A Message to An Angry Stranger

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I got into a fight with a stranger yesterday. It was an online battle, something I’ve been vigilant about avoiding in this new world order ushered in with Trump’s election.

But I let my guard down and commented on a post where a man was ranting about F’ng ALIENS taking over America and in the same breath describing himself as a patriot. I will spare you his direct quotes.

It’s not unusual for me to scroll through Facebook and read through ugly and fear provoking messages, many of which beg for my response. But I usually hear “Danger, Danger, Will Robertson,” in my ear as I read them, so I typically abort any effort to enter into toxic exchanges. It’s not a good use of my energy.

But on this day, I didn’t. I ignored sound Buddhist advice about walking away from spectacles. Instead, I wrote back, “Part of the issue today is our inability to see the “other” as a brother. Even your language and reference to F’ng ILLEGALS indicates not your patriotism but your bend toward the dehumanization of the other. Expand your heart, expand your mind, expand your capacity to see beyond you own neighborhood because what you describe is not patriotism.”

The blow back on my comment was swift like a dirty bomb and delivered with the same destructive intent. I would quote it all but it was nonsensical and filled with poor grammar. “I don’t need a lecture on charity from a socialist,” he said. “You smug socialists are bankrupting the country.” And then he ranted on about Venezuela and patriotism and other things.

I felt my fingers itch and a rush of righteous anger flare through my veins. I typed up a snappy reply that was designed to set him straight and maybe even call him out for his poor grammar. If I couldn’t embarrass him for his views, I could certainly point out his grammar, I thought, as I typed my response.

And something, let’s call grace, or sanity, fell upon me and landed like a little love bomb near my heart. It said clearly, “Stop it.” It was an inconvenient message because I was readying to drop my own bomb and it was not going to be delivered with love. But I listened to the “voice” tell me I was contributing to the discourse, the madness, the angry energy floating like invisible nuclear particles in the atmosphere.

Here I was feeling anger and disrespect for a stranger and I was ready to share that with the entire world or at least my few hundred Facebook friends.

With a little sigh, I deleted my message and went back to my morning. I drove to work thinking about my bravery. I controlled my anger, my righteous, my impulse to best another, when in the end, it was not going to enlighten either one of us.

Better to spend my time sharing beauty and inspiration, working to right wrongs with money and support. Better that I add my voice to a choir of others who want to make a positive change in our world and not enter into useless debates that turn into ego battles and nothing more. America is a beautiful place, and even though the message of hate is being sung by some at this moment in history, I don’t have to sing in that choir.

Better that I sing a song of hope and clean up my own house, keep control of my own temper, and not project it onto strangers.

If I want a better world, it starts with me, not some stranger in another city who feels threatened by the changing times. If I can somehow find compassion for him, how he expresses, I am doing my part to straighten the ship we’re on so we don’t all sink to our lowest self. Because we’re all on the same ship, like it or not.

Stranger, thank you for reminding me that I don’t want to separate myself from the “other,” even you.

Because what is in the one is in the whole. If I separate from you, it is easier the next time to separate from someone else I disagree with and then recreate the cloud of anger we are living under today.

And if that makes me non-patriotic or a socialist in your book, that’s okay. I call it being human.


 (If you want to read more of my work, check out my book,Tao Flashes , available on Amazon.)




Four Hours


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Four hours to travel to that little café not far from the Vatican

Four hours to drink my coffee and roam through the halls of another’s life

Four hours to read Wendell Berry

Four hours to talk to Alex, my son, my mom Grace before she puts on her face

Four hours to rearrange words like a puzzle that never completes

Four hours to rescue the children from a heartless empire

Four hours to listen to the hollow sound of the wind, the hum of my computer

Four hours to rub blueberry jam on my bread and wake to what’s old and what’s new

Four hours to Sunday.


2018 This work is copyrighted.

(If you are interested in more of my work, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.) 

Children of Neptune

The children, see how they are growing,

palms in air, atoning.

They are arising.


Neptune’s offsprings,

they water our lawns with tears

and carry our conscience in their levis.

Not far from the mother’s breast,

they dream

of undoing what’s been done.

Voices, raised like thunder,

they pluck and plunder

the rot they’ve been fed.


Sweet day, our children have come to charm us,

disarm us with our own mirrors.

They live in borderless towns, they do,

 stepping in tune

to times that are not.


Marching over yesteryear,

yellow tape,

they come to police profiteers of pain

with their sweetness,

a lethal weapon.


The children, see how they are growing.

Palms in air, they are arising.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds,

they carry the jewel and the nectar,

 the peace offering,

the means for the end of it all.


This work is copyrighted and cannot be published without permission.

 (If you are interested in more of my work, check out Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.)


True versus Truth


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Truth. Some say it is relative. But what is true is a different matter.

Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contacts and a number of other New York Times best sellers, says people may have a perception of truth, their version of what they believe is accurate. This may be based on personality, circumstance or one’s upbringing. But in actuality, what is true, cannot be disputed.

What is true, is always true. The world is round. The Holocaust happened.  

Today, we are reckoning with truth. We are shaping it like play dough, making it malleable in our fingers to fit our political or religious beliefs. Depending upon your view, CNN is the truth teller. Or Fox. In an era of fake news, truth is as cheap as Snickers bar, and not as tasty.

When it comes to politics, the lines of truth are drawn down the street center—some veer right, some left, depending upon party affiliation.

Now, some find truth in the words of their pastors and priests and religious leaders. Or in the heavens, as perceived by one’s faith.

The truth is, we as a people, are often not operating in truthfulness. We are passengers seat-belted in a way of seeing, based on perception. But what is true, what cannot be manipulated, is this: we are more alike than we are different because we are all love at our essence. (Before you shrug this off as hippie talk, stay with me.)

We may not act upon this knowing, we may flat out deny it and spend a lifetime ponying up evidence to prove otherwise.

But at our core, we hold love in our DNA.

So what is true is this, there are no shithole nations, no foreign factions, only opportunities to remember our humanity, to see that what is in one is in the whole. But we must remember our own nature, love, to remember the nature of all humanity.

In this day where we speak truth to power, we should remember to access the highest power of our own wisdom to claim the truth of who we are at our roots, realizing the other is us. When we see “them” in their difference, in their darkness or detriment, we see the largeness of our own shadow. Let us not hover under it or let it shade us from the scorching truth of our own reveal, which is love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I will repeat this: What is true is always true. And it is never too late to be love. To act from love, to serve it up like a master chef serves up soul food to hungry hearts and bodies. This year, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us be this, love. Let us rise from the quick sand, let us “lift to the majestic heights of our soul’s force,” of our soul’s truth.

 (If you want to read more of my work, check out Tao Flashes, on Amazon.)

A Solar Eclipse and Truth

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Today, Americans of all ages, races, religions came together under one sun, one sky, to witness a spectacular solar eclipse.

Today, for a time, what was eclipsed was our differences as a darkening sky revealed this truth: We are one. Scattered across mountains, valleys, rivers wide, we are the same from the vantage point of endless sky.

No doubt this eclipse is asking us to stand together through the darkness to reveal the light of our higher selves, who we are as one nation, undivided, with liberty and justice for all.

(If you are interested in more thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, I invite you to check out my book, Tao Flashes. It’s available on Amazon.)

Terrorists, Termites and What I Know for Sure

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Here at home we learned our borders are not secure–we are infested with a breed of beings filled with enough hate to terrorize a town and mow over those who don’t subscribe to their vision for our country.

This got me thinking about termites. Two years ago I had a termite problem in my dining room. For the longest time everything in my house appeared normal. But then one day I noticed a wave in my wall, a softening of the plaster. And then I touched the wall and put my hand through it to reveal an ugly nest of termites.

It’s like now. What looked like a fine and stable dining room wall painted yellow and decorated with Japanese prints was actually unstable and infested with termites that were trying to take over my house. I think our beautiful country, much like my walls, seemed stable for a long time because we weren’t looking closely at the ripples and waves in the walls, the things hidden in the hallowed halls of our history. Maybe it is time to root out what’s wrong, tear down some walls — instead of building new ones– before the entire house begins to buckle and crumble.

I send blessings to all who are hurting. We are better than this and we can work together to create a better, more peaceful country, even with our differences. I will not subscribe to hate, even righteous hate because it spreads like a virus, or worse, termites. I don’t want to be infected or infested.

So instead of platitudes, I say let’s work on our attitudes and make sure we aren’t inadvertently spreading hate. Because that hate hangs in the air waiting to latch on to something so it can create more of itself.

I called my son from an airport Sunday and I brought up what happened in Charlottesville. And all I could say as a mother to a grown son was this–“Look for any opportunity to do good to offset the angry energy that is sweeping our nation right now.”  I added, “Watch your words too because they matter.”  Like Oprah’s list, “What I Know for Sure”, I am certain of the importance of these two things.

Now, I have said my piece, I can sleep. It was a stressful day at work where I didn’t fully take my own advice. But tomorrow is another day to do good, to offset the anger. And I think I will start my day by writing another check to The Southern Poverty Law Center. I feel certain they can help with the clean -up work needed on our home.

If you are interested in more of my thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.