May 31, 2009

May The Thirty-First

WE GIVE Thee thanks, yea, more than thanks, O Lord our God, for all Thy goodness at all times and in all places, because Thou hast shielded, rescued, helped, and guided us all the days of our lives, and brought us unto this hour. We pray and beseech Thee, merciful God, to grant in Thy goodness that we may spend this day, and all the time of our lives, without sin, in fullness of joy, holiness, and reverence of Thee. But drive away from us, O Lord, all envy, all fear, and all temptations. Bestow upon us what is good and meet. Whatever sin we commit in thought, word, or deed, do Thou in Thy goodness and mercy be pleased to pardon. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, through the grace, mercy, and love of Thine only begotten Son - Amen.

- LITURGY OF ST. MARK (175-254?)

May 30, 2009

May The Thirtieth

O THOU Lover of souls, we thank Thee for those dear to us who have departed this life, and who now see Thee no longer through a glass darkly, but know even as they are known. We bless Thee that Thou gatherest Thy children, one by one, from the strife and weariness of time to the peace of the everlasting years. We thank Thee for the joys of the earth, and of this life, while they last; but we also bless Thee for their close, and for the hope of what lies beyond them; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


May 29, 2009

May The Twenty-Ninth

O THOU who hast created all things, O thou who knowest all things, O Father who seest all our weaknesses, all our faults, but who likewise hearest the sighing of all contrite hearts, teach us who know but darkly and who see but a little way, to trust ourselves and all dear to us, without fear or doubt, to Thy never-failing love, that, with minds stayed on Thee, we may have perfect peace, in all our joys remembering Thee, in all our sorrows not cast down, and able through the bitterness of tears to say, "Thy will be done." - Amen.

- Family Prayer

May 28, 2009

May The Twenty-Eighth


WE have climbed the mountain
There's nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down
To the valley
Where, amidst many flowers,
One thinks of snow,

As, formerly, amidst snow,
Climbing the mountain,
One thought of flowers,
Tremulous, ruddy with dew,
In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.

It is difficult to adjust, once down,
To the absence of snow.
Clear days, from the valley,
One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do?
Prayerwheels, flowers!

Let the flowers
Face, the prayerwheels run down.
What have these to do
With us who have stood atop the snow
Atop the mountain,
Flags seen from the valley?

It might be possible to live in the valley,
To bury oneself among flowers,
If one could forget the mountain,
How, setting out before dawn,
Blinded with snow,
One knew what to do.

Meanwhile it is not easy here in Katmandu,
Especially when to the valley
That wind which means snow
Elsewhere, but here means flowers,
Comes down,
As soon it must, from the mountain.

- By Donald Justice

May 27, 2009

May The Twenty-Seventh

AN ANGEL so sweet,
So pure,
So innocent.
Surely this angel must be mine.

Taking the guise of a guardian, a parent,
A grandparent,
A cherished friend.

Cautioning us to take care of ourselves,
Be good to ourselves,
Nourish ourselves.

Always thinking of us
When we are not.

What would we do without our
Friends and angels?

- by the blog author

May 26, 2009

May The Twenty-Sixth

When I am Only a Dream
by Paramhansa Yogananda

from Inner Culture, March 1940

I come to tell you all of Him,
And the way to encase Him in your bosom,
And of the discipline which brings His grace.
To those of you who have asked me
To guide you to my Beloved's preseulture silently talking mind,
Or speak to you through a gentle significant glance,
Or whisper to you through my love,
Or loudly dissuade you when you stray away from Him.
But when I shall become only a memory or a mental image,
Or silently speaking voice,
When no earthly call will ever reveal
My whereabouts in unplumbed space
When no shallow entreaty or stern stentorian command
Will bring an answer from me,
I will smile in your mind when you are right,
And when you are wrong, I will weep through my eyes,
Dimly peering at you in the dark,
And weep through your eyes, perchance;
And I will whisper to you through your conscience,
And I will reason with you through your reason,
And I will love through your love.
When you are able no longer to talk to me,
Read my Whispers of Eternity.
Eternally through that I will talk to you.
Unknown I will walk by your side
And guard you with invisible arms.
And as soon as you know my Beloved
And hear His voice in silence,
You will know me again more tangibly
Than you knew me in this earth plane.
And yet when I am only a dream to you
I will come to remind you that you too are naught
But a dream of my Heavenly Beloved,
And when you know you are a dream, as I know now,
We all will be ever awake in Him.

May 25, 2009

May The Twenty-Fifth


OH, on an early morning I think I shall live forever!
I am wrapped in my joyful flesh,
As the grass is wrapped in its clouds of green.

Rising from a bed, where I dreamt
Of long rides past castles and hot coals,
The sun lies happily on my knees;
I have suffered and survived the night,
Bathed in dark water, like any blade of grass.

The strong leaves of the box-elder tree,
Plunging in the wind, call us to disappear
Into the wilds of the universe,
Where we shall sit at the foot of a plant,
And live forever, like the dust.

May 24, 2009

May The Twenty-Fourth

BLESSINGS fall like rain and puddle around my feet.
I am up to my ankles in blessings of all sorts.
Health, love, financial security, plants to nurture, art to contrive.
I have everything I need and want for nothing.
My world is safe, secure and loving and I continue to find each day more beautiful than the last.
My reality is that love makes my world full and glorious.
Thank you - Blessed Be.

-- by the blog author

May 23, 2009

May The Twenty-Third

O THOU, full of compassion, I commit and commend myself unto Thee, in whom I am, and live, and know. Be Thou the Goal of my pilgrimage and my Rest by the way. Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of Thy wings; let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in Thee, O God. Thou bounteous Giver of all good gifts, give to him who is weary refreshing food; gather our distracted thoughts and powers into harmony again; and set the prisoner free. See, he stands at Thy door and knocks; be it opened to him, that he may enter with a free step, and be quickened by Thee. For Thou art the Well-spring of Life, the Light of eternal Brightnss, wherein the just live who love Thee. Be it unto me according to Thy word - Amen.

-- ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)
Statue of Saint Augustine at Escorial Monastery, Spain. Photographed by Dmitri Kessel in August 1949.

May 22, 2009

May The Twenty-Second

GIVE me patience. Grant me a bit of understanding.
Let me be at peace with my thoughts.
Humility, wisdom, kindness, humanity - give me a jigger of each to make the days fruitful.
Please do all of this very soon.

- by the blog author

May 21, 2009

May The Twenty-First

BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
... Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.

- I. JOHN 4.

May 20, 2009

May The Twentieth

GRACIOUS Lord, in whom are laid up all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom, direct me in the ways of life; remove from me the ways of death. Give me a soft and meek spirit, that I may help the succorless, and comfort the comfortless. O my dear Lord, pardon me for the neglect of this duty, and make me to redeem the time with a cheerful constancy - Amen.


May 19, 2009

May The Nineteenth

PROVIDENCE guides my footsteps, helping me avoid pitfalls and unseen danger.
I trust the path before me and know it leads me somewhere where I can realize my potential, provide some help for my fellow man and enact the lessons I have learned through my life.
Trust, peace, knowledge, seeking, finding, being at peace.
All these will help me throughout my days.

- by the blog author

Sailing ship passing by lighthouse on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, the same gateway by which Christopher Columbus entered the new world. Photographer E.O. Hoppe. Taken in 1927.

May 18, 2009

May The Eighteenth


The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand.
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow,
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

-- Matthew Arnold

May 17, 2009

May The Seventeenth

LATE have I loved Thee, O Thou Eternal Truth and Goodness: late have I sought Thee, my Father! But Thou didst seek me, and, when Thou shinedst forth upon me, then I knew Thee and learnt to love Thee. I thank Thee, O my Light, that Thou didst thus shine upon me; that Thou didst teach my soul what Thou wouldst be to me, and dist incline Thy face in pity unto me. Thou, Lord, hast become my Hope, my Comfort, my Strength, my All!
In Thee doth my soul rejoice. The darkness vanished from before mine eyes, and I beheld Thee, the sun of Righteousness. When I loved darkness, I knew Thee not, but wandered on from night to night. But Thou didst lead me out of that blindness; Thou didst take me by the hand and call me to Thee, and now I can thank Thee, and Thy mighty voice which hath penetrated to my inmost heart - Amen.

- ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430)

May The Sixteenth

WE pray Thee to compassionate our weakness, O Lord, to guard us in peril, to direct us in doubt, and to save us from falling into sin. From the evil that is around and within us, graciously deliver us. Make the path of duty plain before us, and keep us in it even unto the end - Amen.


May 15, 2009

May The Fifteenth

HELP me please, I feel so small and my love's so great.
Take me through this day and guide me. Help me say the right thing that will help in the right way. Make me strong enough to do what I have to do and accomplish your goals for me - Amen.

- by the blog author

May 14, 2009

May The Fourteenth

O LORD, we beseech Thee to have compassion on those who in this life are burdened with perplexity, or troubled by manifold cares and distractions. Help them to commit their cares to Thee, and to possess their souls in patience, and may Thy peace console them, through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


May 13, 2009

May The Thirteenth

AH, Lord, upon whom all hearts are open, Thou canst govern the vessel of my soul far better than I can. Arise, O Lord, and command the stormy wind and the troubled sea of my heart to be still, and at peace in Thee, that I may look up to Thee undisturbed, and abide in union with Thee, my Lord.
Let me not be carried hither and thither by wandering thoughts; but, forgetting all else, let me see and hear Thee. Renew my spirit; kindle in me Thy light, that it may shine within me, and my heart may burn in love and adoration towards Thee. Let Thy Holy Spirit dwell in me continually, and make me Thy temple and sanctuary, and fill me with divine love and light and life, with devout and heavenly thoughts, with comfort and strength, with joy and peace - Amen.

-- JOHANN ARNDT (1555-1621)

May 12, 2009

May The Twelfth

BUILD then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.
And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.
Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise.
Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
is washing in throgh the breaches of our wounds,
already the flood is upon us.
O build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion.

A Jamaican woman after taking a bath in the ocean.
Taken in Jamaica in December 1952 by photographer Wallace Kirkland.

May 11, 2009

May The Eleventh

GRANT me, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to Thee.
Daily renew in me the sense of joy, and let the Eternal Spirit of the Father dwell in my soul and body, filling every corner of my heart with light and grace, so that, bearing about with me the infection of a good courage, I may be a difuser of life, and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving Thee thanks always for all things - Amen.


Series of photographs on "Happiness Story" by Nina Leen.

May 10, 2009

May The Tenth

Thoughts About Motherhood
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
-- Honore' de Balzac

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Youth fades; love droops,
the leaves of friendship fall;
A mother's secret hope outlives them all.
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.
-- Charlotte Gray

Women know the way to rear up children (to be just). They know a simple, merry, tender knack of tying sashes, fitting baby-shoes, and stringing pretty words that make no sense. And kissing full sense into empty words.
-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
-- Elizabeth Stone

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
-- Washington Irving

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.
--Abraham Lincoln

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.
-- George Washington

A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
-- Dorothy Canfield Fisher

May 9, 2009

May The Ninth

SET a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

-- PSALM 141:3
Artist painter-photographer Man Ray holding up his "Lips" print, winking at camera and smoking a pipe in his home. Location: Paris, France, date taken: 1961, photographer: Loomis Dean.

May 8, 2009

May The Eighth

ALMIGHTY God, by whose word all things work, by whose guidance all things go, so order our inward life, that we may be enabled to understand the things that we see; and by Thy guidance in the spiritual life and in charity, so order what there is disordered in our lives, so bring our minds to the truth, our consciences to the law, our eyes to the light, and our hearts to Thy true love, that, amidst the seeming discords of life, we may hear the music of the heavenly will, and catch ofttimes the charms of the heavenly order. So give us hope that we may pass on through time, into the higher and better education of the eternal life to come, and that at last we may know those things that are hidden, and which now we cannot know, and learn the glorious beauty and the glorious loving of the eternal years - Amen.

Sister of Charity at the New York Foundling Hospital cradling a new arrival in her arms. Location: New York. Taken in 1943 by photographer Nina Leen.

May 7, 2009

May The Seventh

TODAY is International Day of Prayer.
Somewhere in the universe there was a beginning of this Earth we rest upon. Someday in the universe there will be an end.
We may never see it. Our children may never see it. Our grandchildren may never see it.
On and on the world may roll through the heavens, without end in our lifetime.
This prayer I speak repeats the words this blog title is based on: Bless What There Is.
Bless the people we love, bless the hands that work to make our lives better, bless those who labor day and night to ensure we are safe. - Blessed Be.


I think continually of those who were truly great
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.


A young girl playing ball in Hyde Park on a spring day in London, United Kingdom. Taken February 1951 by photographer Cornell Capa.

May 6, 2009

May The Sixth

HEXAGRAM 53 - Chien Gradual Progress
Component trigrams:
Below: KEN, a mountain, hard, obstinate, perverse.
Above: SUN, wind, wood, bland, mild

Text: Gradual Process. The marriage of a maiden brings good fortune. Persistence in a righteous course brings reward.

Commentary on the text: This hexagram signifies a gradual advance and good fortune for maidens who marry now. Progress made now leads to a commanding position, hence this advance achieves concrete results. By making progress in righteousness, a man becomes capable of ruling the country. Such a man is symbolized by the ruling fifth line which is firm and central (to the upper trigram). From the conjoining of stubbornness and gentleness inexhaustible activity arises.

Symbol: This hexagram symbolizes a tree upon a mountain. The Superior Man, abiding in holiness and virtue, inclines the people toward goodness.

The Lines: 6 for the bottom place. The wild goose moves gradually toward the river bank. The younger son is in trouble. There is talk, but no error. Commentary: "The younger son is in trouble" is just a way of saying that there is trouble for which we are not to blame.

6 for the second place. The wild goose moves gradually towards the rock. Eating and drinking happily - good fortune! Commentary: Good fortune in the form of delicate and plentiful food.

9 for the third place. The wild goose moves gradually toward the dry land. The husband goes forth and does not return. The wife is pregnant, but the child's birth is delayed - misfortune! This is an auspicious time for chastizing evil-doers. Commentary: The husband's failure to return symbolizes separation from our normal companions. The delayed childbirth symbolizes our going astray. The final sentence indciates willingness to take precaustions for mutual protection.

6 for the fourth place. The wild goose moves gradually towards a tree and may find a suitable branch (on which to perch) - no error! Commentary: Its finding a suitable branch augurs willing acceptance and gentleness.

9 for the fifth place. The wild goose moves gradually toward the hillock. In the end, the results will be incomparable - good fortune! Commentary: Good fortune in the form of complete fulfillment of our desires.

9 for the top place. The wild goose moves gradually toward the mainland. Its feathers can be used for ritual purposes - good fortune! Commentary: The sentence about the feathers indicates that now disorder cannot prevail.


May 5, 2009

May The Fifth

NOTHING, O Lord, is liker to Thy holy nature than the mind that is settled in quietness. Thou hast called us into that quietness and peace of Thine, from out of the turmoils of this world, as it were from out of storms into a haven; which is such a peace as the world cannot give, and as passeth all capacity of man. Grant now, O most merciful Father, that, through Thine exceeding goodness, our minds may yield themselves obedient unto Thee without striving; and that they may quietly rise into that sovereign rest of Thine above. Grant that northing may disturb or disquiet them here beneath; but that all things may be quiet and calm through that peace of Thine - Amen.


Member of "Mind Control" Joan Midler developing breath control. Taken in the U.S. in 1901 by photographer Ralph Crane.

May 4, 2009

May The Fourth

O LORD our God, who hast bidden the light to shine out of darkness, who hast again wakened us to praise Thy goodness and ask for Thy grace; accept now, in Thy endless mercy, the sacrifice of our worship and thanksgiving, and grant unto us all such requests as may be wholesome for us. Make us to be children of the light and of the day, and heirs of Thy everlasting inheritance.
Remember, O Lord, according to the multitude of Thy mercies, Thy whole Church; all who join with us in prayer; all our brethren by land or sea, or wherever they may be in Thy vast kingdom, who stand in need of Thy grace and succor.
Pour out upon them the riches of Thy mercy, so that we, redeemed in soul and body, and steadfast in faith, may ever praise Thy wonderful and holy name - Amen.

Figure of Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras sitting above west door of Chartres Cathedral, in Chartres, France. Taken in 1961 by photographer Gjon Mili.

May 3, 2009

May The Third

The Four Noble Truths are the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. They are:
* Life is full of suffering
* The origin of suffering is attachment
* Suffering can be overcome
* This can be done by following the eight-fold path.

These truths relate to the origin, nature and cessation of suffering.
Components of the eight-fold path are sequential. The fulfillment of one component allows an individual to "go on" to the next one. The eight-fold path is comprised of:
* Perfect or right understanding, view or perception - correct understanding of the world through the four noble truths
* Right thought - avoiding anger, hatred or jealousy in thoughts
* Right speech - to speak mindfully, avoiding untrue and aggressive speech
* Right action - following the five precepts
* Right livelihood - practicing a profession that does not harm anyone and does not include intoxicants
* Right effort - making disciplined efforts in the right direction
* Right mindfulness - knowing one's thoughts, words and actions
* Right concentration - being able to concentrate fully, leading to a higher level of consciousness.

The Five Precepts, which form a part of the right action, include avoiding these things:
* Killing or harming living beings
* Taking possession of anything that has not been given
* Sexual misbehavior
* Lying
* All kinds of intoxicants.
Buddha advocated following the Middle Path, moderation: avoiding extremes of luxury and "mortification." Following these principles can lead to the elimination of desire, which is the root of all suffering. It can also lead to attainment of the ultimate aim of Buddhism, which is Nirvana, freedom of the soul from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

May 2, 2009

May The Second

GRANT us, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing, to praise that which pleaseth Thee most, to esteem that highly which to Thee is precious. Give us the right judgment to discern between things visible and things spiritual, and, above all, to seek after the good pleasure of Thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord - Amen.


May 1, 2009

May The First

WHEN she carries food to the table and stoops down
- Doing this out of love - and lays soup with its good
Tickling smell, or fry winking from the fire
And I look up, perhaps from a book I am reading
Or other work: there is an importance of beauty
Which can't be accounted for by there and then,
And attacks me, but not separately from the welcome
Of the food, or the grace of her arms.

When she puts a sheaf of tulips in a jug
And pours in water and presses to one side
The upright stems and leaves that you hear creak,
Or loosens them, or holds them up to show me,
So that I see the tangle of their necks and cups
With the curls of her hair, and the body they are held
Against, and the stalk of the small waist rising
And flowering in the shape of breasts;

Whether in the bringing of the flowers or the food
She offers plenty, and is part of plenty,
And whether I see her stooping, or leaning with the flowers,
What she does is ages old, and she is not simply,
No, but lovely in that way.