Exquisite Risk: John of the Cross and the Transformational Power of Captivity


On a dark nightInflamed by love-longing–O, exquisite risk!–Undetected, I slipped away,My house, at last, grown still. Sometimes it is in our prisons that we find our freedom. In 1577, when St. John of the Cross was thirty-five years old, he was abducted by his own monastic brothers and incarcerated for nine months in a monastery in More…

In Praise of Longing: Reclaiming Spiritual Passion


At night on my bed I longedfor my only love.I sought him, but did not find him.I must rise and go about the city,the narrow streets and squares, till I findmy only love.I sought him everywherebut I could not find him.(From The Song of Songs)Love-longing is one of the casualties of the Post-Modern Age. We More…

Love Poem to Robert Bly


You may never read this, Robert, but I have to write it. I know you know what I mean.I’ll tell you exactly when it was that I first fell in love with you. I was 16 years old, living on my own in Mendocino, far from my family in Taos. I had dropped out of More…

Saint Francis and the Lama Beans


My first spiritual teacher was Ram Dass, author of the iconic book, Be Here Now, which introduced a generation of Americans to the ancient wisdom of the East. Along with framed photographs of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (affectionately known as Maharaji), and statues of Krishna (Lord of Love) and Ganesh (Remover of Obstacles), Ram Dass More…

If My God Had a Gender


I have always been drawn to a God who eluded me. A God who transcends gender — transcends everything, actually. A God who rebels against all forms, annihilates conceptual constructs, blows my mind. In other words, a God I can’t believe in. Because beliefs are dangerous — dangerous to God, anyway. The minute we define More…

All Will Be Well: The Radical Optimism of Julian of Norwich


“All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)Sometimes I can hardly believe what I get to do for a living. As a translator of the mystics, I plunge into the wellspring of their wisdom and remain immersed, until they have told me all they More…

Relinquishing Power


“Therefore, be ye lamps unto yourselves, be a refuge to yourselves. Hold fast to Truth as a lamp; hold fast to the truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves. And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves, shall betake themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to More…

Otherizing


As a Native New York Jew who grew up in the counter-culture of New Mexico and spent my 20s in northern California, the American South is as foreign to me as Mongolia. Maybe more. And so visiting the Bible Belt is a perfect opportunity for me to walk my talk and reject the impulse to More…

Keeping the Sabbath.. Radical


Today is Saturday. The sun has just dipped below the western mesa and the face of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is about to be washed with the scarlet glow from which the range derives its poetic name. Shabbat is over and, in the tradition of my ancestors, I mourn a little. The Sabbath, they More…

Season of Light


Here in the mountains of northern New Mexico where I have spent most of life, the winter solstice season is marked by fire. During Advent, families and businesses fill small paper bags with dirt and nestle yellow votive candles inside them. They line the adobe walls around their homes and the low hanging flat rooftops More…