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Nothing comes

Twisted Snow Gums, Charlottes Pass, Kosciuszko National Park, 14th May 2009. Photo by Jack Heyward.

So difficult to sit doing nothing
unless enforced by the presence of others.
Alone, I want to be busy every moment.

What makes me uneasy with stillness?
Uneasiness itself?

I’m not doing anything!

You are breathing, pumping blood.
Holding down the chair.
Filling space.
Dying.

No. That word
came from elsewhere than cleverness.
That word is
closer to the bones.

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How did the poem “Fixed” come to me?

I’ve not tried before to retrace in memory how my poems come into being. Yesterday a close friend’s response to “Fixed” move me to do so.

This poem came to me, as most of them do, in much the same way that spoken ministry messages come to me during Quaker waiting worship.  I am inspired by something, perhaps something very minor, that crosses my awareness, and suddenly there is an image or word or phrase.

My usual morning practice

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On Good Friday: Affirming the body

There is a grave error in the penitential notion of “mortifying the body.”

It replicates the false dualism of “spirit versus matter ” that crept into and overwhelmed the Jewish faith and practice of Jesus as his followers spread out through the Greco-Roman world.

A truer practice is to “affirm the body,” to affirm it as a mortal yet sacred part of the divine whole.

When I allow myself to suffer the large or small sufferings of my body,

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The horrible cost of the peace testimony

Today I am greatly conflicted about the Quake peace testimony.  Not giving it up, but struggling with the horrendous cost in lives entailed in staying true to it.

As of March 7, 2022, the Russian military is surrounding Kyiv, Ukraine, and it continues its deliberate targeting residential neighborhoods and blocking of escape by war refugees.  The suffering, death, and destruction are escalating rapidly.

I long to see something done at once to save the people of Ukraine from Russia’s violence.

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Sustaining the real presence of community on Zoom

Meeting for worship on Zoom

Excerpts from “A Jewel in the Lotus: Buddhist chaplaincy includes compassion and ‘skillful means,'” by Chris Berlin, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Autumn/Winter 2020


Chris Berlin, is an instructor in ministry and spiritual counseling and the denominational counselor to Buddhist students at Harvard Divinity School.  With his colleague Cheryl Giles, he teaches the course Compassionate Care of the Dying: Buddhist Trainings and Techniques.

The course interweaves teachings in the Buddhist view of impermanence and death with

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