Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Out of Great Need, We Are Holding Hands

As we climb the mountain of life, out of great need, we are holding hands. Loving is never letting go.

        I think this is such a beautiful sentiment, "out of great need". Sure, love and loving, are elective gestures in our life, but they are so necessary. We need someone to walk through the raging waters of life with, just as we need someone to celebrate with on the mountaintop. We need someone through the valleys and the peaks, we need someone. And it is this simple truth that is so universal, the act of holding hands. The act of claiming someone as your own. Culturally, we will not grasp the hand of a stranger. We will not reach out and say "come walk with me". But to those we love, our hands are there, never letting go.
         Tim Keller spoke about this need well: "To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Each Creature

A holy infant, taken from God's womb, is each creature.

            There you have it, in God's eyes, everyone is worthy. Everyone is a King or Queen.

Kings and Queens, Audio Adrenaline

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Contemplate For A Lifetime

There's enough here to contemplate for a lifetime. 

         Maybe you should repeat these words to yourself if you are ever feeling bored. In fact, can you think of a question you may spend your entire life contemplating?

Listen to the song lyrics of "Overwhelmed" by Big Daddy Weave.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God...

Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Overwhelmed, Big Daddy Weave

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Sight of Choice

The mind is like a falcon, ever ready with its sight on its choice prey - beauty. 

          What does the phrase "sight of choice" mean to you? If you could feast your eyes upon one thing, what would it be? Family, children, lover, friends, mountaintops, sunsets, puppies, decadent meals, fancy cars, etc.? Hafiz goes with "beauty", which is really anything that, according to the Google definition means: "a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the sight". There's no talk of perfect figures, perfect qualities, perfect weights...but "a combination of qualities" and in this definition, we can only conclude that every single person, being a multitude of many things, is beautiful.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rising Up Like a Thousand Suns

In my world all that remains is the wondrous call to dance and prayer, rising up like a thousand suns, out of the mouth of a single bird. 

      Wouldn't it be interesting if everyone lived with God as the focal point of their lives? And all that remained was this joy, this triumph...and all of it, every last drop, from the mouth of a single bird, since that's what loving God first gives you - everything. Yet, we acknowledge, and quite regularly, how difficult that is to do. How difficult it is to completely surrender our human concerns, our annoyances, our grievances, and just dance and praise. For most it is impossible, but I am convinced for the certain souls capable of achieving this, it is probably like receiving the light of a thousand suns.

A Thousand Suns, Crooty on DeviantArt

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Heart Holds Within It

My heart holds within it a pasture for gazelles and children, a meadow for music, dance, and dreams. 

         Rumi said, "Let yourself become living poetry" and Whitman said, "Let your very flesh become a great poem". But how many do you know who make this their credo, who give their heart to this message? How many people do you pass in the street and on the way to work whose hearts hold pastures, meadows, sunshine, dancing, music, and dreams? And moreover, can you honestly say your own heart holds these things?
         One person who seems to have left that kind of legacy is Walt Disney. "When You Wish Upon a Star" has, over time, become the iconic anthem for the Walt Disney Company. It’s used in the opening logo sequence of all Disney films and during parades and shows at Disney’s theme parks and cruises. It's message? Dreams are for everyone, no matter who you are. Now that's something to keep in your heart!

When You Wish Upon a Star (1940), Pinocchio

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Really Hear

When she began to sing, there was no one who really heard her who was not then glad to be alive. 

        Does the "really" Hafiz wrote in matter? As in, those who "really" heard her, being those who took the time to listen? Those who paused? As in when we "really" hear people, we usually see goodness, quality traits, and talent? But if we don't "really" hear someone, it is all too easy to discard their words, and even worse, their lives.
       In our community, another life was lost too soon to teenage suicide. More awareness needs to be raised about depression, bullying, and most of all, hope and a place to reach out to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for "hope".

Kahlil Gibran On Self-Knowledge (from the Prophet)

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

People Loving People (2014), Garth Brooks

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Name of God Upon Your Tongue

Sit down with the name of God upon your tongue, and fear will go somewhere else for easier pickings. 

          John 10:27 (KJV): My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

          It does seem like a powerful way to live, with the name of God upon your tongue, His mercy and goodness a part of your every word and action.

My Savior, My God, Aaron Shust

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Most Magnificient Season

The most magnificient season is existence. 

          Some would say that the most magnificient season is Fall, or Spring, or Winter, or Summer. Take your pick, but Hafiz says the most magnificient season is today. How powerful is that?!
          In theme with "seasons" (and thus the environment) and the power of one, I encourage everyone to watch The Lorax, especially 22:49 until the end of the film.

The Lorax, 1972
Dr. Seuss 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Anything But Grace

Now is the time for the world to know that every thought and action is sacred. The time for you to deeply compute the impossibility that there is anything but grace. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Thousand Shapes, Colors, and Forms

The divine manna of Love is disguised in a thousand shapes, colors, and forms. 

        I really love this quote...the fulfilment and nourishment that comes from Love can be disguised in a thousand shapes, colors, forms, sizes, professions, education levels, genders, sexualities, countries, languages, religions, etc. Wed your heart to anything that calls only to your own. 
        Another wonderful poem by Pablo Neruda is "Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love": 

Tie Your Heart At Night To Mine, Love 

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky's questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

           I've Always Loved You, Third Day 

Friday, September 19, 2014

All Acts Enrich Us

All acts enrich us, though be careful in this realm of thought, of freedom. 

       I would argue that all acts do not necessarily enrich us, but they do define us, transform us, create us, etc. Anything we do becomes who we are and in this "realm of thought" there is a certain degree of freedom and truth, but also of steadfast responsibility.
       If you had to consider the amalgam of actions that you have become, what would you look like?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heart Lifted Into the Sky's Oasis

You can invent galaxies if you allow your heart to be lifted into the sky's oasis. 

            What causes the heart to swell, to strive towards some unnamed calling? Or said more romantically by Hafiz, lifted into the sky's oasis, such that you can invent galaxies!

            Another poet, Pablo Neruda, talked about the heart flying in his beautiful poem, "Your Hands":

Your Hands

When your hands leap
towards mine, love,
what do they bring me in flight?
Why did they stop
at my lips, so suddenly,
why do I know them,
as if once before,
I have touched them,
as if, before being,
they travelled
my forehead, my waist?
Their smoothness came
winging through time,
over the sea and the smoke,
over the Spring,
and when you laid
your hands on my chest
I knew those wings
of the gold doves,
I knew that clay,
and that colour of grain.
The years of my life
have been roadways of searching,
a climbing of stairs,
a crossing of reefs.
Trains hurled me onwards
waters recalled me,
on the surface of grapes
it seemed that I touched you.
Wood, of a sudden,
made contact with you,
the almond-tree summoned
your hidden smoothness,
until both your hands
closed on my chest,
and there like two wings
ended their journey.

Tus manos, Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So Romantically

I had not ever spoken so romantically before, as that moment when I called a squash an angel. 

Post coming soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Life Went On

Weeks went by, then months, and life went on, admist the ten thousand other wonders. 

            Have you ever given thought to how life always goes on? The day you die the mail will still come, others will celebrate birthdays, and life will continue, "admist the ten thousand other wonders". It makes me sad at times to contemplate this, but I rejoice in knowing that the legacy you leave with the ones you love is legacy enough.

Linwood Bike Path at Dusk
Photograph: Arden Gewirtz
September 2014                

Monday, September 15, 2014

His Gratitude Was Speechless

His gratitude was speechless, his eyes shone like two planets making love.

         Have you ever had a moment in which your gratitude towards another person really could not find the words? Have you ever felt the need to fall on your knees in thanks?

On The Road To Jericho, Keith Green 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What God Can Do

What God can do is only a surprise to the novice on the path, of course things can happen like that!

       For a while I had difficulty accepting that God should be loved first, before children, spouses, family, etc. Then I realized (after help from a friend) that God has to be first because any of the other things can be taken away too soon, but faith in God means you will see those other things again! In other words, you cannot love the gift more than the giver.
       “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot

Soften Your Heart (1982), Keith Green

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Everything God Says Can Happen

From the unseen and the immaculate, we came for a visit to form, knowing everything God says can happen. 

           I find this verse comforting. God can do anything. So believe in miracles, they happen!

Pushing Back The Dark, Josh Wilson

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Sweet World

Have much desire to play in this sweet world. 

        There is probably no better poem than "Ode to Life" (Neruda) to illustrate the idea that this life is about taking chances, about recognizing the sweetness of this one opportunity, about loving every gift (because every day is one), and about soaking in as many treasured blessings as you can.

Ode To Life by Pablo Neruda

Slowly dies he who becomes a slave to habit, 
repeating the same journey every day, 
he who doesn't change his march, he who doesn't risk 
and change the color of his clothes, he who doesn't speak to he whom he doesn't know. 

Slowly dies he who makes of the television his guru, 
he who avoids a passion dies, he who prefers 
black on white and dots on i's rather than a togetherness of emotions 
exactly those that make the eyes shine, 
those that make the heart beat 
before error and feeling. 

Slowly dies he who doesn't overturn the table, 
he who is unhappy in his work, 
he who doesn't risk certainty for uncertainty 
to follow a dream, 
he who doesn't permit himself at least one time in his life 
to flee sensible counsels. 

Slowly dies he who doesn't travel, he who doesn't read, 
he who doesn't listen to music, 
he who doesn't find grace in himself. 
he who destroys his own love dies, 
he who doesn't allow himself to be helped. 

He who passes his days lamenting 
about his own misfortune or the incessant rain dies. 
Slowly dies he who abandons a project 
before beginning it, 
he who doesn't ask questions about topics he doesn't know, 
he who doesn't answer when he is asked something that he knows. 

Let's avoid death by small doses, 
remembering always that being alive requires a much larger effort 
than the simple act of breathing. 
Only burning patience will bring within reach a splendid happiness...

The Girl In The Sunset, Rani Bajaj

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Invisible Thoughts

How is it that invisible thoughts can lift heavy matter and build cities and armies and altars? 

      Contemplate this today, the day we remember the lives taken too soon in the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001. Extend kindness to others, do "good works" before you're asked, and live with gratitude.

Annual memorial lights of the Twin Tours 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heart Has Held

My heart has held that which can never be touched. 

       Today I became a Christian, and though it took prayerful meditation and some reading of all the religions of the world (just to be sure), I would attribute the catalyst of my conversion to music. The Christian music I hear is so uplifting and so encouraging, it makes me want to go to the mountaintop. Below is a song I find near to my heart now, "Come Let's Go Up The Mountain/Fly Me Like The Wind" by MorningStar Ministries.
       I read on Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry something that changed my heart as well. It was more of the logical convincing that I needed. After reading it, I realized I often appealed my worth based on my own "goodness": "You must trust in what Jesus did on the cross to forgive you of your sins and not trust anything else, not even your own sincerity. That's right, sincerity isn't good enough. Why? Because sincerity is an appeal to God based on the goodness of your own heart. If you're appealing to God based on the goodness of your own heart, then you're being prideful. Sorry, salvation is either based on Christ alone, or it is not."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Beauty You Carry Inside

Look in the clear mountain mirror and see the beautiful elements you always carry inside. 

                What is your light? Where does your inner immanence come from? Does it come from faith in God? From the people you love? From the stories you share in? From the lives you touch? Rilke suggest that we can carry beauty within us simply from the books we've had the pleasure of reading.

"Live for awhile in the books you love. Learn from them what is worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be returned to you a thousand times over. Whatever your life may become, these books—of this I am certain—will weave through the web of your unfolding. They will be among the strongest of all threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys." - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Viareggio, April 5, 1903

I Have A Light, Don Potter

Monday, September 8, 2014

Maybe Even Propose To

Whatever or whoever might help you say, "Things aren't so bad..." keep around, maybe even propose to. 

              I really love this line about whoever in your life reminds you of your blessings, keep around. In Yeats' poem, featured below, he pens "I bring you with reverent hands the books of my numberless dreams". That's what a lover should do, remind you of the infinite pages and chapters on which you will write the story of your life.
                 If you are looking for a very romantic trip and live near the Philadelphia area, I recommend checking out this incredible tour the Love Letter Train Tour. You can watch an NBC commentary on it here.

A Poet to his Beloved 
(1899) by W.B. Yeats 

I bring you with reverent hands 
The books of my numberless dreams; 
White woman that passion has worn 
As the tide wears the dove-gray sands, 
And with heart more old than the horn 5
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time: 
White woman with numberless dreams 
I bring you my passionate rhyme. 

Love Letter Train Tour by Mural Arts and Stephen Powers

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Royal Event: Existence

We all help to host a royal event: Existence. 

            Today I took a liking to the song, "Testimony of Grace", it's a song about the stories of those who have come to know God. Since it's Sunday, take a listen.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Heard Your Heart Say

Tell me all I need to know, I think I heard your heart say. 

       Read this wonderful poem by Rilke and let it speak to your heart. Yet everything that touches us, me and you, takes us together like a violin's bow, which draws one voice out of two separate strings.

Love Song By Rainer Maria Rilke

How can I keep my soul in me, 
so that it doesn't touch your soul? 
How can I raise it high enough, 
past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

Two People Fell In Love, Brad Paisley

Friday, September 5, 2014

Plugged Into The Infinite

Being plugged into the Infinite helps. 

       Does love help you to soar above this world? To find the beauty in things beyond whatever your circumstances, shortcomings, and failures are? I think it does. The last two lines of this poem are beautiful, fear, weariness, worry, shadows, etc. will not win the loved and the lover. Aren't we all covered from darkness then?

Love Is Enough 
by William Morris

Love is enough: though the World be a-waning, 
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining, 
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover 
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder, 
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder, 5
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over, 
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter; 
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter 
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover. 

Remind Me, Brad Paisley

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Offering Something

Everyone is holding out their hands, offering something. How much easier would the world be to live in if we were as kind and accepted it all? 

          As many children around the United States start school today, kindness is an important lesson to promote. It doesn't take much for someone to feel left out, but it also doesn't take much to include someone and make them feel welcome.
         Something that stood out to me today is 10 Of The Most Dangerous Journies To School Around The World, we really should take a moment and reflect on the great lengths some children travel just to get an education.
         On a happier note, in spring of 2015 MIT will now offer a Reddit course.

 A group of Sri Lankan schoolgirls crossing a plank across Galle Fort 
(July 8, 2009) 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Truth of Myself

Nothing could ever be in opposition to the truth of myself. 

Post coming soon!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lasting Good

What lasting good has ever been rushed?

             Dictionary.com defines wealth in a multitude of ways, but one of those ways is:

wealth (n): an abundance or profusion of anything; a plentiful amount; rich or valuable contents

        I've thought of wealth in many ways, the obvious monetary wealth, and then there is love, knowledge, experience, physical health, mental health, spiritual health, etc. Today, for the first time ever, someone suggested to me the wealth of...time. I've always thought of time as a gift, but I like that I can now include it as one of the ways to be wealthy. 

There Goes My Life (2004), Kenny Chesney

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Experience of God

The experience of God can so easily deepen and change. 

          This is so true, our relationship with God (and it should be a relationship) will evolve, change, grow, deepen, and be born anew. We will bring to the table the fellow believers we meet as well as the ones who challenge our beliefs. We will bring to the table the moments we felt close to God and the moments we felt terribly in this world. In doing these things, in living this life, we can only expect our experience of God to be different than when we started out, but God has been sovereign, working in our hearts throughout.
      I found this on the blog, Desiring God: "And the reality is, even if you don’t have a formal, written life plan, you have a life plan in your head. We all do. You have an imagined future in your head. You want to have a family, have kids, get a college degree, start a business, travel to Europe, etc. You get the point. I don’t have a formally stated life plan, but I want to accomplish certain things. I want to attain a certain level of comfort and stability for me and my family. I want my life to actually mean something. To reference a well-known author who seems to get quoted a lot on this site, I don’t want to waste my life. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m all for planning. Without plans, little of enduring value gets accomplished. Those who fail to plan, often find themselves binge watching on Netflix. But the reality is, there are many times when God intentionally messes up my life plan. And that’s a really good thing." 

He Knows My Name (2014), Francesca Battistelli