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  • Writer's pictureevansph2

Like the earth

we are ever tilting

away and toward


There is never in life

a permanent equilibrium.

but there are


when things seem

to be as we wish.

our task this equinox...

to notice where we are

on this ever-tilting orbit.

What balances us?

Towards what are we spinning?

How loosely can we hold


~Penny Hackett-Evans

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  • Writer's pictureevansph2

Updated: 4 days ago

Part of my daily morning practice involves reading just a small section (one page, one poem, one paragraph) in a variety of books intended to speak to my spirit. I usually keep a couple of poetry books going, a Buddhist book, a UU book and some sort of generic spiritual book. Currently in my morning reading basket are;

POETRY OF PRESENCE edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai. A collection of contemporary poetry

ALL THE PIECES FIT by Jekaren Olaoya – a book of collage and poetry by a UU poet

REAL CHANGE BY Sharon Salzburg – a collection of essays by a Buddhist writer.

ALL THE HONEY – by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. A contemporary feminist poet

IN THE SHELTER by Padraig O’Tuama, essays by an Irish Catholic, progressive gay writer

And an unpublished collection of Atheist prayers.

As I read, if there is a sentence or phrase that means something to me, I write it into a book that I keep just for that purpose. I date each entry and every day I look back to see what I copied down a year ago on the same date.

Here’s a sampling of things I’ve copied down of late;

No-one knows how bad you are better than yourself. ~Michael Tilson-Thomas

Desires are the messengers of our unlived lives. ~John O’Donohue

Stir yourself with laughter and drink that. ~Chelan Harken

Practice listening to “yes”. ~Andrea Gibson

Hold anger like a baby. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Say “yes” to the world as it is. ~Joy Sharp

Think of it as “Self-nourished happiness” instead of being “selfish” – Sharon Salzburg

To harden will help us get through life, but to soften will let us experience life. ~Mark Nepo

Compassion doesn’t mean we don’t fight, it means we don’t hate. ~Sharon Salzburg

Tears are salt-water solutions to whatever is going on. ~Barbara McAfee

Having too many preferences is how we build a wall so high no one can climb it. ~M. Nepo

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  • Writer's pictureevansph2

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is a phrase that my mother often uttered to me. Trying to get me to clean up my room, rinse my dishes, etc. I am not a neat nick by nature. Unlike my sister-in-law who couldn’t stop herself form neatening pillows on the sofa, polishing her countertops, straightening pictures. But, this morning as I sat in my chair in the sunroom, all I could see was dust. In fact, my husband had drawn a picture in the dust on the piano!

Instead of feeling like I (or he!) SHOULD clean the house; dust, sweep, clean counters and toilets etc. I suddenly had the awareness that I WANTED to have a neat environment to look out on as I sit in my chair. Not because my mother and other friends would admire this clean space or my housekeeping – but because it mattered to ME. This was a new thought! And so, I began with dusting. I have to say it was not a smile-inducing task – I just did what needed to be done. Of course, one cleaning task leads to another and the place has a way to go before it “sparkles”. But I realized that the effort was worth the feeling it produced in me when I sat back down in my chair.

This is perhaps why Zen temples are so thoroughly cleaned by the monks who reside in them. It is more than housekeeping. It is an honoring of the space and the furnishings – as well as a way to clear the inner life. It also is likely a practice of seeing everything as holy – everything as an opportunity to be mindful.


I clean this morning,

remove the unnecessary,

balance things,

make clear space.

Not out of duty

to some elusive standard,

but out of an inner longing

for order

for shine

for peace.

To clean as an act of the heart.

To straighten,



So that the eye

can rest easy

on the space of my life.

So that chaos

does not call out

to be hushed.

So that bare wood,

granite, leather, tile,

can shine with bareness.

An uninterrupted beauty

in which to sit,

a place where the heart

might soften,

the spirit might rest easy.

An unfettered place

where I might





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