Creek Peace. Gets Me Every Time.

There are just some places in the world that push that pause button for you. For me, and in fact, for anyone in my family, World’s End does that for me. Mother Nature got this one right!

The trees, which, I learned yesterday, were replanted by the CCC after the area was clear-cut in the early 1900s, keep the air so fresh, so clean.

This was a large inland sea at one long, long ago point. People still find fossils.

Me? I find Peace. Every time. I also connect to a deep treasure trove of familial memories, laced with favorite people, favorite small communities who were all part of this place. It is sacred to me for so many reasons.

There is Love here for me. Love for the land. Love for the amazing water which is so fragile.  Love for the picnic food that has offered communion of the sweetest sort, time after time. And Peace. there is always Peace. Every. Single. Time.

I hope there is a place in the world where you can stand quietly, simply being present with your sibling or your beloved or alone and know that Peace is. Love is. Life is.


Honoring Life’s Sacredness, Honoring Peace

This should probably carry a spoiler alert if you’re coming to UUCSV tomorrow. But I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is to consider my life as sacred.

To think about what I put in my body and my mind and what I let come out of my mouth and my heart.

To consider that this life is sacred and that I am responsible for honoring that.

This is one of the lessons that keeps surfacing the in the triangle of my life’s Magic Eight Ball. It’s Sacred. Act that way.

Only as I do, can I begin to treat my neighbor as she or he deserves to be treated — as Sacred.

The implications and responsibilities this engenders are enormous. The world needs us to take action. The People do; the Earth does. We need to wonder at our beauty and guard our sacredness… we need to do the same for others.

Peace needs this. Our gratitude is the response the gift of Life requires — my life, your life, all life.


Mercy, Compassion, Peace

It’s a lovely story — the Bodhisattva paused while entering heaven, heard the cries of the miserable, and returned to Earth so that she could help all beings find their way…

She helps women get pregnant, she has a place for those women who choose not to have a family. She is Artemis, she is Tara, she is Mary, she is the softness toward which we yearn when our hearts need comfort.

This Sangha in San Diego is gorgeous. There are Buddhas all over, but back in the heart of the grounds is a tall and lovely statue of Quan Yin. It’s right around the corner from my friend’s house. He walks there in the morning and the evening. Reports are it was glorious under the full moon, all those alabaster statues gleaming! And the garden was indeed ripe and flowering there!

This part of San Diego is very mixed. Vietnamese, Hmong, Mexican. And it’s residential… I love the fact that Our Lady of Kazan is right down the street… an orthodox church.

But this is a huge Sangha and people come from all over to visit. They own the houses around it and the nuns and priests live there. (The houses are all craftsman cottage neatly adorned with plants and flags. So SoCal!).

And then, apparently, there’s Tet — Vietnamese New Year. Huge throngs of people come in buses… Because Buddha. Because Quan Yin.

May Mercy and Compassion guide us. May they bring us Peace. May we bring Peace.



Porches of Peace

I’ve written about screen porches, and I’m just as delighted by deep shady porches where you and your book can linger out of the sunlight — even if you have to keep on the move! (they’re particularly nice in regions where there are no mosquitoes.)

This one is covered in wisteria and the sun just wiggles its way through the leaves to cast beautiful moving patterns on the ground. It’s owned by my friends Julie and Bill and is located out in the wine country. It’s beautiful with deep comfortable chairs and a table to gather around.

It was fun at the same time to be reading a book by a friend… on Holy Identity. Life. It’s rich…

And at the same time it was all lovely breezes for me, I’m in the middle of a sere and worn landscape. Climate change: we must do something. And the whole region is planted in one crop… wine. what will happen when the soil fails. What will happen when we keep failing our Mother the Earth?

Peace. It must be of our making, whether it’s the creation of sweet porches or the hard work to curb human excess… Peace — in our hearts and then our hands.


Lammas Celebrations! Sabbath Peace! Oh, boy!


A friend reminded me that the ancient celebrations were more approximate. You didn’t stop to celebrate in the middle of the harvest. You didn’t grind the flour until the wheat was out of the field and threshed.

I love this celebration in the middle of the hot spell. Back home, there’s corn, tomatoes and blueberries. How much sweeter can summer get?

Out here? there are grandchildren, swimming pools and tomatoes. May in fact be sweeter.

And today, another beautiful summer Sabbath, spent with them. Full moons and hot summers. Sacred. Joyous. yeahhhhhhhh.

Hurrah! Peace be with you all.


Everyday Peace in the Ripe Garden Moon

I am extraordinarily lucky to work in a UU church which takes the preparation for the year seriously. I have a moth of study and a month of vacation. So few clergy have this, although we all need it.

We need it because we’re tired from a year of putting out. We need it because if you’re not going to hear the same old sermons next year, we need to put something in. But I get it.

And I’ve been a reading fool. I’ve been absolutely luxuriating in the reading.  Stuffing my brain full so I can let it all percolate around for a while.

What’s made my reading time more wonderful is that I’ve been able to do it in the company of people I love. I’ve been in one house and then another. And there we’ve sat being together and quietly doing whatever we do.

I’ve gotten things accomplished. In the company of loved ones. And rather than running around doing things, we’ve hung around and done what needed to be done. talked some. laughed a lot. and been quiet together.  The first week was with my Sweet Pea. I had long quiet stretches with him. ahhh. oh, the blessings to be counted.

This is a Peace I don’t often have at home. There are things to do. And some of these friends are very far away. But because of my job, I have this lovely, sacred pleasure.

I’m going to indulge this particular Peace as much as I can… and give thanks as I do it. And stare out the window at the lovely Ripe Garden Moon, whose picture his sister took, and remember the vegetables that just graced our supper table this evening… mmmmm.


Am I Complicit with Peace — or Not?

I hope that this is one of the questions that we can begin to ask ourselves… where do we stray from the Path of Peace?

How easy is it to think that a loving heart will dissipate the structures of racism that are embedded in the foundation of our country?

What is the specific work I must do?

Can I allow myself to acknowledge my failings… my sin… to live with that discomfort long enough to allow it to transform me, to allow myself to feel the urgency of this sacred, terrible moment… that I will make a place for the Other. That I will become a person of Justice.

Can I refrain from refuge in a prayer that the Divine will welcome these Martyrs home, as if The Lady did not snatch these souls to her bosom to comfort their terror and their loss, as if The Lord needed to be reminded to welcome and to love.

Why have we not heard the word Martyrs? are we unwilling to see these beloved dead as Martyrs to a system that must be abolished?

Can I hold silence long enough to see how far I have wandered from Peace? The Solstice is upon us, shedding full light upon the day’s realities. The Thunder Moon is increasing, rattling our complacencies. Let us look for the Path to Peace…


The Fullness of Peace

I’ve been exhausted. I was chalking it up to how incredibly busy I was and not really paying a lot of attention to what I was very busy doing — mostly because i was just so busy doing what needed to be done next.

This past month, I have been more deeply… more immediately… involved in people’s lives than normal, working to be present to people at the place where life begins and the place where it ends and some of the magnificent places in between. When it comes in a wave as it has recently, it’s demanding. When you’re needed, you show up. I lean on the Lady, others lead on the Lord, others just the great gift of Life. But you lean, because you’re never enough alone. (and yes, i lean on my community.)

And while it is tiring to be that present to people’s lives, it’s the most exhilarating thing in the world.

As a priestess, I think a lot about the prophetic claims of the job: the need to speak about the many ways life is denied by the institutions to those cast as outsiders and to the most vulnerable. It is a privilege.

But what brought me to this whole priestessing thing was ritual. I love the celebrations. I love being asked to attend at moments of great importance and to lend the reminder that Love and Life are what matters. I love the time spent talking to the people involved, conceiving what will respond to their needs, crafting the vessel and the words and performing the ritual.

I enjoy the weaving together of community. I am pleased when I can help their Joy emerge and grateful beyond belief when I can give voice to their sadness and sometimes comfort and Peace in the midst of their loss.

It is also wonderful when these periods end and you can sink into your favorite chair, or pool or a meal with some friends. Or as I got to do last night, walking the labyrinth and a ritual celebrating the Full Berry Moon… Part of this work is not just the leaning, it’s the privilege and the demand of pouring out of self. I am grateful. and today? I’m tired.

Luckily, the Joy and the Peace will slowly, slowly fill me back to the rim with Life and Love. I just need to give them a chance. And until there’s a little more of me, I’ll quietly give thanks. And as the very wise Jack Kornfield said, “After the ecstasy, the laundry.” or as Buddha’s mother said, “chop wood, carry water.” The first of many loads is churning in the washing machine and I’ve got a day full of little chores to make my little paradise lovely again. A little peace and quiet to recharge the batteries. Peace be with us all…



On Bringing the Peace You Can

It’s really about presence and showing up, isn’t it? And doing the best you can.

You seek to say the things you know will bring them comfort. You work to be as grounded as you can be, as open-hearted, open-souled… open minded, because even here, where it’s about the very stuff of life, there’s so much that’s going on around and as part of it… as you can be.

Even when you have spiritual comfort to offer, it’s often your ability to be comfortable where you are, to be with friends and strangers alike, to let people know they are seen and in the deepest sense of the word, loved.

It’s such a privilege to do this sacred work… and you bump along, sometimes doing it better than others. Doing your best… and showing up. Hoping you can help this family in the midst of what is so hard, hoping there can be Peace and dignity… hoping that you’re helping to create a memory they will always grieve but maybe not regret the way it went.

I knew and liked the woman who died yesterday. It was a hard death for her. She labored to let go. Don’t let ’em fool you, death, is rarely easy. I knew her husband a little, enough that he trusted me. and the same with her mother. Her poor daughter, poor sweet Katy, I had seen only as a baby. This woman was never as proud of anything in her life as of her daughter and of being Katy’s mom.

But there you are struggling for your own grounding in the midst of people you know and those you don’t at the doorway of something huge. Life-not-this-Life.

I believe Peace really lies in open hands and open hearts. I believe it also lies in Presence. And so, I’ll keep trying to show up. I’m grateful to be called and give thanks when i can be of service. And it’s hard work.

Blessings, Peace, Love.


Making Sabbath Peace Where You Are

Well, here we are, with the day we have. At least one tradition commands us to be glad in that. To be grateful, right here, right now, for what we have.

It’s so easy to judge the day not worthy. To tot up all the little parts and judge them as less than great means that you’re not paying attention to the things that are working.

Peg Streep has written about the fact that humans actually do better when they subtract the blessings, and imagine how life would be without that… and that as we add things back in we realize that life is better than we had suspected.

I get stuck on the wonder of things — look at this. Look at that. Be amazed, not just content. Fill up today. Start the hard work tomorrow.

As for those invasive plants… consider, at least consider Peace… and what that might look like.

Today, take the day off and be glad and grateful for what’s in your life. Come at it any way that works for you… But take a Peace Pause that refreshes. Tomorrow we can get back to tinkering with the better-making! Sabbath Peace with you, my friend. What will you do with it? It’s the very last day of the Flower Moon, better revel!