More Understanding

Soul and body,

I suggest,



upon each other;

a change

in the state of the

soul produces

a change

in the shape

of the body,

and conversely:

a change in the

shape of the body


a change in

the state of the soul.



Physiognomics, c.350 B.C.E.

Aristotle’s theory is

much quoted today.

It is humbling

to think

that the

ancient Greeks

framed questions

that still preoccupy us

more than 23 centuries later.

It is exciting too,

because over the

past two decades,


have acquired


new imaging tools

that are


our understanding

of the connection


body and mind.

May The Road Rise to Meet You


the road rise

to meet you.

May the wind

be always

 at your back.

May the sun


warm upon

your face,

the rains fall soft

upon your fields,

and when

we meet again,

May God

hold you

in the

palms of

His hand.

There are many versions

of this Irish Blessing.

There are many

who claim

Irish ancestors.

The Irish diaspora


far and wide.

Even our first

African American


has Irish roots

on his mother’s side.

As the 69th


parades down

New York’s

Fifth Avenue,

I claim a


who was a member of

the “Fighting Irish Brigade”.

I can do a bit of the jig,

dancing to the
Irish Washerwoman toe tapping music.

In 8th grade,

I soloed

the lilting
“Rose of Tralee”.

In cap and gown,

high heeled shoes,

 with my college freshmen class,

we marched in the

parade in the snow.

Memories linger

smiles especially broad

on this green day.

Do you have

a bit of Irish

on this day?

May the road rise to meet You.

The Cloud of Unknowing*


no longer

make a plan

for myself

but respond

to the people

and things

in my life

which are part

of a plan






*The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism in the 14th century.


Thought Leaders

are especially


during times of

Disruptive Innovation,

a concept

used in

this time

when things

aren’t working

and ways of thinking and doing

must be changed.

Since Pope Francis was chosen,

he has become a



From his first moments

Pope Francis

showed his


asking for us

to pray for him.

He chose

simple garments,

comfortable black shoes,

paid his own hotel bill,

moved into a

simple apartment.

During Holy Week,

he washed the feet of the poor,

not all Catholics.

He told priests

to be merciful and compassionate

 towards those who are divorced

women who have had


When asked about homosexuals,

he replied,

“Who am I to judge?”


he loves everyone

and in return,

he is loved.

The rules have not necessarily changed,

but the


has completely.

This change in tone is


greatest achievement,

and it is HUGE!

In this

political season,


could learn

because Pope Francis

is an astute politician

in the best sense of the word.

As a South American

he sees the entrenched Vatican

as needing to be cleaned up,

finances and favoritism,

swept out.



the tone,

the message

is that God is a God

of LOVE,


The Church’s role

is to make God


Coming to the United States,

his first trip to North America,

he will speak

at the United Nations,

address Congress,

say Mass in Madison Square Garden.

Popular entertainers will

engage people,

using their words and music


open up people’s senses

to the music of their hearts.

Disruptive Innovation.

Bring it on!

Synchroncity and Opportunity

I see



the shocking murder of

nine people

in a Bible class

at the AME Emmanuel Church

in Atlanta

by a young white supremacist ,

many retailers no longer

selling Confederate flags,

the decision in Georgia

and other states

to remove the

Confederate flag

from public display.

President Obama’s

moving eulogy,

words moving into


Amazing Grace with

all joining in.

Conjecture, publicity

To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee’s beloved book and movie

told by young Scout

seeing her father Atticus

through a child’s eyes.

The much anticipated

release of the

old, discovered

first book

taking place twenty years later.

Go Set A Watchman,

portraying Atticus

in a segregated  town,

challenged by a

climate, calling, demanding

equal rights for blacks and white.

An Off Broadway show


moves to Broadway

full of hip hop

historical characters played by

multi-racial cast.

Another play

Amazing Grace 

opens on


its writer, leaving his job

compelled to write this story

and produce it.

Publisher of Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

moves up release date

so we can read

his words written to

his fifteen year old son.

Growing up in Baltimore,

he feels the same

fear for his son

as week by week

there are

unnecessary murders

by police of young black men

barely adults.

Whatever events, words, books, musicals

might stir you,

move me,

the convergence

is an opportunity.

In the words of Amazing Grace

that forgiveness and redemption

are possible

regardless of sins committed,

“Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind,

but now I see.”

What can I see now

that I did not see before?

What do you see

that you did not see before?

“‘Twas grace that taught

my heart to fear,

And grace my fears


How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!”

With Amazing Grace

Whatever side of a bridge

each of us stands,

no one

can be

untouched by the events of this week

June, 2015.

Sharp divisions

on civil rights

about race and same-sex marriage

have permeated

hundreds of years of our history.

Shock shook us.

A young white man

entered the historic

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

in Charleston

sat with nine black people

for an hour

of Bible study

and then shot them.

At his court hearing

the families of those slain

forgave him.

Within days, the governor

called for the removal of the Confederate flag,

still held high while

the American flag

honored the dead

at half mast.

On Friday morning,

the Supreme Court

announced its decision

on same-sex marriage.

In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eloquent words,

“No union is more profound than marriage,

for it embodies the

highest ideals of





and family.

It would misunderstand these

men and women

to say

they disrespect

the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it,

respect it so deeply,

that they seek to

find its fulfillment for themselves.

Their hope is

not to be condemned to live

in loneliness,

excluded from one of


oldest institutions.

They ask for

equal dignity

in the eyes of the law.

The Constitution

grants them that right.”

In the afternoon

on the same day,

President Obama

gave an eloquent eulogy

at the funeral of the slain

Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.

Pausing for a moment,

President Obama began to sing

Amazing Grace,

how sweet the sound.

When he sang

“I once was lost,

 but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see”

6000 people and a 1000 outside

joined him in the


Perhaps others like me

joined in.

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieve’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.”




For ALL.


Revelation, Celebration

“Sunlight fell

upon the wall;

the wall received a borrowed


Why set your heart

on a piece of earth,

O simple one?

Seek out the source

which shines forever.”

Rumi, Sufi mystic poet

“The universe unfolds in God,

who fills us



there is a mystical

meaning to be found

in a leaf,

in a mountain trail,

in a dewdrop,

in a poor person’s face.”

Pope Francis in Laudato Si his encyclical on the environment

Praise Be to You

“The initiate

will capture

what is being said

when the wind blows,

the trees sway,

water flows,

flies buzz,

doors creak,

birds sing,

or in the

sound of strings or flutes,

the sighs of the sick,

the groans

of the afflicted.”

Ali-al-Khawas, a 9th century mystical  Sufi Muslim poet

Ritual- Potential



poetry in action.

What makes routine

have the

spiritual potential

of ritual?


calls for

taking pause,

for reflection.

Recast routine

as a poem.




the same nouns, verbs

to shed beauty



Thoughts from Gates of Prayer by Rabbi Chaim Stern as related by Dennis S. Ross. OnBeing May 2, 2015, saying that Rabbi Stern spoke to people of many religions.

The Golden Rule

A local church

has a sign,

“Come if you are spiritual

but not religious.”

In conversation,

in polls taken,

many people define themselves

as spiritual but not religious.

Perhaps this is a trend,

but for each person

there may be individual explanations

or definitions

what that means.

At a time when

world news bring

daily reports

of religious conflicts,


horrendous violence,

what does religion mean?

Christians, Jews,


Each religion

seems to have


traditional, liberal and many variations and

definitions within each.

During hundreds of years of history,

religions have been the

source of conflict.

At other times,

the values of religious spirituality

have helped people live

in peace.

Conflicts, killings, destruction

make news.

Will the human race find

the qualities which

help people

live and work together?

Every human being


treat each other person




to be


The Golden Rule

is a

good place to begin.



When and How

When and how

A jagged report

startles us all.

A plane goes



In glorious scenery

the remains of a plane

the scattered sacred

bodies of

more than a hundred.

The opera singer’s baby

perhaps the youngest.

Teenagers on

an adventure

and learning.

Who was


for crossing that threshold

we all will cross

some day

in some way?

There are

many ways

to die.



Hit and run driver,

a pilot who may have planned

the abrupt descent.

The spikes of the mountains

the valleys below.

Together but scattered.

What will we ever know.

Some die in old age,

of prolonged illness.

Others not having any idea

that the primal fear

of falling

will take them away from loved ones.

How do each of us

bridge ourselves between this world and

the next?

How can the idea that

we have little or no control

guide us to live

in this moment.?

There is no one answer.

Each of us

can cherish each


Moment by moment.