Sunday Morning Sermon



This morning’s sermon
Nuthatch Chickadee duet
“Yank Yank Yank.” “Phoebe.”



Photo: Ian Lee

Thanksgiving Thursday Therapy: family love allows family pathology


“Going home, at whatever age, offers going back, regression. And the fight against family during these return trips is therefore a displacement of the fight against regression. We don’t want to admit the weaknesses in our characters and the hungers in our desires. We don’t want to admit that we have not ‘grown up,’ and so blame the family both for bringing out the worst and then for not indulging it enough…

The debilitating energy loss strikes everyone alike as if a communal power outage. Everyone caught in repeating, and resisting, old patterns. Nothing changed, after all these years! … These moments attest to the capacity of family for sharing – in a common soul or psychic state, and for containing the regressive needs of the soul.

No one is at fault, no one is kicked out, and no one can be helped. In the paralysis lies the profound source of acceptance. Grandpa can go on grumbling, brother attacking the administration, sister introvertedly attending her exacerbating eczema, and mother go on covering up with solicitous busyness. Everyone goes down the drain because family love allows family pathology, an immense tolerance for the hopeless shadow in each, the shadow that we each carry as a permanent part of our baggage and that we unpack when we go back home.”

–James Hillman in A Blue Fire

Photo: Josh Wedin

Autumn Molting

A pile of gray feathers on the living room floor

Makes you look at the cockatiels in the cage,

the one you resuced in particular. He is not ill, just


Is your conclusion, much to your relief.

It’s late fall, which requires new feathers in subdued

colors, because the upcoming winter requires hiding in


Not brightness, and focus on gathering the harvest from the

recent autumn. The new growth causes pain and lack of

appetite because the stillness requires many inner


You sweep up the feathers to cast them outside.

Maybe a bird or animal will use them as winter nest

Insulation. Then you realize the one who is molting is


West Broadway: 3:36 a.m.

Here we go again with the 3:15 wake up call,

because his car, which was supposed to be fixed by now,

is not. Very soon this will be over, but today, not


Yet, so I rummage through my little gray cells to recall a

Stoic philosophy mantra about obstacles. “What

stands in the way becomes the way.” Or


At least this rumination succeeds in keeping

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” song

From running on auto-repeat in my head. So there’s


Then on West Broadway at 3:36 a.m. I see it,

The same shade of orange as the blinking caution

lights, and my mood finally brightens. Good Morning


Thursday Therapy: getting rid of closure


Let’s get rid of the word closure today. We don’t need it. I’ve never been interested in that idea at all. I’ve never have any closure and I don’t want any closure. I don’t like to use that word because therapy means that you care for the deepest elements in your life from the day you’re born to the day you die and maybe beyond. You don’t want closure for these things. Healing is a tough word, too, because it seems quite active. You heal something and then it’s over with. You’ve fixed it. I did my own translation of the gospels not too long ago and I found that the word usually translated as healing (“Jesus healed the sick”) really should be translated as care. Jesus cared for the sick. That’s how I see this idea. I don’t use the word healing much. I’d rather care for the sick and alleviate suffering in that process.

I’m interested in these aspects of the soul, things that happen in our hearts that just go on and on. I’ve seen it in myself over years. I see little changes in some issue, but it remains there and it doesn’t go away. I think that’s a little intimation of eternity. There’s a timelessness. The alchemists used to talk about a rotazione, a rotation of themes. That’s how I see it sometimes. A slow wheel turning around and around and we think that we have solved it but then it comes back again. I think it’s very interesting to look at it that way. That’s why I like Jung’s use of alchemy in talking about dealing with sadness and illness.

–Thomas Moore from this interview

Photo by thierry ehrmann

Monona Drive: 3:30 a.m.


The surrealism of not
another car in sight.
Sunrise nowhere on the
horizon as of yet,
enabling you to notice,
there are undulations and
subtleties, with the glow of the street lights
like a nightlight, almost soothing.
Except not, because the blinking
yellow caution traffic lights are almost
blinding at this hour.

Certain of life’s mysteries, ones
briefly wondered about in
the past week, but no time to ponder them,
start to float to the top
of your consciousness.
Such as, why do cockatiels like to
eat cello rosin? A harkening to
their origins in the Australian wild?

What is it about the German word
for French fries, pommes, that makes
you hit repeat on the pronunciation button,
in Google, and repeat it over and over
again, but you can’t ever
pronounce it exactly right.

Left onto Frost Woods.
No light pollution here.
The leaves on the road swirl as if they are
A flock of birds taking off from the ground.
So much energy and early
Morning productivity.

Now pulling into the driveway.
The wind is howling.
But the large silver maple in back is
Barely moving.
You came to an understanding with this tree.
Last summer.
As Jung said, sometimes a tree tells you more
Than can be read in books.

You enter the house.
Fall back asleep almost immediately.

Monday Morning Inspiration: Get Back Up

Sunday Morning: even the gods speak of God


It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
if you can know despair or see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace,
even the gods speak of God.

Self-Portrait Poem by David Whyte from River Flow: New & Selected Poems. Photo also by David Whyte.

Happy Halloween: a baby owl does the Monster Mash

Bach Break

This is my favorite Bach violin concerto, as performed on my favorite instrument by 2Cellos:

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