Like sparks and fish

and rapids strong enough to cut through granite,

the mind veers off and into another coral cave,

another orbit; a cosmos of the frenetic

in the attempt to assuage itself

over its charge’s inevitable demise.


How does consciousness live

with containment such as this;

bounded by skull and bones and flesh?


Illusion, the product of limitless creativity,

becomes accepted as real

while the spirit knows it is being hoodwinked.

Still, like a dog chasing its tail,

the momentum continues until,

in order to complete its rotation,

it becomes as unlike itself as possible

and morphs into a line.


And we wonder at insanity.


Take Two:

With diligence and observation,

the mind can be stilled.


~ bj



The Constant Gardener

We contain it in consciousness;

Remember, so we do not forget,

and get on with our lives

or risk drowning in despair.


Each day pregnant with unknowing,

we risk all by walking out the door;

mingling with the masses

or digging in the soil.

Even there, shards of glass,

old metal and pottery

percolate to the surface,

surprising skin, unprepared.


Planting over and around the damage;

creating beauty is what I know –

Hands taking over

where the head leaves off;

Mind quiets down.


Mulching the surface,

softening soil to contain

life-giving moisture;

inviting breakdown,

the flowering of vitality.


What is this delicate balance,

how can the human spirit hold

a lifetime of soaking up

splendor that bursts the heart open;

joy in creating – then sorrow,

regret; the shame

in what our species is capable.


How do we sleep at night, cradled

in the knowing, the awareness

that we are doing our part;

contributing to the betterment

of a world in the throes of transformation?


Sowing seeds of loving kindness,

I garden.






How long can one exist on just a story? I think some people live out the entirety of their days in the thrall of fabrication. And many don’t realize it until it is too late.

I remember My Story. It began in the distant past, and I coughed it up and out like a nasty hairball – a reflexive and seemingly necessary act at the time – resulting in an unpalatable mess plopped directly in my path for all the world to see. I had to side-step it, just to forge on with a tiny bit of progress.

Recognizing something is a huge help in preventing its future recurrence.

Once I observed My Story for what it was, not only could I strive for greater authenticity, but I could detect the affliction in others. Another leap and I sailed beyond judgment into the waiting arms of compassion; not only for others, but for the once-mired illusory self I’d been dragging around all those years.


Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails


I wish more of us sought to understand what we fear, instead of seeking to eliminate the causes of our distress. I’ve lived long enough to know that if we remove our triggers, new ones will invariably appear. It’s like those little pop-up figures in a shooting gallery: as we knock them down, they simply return, again and again, to bedevil us. Pema Chodron is a great teacher of sitting with discomfort rather than fleeing from it; certainly rather than attempting to do harm to what we find repellent.

Though I find it irrational, many are terrorized by things that creep and crawl and especially slither. And though my eldest sister used to place butterflies and big juicy green grasshoppers atop my frightened head as a child, I overcame that initial repulsion and grew up in wonderment at all of earth’s creatures.

Recently West Hawaii Today ran an AP story detailing the aerial release of thousands of poisoned mice proposed to eliminate snakes that seem to be overrunning Guam. Heaven forbid these reptiles might wriggle into a tight cargo space on a plane headed for Hawaii – we can only imagine what might befall our population of already-endangered birds; indeed, a valid concern. Recent history embarrasses, however, with the profusion of mongoose, originally brought in to eliminate rats escaped from the ships of early explorers. (Feel free to conjure up images of a host of lean and shivering European rodents, fleeing Captain Cook’s ship, kissing the fertile island ground strewn with the carcasses of rotting fruit wherever they went!) These weasel-cunning critters were quite out of luck on that intended score, however, as rats are nocturnal and mongoose – well – let’s just say they sleep peacefully at night so that they might awaken anew to decimate any bird, egg or smallish hapless creature in their path. (So much for human ingenuity and intervention.) Few snakes would stand a chance in their presence.

I don’t know where the answers lie anymore. I used to think I understood a few, but now realize I must have been delusional. Now I question everything: the wisdom in sacrificing thousands of innocent rodents intended to kill further numbers of essentially nonvenemous snakes; the assertion that we are more highly evolved than most other species; the endless blood for oil shed ‘round the world; the miraculous human mind. Considering what it requires to silence my own at will, I often wonder if it’s a greater adversary than ally. Though I might well be mistaken.


The Great Levelers


None of us is any more special than another. No matter what we think of ourselves. We’d all do well to remember this, right down to our bones.

Death is the great leveler, as is physical nakedness. If we all kept death in our sights while thoroughly embracing life; if we all had to walk around naked, save in the coldest weather – what a very different world this would be! It would both reveal our extreme vulnerability as well as exposing our obvious flaws. A dose of humility is always a good thing.

Too often we compare ourselves to others, believing another’s road is easier, crisper, clearer than our own. Or we base our precious human connections on things another can give us, be it time, money or shelter. This approach is inauthentic, a fabrication of a mind in turmoil as it seeks to discover peace and comfort.

Well Met

Strange fruit –

shape and husks like the mottled

purple-white breasts

of small dying birds,

scattered on asphalt.

Running together,

life and death

in the avenue.


That we choose one

over the other –

fight like cancer to linger

in this place –

affirms daily the experiment.

To validate, rather than destroy –

whether with arms, words

or intention –

the inviolate

right of our fellows

to share space on

this spinning playground;

promotes delight

in earthly pleasures

on nature’s own terms.