

Leaf by Leaf by Leaf
by Joyce Rupp

Leaf by leaf by leaf
they tumble and fall:
all my haggard hurts.

like a cottonwood tree
ever so slowly letting go,
so the heartache of my heart.

there goes a bit of sadness,
now a leaf of anger flies;
then it’s the dropping of self-pity.

the leaf of unforgiveness
takes forever to fall,
almost as long as non-trusting.

leaf by leaf by leaf
they fall from my heart,
like a tree in its own time.

old wounds don’t heal quickly,
they drop in despairing slowness,
never looking at the clock.

it seems a forever process,
this healing of the hurt,
and I am none too patient.

but a day finally comes
when the old tree with no leaves
is decidedly ready for the new.

and in my waiting heart,
the branches with no leaves
have just a hint of green.

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A Prayer

A Prayer
by Max Ehrmann

Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me,
may I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my childhood,
or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the tempests
of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and
from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches
are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions be such
as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth,
and let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me,
and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful for life,
and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet;
and may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.

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Today’s Quote

Freydoon Rassouli

Freydoon Rassouli

Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny–
he has something to fulfill,
some message has to be delivered,
some work has to be completed.
You are not here accidentally–
you are here meaningfully.
There is a purpose behind you.
The whole intends to do something through you.

~ Osho ~

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