Below are the poems used in class, shared by participants, or have relevance to one's practice. There are also other gifts, too, generously given by those touched by mindfulness.


by Elonda Clay

The wind sculpts my hair
with invisible fingers
into curls of chaos
I refuse to touch.

Freestyle, my thoughts sway
like the leaves when nature breathes
on each branch.
I store up the sun’s warmth on my face
and shield my joy
from the cold of the world.

I dance,
like the yellow leaves of autumn.
I float,
like dandelions in spring.
I play,
like the dark, tan children of summer.
And in the winter of my years
I sing!
I sing!

Recipe for Unhappiness

1 cup          What is
1 cup          Inability to accept what is
3 Tbs.         Complaints
1 tsp.          Light whining
1/4 lb.         Alternate scenario (preferably unobtainable)
1 bunch      Actual reality
1-pint          Idealized worldview
2 tsp.          Perfection
4 sprigs      Envy (minced) for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together what is with an equal amount of an inability to accept it.

Stir in complaints and let sit until brooding and sulking set in.

Add a dash of light whining, especially in the company of friends, but be careful not to over season, or they won’t hang around.

In a separate bowl, add alternate scenario to actual reality from your garden and separate the leaves from the stems. Then try to reattach leaves in exact pattern that existed before separation.

Pour in idealized worldview and process in food processor using on and off turns.

When mixture is pureed, add to what is, and inability to accept it blend.

Add exactly two teaspoons of perfection and let stand until tears form.

Garnish with minced envy and serve immediately.


This is from Fred Moramarco’s book The City Of Eden.

who turns

by Karen Maezen Miller

Who turns this into that?
Sound into noise?
Aroma into odor?
Taste into pleasure or disgust?
Who turns yes into no?
Grace into disgrace?
Who turns the present into the past?
Who turns the now into the not-now?
As-it-is into as-it-should-be?
Silence into restlessness?
Stillness into boredom?
The ordinary into the menial?
Who turns pain into suffering?
Change into loss?
Grief into woe?
Woe into the story of your life?
Who turns stuff into sentiment?
Desire into craving?
Acceptance into aversion?
Peace into war?
Us into them?
Who turns life into labor?
Time into toil?
Enough into not-enough?
Who turns why into why not?
Who turns delusion into enlightenment?
Who thinks?
Who turns?

All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost….I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson


Forget about enlightenment
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be,
Not the saint you are striving to become,
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You are already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
Breathe out,
Touch in,
Let go.

By: John Welwood

The Exquisite Risk

"But how do we listen? It is so simple and so hard. So obvious to begin and so elusive to maintain. In this lies the vitality of deep listening. To keep beginning. Over and over. To keep emptying and opening. And simply to keep listening. For to listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear."

~ Mark Nepo

by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is a good word, rolling off the tongue;
no matter what language you were born with
use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say it, then be heard.

Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.

Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.

Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.
Think of things that disappear.
Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.
Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.

Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

We Don't Know

We don't know.
We want to know so much,
more than we are ready to know.
Beginners Mind suggests that not knowing is fine,
that not knowing will lead us where we need to be.
Why, then, does the mind push, pull, and prod,
sometimes with such force the brain implodes, or explodes, or splinters into
fragments beyond repair.
Pulsing, pulsing, pulsing,
blood through veins.
This energy flows beyond any cellular form, filling cumulous clouds, vacuous
crags, occupying massive mountain ranges.
Their majestic peaks seek solace, seeking sense of the senseless,
until there is a thunderstorm, so full o fury that even the boulders collapse.
They cannot be moved.
No reason to move.
Just remain still
as the water from troubled skies soaks into the granite veins of the rock
and opens a space for understanding,
a space for repair,
and healing,
and knowing
at last.

-- Reina Rago