Haiku Practice

If Haikus take those things that we feel and experience but somehow can't express in regular speech -- nature, the Divine, our innermost complexities -- and distill them down to their verbal essence, then the first Haiku I ever heard danced through my head throughout my childhood.

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My Poetry Practice

I began writing poetry when I was in the seventh grade -- encouraged by an extraordinary educator named Sally Jordan. I had always loved poetry. My father read poetry to me as a child, and when I was old enough, he paid me to memorize them -- a buck a poem. He started me out with Shakespeare. Because, well, why not?

To read two poems and learn more about my poetry practice of joy, please see this post.

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Words to Live By

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.
— Mary Oliver
To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That’s crudely put, but. . .

If we’re not supposed to dance,
Why all this music.
— Gregory Orr
The healthiest response to life is joy.
— Deepak Chopra
Remember that your natural state is joy.
— Wayne Dyer
Live in joy.
Even among those who hate.
Live in health,
Even among the afflicted.
In peace,
Even among the troubled.
Look within.
Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way.
— Buddha
Inside of everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.
— David Whyte
Joy is a sign of generosity. When you are full of joy, you move faster and want to go about doing good to everyone.
— Mother Teresa
If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for ‘but,’
Later for ‘if,’
Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.
— Gregory Orr
Someone dancing inside us
learned only a few steps:
the “Do-Your-Work” in 4/4 time.
the “What-Do-You-Expect” waltz.
He hasn’t notice yet the woman
standing away from the lamp,
the one with dark eyes
who knows the rhumba
and strange steps in jumpy rhythms
from the mountains in Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
something unexpected will happen.
If they don’t, the next world
will be a lot like this one.
— Bill Holm
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
— Rumi
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
— Joseph Campbell
I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,
inside ‘love’ there is more joy than we know of,
rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.
— Kabir
The soul is here for its own joy.
— Rumi
Wanting Sumptuous Heavens

No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
— Robert Bly
Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!
— James Broughton