Friday, February 26, 2010


i am currently taking a class through the abbey of the arts called eyes of the heart, photography as contemplative practice. yesterday while i was out walking with my camera, a cedar tree caught my eye because of the interesting lumps and bumps in its trunk. as i drew nearer, however, i saw that the unusual formations had been caused by barbed wire that had been wrapped around her years ago. i was grieved to the core, and received this image as a stark reminder of the cruelty and suffering that exists in this world. i could not get the image out of my mind, and longed to see it transformed in some way. this morning, while looking again at the photograph, i saw a figure in the bark - it looked like a woman dancing, as one released from bondage. i offer this mandala in the hope that one day all who are in bondage (in whatever form that takes) will be released from their suffering.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

simple things

inspiration can come
from the most
unexpected places
even the simplest thing
like a muddy puddle
reflecting the sky
can suddenly explode
into a whole new world

Friday, February 19, 2010

the dreaming stone

some say the amethyst
is a dreaming stone
was this the kind jacob
laid his head upon?
an amethyst pillow
stitched with silver threads
(though he did not know it)
how could he not
dream of heaven

Thursday, February 18, 2010

eyes of the heart

when seen through
the eyes of the heart
cracked sidewalks
become creek beds
small streams teeming
with fossils, talismans
ancient artifacts, and
long lost arrowheads
now retrieved by
a contemplative hunter

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a joy rediscovered

oh why did i ever stop climbing trees?
i hung from branches by my knees
i clambered up wisteria vines fearlessly
and never gave a second thought
to whether they would hold me or not
the trees i climbed, i knew them well
the oak, magnolia, pecan, elm
i knew how best to scale each one -
just where to place my feet and hands,
and which of them had room for friends
i can't remember why i quit
or which tree i climbed last
but now that i've come to think of it
who says my climbing days have passed?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

way of the monk, path of the artist

for the past six weeks, i have been participating in a wonderful and unique online course offered by the fabulous christine valters paintner through the abbey of the arts, called way of the monk, path of the artist. it has been a phenomenally enriching, enlivening, transformational experience. the integration of creativity and spirituality has become a passion of mine in recent years that i have longed to explore within a community of kindred spirits. in this class, that longing has been both satisfied and intensified! i would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank christine for creating this class and facilitating it so beautifully. i felt supported at every turn. and to my fellow monks and artists, thank you for sharing your lives with me...because of you, i have felt "witnessed into being whole again."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

rhythm and rule

what is the rhythm and rule of my life,
if not the persistent throbbing of my own pulse
the life-force coursing through my body with each breath
and my own heart beating, (i must, i must)

Saturday, February 6, 2010


it's time to shed this skin, thought nag,
looking for something rough and hard
then blue jay cried out, yes! it's time...
and dropped a feather for me to find

Friday, February 5, 2010

the dreamer prays

give me a candle of the spirit, o god
as i go down into the deep of my own being
show me the hidden things -
take me down to the spring of my life
and tell me my nature and my name
give me freedom to grow
so that i may become my true self
the fulfillment of the seed
which you planted in me at my making
out of the deep
i cry unto thee, o god

(a prayer by george appleton)

Monday, February 1, 2010


when the rising sun aligns
with the inner chamber
the days grow longer
and the earth rejoices -
for spring is in the belly!