Posts Tagged ‘Soul’

In just a few days, we will pay tribute to an American legend – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Around the world we will celebrate his legacy, even as our own legacies continue to intertwine with his.

Even now, I imagine Dr. King’s presence… and I hear his marvelous voice beckoning us to lean into our deepest calling, which is to serve. “Anyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

Storyteller and author Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us that “One of the most calming and powerful actions [we] can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show [our] soul.”

In our ever-shrinking global village, standing up and showing your soul is not a luxury. It is an imperative.

In my latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, I discuss what it means and what it takes to stand up and show your soul… so that we might co-create the kind of world that we want to pass on to our children and our children’s children and beyond.

As we remember Dr. King and celebrate his legacy, let us also remember to celebrate ourselves as we stand up, serve, and be the change that we want to be in our world.

Pass It On!


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This morning, one of my students opened our class with an attunement, our meditative practice at the beginning of each morning to focus our energy – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Compassion Flower

Her attunement was to shine the light on simple acts of caring and compassion. She shared with us a moment she experienced just today while waiting for the ferry. As she waited in line, she noticed a man who had slept on the ground the night before, apparently homeless. She watched as he sat up, smoothed his clothing, folded his blanket, neatly, and brushed his hair, readying himself for the day while his companion was still sleeping.

My student noticed another man as he got out of his car and approached the man who had slept on the ground. They had a brief conversation then the man returned to his car. A minute or two later, he emerged, carrying two cups of hot, steaming coffee. He gave both of them to the man, a cup for him and a cup for his companion.

As my student described this early-morning exchange, she said she was struck not only by what she had witnessed, but also by the simplicity of what it means and what it takes to care for our brothers and sisters: a little time… attention… generosity… and a heart of kindness.

Pass It On!

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One of the ways I keep my eyes on the future is by sharing stories and poetry, time-honored ways to impart wisdom and to teach what might otherwise take months or years.

Gloria Burgess Photo: Angel's Trumpet

Poet Theodore Roethke wisely reminds us that we all “learn by going where [we] have to go.” In this way, my stories and poems have helped me learn. As well, they have helped me grow by compelling me to work through the past–my struggles, joy, anger, triumphs, discouragement, pain… and glorious radiance.

When I share my stories and poems, I’m delighted to learn that they sometimes offer a much-needed bridge… a lifeline of sorts for others.

We never know who might need the light or warmth from our candle. We never know when a word or image we’ve chosen will awaken in someone something that allows him or her to claim and share their story.

It’s not our business to know.

Our business is to share our blessings, to share our beauty… the wonderful wealth of who we are. Our business is to wear our souls on the outside.

When we share our stories, we make ourselves known. We shine a light, making it OK for others to do the same. So many folks need the safety and comfort of that OK.

That’s how we heal the world. That’s how we create heaven right here on earth: a small step, a worthy action, a shared story, an OK zone.

One person, then another.

Day after day… and on it will go.

Mighty blessings!

Pass It On!

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A few simple ideas to add a lift to your day.

  • Pick or buy some fresh flowers for your home or apartment. Beautiful colors and fragrance is a feast for the eyes and food the soul. 
  • Listen to your favorite music. If you want calm, choose music with a beat that’s slower than your pulse.
  • Go to a park. Leave your cell phone and anything else that beeps at home. Just take an open mind and an open heart. Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Take a mental picture of what you see… note the colors you’re drawn.
  • Know anybody that you’re still angry with or holding a grudge against… take a moment & say a prayer for him or her. Forgive them… so you can get over it and get on with your wonderful life.

Have a blessed day.

Pass It On!

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Here’s a simple way to boost your energy and stay healthy. Think “HEART” and it’s even easy to remember.   

H-ydrate. With a radiant smile on her face, my 10-year old niece reaches for a glass of refreshing water throughout the day. “Delicious!,” she says. Fill your favorite container and enjoy at least 8 glasses of water a day.    

Victory for the soul


E-xercise. Add more pep to your step. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, walk with a buddy, ride your bike. If exercise has been on your “round tuit” list for a while, start slowly… 5-10 minutes a day. Gradually work up to 20-30 minutes 4-5 times a week.  

A-wareness. What we think and what we feel changes our body’s chemistry. Lift others up and celebrate yourself, and you’ll be rewarded with life-giving energy.   

R-est. Take several breaks during the day—stretch, move your shoulders, take a brisk walk. Refill your water bottle! Be sure to get enough sleep each night.   

T-ransform your mind. Embrace an attitude of gratitude. It’s impossible to be thankful and negative at the same time. Each small choice you make is life-affirming. And each life-giving choice is a victory for your soul.   

Give yourself a high-5.   

Pass It On!

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Summer is always a good to remember the importance of making time for yourself–to give yourself a special gift of time set aside just for you—even if it’s only a few minutes day. In the midst of planning much-needed vacations and hosting family and friends, it’s important to make sure you slow down… to savor all the wonderful people in your life. It’s also important to simply slow down and breathe in what nourishes you and breathe out anything that doesn’t. You owe it to yourself to breathe in love, kindness, and hope, and breathe out irritation, jealousy, fear, or whatever else you need to let go of. These special moments provide you with food for the soul.

Take a few minutes right now to stop, reflect, count your blessings, or pray for someone. You’ll do something good for yourself… and others.

Pass It On!

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Every now and then a poet comes along who is gifted in the art of story, song, image, gesture, and emotion… she is also a gift of a human being.

Lucille Clifton is such a poet and person; her special gifts make me sing, dance, and shout.

Just a few days ago, Ms. Lucille crossed over. Through her poetry and person, she brought truth, wisdom, wonder,  joy, disturbance, sorrow, light, laughter, and so much more.

Gifted with a long stride of spirit, Lucille was compassionate, joyous, and comforting in the ways of grandmothers, aunties, mothers, and sistah-friends. A dozen or so years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Lucille. After one of her readings at the Dodge Poetry Festival, I introduced myself… and though there was a throng of folks waiting to speak with her, I might as well have been the only person there, because that’s how she made you feel.

Though Ms. Lucille has crossed over, the presences that inhabit her poems shall remain.

Lucille, whose name means light, was and is a beacon for those who hope to find their way through fog, for those who yearn to push away from the shoals, for those who dare to row into the depths. She was and is a keeper of the flame for this generation and future generations.

By her luminous presence and the quilt of presences in her body of work, Lucille will continue to remind us of what is true, human, and Divine.

Ms. Lucille, Sistah-Friend… thank you for your life and poems of hallelujahs and blues; thank you for showing us that blessed kinship between writing, and resurrection and redemption.

Rest Well.

Pass It On!

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