From sources ancient to modern


  • Life’s Longing for Itself

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.

    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

    You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    Kahlil Gibran

  • Vulnerability of Parenthood

    Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

    Elizabeth Stone

  • Creating the Future

    Our moral responsibility is not to stop the future, but to shape it…to channel our destiny in humane directions and to ease the trauma of transition.

    Alvin Toffler

Grief, Loss, and Letting Go

  • The Swan

    This clumsy living that moves lumbering
    as if in ropes through what is not done,
    reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
    And to die, which is the letting go
    of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
    is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
    into the water, which receives him gaily
    and which flows joyfully under
    and after him, wave after wave,
    while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
    is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
    more like a king, further and further on.

    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Translated by Robert Bly

  • Heal Thyself

    Your wound is probably not your fault, but your healing is your responsibility.

    Denice Frohman

  • Live Your Moment

    I believe it’s a sin to try to make things last forever.
    Everything that exists in time runs out of time someday.
    Got to let go of the things that keep you tethered.
    Take your place with grace and then be on your way.

    Bruce Cockburn

  • Lingering Grief

    Llew, I understand grief. You must know that it will never leave you entirely. There will be odd moments when it will wash over you like a wave. But you must leave it.

    Madeleine L’Engle
    Via Katherine Forrester, protagonist in A Severed Wasp


  • Moral Consistency

    I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.

    Malcolm X

  • Born on Third Base

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.

    Herman Melville

  • Unchecked Capitalism

    Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

    Honore de Balzac


  • Male Shadow

    Unless males are led on journeys of powerlessness and vulnerability, they will always abuse power.

    Richard Rohr

  • Initiation into Manhood

    Initiation, more than any other body of knowledge, has suffered throughout history from the fate of continually being forgotten and having to be rediscovered.

    Joseph Lewis Henderson
    Thresholds of Initiation (1967)

Mental Illness

  • What Is “Normal?”

    The boundary separating that which we call “normal” from that which we call “abnormal” is defined by the frequency, intensity, and duration of symptoms.

    Richard L. Butman, Ph.D.

  • Sanity is a Lonely Road

    Men go crazy in congregations. They only get better one by one.


  • Border Line

    Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where exactly does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity.

    Herman Melville


  • The Truth About Love

    Love is a painful, poignant, touching attempt by two flawed individuals to try and meet each other’s needs in situations of gross uncertainty and ignorance about who they are and who the other person is.

    Alain de Botton

    Alain de Botton, British philosopher and author, is the founder and Chairman of The School of Life, a London-based organization dedicated to helping people lead more resilient and fulfilled lives. His New York Times essay, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” is one of the most-read Times articles of the past several years. Krista Tippett’s interview of Mr. de Batton (“The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships“) is one of the most listened-to episodes of On Being since the inception of the podcast.

  • Radical Honesty

    Politeness and diplomacy are responsible for more suffering and death than all the crimes of passion in history. Fuck politeness. Fuck diplomacy. Tell the truth.

    Brad Blanton, Ph.D.

  • Being Alone Together

    And yet even while I was exulting in my solitude I became aware of a strange lack. I wished a companion to lie near me in the starlight, silent and not moving, but ever within touch. For there is a fellowship more quiet even than solitude, and which, rightly understood, is solitude made perfect.

    Robert Louis Stevenson

The Sacred Journey

  • Stop This Train

    Don’t know how else to say it
    Don’t want to see my parents go
    One generation’s length away
    From fighting life out on my own

    . . .

    So scared of getting older
    I’m only good at being young

    John Mayer

  • Trusting Uncertainty

    So they followed their wandering paths, and the darkness served as their guide, and their doubts reassured them.

    Meister Eckhart

  • Into the Unknown

    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

    Joseph Campbell

  • Uncertain Roads

    The best roads of all
    Are the ones that aren’t certain
    One of those is where you’ll find me
    ‘Till they drop the big curtain

    Bruce Cockburn

  • The Cost of Conformity

    People run in packs because they don’t feel safe alone.
    I run alone because I don’t feel safe in packs.

    Unknown (possibly Muhammad Ali)

  • Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower

    Quiet friend who has come so far,

    feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
    Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring,

    what batters you becomes your strength.
    Move back and forth into the change.
    What is it like, such intensity of pain?
    If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

    In this uncontainable night,
    be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
    the meaning discovered there.

    And if the world has ceased to hear you,
    say to the silent earth: I flow.
    To the rushing water, speak: I am.

    Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

  • The Green Man

    Constructing a life was never easy.
    The work of making the pieces fit
    Was hard.
    It had to be thought out,
    Done right.
    Relief ended most days:
    Well done.
    For now.

    Everything changed late one afternoon.
    Something drew him deep into the forest shadows.
    Light and dark fragmented the forest floor,
    Unmoving, as though awaiting a coming storm.
    His eyes found it somehow
    In the dark,
    The seedling which called to him.
    It barely stood in the shadow of a mighty oak,
    Seeming to strain for the light beyond reach.
    The frailty and the potential were evident to him.
    He knew this seedling
    And himself for the first time.
    There was no turning back now.
    He cared.

    Though his fingers loosened the soil,
    The uprooting left pieces behind.
    He felt the tearing echo in his heart.
    A single drop of water shook a tiny leaf.
    It was not a rain drop he saw;
    The storm was in the past now.

    In that moment,
    In the dark,
    All his losses were clear.
    Though it soiled his white shirt
    He held the roots with both hands
    Close to his heart.
    Then his body moved
    And his thoughts followed.
    It was a kinder way.

    . . .

    In the center of his back yard
    A sapling stands
    For the memory of the seedling.
    The Green Man has not forgotten.
    His home is alive
    With the frailty and potential
    Of carefully tendered growth.
    Green leaf oxygen factories
    Cleanse and nourish the air:
    A return on the quality of his care,
    Elegantly evident reciprocity.
    He serves what grows as it serves him.
    He lives the natural way now,
    Knows the cycles.
    He is active when the time of dying comes:
    Pruning what has outlived itself,
    Feeding the soil with what once lived.
    Nurturing new life with the old,
    Providing for the seeds,
    Attending the needs,
    As life springs forth.
    Again and again.
    He knows the growing way;
    Love gives life.

    Allan Schnarr, M.Div., Ph.D.


  • Les Raisons du Cœr

    The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.

    Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.

    Blaise Pascal

  • Buried Truth

    When truth is buried underground it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out, it blows up everything with it.

    Emile Zola

  • Somewhere Beyond Right and Wrong

    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
    doesn’t make any sense.

    Translated by Coleman Barks

  • My God Is Dark and Silent

    Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence. I know that my trunk rose from his warmth, but that’s all, because my branches hardly move at all near the ground, and just wave a little in the wind.

    Rainer Maria Rilke
    Translated by Robert Bly

  • Seeing With the Heart

    The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

    Helen Keller

  • Child of the Wind

    I love the pounding of hooves
    I love engines that roar
    I love the wild music of waves on the shore
    And the spiral perfection of a hawk when it soars
    Love my sweet woman down to the core

    There’s roads and there’s roads
    And they call, can’t you hear it?
    Roads of the earth
    And roads of the spirit
    The best roads of all are the ones that aren’t certain
    One of those is where you’ll find me
    ‘Till they drop the big curtain

    Hear the wind moan
    In the bright diamond sky
    These mountains are waiting
    Brown-green and dry
    I’m too old for the term
    But I’ll use it anyway
    I’ll be a child of the wind
    ‘Till the end of my days

    Little round planet
    In a big universe
    Sometimes it looks blessed
    Sometimes it looks cursed
    Depends on what you look at obviously
    But even more it depends on the way that you see

    Hear the wind moan
    In the bright diamond sky
    These mountains are waiting
    Brown-green and dry
    I’m too old for the term
    But I’ll use it anyway
    I’ll be a child of the wind
    ‘Till the end of my days

    Bruce Cockburn