The Poet Soul

September 5, 2020

I met with our solicitor here in Ireland as we are buying out Jack’s half share in the cottage and signing the papers is a major reason for my being here. I was guided to the conference room to sit at one end of a long table. As the solicitor came in, settling at the other end of the table and organizing his papers, he gave me the standard spiel about their distancing and cleaning procedures including the fact that the pen they would give me to sign the papers would go home with me. However no masks were required at this point.

Then he stopped, leaned toward me across the table, and said, “I weary of the long sorrow.”

“Now, do you like poetry?” he asked. And with my nod he was off. He shared the source and history of what he had quoted and then launched into two other poems about the nearby coast line. “Do you know the Flaggy Shore?” he asked. I do. “I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. Now there’s that one and another which you must yourself take down to the Flaggy Shore and recite while looking across Galway Bay.” I wrote down the information about the poems and poets and then we turned back to the business at hand.

I smiled to myself. Only in Ireland. Only in Ireland.

Judith –

A Story We Need

August 31, 2020


In a tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.

It’s a wonderful story. And it turns out it’s mostly likely not true. Diving down the research rabbit hole, I discovered that although this story has been in circulation for more than a decade and even shared in the writings of esteemed authors like Jack Kornfield and Wayne Dyer, there seems to be no proof that this was in fact a tribal tradition.

Does it matter? With all the lies and false stories permeating our cultural and political narrative in this time perhaps this is one story that can feed us rather than tear us apart. This is one story that offers inspiration for the way forward.

This is one story we need.

Judith –

Coming Home

August 21, 2020

Welcome home! Phone calls from friends and even the man I work with at the Hertz car hire desk in Shannon. And I am home. My life now is so much about being home both here in Ireland and at MossTerra. It’s good to be here to finalize work on the cottage. It’s good to be here away from the toxic energy that we live with in the States. In anticipation of my arrival, a friend here sent me this writing. And it speaks so much to this home coming. 

Summer winds are bringing rain. And this time I won’t be with a group of fellow pilgrims exploring sacred sites like the Carrowmore dolman in the photo. Yet within the sacred energy that flows from every landscape in Ireland, I can again touch a horizon of hope and possibility. Coming home in so many ways.

Judith –

Time To Take Off The Mask

August 14, 2020

I’m not talking about the COVID mask. And yet I am. 

I was at the grocery store yesterday. A young woman was stationed in the entrance. Her sole job to make sure that everyone who entered was wearing a mask. Store policy. After grabbing and sanitizing a shopping cart, I went over to her. I told her that I deeply appreciated her and the job she is doing and thanked her. She started crying. “Thank you so much.”

Like so many, Dennis and I choose to stay home most of the time. Grocery shopping is just about the only opportunity for in-person human interaction. And I’ve found myself talking more to others these days in grocery stores, the other day offering my suggestion about canned tuna to a couple who were clearly new to the brands. More often just saying hello. And like the young woman, most seem surprised and grateful.

It seems these COVID protection masks have become a barrier to human interaction. At a time when our nation is at war with itself. At a time when we are seeing the fascist destruction of our fundamental and founding principles and institutions. At a time when anger and hate and fear have permeated our national narrative. There is so much that separates us. Our COVID masks do not need to be part of that. As we navigate these treacherous times, we need our humanity. As we continue to wear masks to protect ourselves and others from the virus, it’s time to take off the mask of separation. 

Judith –

Cease Fire

July 30, 2020

I know some of you are wondering what might be unfolding with Jane. In fact she read and appreciated my last post. There is now a dialogue which is beyond what I hoped for. And I will just leave it there.

I am reminded of an amazing event during WWI when, on Christmas Eve, troops came together to declare a cease fire. This pause in the fighting was not universally observed, nor had it been sanctioned by commanders on either side. Yet men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs, to play football with one another, and sing carols. 
Here is a video of that moment in time. Yes, it’s a bit Hollywood. But it’s both powerful and poignant.        Cease Fire

Cease fire. What might happen if we the people just stopped shooting at each other?

Judith –

The Gift Arrives

July 28, 2020

I had just published yesterday’s post when her email arrived. The timing of it was so amazing I looked around to see if there was an owl flying around somewhere. Because the post included finding the means to reach out and open up conversations around what we share in common rather than our differences. And as if by magic, her email arrived.

Jane, not her real name, was emailing about two prior posts, Use Your Words and We Are Called. And in her email she told me she is a Trump supporter. I immediately thanked her for her email and told her I would respond in more depth. And I will. For there is gold here. And Jane, since I know you will likely read this post, I again thank you in this more public forum. I really look forward to more dialogue with you. I have much to learn from you, my sister.Are we likely to change each others minds and positions on the current political landscape? Probably not. But that’s not the point. For me it’s the opportunity to listen more deeply, especially for shared beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. For common ground. In her email Jane laid the foundation for this exploration to be wrapped in mutual appreciation and respect. Jane recently participated in one of my sacred circles and I came to know her as a deeply spiritual woman. Perhaps we will begin there. 

I will not be sharing any more about our dialogue for this will be private, personal and intimate. Into me see. It’s enough to share that the gift arrived. May we all receive such gifts.

Judith –

By Any Means

July 27, 2020

It was a bold move when the YWCA National Convention adopted the One Imperative: To thrust our collective power toward the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary. It was 1970. Protests against the war and demonstrations demanding racial justice were happening all across the country. That the YWCA stepped up to address the war and racial injustice was not a surprise. That they invoked the language of human rights activist Malcom X was provocative. By any means necessary.

As we stand on this threshold of civil war, that language is again becoming part of the narrative. What will be necessary?

Holding the light so that others may find their way back to it is essential. Yet in this time and at this threshold there is an urgency that has us asking what else we can do. Because it does seem that more is necessary. Many are participating in the protests and they send a vital message that we the people will no longer tolerate injustice and fascists in our community. But this is a war that will not be won in the streets alone. In this war for the very soul of our nation, we must win minds and hearts if we are going to emerge with any kind of unity to find our way forward. And each of us can do this.

Yes. I fully appreciate there are those in our nation and our lives who are not of an open heart or mind. But there are many who are. And it is those we must reach. Perhaps not by any means necessary but by any means we have at hand. I write. It’s one thing I can do. And we all have something we can do even from a place of quarantine. Perhaps it’s yet another conversation with someone we know. Perhaps it’s opening up a conversation around what we share in common rather than our differences. Perhaps it’s reaching out to our neighbors. We all have tools to use. And now is the time to use them as if the future of our nation depends on it. Because it does.

By any means. It’s beyond necessary.

Judith –

We Are Called

July 26, 2020

In this sprawling and diverse country of united states, we have guiding principles for how to be in community. In common-unity. I grew up, like most of us, pledging allegiance to one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The god words were added in 1954.

And then there’s the Constitution. While many are currently ranting and raving about their Constitutional rights, all articles and amendments in this document that address our rights as citizens follow one foundational statement.While this document was written 233 years ago, these words transcend time and context. They are as applicable today as when they were written. They speak to a set of ideals we consider fundamental to who we are as a nation and a people. Justice. Peace. General welfare. Liberty. And in this statement, we the people are called to establish, insure, provide, promote, and secure these ideals. These actions are not delegated or relegated. It doesn’t say that we the people abdicate all of this to our governmental institutions or leaders. This is on us. These are our responsibilities. And clearly our current government is failing on every single one of these ideals.

We the people. Implicit in this guiding principle is our responsibility to oppose those institutions that fail to establish, insure and provide justice and domestic tranquility. It is our duty to stand in opposition to those organizations and institutions that are not promoting the general welfare and securing liberty for all.

Now we stand at the threshold of civil war that will again, in the words of Lincoln, test whether this nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. And whether this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall perish from the earth.

We the people. We are called.

Judith –

Echoes Of Black & Tan & Bloodshed

July 25, 2020

We are watching America burn.

A friend in Ireland posted these words on FB a couple of days ago. So many in Ireland are watching with horror what’s going on in this country. They are deeply concerned, even afraid. With good reason.

It was one hundred years ago that 10,000 men were recruited by the British government to respond to the Irish war of independence. The recruits were former military and mercenaries. They had no policing experience beyond two weeks of training. And they were unleashed with little accountability on the Irish people in a brutal reign of reprisal, subjugation and terror. They besieged many towns, looting and burning homes and businesses, and murdering civilians. The memory of the Black & Tan fills the Irish people with revulsion. A dear friend has shared stories of his father hiding in a hole in the ground in the Connemara hills from these thugs. His ‘crime’ was owning an automobile and refusing its confiscation by the storm troopers who created their own laws as suited them in any given situation. It was a century ago but the bitter memories are fresh. You may have read that earlier this year the Irish Minister for Justice proposed to host an event to commemorate the centennial of the Black & Tan. Public outrage led to his resignation. 

And now this history begins to echo in our reality. Yes. Many of us are outraged. The question I sit with is whether enough of us are outraged enough. 

Judith –

From Bright Light To Blaze

July 24, 2020

When a friend posted this on FB this week I was reminded it was a year ago that I created this image. And I reflected on the essential nature of this message. It seems there are vestiges of years in marketing wandering around my brain that suggest there must always be a new and improved product, or in this case message, to get people’s attention. But some messages are core and eternal. This is one of them.

As we watch our nation in the grip of a fascist regime take over, this message is more important than ever. And we are called to move beyond considering the Light we hold as an intellectual construct. Yes. I understand this is not the case for everyone. But for everyone we must now embody this shining as we never have before. At a visceral level. The very future of our nation depends on it.

It’s time to move from holding a bright Light in the world to being a passionate blaze. Yes. There is more we can do. But this being is fundamental to any action.

Judith –