A Wish


I wish to be a steady flame

to burn quietly and,

like my brethren wind and water,

know the energy that is


requiring nothing

from anyone

fueled by the power of letting go

into the present as when

we dance

drop our masks and

feel like we are

a candle lit in the dark night.


Even when the wax of this body melts,

the flame extinguished

we know

the water, wind, and I

know that

we still flow,

blow and burn

inside the spent wick,

always ready

only waiting

for the match to strike again, or

the thunderstorm to fall on parched fields,

the wind to fill our shallow breaths,

Like white sails billowing full.

I wish to be

like you, my friends

One flame that burns visible

and invisible, always

~~Poem for a New Year 2014, Anda Peterson

Free of the Past

When We Run Out of Answers

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work;
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that rings.

~Wendell Berry

“Leonard Koan”

Only one thing
made him happy
and now that
it was gone
made him happy.
Leonard Cohen, “Leonard Koan”


 “Every day is a good day when thoughts do not remain.” Zen saying heard ast a dharma talk 7/6


Clouds appear as solid

as thoughts

from here

on land

n our bodies

Looking up from inside out

Inside our story of what

The world is:

Solid as a fact yet

Created by a cloud of thought.


A cloud has no innards,

Is only mist that gathers for a moment

Then disappears, then

Reappears as a thunder head

Always moving across the land

Never still,

never the same

white or gray or black

Thin like a sliver, or thick like a mountain

A cloud,

like a thought

cannot be held in the hand

it is

Weightless as a memory

Though they might gather and build

Frightening, threatening shapes,

Too loud to ignore,

we pay them attention

as they

Tumble one upon the other

Chase each other,

like thoughts and their thunderous emotions

making a drama on a vast blue stage

forms of great conviction, they seem

are formless as words

spoken at

the protecting, patient

empty sky.

Poem: Page Meditation


Yesterday during a dharma talk, my Zen teacher told us: “You are the blank page,” so I wrote this.


Page Meditation


I am the blank page

Perhaps like stationary or

Plain for business,

Perhaps I am decorated

With a flower at my corner

Like you

Or I wear a simple border,

Like you, but

Still I was a blank page

Like you,

That was been written upon

The moment I appeared

By relations,


Movies and television


And teachers

Boys and

then men

Each wrote a line or two,

Some more than others,




From their own perceptions

Or needs.


I am a blank page

That does not see itself

Covered with words

So thick


I disappeared behind the

Tear stained ink

As I memorized each line

Until I finally believed

I was the story.




Red Rocks10313993_10201893887335784_4428185300913048652_n

Sedona, Arizona, Full Moon at The Cathedral Rock Vortex


I visited, as many do,

To see its red rocks

To watch a desert sun rise and set

To watch a desert moon

Float up

From behind the stacked cliffs

and shine its white light

on the mesa where

those of us,

Seated in a drum circle. were

Listening to the deep baritones

of the drums echoing

The language of boulders and rocks,

Listening to someone shouting

About the sun and welcoming the full moon,

Chanting to the directions: north, south, east and west

Their feet pounding.

We were

Listening to the woops and calls

Of the dancers whirling like Sufis

To the steady, steady drum beats

Children chased each other up and down the rocks

Dogs chased each other the same.


I turned to face the moon

Because I was

Called to

Pray here

in Cathedral Rock

I lowered my eyes to meditate.

Nothing more.

But the stillness rose from somewhere and

A hush fell over me as

It has in city cathedrals large and soaring

A stillness

Stunned me

with its joy

While all around me was the drumming and dancing,

My friends talking to each other, moving

like familiar, beloved shadows,

and I heard

strangers voices too.

While I sat grateful for them all, but

without need for them nor for

movement .or


In gentle stillness I sat


happy stillness

my body,

become solid and silent now

as if I, like the mesa,

had been forming

for thousands of years

and had no more need of movement or talk.

I was

Cradled by the air,

Seen by the full moon.

Oh, happy stillness!


Perhaps I’d come upon the

Cathedral Rock Vortex,

Perhaps I was lulled by earth’s heartbeat

But I wanted to sit forever like that.





You are alive

inside a Cathedral of rocks.




Right View

Only By Loving

If you had a sad childhood, so what?

You can dance with only one leg

and see the snowflake falling

with only one eye.

~~~Robert Bly

I learn this type of acceptance from dogs. They continue chasing the ball on three legs when once they had four. They seem to say, “Okay, now I am a three-legged dog. Let’s play.”

I was wounded in childhood, and now I am old. Opportunities that good self-esteem would have availed me were lost.  Okay, now I an old dog without a partner, without my own home, but with right view I can find real happiness.

our perceptions are made of our afflictions: craving, anger, ignorance, wrong views and prejudice. Whether we are happy or we suffer depends largely on our perceptions…We have an idea of happiness. We believe that only certain conditions will make us happy. But it is often our very idea of happiness that prevents us from being happy…Our happiness and the happiness of those around us depends on our degree of Right View. ~~~Thich Nhat Hanh


On A Liberal Arts Education and the “Self”

Today a friend posted this on FB and I found it quite wonderful. Tragically, this writer killed himself in his mid-forties, and that seems even harder to believe when you listen to this talk, but there is the mystery of our individual journeys. We are fortunate that he left behind good work like this.



Impermanance as Right View

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