Grace Breaking Through

Are we open to them when signs or serendipities break through our ordinary days? Most of the time, I miss them, but today I am grateful to report that I noticed grace at work!  

This morning, after cleaning up after a small Superbowl gathering, I was dusting the snack crumbs off the side table when I discovered a small surprise: a blue-speckled bird’s egg tucked inside the potted fern. Now this fern has been living with us in the same spot for several years, but I have never noticed the egg. I picked it up out from beneath the green branches. Light blue with brown speckles, it is made of wood. Not a real bird’s egg, but a gift, nevertheless.  

Where did it come from? My rational brain wanted to make sense of this discovery. Did someone place it there during a previous Easter season? Had my husband noticed this egg during his regular watering chores? How could I have missed this before now?  

Meanwhile, my soul was absolutely delighted! Just a few minutes earlier, I was prayerfully pondering what theme to write about for the collection of essays I am writing. For those who don’t know, I am writing about the need to regularly create a nest for our souls to rest, reset, and reconnect with the divine within us. Such nests (of all kinds) will help us give birth to goodness that is implanted within each of us. This is a vital and practical way to bring more love and goodness into our needy world.  

Of course, the egg is part of this book that I envision. This little egg gave me a nudge: write about the egg as a symbol of the divine; write about what aspects of God are waiting within each of us to be born; write about the feminine aspects of the Holy. And so, I will.  

But I also want to share this experience of grace breaking through. Oh, how often we overlook and disregard the graces and guidance that are given to us. Our busy, logical, and cynical minds can block us from taking them in.  

Those times when we notice are precious, however. Last night, Lisa, my sister-in-law, texted me a picture with the message: How does this feather just appear on my nightstand? I responded, A gift for you! She noticed grace breaking through, and she delighted in it.  

My suggestion is this: let us not get too caught up in rationalizing or understanding how the small gifts get to us. Let us be open to them, delight in them, and give thanks. Love transcends logic. The Eternal Source of Love is always here. Grace is breaking through.  

Blessings and love, 


Ode to My Boot

You’ve been embracing me 

with your sturdy, warm body 

and strapping black Velcro arms  

that wrap around me so tightly.  

You’ve been a healing presence, a steadfast friend, a loving support, 

enabling me to walk before I could stand on my own.  

Now you sit on the kitchen chair  

watching my baby steps, 

awkward and wobbly, 

as I learn to walk without you. 

Those days and nights we spent together 

are forever etched in my memory.  

Thank you for your quiet strength, constant companionship, devoted care,  

stabilizing my shattered ankle.  

Now it is time for us to part. 

Let there be no tears

for you’ve completed your healing job 

and I have yet to finish mine.  

The Invisible Work of Healing

“Your ankle has been through a lot. It is healing, and healing takes time. Your ankle is not doing nothing,” said Annie, the competent, kind physician’s assistant.  

At my second post-op appointment with the surgeon, I inquired about physical therapy. Still unable to bear any weight on my ankle due to a complicated fracture and subsequent surgery, I was eager to know when I could begin exercising and strengthening my ankle. The thought of keeping it still and immobile seemed counterproductive to getting stronger.  

Annie studied my chart and responded, “Well, you are only four weeks out. It will be a while.” I pointed out that it was four weeks and five days from my surgery. Almost five weeks! 

She looked at me with what bordered on pity, “Oh, you are one of those people who are going to count it all out.”  Yes, indeed…I am counting the days…each day…every day…until I can return to walking, strength, and greater independence.  

Many of us are actively engaged in the process of healing, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Everywhere I turn, I encounter people who are recovering from various injuries, illnesses, and wounds—COVID and other viruses persist and infect, friends and family are experiencing grief from the loss of loved ones, and others are simply exhausted from the stresses of living through the past several years. Injuries and illnesses come in all shapes and forms.  

If you, like my ankle, have been through a lot, remember that healing takes time and energy, which we often underestimate. Healing has its own timeline. Even when it seems like nothing is “happening,” our bodies, minds, and spirits are working extra hard. Much healing occurs inside out. 

The conversation in the surgeon’s office was a valuable reminder that my ankle and body are laboring through the invisible work of healing. Tissues, cartilage, and bone are forming inside my leg while it remains stabilized. Special bone cells repair and remodel my bones when I sleep (fascinating!). It takes immense energy to pay attention to my every physical movement to safely maintain my balance to avoid another fall. Showering, taking care of bodily needs, and simply moving from one space to another is quite an undertaking. It is remarkable how much sleep I have required throughout the recovery process. 

So, friends, if you are healing, I offer you prayers for rest, patience, and self-kindness. Remember that you are accompanied by a Loving Presence that is helping you. The Invisible work of healing is happening.  

Remembering Loved Ones

As I age, I have a growing awareness of how we are accompanied by loved ones who have passed on into new life. This week, the Christian tradition celebrates saints- those whom we have loved and who have gone before us. All Saints Day is November 1, but many churches will celebrate on Sunday, November 6. I invite you to take a moment and give thanks for those loved ones who have died.

In that spirit, I share with you a poem I wrote on the day of my father’s memorial service in Cape May, which gave me a glimpse of how we are surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses.”

Love Lives On

Sitting on the gray gravel bulkhead

beside the harbor where generations

have hoisted sails, started boat motors, volunteered in countless ways,

we gather to honor our father

with prayers, stories, even Bruce Wilson Trivia,

reflecting on a life lived fully to the end.

He is gone.

When the ceremony concludes,

we stand to embrace

the many Cape May friends

who share intertwined relationships and memories.

Then someone points skyward.

Though there is no rain,

a rainbow appears overhead

radiating red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Forming a glistening upside-down arc.

“It’s your father sending us a sign!” someone exclaims.

But I sense that there are many of them gathered –

beautiful, beloved souls that have passed –

creating a colorful smile that shines down on us all,

reminding us that though they are gone,

They are here.

Love lives on.

Awful or Awe Full? A Matter of Perspective

As a nor’easter storm blows through our beach town,

I read my sister’s text message:  

“Is it awe full there”?

I smile. A God-wink!

(Perhaps angels can playfully tinker with text auto-correct.)

According to the news, dreadful weather was predicted:

Coastal flooding, heavy rain, gale-force winds, unseasonably cool temperatures.

A perfectly awful Memorial Day weekend forecast, it’s true.

The news constantly wants to snag our attention with the awful.

But God is subtler, more light-hearted,

inviting us to notice the awe full.

I reread the message again: “Is it awe full there?”

“Yes!” I respond,

sending along a photo of a neighbor’s lush roses in full bloom, lapping up the rain.

Precious moments from a brisk morning walk in the storm:

Ocean waves crashing onto the abandoned beach,

girls riding their bikes, laughing into the blustery wind,

those delightful peach-colored roses grinning through the downpour.

Imperfectly awe full.

The invitation is always there

to pay closer attention, to broaden perspectives, to appreciate the good,

even—perhaps especially—in life’s storms.

Awful or Awe full?

Yes. Both.

That Hope That I Want

I had the joy of taking a series of poetry writing playshops with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer over the winter. WOW- so fun! It opened doors for me, helping me to pay attention and listen to life moment by moment. One of Rosemerry’s rules is to share what you write. (Yikes!)

In honor of tomorrow’s celebration of World Poetry Day and following Rosemerry’s rule, I’m sharing a poem that I wrote this morning.

I send you love and hope on the eve of Spring.



A young girl twirls on the beach

in her tiny bikini bottom with pink, purple, and yellow flowers, and

a gray sleeveless tank top.

That’s the kind of hope that I want

on Winter’s final day in 2021

a year of living with fear, grief, COVID among us.

It’s 55 degrees in South Carolina on this March morning.

I’m in my winter jacket,

she’s in her summer swimsuit.

As the sun peeks through the gray clouds

she dances with delight,

excited for what the day will bring.

She’s oblivious to the temperatures,

to the gale-force wind warning,

to the pandemic face masks.

That’s the kind of hope I want.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.

What a time they have, these two

housed as they are in the same body.

(Mary Oliver, Devotions )

A day after we decorated our Christmas tree, the top half of the bright, colorful lights went dark. Sigh. It’s the perfect 2020 tree. Light/darkness and joy/grief are intertwined, wrapping around us.

Mary Oliver’s poem has been echoing in my soul over the past few weeks. We know what joy feels like. But that heaviness that you’re feeling is grief. It’s everywhere. Grumpiness, disrupted sleep patterns, short tempers, and tears just below the surface. These are symptoms of grief.  Behaviors and feelings can appear exaggerated and out of whack. Though we’ve been living with it for months, grief is enhanced by the losses and changed traditions of the holidays.

I want to bring you tidings of comfort and joy by naming, normalizing, and empowering you to move through this challenging time.

Though people usually associate grief with death, it’s much broader. Grief is the natural human response to loss. When you consider the mind-boggling scope of losses that we’ve experienced this year—in relationships, daily routines, plans, hopes, dreams, traditions, rituals, and lifestyle —grief is to be expected. This is also a collective grief, meaning that people across the globe are experiencing grief caused by the pandemic.  It’s massive and unlike anything our generation has experienced. We are feeling our grief and others’ grief.

For me, the worst loss is the loss of being together in person. We humans are wired to connect. So the loss of that connection shakes us to our core. Especially during the holidays. And the hugs. Oh, how I miss the hugs!

We can’t wish the sadness away, fix it, or cure it. We can only learn how to live with it and carry it. Recognizing the losses is the way forward and through into more joy. 

Here are some practical steps to empower you:

  • These are tender times. Be tender and kind to yourself and others.
  • Journal or write about the changes and losses, or talk with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor about them.
  • Savor moments of meaning and gratefulness.  Pause to appreciate goodness periodically though the day.
  • Walk outside and reflect on how nature such as trees and plants can teach us how to cycle through loss and new growth.
  • Remember that you are never alone. The Source of Love is within you and around you always. We’re all invisibly connected in ways that we cannot comprehend.

Dear friends, I send you tidings of comfort and joy during these challenging times. I look forward to one day soon when we can be together and HUG!

With love and hope,


Are we there yet?

gray asphalt road between green grass field

Photo by Mudassir Ali on

“Are we there, yet?” The little girl voice in me whines.

An older, wiser voice answers, “No, my dear, this will be a very long journey.”

We’re all getting weary with this pandemic. The isolation, restrictions, unusual working and learning conditions, and upside-down way of life are taking their toll. If you’ve lost a loved one, been sick yourself, or lost your job, you are especially weary. The situation is settling into our bones; we’re realizing the magnitude of the changes and sacrifices that aren’t going away soon.

Living through this pandemic is a journey none of us chose. But each of us can choose how we want to live through it.

Last week, I had a healthy cry and an old-fashioned lament. If you haven’t done this, I highly recommend it. Something washed through me, opening space for a sorely needed inner shift. Breakdowns often lead to breakthroughs.

One of these breakthroughs involved revisiting a childhood memory of traveling with my family. Here’s the scene: I’m the eldest of four and we are all crammed into our big wood-paneled station wagon on a long trip. Trapped for countless hours, uncertain of where we are headed, and tired of being cooped up, we children are restless. “When are we gonna be there?” echoes through the car. Perhaps you can relate?

 I turned to a spiritual practice that helps me listen at a deeper level to what’s circling around my thoughts and emotions: journaling. When I journal I often carry on an inner dialogue with God- asking questions and seeing what emerges on paper. It’s not neat and tidy; it’s more like a stream of consciousness soul dump onto paper.

Somehow this messy process often leads to clarity, perspective, and wisdom. My eyes are opened to an inner knowing. It is the Source of Love (God) trying to convey something to me. It’s truly a gift of grace when it happens!

In my journaling, I got curious. Here’s the way it went:

What’s with the child-like voice?

You are not a child in the backseat. You are a grown-up in the front seat. It’s up to you to choose how you want to ride through this thing. Be intentional. I am always here with you. I will help, but you get to choose.

Well, there we go. Pretty wise stuff, right? That’s not the type of guidance that comes from my head. No, it comes from my soul—that deeper, loving, place where God lives.

In other words, I am empowered. I have choices. It’s time to shift my perspective, assume my power, and choose how I want to live through this.

As Viktor Frankl, a survivor a concentration camp, wrote: “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” (Man’s Search for Meaning).

 As I continued journaling, this emerged: Make this journey a pilgrimage rather than a trip.

 Ha! Such wisdom— a pilgrimage is sooooo different from a trip! The difference is one of intention. In a pilgrimage, we are open, attentive, curious, and willing to be transformed by the journey. As Phil Cousineau writes in his book, The Art of Pilgrimage, pilgrimage marks “a move from mindless to mindful, soulless to soulful travel.” Pilgrimages never unfold as you expect; in fact, lessons learned along the way are part of the grace-filled experience. You discover the holy in new ways.

I’ve been on several pilgrimages, and they were characterized by a slower pace, ample time for reflection, and a willingness to be present to the moment. We looked for the divine in the people and places we encountered. Authentic, soul-connecting conversations helped us pay attention to what was around us and within us. I returned with new perspectives on life, a new awareness of God’s presence, and grateful for the experiences.

Although a pilgrimage generally involves a trip to a sacred site, any journey can be a pilgrimage when made with intention. The sacred is everywhere, and perhaps that’s one of the lessons of the pandemic. I’ve learned that even a trip to the grocery store can be one if it is approached with purpose, an open heart, and a willingness to be changed. Isn’t it intriguing to think that you can turn an errand into a pilgrimage?

So yes, I would say that we are all on a journey through this pandemic. It won’t be a quick trip. Don’t be a child in the backseat. Instead, consider how you want to journey and make choices. What is important to you? How will you be attentive? Curious? Willing to be open to and changed by the gifts (even the unwanted ones) that come your way?

Friends, join me in exploring this as a time of pilgrimage, a time to see with new eyes. I believe that this is a growing up time for all of us across the planet. I pray that we evolve into more loving people, aware of what’s truly important, and conscious of how deeply connected we are to the Source of Love, to one another, and to Earth.



Peace to Calm Your Soul

four rock formation

Photo by nicollazzi xiong on

Clenched jaw. Tossing and turning at 2 am. Distraction. Are you experiencing them, friends? I certainly am.

As our world confronts this constantly changing pandemic health crisis, I want to share an empowering practice that can bring calm, peace, and healing to you and to our world.

But first, it’s helpful to understand that most of us are experiencing fear, which is manifesting itself in a variety of ways. Fear is a natural and necessary part of our evolutionary make-up. It helps us survive. Fear tells us to run from a burning building or from predators we encounter. Like the coronavirus. When we sense danger, the body generates a fight or flight response  (also called a fight, flight, or freeze). Our hearts beat faster, our pupils become dilated, we breathe rapidly, our blood pulses, and sometimes our hands and faces tingle. These reactions are all natural responses to danger as our bodies prepare to meet the threat.

Our minds and bodies cannot maintain the continual state of fight or flight. Over time, this stress response impacts our entire well-being, leading to things like high blood pressure, changes in our brain, and weakened immunity. Not a healthy or sustainable way to live.

You can diffuse fear’s power by tending your soul.

Beneath the surface, your soul has a deep sense of calm and peace. Your soul is that divine aspect of you, your essence, that spark of God you are born with. It is the source of deep love. Your soul lives in a constant state of peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. This loving, eternal part of yourself cannot be taken from you. It is always there.

This is why we all need spiritual practices—everyday tools to tend our souls.

So I want to share a practice that’s been quite meaningful for me. I have a hard time meditating in the classic sense, as many do. But this a relaxation prayer, an easy “go-to” — helps me find peace and calm. I hope it helps you.

Rest in love. Take a few moments to breathe, and repeat these words (slowly is best):

Rest in love…

Rest in love…

Rest in love…

This practice was inspired by one of my favorite books: Frank Ostaseski’s The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.

A wise and compassionate end-of-life leader, Frank Ostaseski tells the story of a man named Carl who was in hospice, struggling with intense pain. While battling his pain, these words rose up from some innate place within him: “Rest in love.” From then on, Carl repeated these words whenever he felt overwhelmed. He learned to draw from this inner resource. As Carl encountered pain, fear, or anxiety, he said, “Rest in love.” As he pushed his morphine pump, he repeated to himself, “Rest in love, rest in love.” As his wife fidgeted anxiously by his bedside, Carl reached through his bedrails, touched her lightly, and said, “Rest in love, my dear. Rest in love.”

Carl’s story moved me deeply. I sensed that resting in love was something I needed. It was. And it still is, especially in these times.

These words have become a practice that renews my mind, body, and spirit. When I rest in love, I’m no longer striving or stressing. As I relax into love and come to a place of rest, I imagine warm, loving light surrounding me. Sometimes I envision loving beings around me, including loved ones who have passed. Peace seems to bubble up from within. My jaw unclenches. The concerns that previously occupied my attention fade to the background. I am calmer. I am reminded that peace is here. Peace is always here.

Thank you, Carl, for your words that keep on giving.

So friends, in these times, I invite you to acknowledge and calm your fear with an internal strength you already possess. Tap into your inner resource of peace.

Rest in love. Rest in love, my dears. Rest in love.

With blessings and love for your wellbeing,




A Good Contagious

On a whole new scale, we are being reminded about the contagious nature of viruses and colds. It’s the perfect opportunity to remember that goodness is contagious too. You can spread kindness, generosity, peace, and love with every encounter.

As I was studying a map showing the outbreak and global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I wondered: What would it look like if we could see the “hot spots” of love and compassion? What if we could see how lives are transformed by simple acts of kindness? What if we could see how one generous act like letting go of a grudge or resentment could impact others?

con·ta·gious (adjective)

  1. (of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact
  2. (of an emotion, feeling, or attitude) likely to spread to and affect others.

In my work as a spiritual wellness leader, I’ve learned that good stuff and bad stuff are contagious. We touch others on a daily basis and those interactions are impactful. It’s not surprising that fear is contagious. But here’s good news: research has shown that generosity, kindness, compassion, and courage are all contagious too!

For example, one study from Berkeley reveals that seeing someone perform an act of kindness gives you an uplifting, warm and fuzzy feeling. This “moral elevation” is something that we experience when in the presence of goodness. Moral elevation inspires acts of generosity, optimism, and altruism in and towards others. Additionally, it actually builds your physical immunity, helping your body repel nasty germs.

If you want to go deeper, check out this article about social networks.

How can you be contagious in a good way?

Yes, pay attention to the CDC’s advice to wash your hands and take other common-sense steps. Practice thoughtful response rather than fear-based reactions. Spread goodness through small gestures of kindness such as making eye contact, smiling at strangers, saying thank you often, and reaching out to someone who needs to be uplifted by calling them or sending a card.

Here are more practical ways to contribute to the healing of the world in a good contagious way:

  • As you are washing your hands for 20 seconds, offer a prayer for everyone who is sick (those you know and those you don’t know).
  • As you are listening to the news, offer a prayer for calm, peace, and healing.
  • Practice a Loving-Kindness meditation that sends light and love out to all the corners of our world. Grounded in the Buddhist tradition, there are many variations of this prayer that spreads compassion and healing. Below is one that we’ve practiced at Well for the Journey

What is one thing you can do to bring goodness and love to others today? Do that. Spread the good stuff.

Blessings and love,




It’s best to take your time to practice this meditation, but you can go at your own pace. And if you only have a few minutes, that’s ok- a little light and love goes a long way!

Find a comfortable sitting position. Place your feet on the ground. Relax and settle your mind.

 Begin by focusing on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

 Find the place of tender, loving kindness inside your heart (it doesn’t matter what you call it: Love, Light, Divine, Spirit, etc.). Feel the warmth, light, tenderness, and affection within your heart. Bathe in this warm light. Give thanks.

 Drawing upon this source of love, bring to mind someone you deeply care about- a relative, friend, or even a pet. Send loving kindness toward this being. Send them warm light from the center of your heart.

 Now bring to mind a casual friend or colleague, someone just beyond your inner circle. Send loving kindness toward him/her. Send him/her warm light from the center of your heart.

 Continue drawing from your inner source of tender, loving kindness…that light and love.

 Bring to mind someone about whom you feel neutral or indifferent, a stranger.

Send loving kindness toward them. Send them warm light from the center of your heart.  

Remember someone who has hurt you or someone you struggle to like. Bless them. Send them your love. Send them warm light from the center of your heart.

 Gather all these people and yourself into the stream of love and hold them here for a few moments.

Finally, let the flow of loving kindness widen to encompass all beings in the universe. Radiate your feelings of warmth, tenderness, love, and light out to the world and universe.

 Conclude with a simple thank you or Amen.