Lost

Driving lost in night rain far off,
doubling back down rutted, regretted roads,
over a small bridge of low lying trauma

from nowhere to somewhere even less anywhere,
windshield wipers teasing us but not making it better.
The little tunnel of light in our headlights

reminds us too much that we were born
with a sore, festering into certainty,
that our whole life is a long, slow mistake.

We don’t seem to notice in the other seat
the Beloved, coloring all over the map,
murmuring, “Thanks for giving me a lift.

I don’t care where we are.
I just like being with you.
What a gift.”

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

September 30, 2019

Published
Categorized as Reflections

Too Much

I didn’t hear the joke among the geese
but I hear them laughing and laughing,
and I swallow some of their hilarity.

The maple wastes its red on me
—I can’t take it all in—
littering the floor with glory.

A flame of vine flashes up a tree.
Berries hang I know I can’t eat but
still they look so dang good.

Apples ripen and hang like ornaments
offering themselves, the opposite of beggars,
Here, have me. Have all of me.

So much to recall and celebrate
in reds and yellows. Leaves don’t mind
spending their splendor on me.

This is too much, I think, too much,
but the crow by the road laughs and says
No, actually, it’s just about right.

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

September 27, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

Satisfied

Troubled and burdened, I go to the woods
where the trees are not trying so hard.
Not striving for the light,
simply letting what is in them unfold.

Water in the brook whose flow is merely surrender.
Birds letting go of their songs, songs threading
through woods as far as they go.
Leaves untroubled to be turning the color of death.

A snake growing a skin to shed,
a pod growing a seed to release.
Only gradually do I realize
how content I am to be here.

A nuthatch works a little branch,
finding something tiny here and there,
until she is done, and turns and flies off,
satisfied.

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

September 26, 2019

Published
Categorized as Reflections

At the gate

         There was a rich man
         who was dressed in purple and fine linen
         and who feasted sumptuously every day.
         And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…

                           —Luke 16.19-20

If I believed in a literal hell I would have to take note
that here and in the great judgment of the sheep and goats,
the one criterion for being sent up or down
is how we treat the poor.

Of course I give to the poor at the food bank.
But I still keep them outside my gate, don’t I?

And what of the socially homeless, the wounded,
the lonely, the scared, the trans, the different?
How do I cut myself off
from the hurting outside my gate?
How do I shelter myself in my privilege?
How do I love that gate?
What shields me from other people’s suffering,
from other people’s vulnerability?
Today will I even notice it?
What can I do today to open the gate,
to invite them in, or to go out?
Only when our gates are open can they become
the gates of heaven.

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

September 25, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

Buried treasure

The “X” on your treasure map
         is usually a wound.

Your buried treasure takes a lot of digging,
         or sometimes just sitting there.

The latch on your treasure chest
         is usually a silly little thing.

But it seldom opens easily.
         You sealed it shut for a reason.

Sometimes the Beloved lifts it open for you.
         Or pushes it open from inside.

It’s bigger on the inside than the outside.
         You have to climb in.

There’s never anything in there.
         Just you, as you were created,

beloved,
         treasured.

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

September 24, 2019

Published
Categorized as Reflections

First day of autumn

First day of autumn,
stepping from summer’s ease,
letting go, mindful of letting go,
trees surrendering so much,
the thin mist of regret in the meadow,
shedded leaves of loss gently falling,
shallow stream of time flowing away,
so many things no longer in season,

                  and yet,

first day of something.
For my friends on the other side of the world,
the first day of spring.
From the other side
every departure
is an entrance,
every loss a liberation,
every end
a new beginning.

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

September 23, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

Climate strike

There is one Creation.
We are all it.
None of us is all of it,
but none is anything else.

When we give voice to the cry of the earth,
when we stand for reverence for Creation,
the universe speaks in us.
Those who stand to gain from greed and complacency
will ridicule us, that we have no power.
But they are alone
while we are one with the wind and seas.
The power of tides and rivers flows in us.
The hope of every living thing
sustains and empowers us.

In gratitude, we stand firm.
In hope, we cry out.
In deep belonging, we act boldly.
With the certainty of seasons we seek justice,
we practice reverence,
we exercise hope.

We are the earth.
This is our cry,
and this is our courage.

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

September 20, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

A monk, a shadow, a bee

God, I confess
I’m in a hurry, so I mass produce my life.
I’ve sent you a lot of junk mail.
I live an entire day as a form letter.
Most of my deepest thoughts I’ve outsourced.
It’s all automated. Robots. Saves me time.
So much of what I say to people is autofill.
It’s awkward sometimes, but close enough.
I say I have you on speed dial, but
I don’t know your number.
Wouldn’t recognize your voice,
since I do all the talking, then hang up.
I get impatient if you don’t offer overnight shipping.
I’m in a hurry.

God, slow me down.
Give me the grace of reverence,
to live at a pace of awe and attentiveness.
Patient as a monk, a shadow, a bee.
I want to be present. Here. Now.
Let me be a lake still enough
to reflect the beauty around me.
Without knowing what’s next, or needing to.
For you, who create this day for me,
may my living it be handcrafted, fermented,
reverently, at the speed of delight.
May I be present.
Amen.

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

September 19, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

One master

         No slave can serve two masters.
                  —Luke 16.13

God I admit: so often
I am trying to look good.
I’m serving the master of being right.
I’m loyal to the boss of my ego.

But I can walk away from that master.
I am free to serve you,
to belong to your grace alone,
to seek only to receive and give love.

Faithful in small things, to be faithful in great,
I submit to your grace.
Help me each moment to examine my loyalty
and serve only your love, absolutely devoted.

         Your love … alone.

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

September 18, 2019

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Categorized as Reflections

No tiger

The tiger chasing me is not real.
         The fear I am fleeing so well is imaginary.
                  There is actually no danger.

The palace I strain for so nobly is not real.
         My ambitions are a distraction.
                  There is no treasure there.

My fears and ambitions drive me,
         push and pull, before and behind,
                  yet they are so small, so small!

How puny my will is compared to yours.
         How weak must I become to gain
                  the infinite strength of your will?

Give me courage to stand still in what is real,
         to empty myself of my fears and desires
                  and be guided instead by your delight.

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

September 17, 2019

Published
Categorized as Reflections