Hold on.



Is your life all ups, no downs? Do you ever feel a need to make it look like it is? Maybe to pretend the rough stuff doesn’t exist or put on a big smile to cover a broken heart? Do you ever feel like there must be something wrong with your faith if your life is going badly?

Truth is, shit happens. To the best, most faithful of people. Life’s struggles can feel overwhelming. You can get to the point where you simply cannot see how someone could think and feel the way they do. You can lose hope.

At times like these you need to breathe deep and get yourself to a quiet place. And it sure would do no harm, and maybe a whole lot of good, to read a poem like this:


The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Barry

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

And the good news is, you can read this poem, and your soul will calm without even being in that place where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water. The words of a good poem are like magic. They can heal you and still the churning waters of your soul. And they can help you remember the ‘day-blind stars waiting with their light’, because, yes, we cannot see the stars in the daytime, but they are there. Shining.

May you rest in the grace of the world and find peace.


Follow your bliss.


What is your bliss? What fills you with purpose and passion and spills out of you into the world around you?

That’s not always an easy question.

Sometimes we can look at the high moments in our work or life, the moments that brought joy and satisfaction, and follow them like breadcrumbs back to the bliss, that thing that we love doing.

Sometimes, we are born knowing our passion and purpose. It is as apparent as the nose on our face, if we can see it and follow it before it’s squashed by life.

In the attached video, one boy seems to know what brings him joy and purpose right out of the gate: making bears for hospitalized children, turning sadness into joy, despair into hope, and, maybe even, saving his own dad in the process.

There is so much to love about this story, but, as you watch, consider his parents’ response. They don’t force him to be like all the other boys. They don’t mock or deride him for his dream. They don’t push him into a mold of their own devising.

They let him blossom.


Be the river.


Life is like a river. It moves faster and faster as it draws to its conclusion. It draws us along and challenges us to go with the flow, to confront the challenges head on, to stay alert, to enjoy the view. We don’t know what is around each bend, but we do know how to meet challenges–with love, with acceptance, with courage.

Enjoy Garth Brooks on this point!


Open your eyes.


Do you have any disagreeable people in your life? People you avoid, maybe?

What if they are the ones who need love the most?

Most teachers will tell you that the child who acts out is the one most in need of love and attention. but those kids have learned to ask for it in all the wrong ways. And those children grow up, sometimes into disagreeable adults who still ask for love and attention in all the wrong ways. Maybe they have been disappointed so many times, they’ve learned to strike first, to reject you before you reject them.

Do you know anyone like that?

It’s no particular challenge to love the people who love us. But the ones who rile us, who ruffle our feathers, who are caustic and rude? That takes some serious patience and humility. But, perhaps, that is a place you are desperately needed.

Give thanks.


Give thanks for it all. The highs, the lows, the tears, the laughter, the perfect moments and the messy, chaotic ones. It is all good. It is all a blessing. It is all your life. Those peaks and valleys brought you where you are today with all the opportunities in front of you to love and share and make a difference and all the experience behind you to treasure and enrich your insight.

Today is your present. Open it.

Take a hike.


To the beach, the mountains, the desert, the fields, the back yard. Wherever you can go, take the time to unwind in nature. Let its gentle rhythms soothe and comfort you.

The world is bigger than this day and this problem.

Let nature’s embrace help you find your way home.

What to do?


You want to make a difference. You want it to have mattered that you were here. But where to start? It seems like there is so much to do.

One suggestion is to examine your life and consider where you are indispensable. You may be the whole world to someone. Start there.

As you expand your circle of influence, consider your gifts and talents. Is there something you can do that no one else can do? Perhaps you are the boss and have the ability to influence the climate or policies in your workplace. Perhaps you are from a group that needs a spokesperson and you have a gift for advocacy. Perhaps you have some skills or strengths that can be put to use helping others?

How do you pick? Consider your heart– What breaks it or what makes it swell to bursting? Go there. Either way, follow your passion right into your purpose. You can’t do everything, but you can do something. And that something will make a powerful difference.

Be a good friend.


Friendships are taking a hit these days. Politics, world views, differing opinions are tearing people apart. What is it that holds people together instead? One thing is an abiding concern for the other person, despite your differences. If you can advocate against the death penalty on behalf of a stranger, couldn’t you bring yourself to see what is good and redeemable inside a former friend? Inside an enemy even? Searching for common ground is hard work, but really the main point of living in community. Isn’t it?

Be the storm.


Is there a sleeping giant inside of you waiting to wake up and make a difference? Perhaps there is a cause you want to help or a need you see in your community? Are there people who need an ally? What can you do? How can you help?

You are more powerful than you ever dreamed.

Now is the time.


Be kind.


Kindness isn’t something you ponder in your heart. It is something you do–with your hands, with your words, with your gifts. Person to person, face to face. Lift those who have fallen; feed those who are hungry; speak up for those without a voice; reach out to those who feel alone.

In her song, Hands, Jewel reminds us that even when our hands are small, they are the tools we have to help others and we must use them. That is the way we will use our lives to make a difference for the better in the lives of those around us.

When she was 18, pop singer Jewel lived in a van. One day, she walked into a store to shoplift a dress; but looking at her hands, she realized she controlled them. “I realized I was cheating myself.” Here’s a song titled ‘Hands’ with a beautiful refrain: ‘In the end, only kindness matters.”

Listen to Jewell’s beautiful song here. And, today, contemplate her words:

We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what’s right
Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing

My hands are small, I know,
But they’re not yours they are my own
But they’re not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

Today, be kind. Look for any and every opportunity to make a difference.