Last Poems for the New Year

by Christine Sine

by Ana Lisa de Jong

“If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. So we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also, so we can say that everything is in here in this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here—time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything coexists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. To be is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


What do I bring, to the world,
to the altar of my being?
Where have you been,
my soul says,
when I come weak kneed
and heavy with burden.
‘Loosen the ropes to the world’
the Holy One says,
who is a moving sea over me,
a limitless sky.
‘Loosen the ropes,
so when you give yourself to Love
you can be all in,
And so that Love,
in its offering to you,
becomes a gift returned
at full measure
and overflowing.’

“This morning Jonas and I read in the Gospel Jesus’ words: “If you are bringing your gift to the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar; go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23–24)… As I think about Jesus’ words, I know that I must let go of all divisive emotions and thoughts so that I can truly experience peace with all people. This means an unrestrained willingness to forgive and let go of old fears, bitterness, resentment, anger, and lust, and thus find reconciliation.
In this way I can be a real peacemaker. My inner peace can be a source of peace for all I meet. I can then offer gifts on the altar of God as a testimony to this peace with my brothers and sisters.”

~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

“People in the second half of life are not preoccupied with collecting more goods and services; quite simply, their desire and effort—every day—is to give back to the world a bit of what they have received. They now realize that they have been gratuitously given to—from the universe, from society, and from God. They try now to ‘‘live simply so that others can simply live.’ ”
~ Fr Richard Rohr, Falling Upward










We can move motionless
if we are mindful,

as the birds on their gliding wings,
or the creatures of the sea
held up by an ocean’s buoyancy.

We can move motionless
through the blue seasons
which pull at the heart strings,

through the valleys
and heights of daily living,
the constancy of demands.

We can move without resistance,
unaware even of the pull of gravity
or the ripples of our wake.

We, at the still point
of the turning world,
can turn and move at will,

in motion and yet at rest,
with everything thrown at us
failing to adhere.

We can move as dancers on pointe,
apparently weightless,
for all the weight
balanced upon the toes.

We can carry all the care of the world
and yet still rise
as though a fire were burning inside.

As though we were balloons
floating at ease
with just some strings
and wind aiding direction.

Yes, we can move motionless
if mindful.

As the birds on gliding wings,
or the great soulful whales,
moving as shadows beneath the surface,

all grace,
within the body that upholds.


Join Christine Sine January 27th, 2023 10 am – 12 pm PT for a virtual retreat, Spiritual Discernment: Finding Direction in a Confusing World, as she facilitates an exploration of practices that enable us to become “all ears” and listen in all circumstances to the voice of God. This session will be full of helpful input, discussion and creativity. Come join us and learn to listen more deeply to the voice of God.

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