a week ago i slipped away for a few quiet days in nature with my family. we found a new-to-us-place tucked in between huge stone formations in the hills of kentucky, near a lake. it was beautiful and remote…

and needed.

isn’t it always? i think of the days and weeks leading up to that time away and how much the anticipation of it meant to our sanity. my sanity.

a question i’ve been living into for a while now is “what do i choose to resource now?” i’ve appreciated this question as it positions me in my choice and invites me to think about all the resources available to me: time, energy/attention, money.

it occurred to me in those days leading up to our time away that i am a resource, when i make that choice. i show up with presence and power. and this insight helped me as i prepared to step away from the day-to-day busyness for a bit, understanding that to be a resource, rest and restoration mattered. (cue audre lorde here).

and…damn, i struggled with letting go of stuff. it was ridiculous how hard it was to relax. i was sort of screaming to myself, “you goin’ to relax. have fun, dammit!”. why does that never work?

that first day, i had a very vivid dream of a grandmother with a continuous message of “re-source“. her voice was provocative and commanding, simply repeating that word over and over: “re-source”. and the message i got was that resource is to “re-source”, the pre-fix “re-” meaning “to turn back” to “source”.

i’ve carried this mantra with me this week, paying attention to every signal to turn back to source. anger, grief, joy, wonder have all served as signals, calling me back to source so that i can show up with presence and power, as a resource.

anger was a friend that visited a lot this week. she showed up as fire in my belly and a race in my heart. i wanted to act out, throw up the deuces, hang up the phone, walk out, rage at the machine. and instead of reacting from that place, i turned to feel the grief and longing underneath? and then i did what i could to meet that need + longing, mostly simply acknowledging the feeling.

this practice drew me closer to divine source. and when i was there–in that presence and power–everything shifted. conversations dropped deeper, reactions slowed to responses, truth came in.

one of my favorite quotes (by howard thurman) comes to mind: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

in the practice of re-sourcing, everything comes alive.

what a gift this week, in the midst of what can so easily feel like such senseless death and destruction–to find and experience such life and creation, to find Source.


years ago, i was in a work meeting and literally told to be silent while a decision about a service i ran was communicated to the rest of our division. it was highly contentious and the fact that i was told to sit silent among my colleagues was…heartwrenching. i recall us all sitting in a circle (how ironic!) and purposely looking around that circle in hopes of catching the eyes of those i worked with so that i could feel…well, to be honest…more whole. no one would look at me. all eyes were on the floor and no one spoke. no one spoke to me after the meeting or for the rest of the day. that silent response hurt more than anything.

a day later, a friend and colleague who was in that room texted me. the message simply read something along the lines of “i see you.” thank you, leisan smith. i’m sure you didn’t realize then how much those words meant to me…how i still carry them with me today.

a lesson in the power of being witnessed.

the ninth commandment is “thou shalt not bear false witness.” my interpretation of this wisdom has evolved, understanding the importance of acknowledging other living beings and their truths. how easily it is to miss it; how easy it is to turn away, to forget, to fail to witness.

witnessing allows for re-membering. the act of witness conjures a sense of belonging. it undoes the myth of isolation and separation and disconnection. to witness is to proclaim an other’s divine humanness. it is to say i hear this story and receive it and there is more to your story.

that’s what leisan’s text expressed to me: that she heard the shit, saw the shit, and that i was not alone in that shit. and…i was not defined by that shit, either. she reminded me i was more. she helped me to remember who i was.

how can we bear witness to the world around us? to the suffering and the joy and the life/death of it all? how can we bear witness so that we don’t forget?

and how might we allow ourselves to be witnessed? to be vulnerable and messy and wholly human in the presence of those around us? giving up our addiction to plans, answers, expertise, “having it all together”?

do as the grain of wheat; as the earth

this was shared as a sermon (my first!) on 3.21.21 for the Church of the Good Shepherd; Athens, OH. the Gospel reading that inspired it is John 12:20-33. Also available on YouTube here:


What an honor to be with you, the people of the Church of the Good Shepherd today. Mother Deborah has taught me the power of invitation–to pay attention to it–and so when she invited me to preach this week as she heals and recovers from her surgery, I paid attention. And, here I am. 

This, the fifth week of Lent, Jesus tells us that to live, there is dying. He speaks of his own “troubled soul” at the face of this truth and how he chooses this life/death anyway. He says that 

“unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” 

To receive this teaching, knowing the reality of Jesus’ situation is almost incomprehensible–knowing that he was literally preparing for his own death. 

And then to also use this teaching to reflect on all the other forms of death and loss that come with the Way of Love–stretches the imagination and offers guidance along that journey. What does it look like to choose Love? What does it ask of us? And what does it offer? 

A couple of weeks ago during a Becoming Beloved Community StorySharing session, stories were shared that spoke of pain and the wounds of White Supremacy. These wounds were not only historical ones–they persist today. Pain spilled out in the forms of rage and grief, as we held space for these stories in circle. The stories touched on truths seldom spoken–not only communally but even personally

This was the purpose of this series–to offer an opportunity to practice the sacred act of story sharing and truth telling. To grow our capacity to hold these stories and in doing so, begin to form a new story of who we are as a community, as a church. 

Following the session, I received an email from a participant expressing the choice to not return to the sessions. “I was devastated by these stories…it felt like a punch in the gut…deep condemnations of our church with no clarity about why.”

For this neighbor, here in this communal space created to hold these stories, the encounter of these other stories felt, in his words, “devastating”. Even when we set out to do just that. It was too much; he did not return. 

This is a normal response to the awakening to the truth that there is more to the story that we’ve held as TRUE. When we learn that our life–personal, communal–isn’t what we thought it was. 

When Jesus speaks of the grain of wheat dying in the earth, I recall this pain of allowing old stories to die. There have been hard truths revealed as half-truths that have gutted me: that my ancestors and family were not who I thought they were; that beloved institutions I had poured blood, sweat and tears were not who/what I thought they were; that my Church and my faith tradition was not what I thought it was;  that teachers and friends were not who I thought they were; my marriage was not was I thought it was; I was not who I thought I was. 

There was more to the story. 

To learn new evidence that counters the stories we hold as hard truths…well, is devastating. 

As it is supposed to be. 

Growth requires the inclusion and transcendence of old stories, of the truths we once held so core, so foundational. 

I’m drawn back to the teaching of Gloria Anzaldua, whose writing and spiritual activism have been a source of wisdom for over half my life.  Years ago, in the midst of a devastating period in my life, I got this tattoo of Coyolxauhqui. I learned of her story from Anzaldua’s writing. According to Aztec mythic history, Coyolxauhqui was decapitated and dismembered by her brother, Huitzilopochtli (Eastern Hummingbird and War God), who then flung her head into the sky and threw her body down the sacred mountain, where it broke into a thousand pieces. Depicted as a huge round stone filled with dismembered body parts, Coyolxauhqui serves as Anzaldua’s symbol for the “light in the dark”, representing “Both the process of emotional psychical dismemberment, splitting body/mind/soul and the creative work of putting all the pieces together in a new form…a labor of re-visioning and re-membering.” Anzaldua draws on this symbol to illustrate the process of healing and creative transformation.

Wisdom traditions offer universal truths that speak to such paradoxes: that death and life are one; that light and darkness are one; that healing is in the wound. We have those who have gone before us, spiritual leaders and elders–Jesus!–who have shown us the way. 

And in reality, the process is still terrifying and so…devastating

As it is supposed to be. 

That is the story: that we must die. We must be dis-membered. In order to find life in a new form–to be trans-formed. 

Coyolzuaqui offered me a powerful visual representation that symbolized what I felt like at that time in my life: pieces of myself scattered and splintered with the deep down faith that in that process, there was also something creative and generative at work. Out of it, would come new life. And it did. With time and a lot of practice, I’ve learned to trust in these experiences of falling apart, knowing what they offer. 

Working to unearth the delusions of White Supremacy has offered the most fruitful ground for this practice. 

The delusions of White Supremacy offer a yardstick of what is right, real, and true that is based in fear, perpetuates lies of separation and independence, and compels the pitiful myth of control. It leaves God out of the equation; there is no role for Love in the age-old story of Fear. 

How do we relinquish this yardstick when it has been used to measure the materials of our personal and corporate lives together? 

Well, it has to be…together

And this is where the delusion of the White Supremacy is both most exposed/potent and can serve as a helpful symptom, signaling where to pay attention. As a weapon, White Supremacy is exact in its separation and domination. It does not allow for authentic and right relationships that cultivate a sense of “together”. We must unravel the beliefs about relationships that this yardstick has shaped for us (earning and proving ourselves worthy; the compulsion to fix/solve each other; to help) and re-member that we already and always belong to each other. In love. We must learn to lean into the sharp points, knowing that it is there–in that discomfort–that our growth and healing occur. 

Jesus offers us the story of the “grain of wheat falling into the earth and dying”. Here, it is helpful to turn our attention to “into the earth”. The grain of wheat cannot be transformed alone; it must be held by and nourished by the earth. The earth plays an active role in this process and is often overlooked. We cannot do the work of healing and growing up and becoming alone. We need to be held; we need to be nourished. We need to hold; we need to nourish. 

Historical traumas have made this holding and nourishing a challenge. Even in our intimate relationships, our families, this is hard, much less extending that reach to neighbors and others. What does it mean, what does it look like to hold and be held in this falling apart? 

It looks like love without condition. And yet…what does this look like in practice? Many of us do not know, having rarely if ever truly experienced this. Which is why we follow Jesus. To learn, to practice the Way of Love and become beloved community. 

Yesterday (Friday), in our Becoming Beloved Community circle we did just that. We practiced. We presenced ourselves to the grief of this week’s mass murder in Atlanta, including six Asian American victims, to the statement of the Vatican against same-sex marriage, to the violence and the othering and fear that is alive in our world. We chose to soften our grip on our old and current stories and welcome in new ones–making room for very different and diverse expressions of grief, rage, gratitude. We were the earth, receiving the grain of wheat and transforming it into something new. Together, we took the threads of our grief and and gratitude and created a collective prayer, weaving together all the expressions into a new more whole story of us.  

In these moments, there is a taste of the Love that Jesus speaks of, teaches, is: Love without condition. It is meeting the forces of fear and hatred with the force of Love, welcoming in each of us, just as we are–rageful, despairing, hopeful, hurting, grieving, even hateful.  Once we taste it, we begin to re-member. 

There is more to the story. 

This is not to say it is easy. It is devastating. People turn away. And still, we practice. 

Moving from the dismembering/disintegration part of the story into the creation part of the story calls for a different yardstick–it calls us to relinquish the lies of independence, certainty, control and to do as the grain of wheat and the earth do. Brokenheartedness, vulnerability, not knowing, uncertainty–these are not things to turn away from. The fear that comes with them is an invitation into a new story. 

It is an invitation to be the grain of wheat, to fall into the earth, to be held and to be nourished into a new form of life. It is to allow ourselves nourishment in ways that are uncomfortable as hell and also life-affirming and life-giving. 


It is an invitation to be the earth, receiving the falling grain of wheat and hold it, steadfast. It is to honor it’s dying and nourish it into new life. The earth knows no fear–it does not fix or solve. She offers energy and resources in faith of the natural, divine order of life/death and the evolutionary impulse of Love. 

And just as Mother Deborah has helped me to see, there is power in the invitation–it is worth paying attention to. 



yesterday i signed a Release Agreement on the land contract. in other words, there is an acknowledgement that the contract we entered is no longer true and therefore, we are released from it.

release agreement.

there is some sadness that comes with release. a letting go of the visions taking root, the dreams we were sowing, a sense of separation from this beloved land.

we will not be building a little cabin by that creek, on that ridge and under the canopy of trees. we will not be climbing those cliffs and meandering in that valley and discovering the treasures of that place.


there is always more to the story.

i often think of release as letting go. in a fuller sense, re-lease means entering into a new agreement. it is both letting go and coming into. it is a new acknowledgement of who we are to each other, now.

the release agreement on the land honors who we are to each other in our continued discovery; it expands the story and includes more.

this land was never to belong to me. she is my teacher. i belong to her. and in truth, we are one.

gratitude for this re-lease with her.

stand and kneel

a few weeks back, i heard Bishop Michael Curry raise a question that has stayed with me: “how do i both stand and kneel at the same time, in my relationship with others?

well, damn.

stand and kneel. both, at once?!

and while it may seem impossible, i knew precisely what he meant and have since drawn on this question in my own practice of growing up.

for Bishop Curry, we’re asked to kneel because “Love is an equal opportunity employer” and because there is no God except God; the kneeling comes with this knowing. the standing comes from being in integrity with our own truth–standing in our power, our own Divine Self.


it’s been fun to notice when i experience these postures simultaneously. i’ve surprised at how they show up together. and actually, have begun to wonder if they–in their truest forms–always do.

i want to remember this one moment of standing and kneeling, from today:

we got an email last night that we were at a stand-still with the land contract. there’s been some issues regarding the easement and apparently one party is refusing to sign off. the email left me feeling passive in a process that is designed for that. it didn’t feel right.

western systems and processes carry in their very DNA White Supremacist/Capitalistic/Patriarchal seeds of domination/commodification/othering. how can we be in these systems and not of them? how can we create right relationship within them?

the land has been teaching me this lesson on a deeper level since we’ve begun our journey together…and here, again, was a lesson.

as soon as we entered into the contract and negotiation process, the relationship between the seller (aka James) and the buyer (aka Michael and i) changed. dramatically and immediately. no surprise–this ain’t my first rodeo. and…how might we play the game and also not let the game determine who we are to each other? the “stand-still” email last night signaled that the game was winning.

i headed to the trails today for some much needed sunshine on my face and remembered that i had james’ phone number. we had exchanged phone numbers at the beginning of this process!! that’s who we had been to each other, then! it’s who we still are. so, i sat down by the creek, took a breath and said a prayer with the land, and called him.

he answered and immediately said, “thank you for calling, amy.”

in that moment, i was standing and kneeling. the way i’d describe it, in my own terms, is a “humble knowing” or maybe a “humble truth”.

i called because i remembered who i was; i remembered what i wanted and who i was choosing to be. and there was a humility in my listening and opening to james, in the acknowledgement that the piece of the puzzle i am aware of is only one small piece of a much larger puzzle.

there was no resolution and who knows what will happen. and i know it was the right thing and placed me back in right relationship with Love.

standing and kneeling in humble knowing–a very helpful guidepost.

lessons from the school of forgiveness

i heard someone once say that earth is the school of forgiveness.

today, it is raining–a divine soundtrack as i sit some lessons learned.

earlier this week, someone shared with me the heartbreak at having to return a rescue dog after 24 hours. the dog was not adjusting, bullying and acting out. he called me to share the story and how he had no one to support him, to help. he kept saying, “i’m all alone. i had no one to ask. no one to be a sounding board. so i just had to return her.” he wept. and i gently said, “and you’re calling me, now. you are not alone.”

his old story of being alone was recreating that story in his present reality. this is not to say that there is not truth in his being alone. it is to illuminate that this was one part of the story; there are other parts, too.

i wondered about the role of forgiveness in his holding onto an old story of hurt that keeps on hurting, twisting an effort to find companionship into one that isolated. i thanked the dog for her teaching–even as he returned her, she still gave gifted him the truth that he is not entirely alone and that he can choose.

the next day, i made the decision to say no to something to which i had once said a deep-hearted yes. the yes involved returning to a place that had both grown me up and hurt me (don’t these things always come together?!) and so it felt like an opportunity for repair in some way to return there for work. over the course of nearly a year, my yes evolved into a no.

i had returned to that place a different person than i left it six years ago. at that time, i left feeling hurt, betrayed, full of anger and resentment. there was self-righteousness, indignation. leaving that place sent me straight to the principal’s office of the school of forgiveness. and there i stayed for the next several years, learning and practicing as i healed and grew.

now, stepping away from this place again with a ‘no’ allowed me to reflect on how much i had grown in this time. it reminded me of the power of forgiveness and the truth that comes with/from it–truth rooted in love, rather than fear. feeling this, i could see there was repair in the return here, after all just not the way i envisioned it. the repair was in renewing my relationship with this place, with my self.

so, on this day of rain, there is a desire to acknowledge some of the lessons i’ve learned in the school of forgiveness:

the journey with forgiveness has been humbling and power-full.

it begins with self-forgiveness because you can’t give what you don’t have.

to forgive yourself means accepting responsibility for your choices and in doing so, claiming your power.

forgiveness is allowing grief in to move what hurts, to release the suffering. i think of it as opening a dam that allows the waters of life to move freely, no longer blocked. this is scary, sometimes terrifying. acknowledging and naming our pain feels threatening and risky. this is a trauma response.

it is right to offer gratitude for the fear in touching our wounds; that fear has served us. now, it no longer serves. nod to the fear and then lean in. this is where growth and healing are waiting.

with grief’s movement and release comes compassion, rushing into that place of hurt.

forgiveness expands, like a widening of the lens as more of the story comes into view. suddenly, there is more–more truth, more perspective, more space, more compassion.

breath returns. we find our bodies.

forgiveness in not transactional. it is not something that is done in a one-and-done act. forgiveness is a practice, a relationship, a process–as is grief.

while forgiveness deeply impacts the ability to be in relationship with others, that impact is a side-effect, a consequence of deeper healing that rests in an embodied knowing that i am worthy; i belong; i am divinely human; i am connected and an essential part of all life. forgiveness flows down like a river, from that source of knowing.

and then, because i can see myself, i can now see you.

because i love myself, i can now love you.

with forgiveness comes grace.

Jesus himself exemplifies this, crying out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” naming his pain at feeling abandoned and alone in his time of darkness. and then with that grief, remembering the truth of who He was, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

the more i practice forgiveness, the more truths i can hold. which means that with increased capacity to practice grief and forgiveness, the more capacity there is for joy and love.

forgiveness comes from the Latin root word “perdonare,” meaning “to give without reservation”. no exceptions, no expectations. forgiveness has nothing to do with the person/thing being forgiven.

forgiveness liberates.

choosing to reject the lessons of forgiveness keep us bound up in our suffering. i remember years ago working with a group on racial healing and reading the book of forgiving in which desmond tutu calls this the “revenge cycle”, where hurt causes hurt…again and again and again. mostly, this revenge cycle hurts the self–others are impacted but again, the primary target is the self.

forgiveness removes the chains of our suffering, the chains of external conditions. and places our power and the Eternal Flame of Love firmly within us.

the more forgiveness that is practiced in the context of a relationship, the more capacity for love and freedom is experienced in that relationship, the more complexity included. within my marriage–where forgiveness has schooled us for real–we are both bound up together and completely free. because forgiveness has taught us the truth of our interdependence, inviting each of us to be exactly who we are, nothing more and nothing less.

there is nothing more freeing, more true than love without condition.

and this is what forgiveness offers us–a love without condition.

sometimes this looks like a no and even in that no, there is love.

obedience and rage

i’ve never liked the idea of obedience.

always feeling it as laced with patriarchy and dominance.


and…i’d say that i’m practicing obedience these days.

obedience to God. to Spirit. to Love, Life, Truth.

i still don’t really like it.

today, it pissed me off.

this week was beautiful, magical, a week of sacred surrender.

it’s lent.

a time to go into the wilderness…to get quiet, listen, and draw closer to God.

like a good disciple, i did that. i obeyed.

because paradoxically, it’s through this form of discipleship that we find our freedom.

i led an ash wednesday service with Quanita for a historically Black faith community, offering up our story, the Dagara Medicine Wheel, and the 40 day Journey To Remembering Soul and Spirit.

yep. that’s right. “i led”.

it was time for me to take responsibility for this co-creation.

for who i am becoming.

i was scared.

and i trusted.

spirit has taught me.

knowing all the moments that have led to this moment, all the choices–things done and left undone–to bring me here.

it’s no accident. there is purpose. there is Love.

and it shifted everything.

you know the kind of deep down shifting that happens, like tectonic plates that cause earthquakes?

yeah, that.

and Truth came in. choices became clearer. scales fell off my eyes and…light came in.


there are lines in a favorite poem by Leon Wieseltier entitled “Sink So As to Rise” that go like this:

Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?

Of course you do; the old was a good life. But it is no longer available to you.

It has been carried away, irreversibly.

So there is only one thing to be done.

Transformation must be met with transformation.

Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.

i don’t want to leave my old life. i don’t to want to let go of my hopes, my beliefs, my visions.

and yet, this is what i know about faith, about following Spirit.

what is ahead is beyond my imagination.

i know, because it is already here, now.

it’s magic.

you couldn’t make this story up!

the joy! the wonder!


there is loss that comes, sadness…

and a bit of digging in my feet.

weeks ago, i was accepted into the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School. it took a long time for me to apply, the nudge there for a long time.

i relented.

and then, as i waited for the decision, an excitement grew. i wanted to be accepted; i wanted to go.

and also, the land. with the longing to be the student of Grandmother Earth. to be humbly in her presence.

i kept saying to myself and to friends, “the earth is my teacher now”.

nevertheless, i’ve been filling up my life…yes to this, yes to that. yes, yes, yes.

and knowing that there must be space. for the land and the earth’s teachings and the new life that will come.

i’m gonna have to say no.

we confuse ourselves. distract ourselves. it’s like the temptation that Jesus faced when he went into the wilderness.

and the wild beasts there–along with both Satan and the angels–offer the Truth. they ignite the wild in Jesus.

remind him who He is.

i believe that the journey into the wilderness of our souls conjures our wild.

and once it’s conjured, there’s no going back.

so, shit.

i was pissed. and sat still with it as the grief surfaced.

letting it move me.

letting it trans-form me.

letting it inspire me to clean out my closet and bag up clothes that no longer fit for Goodwill (alas, there were many)

singing my heart out to Barry Manilow (yes, that is RIGHT!)

letting the tears flow

into the spaces within me that are now open

with my release of the things that no longer serve.


i woke this morning to snow. with childlike wonder, i scurried around the house, opening all the curtains and gasping each time the wintery landscape was revealed.

winter wonderland.

i love it.

and i’m so grateful. it’s as if mother earth knew precisely what my soul needed today–a day of quiet and stillness.

there’s been a lot moving in the waters of my life.

so with a cup of coffee, i sink into my morning sitting place and pick up one of the books in my pile. the one that came was “The Book of Creation” by J.P. Newell. i open it to the second chapter, “The Wildness of God”.


warming my hands around my cup, i take a first sip of morning coffee. i look out the window at the snow covered Gaia tree and breathe. this is gonna be good.

and it is. so. good.

i have to stop every so often to breathe it in…the stillness and quiet of the snow inviting me to slow down. revel.

i come to this passage on the Celtic tradition:

“One of the most striking features of this tradition was its love of wandering or peregrination. In its more extreme form, the peregrini, as they were called, would set sail in a boat without a rudder to be blown wherever the elements might take them. The ideal of the peregrini in the old Celtic Church was defined as ‘seeking the place of one’s resurrection’. It consisted of a willingness to let go of or die to one’s home, or the place that was comfortably familiar, in order to find new life. The impression given is that the gospel of Christ leads us not into what we already now but into what we do not yet know…George MacLeod said, ‘Follow truth whereever you find it, even it if takes you outside your preconceived ideas of God or life. Even if it takes you outside your own country into most insignificant alien places like Bethlehem.'”

the idea of “seeking the place of one’s resurrection” resonated. i remembered and selah.

i know the path of the peregrini. i, too, have set sail in a boat without a rudder. i, too, have been willing to let go and surrender.

and now…it seems the boat has led me to this place. there is the land, yes. and that place is also within.

the text continues: “In the Celtic tradition the search to find ‘the place of one’s resurrection’ often led to the wildest and most elemental places.'”

yes, this place–both without and within–is wild.

and wildness calls for spaciousness. it cannot be contained or jammed up. this causes the energy to turn destructive and leads to death. wildness needs wide open spaces.


isn’t funny how often we need to be reminded? even of things we hold most true?

yesterday, on a leadership team call, we reflected on the power of the pause. we had engaged two facilitators to hold our team in our formation and had right away set to the business of scheduling and calendaring. we went to the form without knowing the intention. they had the wisdom to slow us down. “what are we intending in this time together?” in our slowing down, we found our wildness. we found energy, Spirit, life.

acting from this place of wildness feels so different energetically than not. it feels like creating as opposed to doing. it feels alive rather than busy.

i’m wondering about how to honor my arrival in this place of wildness, in this season of my life. how might i make space for it?

and so grateful to mother earth for this snowy day…of stillness and wildness.

proclaiming the dream

yesterday: inauguration.

artists and poets and leaders boldly telling the truth of who we are as a growing-up nation. “unfinished”, in the words of poet Amanda Gorman.

in the truth-telling, clear dissonance emerged between our aspirations and reality.

and into this gap, they breathed possibility. they stirred life. and proclaimed the dream.

the power of proclaiming the dream!

moving and powered by LOVE.

LOVE knocks at our soul’s door and stays there, standing upright, fierce and patient. LOVE does not turn away. LOVE does not back down. LOVE sees the truth and tells it. and reminds us of the promise of more, daring to imagine.

so different from the easier love that makes nice, makes comfortable, tries to solve and fix and change.

love knocks at the door of our ego and hunches there, with fear-laced echoes of caution. it lingers and haunts by and through illusion, impossible to ever meet.

this love is seductive and dangerous, a wolf dressed in lamb’s clothing. it is impotent, incapable of compelling movement. it is quicksand, paralyzing. it slices and dices life into bits and pieces, sweeping them into piles of “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong”, and in doing so prescribes life-threatening self-improvement treatments aimed at furthering separating those piles.

the power that drives this engine of deceit is not the power of LOVE but that of fear. so little. so small. so pitiful.

ahhhh, but the power of LOVE…

LOVE transforms because it begins with LOVE, rooted in LOVE.

LOVE don’t always feel good. seeing our whole selves ain’t easy. there are those bits and pieces that have been sliced and diced into piles of shame, blame, guilt. piles that make up stories we begin to believe about ourselves. piles that diminish the complexity of who we are.

when we gather up these piles and bring them together into wholeness, a new, truer story emerges. and from this place of Truth, from this place of LOVE-without-condition, everything shifts.

three simple words that perhaps best capture LOVE: “I see YOU.”

proclaiming the dream is not merely speaking of something out there in the far off distance–a plan that might be. proclaiming the dream is the naming of what is unfolding right here, right now. it is a weaving together of the threads of our history and those from our future…

in an interview this morning, Ms. Gorman–the poet who moved the world yesterday–shared her mantra: “I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke through chains and changed the world. They call me.”

proclaiming the dream is the remembering of who we are while daring to imagine the possibility of who we might be.


“The world is selling safety all the time. By marketing fear.” –Peter Block

at what cost do we choose safety?

safety. our world tells us that safety and security are found externally. the other piece is that safety is found internally. a deep-down well within ourselves where solace and peace are always available.

when things get shaky and uncertainty raises up her inevitable head, fear rushes in. it’s a signal: this is not safe. turn back.

it’s a healthy response. it keeps us safe. thomas hubl beautifully refers to this response as what protects our contract with God. it keeps us alive!

and…we can choose. what is “not safe” is so often about our ego and its demand that things remain as they are, that we do not grow up, that we do not expand, that we stay small and in our place. it hurts to open, to feel, to grow, to heal.

taking a leap faith–whatever the leap (or maybe even just a half a skip)–is scary as hell. it’s why a lot of times we choose against it.

the world counts on that.

the universe, on the other hand…

i’m learning to bow to the fear when it comes, thankful for its good work. and then to choose instead, love.

i am not interested in the safety that the world promises.

i want to drink up life, revel in its flowing waters, ignite the flame of it within me, and embolden mine with yours. i want my knees to shake with humility and to bow down upon the earth and kiss it, grateful and full and in utter awe. and then to stand–rooted and connected–and stomp on the ground with fierceness and love and rage and grief and joy dripping from my divine human body…knowing the truth that this moment, right now, is all that matters.

that knowing is enough to topple empires. it is enough to change the world. it is enough.

it is everything.

nelson mandela’s prayer now comes to heart/mind: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”