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Apparently, the poet Rumi visited me in a dream. There can be no other explanation for the words that came to me on waking. But that’s how poetry often happens to me. I start with a blank page (or a blank mind) and the words fill in by themselves. The only question left is what to do with them? And the answer — again as usual — is to pass them on to you.

My beloved stands before a door
holding a heart-shaped key. I ask:
What does it open? He smiles.
Whatever it is that you cannot open
any other way — neither with fine
instruments of logic nor brute strength;
that which will not yield to cajolery or
flattery, nor open to sweet words mouthed,
or prying fingers that seek to clench, contain.
That which only the heart can truly fathom.

And then I see it: the heart-shaped hole
in my beloved. Into it, I fit the key and
twist it. There is a whir, as if wind is
flowing through an open doorway,
and I see my beloved as if after
a thousand years of travel.
And we are one, at last.

Where does change need to come?  When we see injustice, the answer feels so easy – we need to change the world.  Watch this amazing video about how two people recognized that they had to change themselves to change the world.

Answering God’s call is scary when it means leaving behind the tried and true.  But let me share a little secret.  You were made in his image.  You were born to fly.


And when you walk, walk in kindness.

sourceSunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

There’s nothing I appreciate more than a Pointless Pun. Here’s an example:

I like my poets like I like my pants.


Now, your response is probably, “Get the hook! Get off the stage! You stink!”

Yep, you’re right. It’s terrible! But when it comes to Rumi, the renowned Persian philosopher, I have a rather quirky theory. I know he was, well, a Very Deep Cat, but looking at some of his writings, I’m thinking people just starting recording everything he said. Maybe sometimes, he was just chatting, like we all do.

I imagine this quote came during dinner, when some protégé got overzealous, jotting down every word Rumi said and calling it an important nugget of truth:

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”

Because, really, even Great Poets get thirsty. Probably from saying all those lovely words and Being Deep.

Then they arrived at the bar for more libations after dinner, and his friend was hung-over from the previous night’s excesses:

“I know you’re tired, but come, this is the way.”

At some point, his gossipy friend got a bit too TMZ on The Man of Many Words, so Rumi said:

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.”

And then, Rumi had a bit too much wine and said this:

“I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”

Because there was no such thing as Uber back in those days and his Honda Accord was in the shop.

Just to be clear, kind people. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of Rumi at all – he really was an incredibly gifted poet. So much of what he said centuries ago still resonates beautifully today.

My point (though it’s a stretch, I’ll grant you that! But then, heck, so are my yoga pants) is that sometimes, a sign on the highway is just that. Not everything in life is a metaphor, and you don’t have to change course based on tea leaves or fortune cookies. Your truth is already inside you. If you think you’re going in the right direction, keep going. Nobody needs to tell you what you know in your bones.

And while you’re walking your own path, it’s okay to be adventurous and dream big. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have a great story to tell your grandchildren someday. There’s no point in putting limits on yourself, and certainly not on God.

Even Rumi – the Man Himself – agrees with me on this count:

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Now that, dear friends, is some really deep wisdom.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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