My word for 2016 is ATTEND. 

Although I don’t think attending is a superpower, some days I wish it was. On those days, I think if one more person promises that he or she has the superpower to right all wrongs and save US from THEM, I daydream about sticking a pencil in my (or someone else’s) eye. On my better days, however, I choose to acknowledge that while I have no superpowers and am responsible TO the World – I’m not responsible FOR it. I’m responsible FOR my life and how I choose to live it.

To that end, I will attend to what and whom I can. And I’ll remember that I don’t have to attend every argument, drama or political whack-o-doodleness to which I’m invited. Each Sunday , I’ll share something here – an image, a poem, a song or maybe even a story that’s helped me attend to what I can that week.

A Speed of Soul Thought

Let us remember that the best of humanity is still at work in the world. Remember that the commercial news we are getting is tilted and weighted toward fear and division. Think about it…how many people do you personally know that have reached across some kind of line or another- for family, for friendship, for work, for community, for the food bank…for love of some kind? I would venture to say that most everyone reading this post can name many people (including themselves) who endeavor to speak and act with kindness and dignity, who were raised to value honest but respectful conversation, who do not believe that callous ridicule or bullying deserves to be lifted up. Let us speak up and speak out in a way that balances the news of the world with the news of the heart. And remind one another of what is decent and whole and absolutely accessible to us. Let us counteract the first violence and the second violence with thoughtful, deliberate connection, open hearted truth and well placed trust.

Deep and humble thanks to Carrie Newcomer for this profound attending.

Aftershock, The Second Violence

There is the first violence,
The flash of light,
The hammer falls,
A wail spirals into the sky.
Our eyes fill and spill,
In a human solidarity of suffering.

Then the sharp-toothed sharks gather
My God, even PBS.
They feed on tragedy from a pot furiously stirred,
Cooked up with conflict, salaciously salted,
Tasting only of fear.
The ugly fringed edges of opinion,
Are given equal time,
And therefore equal weight.

The first violence is breathtaking and terrible.
And yet, the best in us reaches out,
Our hearts softened to one another,
This was somebody’s
Mother or
Brother or

The second violence is stone cold
As tragedy becomes commodity,
When suffering sells,
When this cycle features,
24/7 of drum beating and seam ripping,
With no attempt to explore or embrace,
What might really heal what’s been wounded,
Or mend what’s been torn.

Excerpt from The Beautiful Not yet: Poems,Essays and Lyrics (to be released Sept. 2016)

Photo by me…somewhere near Homer Alaska


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