Bigger barns

          The farmer thought, “I will pull down my barns
          and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods….”
          But God said, “This very night your life is being demanded of you.
          And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

                  —Luke 12.18, 20

I’m always building bigger barns
to hold resentments,
what I’m sure people owe me,
storehouses of The Way I Want Things To Go,
reputation and pictures of myself—
oh, several silos of those pictures—
and barns, huge barns, of How I Like It,
my securities and assurances.
All built of wax.

But then:
my life is on fire,
all of it, house and barns, going up,
and I have 30 seconds to get out.
What would I grab?

My integrity? My wife? Those pictures?
My sense of humor? My mind?
Yeah, my mind. Or what about my soul?
Of course. My soul.

… Wait…
I’d grab you, God.
Grab you and run.

          If you have been raised with Christ
          seek the things that are above…

                   — Colossians 3.1

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 31, 2019

Angel of death

You are an angel of death
to everything you eat,

to every insult you swallow
and it lives no more,

to every bit of meanness
you receive and destroy,

an angel of death
to loneliness and despair,

you, the living end
of unloveliness,

an angel of death
to the Emperor of Cynicism.

In your very being
you are an end to them.

You consume them,
turning them into life.

You remove them from this world,
you usher them into the new Being.

What more could the angel of death
do for you?

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 30, 2019

The explorer

The explorer traversed oceans
and passed through many wonders and dangers
until he finally found the temple he was seeking,
and stood before the mighty gates.
Then he went home.
Everything after that was a letdown.

He never realized how vast the temple is.
I wonder how many million gates he passed by
on his way, and on his way home.

Even now, look up. There it is.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 29, 2019

One thing

         Martha, Martha… there is need of only one thing.
                  —Luke 10.42

No matter what you do
what you have done is what
you ended up doing.
Where you are is where
you ended up being.

Only one thing is needed:
to be here,
in this moment,
present, attentive and willing.

Forget your multitasking.
It’s just swatting flies.
They’ll never go away.
No, practice mono-tasking:
do one thing at a time,
this thing you’re doing,
deeply, wholly,
fully open and loving,

Be here. Do that.

Weather Report

and not what you wish or imagine,
here, not elsewhere.
Life is this, not something else.
Pay attention.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 19, 2019


         You are worried and distracted by many things.
                  —Luke 10.41

Sometimes you are distracted
by your prayers,
your desires pulling so many ways
like chores, the must, the ought,
the please oh please,
the wouldn’t it be better if.

Forget your prayers
and pay attention to the Beloved,
sit without purpose,
simply gaze,
and be without excuse

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 18, 2019


Dawn enters
not shy,
just discreet,
then swelling,
light rising,
even on a cloudy morning
bearing an alreadiness
I covet.

She bends to me,


this rising is in you.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 17, 2019

All things hold together

         Christ is before all things,
         and in Christ all things hold together.

                  —Colossians 1.17

The holy urge that birthed us
is the energy of wholeness,
self-flowing of love,
desire for the well-being of all Creation.

Christ is the body of this love,
of which you, and all Creation, are part.
Everything holds together
in this divine longing.

This love contains everything,
even what is cruel and senseless.
Don’t let evil convince you of anything.
Stay mindful of the sacred wholeness.

Let yourself be gathered up in its light.
Even in chaos and darkness,
you walk with the Beloved.
That’s what it means every time the sun rises.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 16 , 2019

Sit and listen

         Mary sat at his feet and listened to what he was saying.
                  —Luke 10.39

If this were an apple tree,
pruning past, harvest yet to come,
you would sit under it,

notice the shade, the bees, sunlight
mingling through, the tiny fruits
drinking their futures,

the leaves extending blessing,
sheltering, offering, present, needing
no excuses. You would learn from them.

But this is not an apple tree. What, then?
Find the place that invites listening.
Be there, and sit.

The Beloved asks no more
than that you sit near,
wherever you are.

At the feet of the world,
the world comes to you
like bees.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 15, 2019

Parallel universe

         …transferred into the realm of the Beloved …
                        —Colossians 1.13

Learn to see through this world,
this flimsy illusion of debt and deserving
with its tacky wallpaper, pretentious riches,
flickering distractions, emblems of power.

Grow eyes to see instead
the world gleaming inside this one,
whose only laws are love and grace,
whose beauty flares out like laughter.

Your authority, your authentic self
lives there, royal, belonging.
You bring that whole place with you.
You can’t hide your divine accent.

It is here closer than the mirror, and yet
the emperors of this world
can’t invade, can’t besiege, can’t plunder it.
They can’t even see it.

Yes, the Beloved lives in a parallel universe,
and dwells here with you,
and every dance with you reminds you,
somehow, of home.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 12, 2019

Power of darkness

         God has rescued us from the power of darkness
         and transferred us into the Realm of the Beloved…

                  —Colossians 1.13

It’s not darkness we’re saved from—
darkness being the place of Creation,
         the thick, full mystery—

but our envy of dullness,
visionless, without revealing,
         negation’s temptation, a blank,

smoke from no fire that curls and obscures,
dusk of trust that passes for thought,
         a closing of eyes.

In the dark alley we fear not the dark
but what may lurk there,
         its unclarity of intent.

In the valley of the shadow of death
we fear not the shadow, but the death,
         not the pall but the limit beneath it.

But we are brought into your realm of light,
where darkness is not lack
         but a different kind of shining.
Everything reveals. Even the shadows teach.
In the night we don’t suddenly see,
         but feel your warmth beside us.

In everything a dawn, redolent with possibility,
unsettled, unfolding,
          and we, within it, radiating.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

July 11, 2019

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