I am dying.
I come to your door almost dead.
You are dying, too.
I come disguised as one living,
or nearly so;
you answer the bell as if alive.

And, for an evening sanctified,
you greet me, movie star or monster,
with delight,
and give me, princess or pirate,
good things.
So it should be.

We are dying, so soon, so sure.
Ourselves and not ourselves,
we come soon enough
to that little circle of light on the great porch
and are greeted with grace and feast.

Why not be alive while we may?
Why not meet each other now,
gruesome or glittering,
with good things—
before the day passes,
the candy is stale,
and our costumes are of no use?


All Saints Day

Red hawk cries once
offering himself from the top branch,
hands spread in blessing

over the clearing
among turning trees,
flame and ash of leaves,
breath of wind.

One cry and my heart is pierced
by many colors,
the day is changed.

The sanctified don’t specialize in piety,
they live as they are made to be,
let the calm fire burn in them
and trust the rest.


Eight blessings

Blessed are you who don’t have it:
        I give you my whole world.

Blessed are you who are broken:
        I hold you close.

Blessed you who are gentle:
        my love in you will conquer the world.

Blessed are you who yearn deeply for more:
        here it is.

Blessed are you who practice mercy:
        my mercy flows through you.

Blessed are you who love no matter what:
        you will always know my presence.

Blessed are you who do not pass hurt on to others:
        beloved child, that’s when you are most like me.

Blessed are you whom the world scorns:
        I am right there with you.

(see Matthew 5.3-10)


Deep autumn

The leaves above the brook
begin their great journey now,
letting go and dropping into the water.
Who knows what worlds they will see?

Trees shed the weight of their work
and slip into something more comfortable.
Now the sun’s laying on of hands
is not so forceful, but more intimate, more gentle.

The hillside deepens from its reds and yellows
to the color of experience,
the color of knowing without having to say.

Leaves fall, each with its own little tap.
They gather in sorrow and gratitude,
ready to become what is next.

This is the season of bareness and of seeds.
This, too, is newness, and peace.

Weather report          

as all that is
passes and becomes what shall be.
An occluded front of attachment passes,
allowing what is before us
to be beautiful enough.

          Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

__________________ Steve Garnaas-Holmes Unfolding Light www.unfoldinglight.net

To receive Unfolding Light as a daily e-mail, write to me at unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com


God, I am often so sloppy or lazy at my prayers,

or, even worse, my prayers are lovely and pure,
and the next sixteen and a half hours are a mess.

I do not pray to become holy,
but simply this: to remember.
To be mindful of your goodness,
to remember that you are here,
to be present in the moment you grant me,
to look around me, to listen…
to remember.


God, I am often so sloppy or lazy at my prayers,

or, even worse, my prayers are lovely and pure,
and the next sixteen and a half hours are a mess.

I do not pray to become holy,
but simply this: to remember.
To be mindful of your goodness,
to remember that you are here,
to be present in the moment you grant me,
to look around me, to listen…
to remember.


Love your neighbor

Love your neighbor as yourself.


Love your neighbor as deeply,
as instinctively, as surely
as you watch out for yourself.


Love your neighbor knowing
God sees you both alike,
with the same loving delight.


Love your neighbor to be true to yourself,
to discover yourself.


Love your neighbor as you love them,
with your gifts and presence,
not as someone else.


Honor your neighbor’s reality
as real and valid as yours.


Love your neighbor,
who is your self.


Let loving your neighbor
be your self, your life, who you are.


Love your neighbor as yourself.



Choose love

          You shall love the Lord your God
         with all your heart, and with all your soul,
         and with all your mind,
         and love your neighbor as yourself.

                  —Matthew 22.37, 39

There are really only two religions, two ways of living, and every moment everyone, religious of every flavor and atheist alike, is choosing which way we go. One is the Religion of Being Right. The other is the Religion of Being In Love.

In the way of Being Right we seek to understand the laws by which the universe runs, and follow those rules and behaviors to get desired results. “Work hard and you’ll get ahead. “Be good and you’ll go to heaven.” “Might makes right.” The ultimate laws may be kind or cruel, logical or capricious, given by a personal God or simply existing by random chance; they may involve religious laws, reason, physical power, social status or any system of values— but once you get them right they are consistent: follow them and you’ll get what you want. If there is a god in this religion, he’s an emotionally distant judge who himself has to follow the rules, and has no power to break or ignore them. The main goal of Being Right is having control, and its practice requires consistently dualistic thinking. Extreme examples of the Religion of Being Right are violence, legalism, terrorism, war, fundamentalism and capitalism. This is the way of the world.

In the Way of Being in Love, we experience an overflowing love in all existence that loves us, and in response we fall in love. Love is the greatest law, the greatest value, the greatest practice and the greatest result. The God of this religion is pure love, the energy of love itself, intimately present a well as transcendent, always willing to break rules, to lose, to surrender power and to take a “lower” position in order to love. The goal is to give and receive love, and its practice requires vulnerability, relationship, wonder, self-giving and non-dualistic consciousness. The Way of Being in Love issues in non-violence, art, forgiveness, generosity and striving for justice. This is the way of heaven.

Sooner or later you have to choose one way over another: either to break a rule or to hurt someone, to impress God or to trust God, to be right or to be forgiven, to win an argument or to bless someone, to be in control or to be in love. The way we choose affects our faith, our social relationships, our politics.

“On this truth hangs all the law and the prophets,” Jesus said. Pray that every moment you will be aware of the way you choose. Open your heart to the Love that leads us in its sacred way.               

Love letter

My Dearest, I love you deeply.
I’m not worried to impress you,
or to keep you from getting mad at me;
nor do I need to figure you out,
or to tell you how I want you to be.
I just love you, weak in the knees.

My Love, when I think of you I forget myself;
I fill with joy and warmth at the thought of you.
When I think of other things, you are still on my mind.
I’m obsessed with you.

Beautiful Lover, I like you the way you are.
I enjoy your presence. I like being with you.
My world is made better because of you,
and I am grateful for you.

Beloved, my love is for your sake, not mine.
Yes, I want to hold you, enjoy you,
take you into myself.
But I don’t want to possess you; I want to bless you.
I care about you, and want the best for you.
My deepest soul honors you. My heart is yours.
I entrust myself completely to you.
My heart goes out to you, and belongs to you.
I will do anything for you, for your sake.
My whole life is my promise to you.
I give you myself, all of my living, for all of my life.

O Love, I am yours.
With joy, with gratitude, with utter trust,
with all of my being, forever,
I love you.



To be a man

To every man is given in its time
the need to be a man:
to be strong enough to be gentle,
to protect without controlling,
to be wise without cunning,
to stand against a great foe
without stooping to be mean,
to be adept enough to be gracious;
with the true manliness that is generosity,
like a great tree bearing fruit,
undisturbed by storms
and welcoming to small birds.
To every man is given more power
and privilege than he needs,
and a way to share it,
a way to loosen the bolts of fear,
a way to open the gates of injustice
from the inside.
To every man is given in the darkness
the courage to not know,
the wisdom to be quiet,
the patience to know that what it is
to be a woman he does not know,
and what it is to be a child
he can always remember
if only he dares.
To every man is given, deep within,
the power to lay down his overpowering weapon
and humbly become the one
that God creates him to become,
and nothing less, and nothing else,
if only, by God’s grace, he has the guts.


Spirit of life

         And it was evening and morning,
                  and behold, it was very good.
                           —Genesis 1.31

Spirit of life, even at rest
my body sparks with your life.

Your love flows through my heart,
my hands, my eyes, my mouth.

Spirit of delight,
may I see with your delight.

May I listen and hear
with your deep compassion.

May I touch with gentleness
and blessing.

May I taste with mindfulness;
may I smell in complete presence.

Spirit of grace,
may I live with your grace.


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