Friday, April 30, 2004


Tree Blossoms
By Don Iannone

The tree bears the weight
of her plump spring blossoms
proudly and gracefully,
knowing they represent
living messages sent into
a future the tree may never see,
Now that is the real beauty of the tree.


By Don Iannone

Reveling in the reality of pure being,
a distant meadowlark's song
reminds me to embrace the
most alive part of who I am


Friday Thought: Just Being

I ran across a wonderful little poem that speaks
to me about "just being," and I thought I would
share it with all of you.

Sunshine Days and Foggy Nights
By James Kavanaugh

I was born to catch dragons in their dens
And pick flowers
To tell tales and laugh away the morning
To drift and dream like a lazy stream
And walk barefoot across sunshine days.

The poem reminds all of us to allow the melody
of springtime to speak to us.


Thursday, April 29, 2004


By Don Iannone

Seemingly sad shadows
stalk sanguine sunbeams,
shining surreptitiously southward


By Don Iannone

The sun, like all others
traversing the mountain,
learns to pause, reflect, and rest,
knowing the climb is always about more
than getting to the top


By Don Iannone

Watching the caterpillar
transform herself into a butterfly,
my changing life makes more sense to me


Thursday Thought: Life Goes On

Hard to believe it, but life does
have a way of going on. When
things seem to be working against
us, we feel at times like the world
is about to end. Not true. At least,
not in the vast majority of the cases.

Sometimes I obsess about issues in
my own life, thinking that "it's all over,
unless I get my way." As I look back, in
most cases, I was just making a big
fuss about nothing.

I remind myself of a simple, but powerful
quote by poet Robert Frost when I feel
like I have encountered something that
is insurmountable.

"In three words I can sum up everything
I've learned about life: It goes on."
--Robert Frost


Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Touched by an Animal

Animals give so much to our lives.
Click here to enjoy the beauty of
God's four-legged creatures.


The Beauty of the Flower
By Don Iannone

With spring upon us,
the joy of flowers
touch us everywhere,
They decorate our backyards,
wave to us from the highway,
dot our favorite forest trail,
You even find them
pushing their way
through the pavement
in urban parking lots,
Flowers are God-sent
fragrant velvet blessings,
reminding us that beauty
is attainable for all of us
in our everyday lives.

Click here to see some
real examples of these
petaled blessings.


Wednesday Thought: Serenity

We can't dodge all the emotional and
spiritual "storms" in our lives, but we
can improve how we weather them.

Here is a quote that speaks so well
to this point.

Serenity isn't freedom from the storm,
but peace within the storm.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004


By Don Iannone

Fearing nothing,
the wind breathes
great life into all it touches


Letting Go of Fear Meditation
By Don Iannone

Happiness, love, and peace
are my true nature,
Fear, pain, and suffering
get in the way of
my ability to lead
a happy and authentic life,
My life is what it is,
and I accept it
for exactly what it is,
My fear grows
from my lack of faith
in myself and the Universe
to provide for me,
I have the inner strength
to let go of the angst
that troubles my mind and heart,
I have faith in myself,
and trust the power
that truly knows within me,
I release my fear and suffering
and the wants and desires
that underlie them,
In their place,
I receive the abundant
love that exists within the
Universe and within me,
I give thanks for the
peace and tranquility
that exist within me,
I will use this peace
for the benefit of others
I encounter along
my life path today.


Tuesday Thought: Letting Go of Our Fear

Conscious Living is first and foremost about remembering
what I need to do each day to be happy. I cannot remind
myself enough to let go of my fear. It's a daily
journey for me, and most people that I know.

Most of our fears are based upon inaccurate and faulty beliefs
and assumptions about our life reality. Experience shows that
the vast majority of our fears never come true, yet we continue
to worry and fret about everything from losing a business deal
to not catching the mouse in our basement.

I ran across this affirmation on letting go and thought I would
share it with all of you.

"I know that the only thing I lose when I let go of something I
am afraid to live without is the fear itself. I am stronger than
anything that frightens me!

Letting go is the natural release which always follows the
realization that holding on is an energy drain and it hurts.
Letting go happens effortlessly when there is no other choice.
Letting go does not mean giving up."


Monday, April 26, 2004


By Don Iannone

Golden sun
bursting forth,
igniting a heartfire
inside me


By Don Iannone

Boy sitting alone,
the twilight call
of the whippoorwill


The Daily Journey
By Don Iannone

Each day I trek across
my inner landscape,
Looking with a hopeful eye
toward transforming myself.
Some days the journey
goes better than others,
How it will go,
I never know,
until the journey begins,
Where it ends,
I never know,
until it's over,
What matters most
is that I am faithful
to myself and the journey.


Monday Thought: Pure Potentiality

Here is what Deepok Chopra has to say about "pure

The source of all creation is pure consciousness...
pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest
to the manifest. And when we realize that our true self
is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that
manifests everything in the universe.

How can we apply this principle in our lives? Here is what
Chopra advises in the form of a commitment we should make
to ourselves:

1) I will get in touch with the field of pure potentiality by
making time each day to be silent, to just be. I will also sit
alone in silent meditation at least twice a day for approximately
thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening.

2) I will take each day to commune with nature and to silently
witness the intelligence within very living thing. I will sit silently
and watch a sunset, or listen to the sound of the ocean or a
stream, or simply smell the scent of a flower. In the ecstasy of
my own silence, and by communing with nature, I will enjoy the
life throb of ages, the field of pure potentiality and unbounded

3) I will practice non-judgment. I will begin my day with the
statement, “Today, I shall judge nothing that occurs,” and
throughout the day, remind yourself not to judge.

In a nutshell...meditate, connect with Nature, and don't judge
others and yourself.


Sunday, April 25, 2004


The Apology
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think me not unkind and rude
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.

Tax not my sloth that I
Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
Writes a letter in my book.

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought.

There was never mystery
But ’tis figured in the flowers;
Was never secret history
But birds tell it in the bowers.

One harvest from thy field
Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield,
Which I gather in a song.


By Don Iannone

Beyond whatever
we think in our head,
Not separate from us,
Everything and nothing,
An ever-present idea
that we cling to.


Where Do I Find God?
By Don Iannone

God exists everywhere
and in everything,
There is no special
place to find God,
Look for God
wherever you are,
starting inside yourself.


Sunday Thought: The New Age of Spirituality

The field of religion and spirituality has evolved greatly
since my childhood when my parents first took me to a
Nazarene Church in the early 1950s. My earliest
experience with religion was "fear-based," which is true
for many people. It was a turn-off to me and once I
became old enough to make decisions for myself, I
decided that I didn't need any type of religion or
spirituality in my life. There was no concept of "joy'
present in the Nazarene Church fifty years ago. That
did not seem right for me, and it wasn't.

I went out of my way to avoid my spiritual being
for nearly 25 years of my life. That is unfortunate.
Can you imagine pretending that spirituality was
a non-factor in your life for that long? Actually I can,
and I know of people who have ignored their spiritual
nature for 85 years of their life. I am thankful that I
found my way back in the early 1990s when I
discovered meditation and a host of other practices
that helped me get in touch with my spiritual side.

Things are different today. We have many options
in how we can tap our spiritual side. We live in a
"new age of spirituality" today. You can draw spiritual
guidance from a vast array of "wells" that exist in the
world. Many are thousands of years old and have been
a source of spiritual inspiration and help to people
on all continents. Truthfully, each of us has to cobble
together our own spiritual belief system and an
accompanying set of practices. That is the way it is
supposed to be.

As a Boomer, I have found a lot of valuable guidance
from New Age Spirituality, especially some ideas and
practices from Buddhism, and more recently from
Unitarian universalism. Both are a LONG way from my
original exposure to religion and spirituality in a
"fundamentalist" Nazarene Church. I find both to be
very helpful in my everyday life, which is what matters
most to me.

You may find this quote by the futurist John Naisbitt
to be of interest:

"In turbulent times, in times of great change, people
head for the two extremes: fundamentalism and
personal, spiritual experience...With no membership
lists or even a coherent philosophy or dogma, it is
difficult to define or measure the unorganized New
Age movement. But in every major U.S. and European
city, thousands who seek insight and personal growth
cluster around a metaphysical bookstore, a spiritual
teacher, or an education center."
--John Naisbitt,
MegaTrends 2000.

All this says to me that we live in an exciting "new age
of spirituality' today. This is a great time for spiritual
growth from my perspective.


Saturday, April 24, 2004


Looking Afraid Haiku
By Don Iannone

Cryptic glances
over shoulders
standing anonymously
in a crowd of shamelessly
fearful people


Sunset Haiku
By Don Iannone

the sun's rays
dance happily
on a new horizon


Shadow Light
By Don Iannone

Light lurks
in every shadow
of your life,
It finds
its place
in the darkness,
It adheres
to the constantly
emerging part
of who you are,
Your light
is brought forth
by every question
you ask,
those parts
of who you are
that have yet
to be discovered,
Don't fear your darkness,
For your light
is within it.


Saturday Thought: Divine Dichotomies

Not either/or, but both or more. Sound familiar?

Neale Donald Walsch reminds us of this
condition of our existence in his review of Eckhart
Tolle's new book "Stillness Speaks." He says:
"Life is full of contradictions. I prefer to refer
to them as "divine dichotomies." A divine
dichotomy is when two apparently contradictory
truths exist simultaneously in the same space. For
instance, the idea that stillness speaks.

Everyone who has done any kind of contemplative
work in her or his life is aware of this dichotomy.
From stillness can come the loudest voice, the
grandest message, the greatest wisdom."

Here to read more.


Friday, April 23, 2004


Friday Thought: Transformational Moments

"Each moment offers the gift of
infinite possibility. When we
surrender our will to the will
of the divine, we become fully
aligned with ourselves in the
moment. The moment is the
only true place of transformation."

--Don Miguel Ruiz


Tears of Life
By Don Iannone

Tears of joy,
tears of sorrow,
Cry our way
through today
and tomorrow,
Tears that well up
in our eyes,
Tears that fill us
from inside,
Tiny emotional raindrops
down our cheeks,
the gardens
of our souls.
Allow your tears
to touch the world,
Allow them to form
rivers and oceans
our thirst for life,
and connecting
our hearts
with others
across the world.
Our tears
remind us
what it is
to be alive.


Thursday, April 22, 2004


All That We Are
By Don Iannone

I am a rainbow,
a spectrum of intense
and subtle colors,
I am wheel with
many spokes,
reaching in different directions,
I am a prism,
showing different colors,
depending upon where
the light shines through,
I am a tree
with many branches,
reaching toward the sky,
I am a pond
that ripples many circles
when the stone
touches my surface,
I am a face
that laughs, frowns,
questions, cries,
shows understanding,
and disagreement,
depending upon
how I feel inside,
I am vessel
that changes colors,
depending upon what I hold,
I reflect the
totality of my life,
which makes me whole.


Thursday Thought: Be Whole

There are many parts to each of us. While we feel
compelled to find and establish internal consistency
among our various parts, truthfully our lives are full of
contrasts and inconsistencies. It is important for us
to see and acknowledge the different parts that
comprise us. Our "wholeness" depends upon these
differences. I know of no human being who is just
one thing. Those people who live whole and full
lives are those who entertain the differences within

Many of the quick answer self-help books on
the market fail to teach us that each person's
life is many things, and that is perfectly alright.
Savor your different parts, learn to use them to
advance your spiritual growth, learn to see the
differences in other's lives. This seems to be a
far more realistic way to find happiness, richness,
and "wholeness" in our lives.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004


What Meditation Brings Forth

My meditation practice is helping me
to discover the many levels of being
and consciousness that co-exist within
me. Stopping on a Quiet Empty Floor
tries to describe the experience of
these levels and how we eventually
get beyond them to a peaceful, empty
place inside that is beyond the many
illusions of who we think we are. The
quiet empty place is a resting place
where real growth occurs within us--
a place that adds to who we are
by stripping away what we are not.


Stopping on a Quiet Empty Floor
By Don Iannone

Desert sand blows
across my soul,
It's painful,
but it wears away
the illusions,
and polishes the real me
embedded within the stone.
Timeless images
of places, faces, and events
stream through me,
The buffing cuts
across the many levels
of who I think I am,
I become the Grand Canyon
at sunset,
I overflow with feeling,
I'm blurred,
caught in a mysterious
karmic elevator.
It stops abruptly,
shaking the mask
lose from my face,
I get out--
on a quiet floor,
with lots of light,
It is an empty floor,
no furniture, people,
nothing to distract me,
Only a window
filled with warm sunlight,
For now,
this is where I need to be.


Wednesday Thought: Boomeritis

That is the term spiritual guru Ken Wilber coined
some time ago to describe the tendency toward
self-absorbed narcissism and self-indulgence by
the Boomer Generation. I would add that the same
tendency exists is ALL generations.

Wilber advises this: "An experience of the absolute
can reinforce your narcissistic inclinations if you
don't have a moral context in which to hold it."

In other words, those of us on a spiritual quest
can use that quest and its discoveries in the wrong
way and simply continue to feed our own narcissism.
He's right. Furthermore, this is exactly what has
happened to many spiritual gurus among us. I guess
this is a lesson for all of us to seek balance and adopt
a set of values and morals to guide our spiritual
discovery process.

We must remain humble in our journey. We must
remind ourselves and each other of our residual
tendency toward self-absorption. This is why
empathy and compassion for others are so important
to our spiritual evolution.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Tuesday Thought: Live a Poetic Life

As you give definition (re-definition) to your
life, consider poetry as a metaphor for how
you might live. The poetic life is rich in beauty,
meaning, truth, perspective, emotion, and
so much else. The poetic life is one defined
by love. Poetry follows the road of the heart.
Give voice to the poetry inside you today.


The Flowering You
By Don Iannone

It's spring,
Imagine you are a flower,
This is your day to bloom,
Show off your new blossoms,
Allow the sunshine to touch
your new stem and leaves,
Smile at the other flowers around you,
Flowers have beautiful voices, you know,
Raise your head proudly
and feel the gentle breeze move you
from side to side,
Wallow in those April showers that are
so important to your growth,
And yes, give thanks to
the Great Gardener in the Sky
for giving you exactly what you need.


Monday, April 19, 2004


Monday Thought: Capturing Nature in Poetry

Here is a delightful poem by Mary Oliver about
the Nature she experiences near the Chagrin
River, a scenic river in Northeast Ohio. It speaks
volumes about capturing Nature through poetry.

Climbing The Chagrin River
By Mary Oliver

We enter
the green river,
heron harbor,
mud-basin lined
with snagheaps, where turtles
sun themselves--we push
through the falling
silky weight
striped warm and cold
bounding down
through the black flanks
of wet rocks--we wade
under hemlock
and white pine--climb
stone steps into
the timeless castles
of emerald eddies,
swirls, channels
cold as ice tumbling
out of a white flow--
sheer sheets
flying off rocks,
frivolous and lustrous,
skirting the secret pools--
full of the yellow hair
of last year's leaves
where grizzled fish
hang halfway down,
like tarnished swords,
while around them
fingerlings sparkle
and descend,
nails of light
in the loose
racing waters.


My 1909 Danny Murphy
By Don Iannone

Danny Murphy,
He played baseball
a long time ago,
Way before my time!
I found his card--
a 1909 Tobacco Series,
in Flo's Antique Shop
in downtown St. Clairsville.
That's where I went to high school,
in case you didn't know.
I wasn't really looking
for baseball cards,
but there he was
in a dusty glass case.
I just had to buy him
and add him to my collection.
Danny played 16 seasons,
mostly with Philadelphia, you know,
A solid hitter by any standard,
he batted .290 lifetime with 1500 hits.
They didn't take steroids back then,
like some power players do today.
And they had to play during the daytime,
no lighted stadiums in those times.
I love those old ones,
you know, the Tobacco Series type cards,
Can you imagine? My Danny Murphy
is 95 years old!
That's a long time for
a piece of cardboard to last!
Don't ya think?


Sunday, April 18, 2004


Grandma's House Forty Years Later
By Don Iannone

She used to live there,
a long time ago when we were just kids.
How we loved to visit Grandma's house
along the old Moore's Run,
We called it the 'crik' back then,
It was an Appalachian holler,
You know, the kind of place miners and
their large families lived,
We drove past Grandma's old house
in West Wheeling today--
first time in many years.
Old memories flooded back to me,
Times I barely remember.
Grandma's house looked good,
Much better than I expected.
The old wooden swing and flower boxes with
the huge pansies were gone,
But that was a long time ago.
Somebody else lives in her house now,
I don't know them.
We talked to an old man with a ball cap
sitting on Grandma's front porch.
He leaned over the porch to greet us
as our car stopped in the dirt road
in front of the house,
I told him my grandma lived in
his house a long time ago,
He smiled and said "Is that right?"
He couldn't believe ten kids,
including my Mom, were raised in the
dinky little 4-room house,
He didn't know my Grandma, and he
didn't know the old house when it
was yellow with bright green shutters.
The place has running water now,
and the apple trees
in the side yard are long gone.
Even with all the changes,
I could tell it was the same place,
It will always be Grandma Secrist's house to me.
Moore's Run survived
the many hard tests of time,
I admit--I am really amazed,
I thought it would all be gone.
As we drove off, I thought--
I'm really glad someone is keeping
the home fires burning at Grandma's old house.


Sunday Thought: The Spirit of Place

We spent a beautiful 3 days in the Ohio Valley this
weekend. It was sunny and the temperature hovered in
the high 70s and low 80s. Spring was bursting forth
everywhere you looked, including in the hearts of the
people who live here and call this place home.

Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville, Wheeling, Elm Grove,
West Wheeling, and every place in between looked
better to me than they have in many years. This is
the place I could hardly wait to get away from in the late
1960's because it was so depressed, mean-spirited,
and backward in its ways.

Why was this visit so special? Yes, the weather helped.
And participating in the James Wright Poetry Festival
was very stimulating both intellectually and emotionally.
But the real difference was that I felt the "spirit" of the
place, which is something I have not experienced here
since my childhood years. Martins Ferry and the other
communities nestled along the Ohio River were open
to me and I was open to them in a new, more spiritually
renewed way.

Nature is the Ohio Valley's biggest asset, after its people.
This is truly a beautiful place with its green rolling hills,
its forests, streams and rivers, fields, and flowers. These
are the things that filled me with the spirit of life as a
young boy growing up here. They touch me deeply even

Yes, the Ohio Valley remains a poor place where many
people feel disenfranchised and left behind by the coal
mines and mills that used to provide a living for area
residents, but I felt "life" in the Valley. Its spirit remains
very much alive.

Nature, poetry, art, imagination and many other things
can help to keep the spirit of the Valley freely flowing
through these soft rolling hills. As we were touring the
area yesterday, I said to Mary that Nature has taken
back what man had taken away from this place over
the past century. It's a good thing Nature does reclaim
what is rightfully Hers and what belongs to all people.
And yes, that means that death must occur for new
life to occur, but that is a reality for everyone and
evey place. The economy that dominated the people
and physical reality of this place had to die off to
create a fresh new canvas on which the future can
be painted.

So, I celebrate the spirit of the Ohio Valley--the place
that James Wright and many others have written so
passionately about over the years, and the place I will
always carry around inside of me. I came back home to
read a poem, and received so much more.


Saturday, April 17, 2004


By Don Iannone

Words, like the cars
making up a train,
carry us along a track,
Words, like stars in
the night sky,
fill us with their beauty
and splendor,
Words, like birds
flying in formation,
remind us of the beauty
of togetherness,
Words, like musicians
in a orchestra,
fill us with harmony
and rhythm,
Words comprising a poem,
are like spoons feeding
us beauty, truth, love,
and so much more,
Words are an essential part
of our daily diet,
They fill us,
connect us,
spark our imaginations,
and make us feel
the underlying resonance
of life in our souls.
Speak and live the words
of your life fully and richly.


Saturday Thought: The Power of Words

The opening events of the James Wright Poetry Festival
took place last night in Martins Ferry. Anne Wright, James
wife, spellbounded the audience with her reading of exerpts
from several of Wright's letters to fellow poets, students, and
teachers. I was struck by the power of Annie's words and the
life she breathed into the power of her husband's earlier
written words. My wife Mary and I listened intently as Annie
told the stories of Wright's life in Martins Ferry, Minneapolis,
Seattle, Naples, and his favorite place on earth, Verona. It
was very powerful.

I was pleased to share, The Chemistry of Ferry in the Fifties,
with the group. It felt good to share my words and watch
the audience receive, mull, laugh, and think about my poem,
which was inspired by James Wright and also my hometown
Martins Ferry.

I am reminded in all this of the amazing power of both the
written and spoken word. How it delights, captivates,
conjoles, sparks, fills, and nourishes our hearts and minds.
Let us never forget the power of our words.


Friday, April 16, 2004


Extraordinarily Ordinary Ferry
By Don Iannone

I had no real choice
in the matter,
I was born--
in Martins Ferry,
a fiesty factory town
along the Mighty Ohio,
Having been away for a while,
I've arrived at my own
way of understanding
the chemistry of...Ferry,
as we called the place as kids,
And so, what is that?
Finding the extraordinary
in the ordinary,
Yep, that's what Ferry was
all about then, and
most likely that's what
the place is still all about,
It explains the competing
forces shaping my own
extraordinarily ordinary life--
my industrious obsession
with my work and making it,
my whimsical desire to be
a mystical bum in search
of life's deeper meaning,
my sometimes unexpected naiveté
about people and the world,
and yes,
my thirst to write poetry
when I really should be
finishing a business proposal for a client,
The place touched me early on,
when I was most impressionable,
I tried to out run it for a long time,
Now, I try to make the most of it,
I guess that's why
I'll join a gathering of poets in Ferry
tonight, and listen to their
extraordinary words about the ordinary.


Friday Thought: What the Poet James Wright Teaches Us

Today is the beginning of the James Wright
Poetry Festival in Martins Ferry, Ohio, Wright's
hometown and also mine. I'm excited to participate
in this year's festival to learn and share things
about the art of poetry. To my surprise and
pleasure, I have been invited to read one of my
poems at the festival.

So, what does this Martins Ferry legend teach us
about poetry, and yes life?

James Wright is widely recognized as one of
America's finest 20th century poets. He has
left behind a body of work admired by fellow
poets as well as critics. The Encyclopedia
Britannica entry nicely captures his work,
saying that he "wrote about sorrow, salvation,
and self-revelation." His images arise from the
natural and industrial landscape of the Ohio
Valley: the football stadium in Martins Ferry,
the blast furnaces of Benwood, Wheeling Steel,
Hazel Atlas Glass, the suckholes of the Ohio
River. His complex outlook was marked by
despair and hope; in his dark vision a spirit
of affirmation persists.

I am eagerly awaiting the start of the festival
this evening.


Thursday, April 15, 2004


The Sacred Circle
By Don Iannone

Transform yourself,
Walk the
sacred circle
in search of
and love.
Release your
surface life,
Seek illumination
from within,
Unite with
your Higher Being,
Trust the blessings
you receive,
Plant them in
your spiritual garden,
and allow them
to touch you
and grow.
Transform yourself.



Thursday Thought: Walking the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint,
found in all religious traditions in various forms
around the world. By walking a labyrinth, we are
rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition
that is insisting to be reborn.

The labyrinth has only one path so there are
no tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds
throughout and becomes a mirror for where we
are in our lives. It touches our sorrows and
releases our joys. Walk it with an open mind and
an open heart.

Click here to read a very interesting interview
about labyrinths and their healing powers.


Wednesday, April 14, 2004


A Gathering of Old Trees
By Don Iannone

Old trees gather in the woods,
At first, I think in horror
that it is a nursing home
for dead wood--a place where the
trees come to prepare for death.
Then I see the gathering
as a roadside rest area,
where the trees catch their breath
as they make their long journey
back to the earth they never left.

Their roots anchor and steady them
so they could grow outward and upward
throughout their lives,
Their many branches balance them
like out-stretched arms in the wind.
Now gnarled and barren, the branches
speak volumes about the trees' many lives,
So much karma, I think.

Each branch is a miraculous
adventure in search of the light.
While each tiny twig has
followed a different path--
all eventually point upward,
Each knows exactly what
it must do to survive.
I wonder if the trees miss their leaves,
like old men miss their hair,
I smile as I imagine the trees with toupes.

It occurs to me that each old tree
is a planet in the larger forest galaxy,
Suddenly I see the forest for the trees.
While more fragile now,
the old trees are stately,
There is a weathered handsomeness
about the trees,
Most have aged gracefully--
like refined old women
whose eyes still twinkle with life.

I hear playful laughter in the distance,
It is the younger trees, who joyously
reach out and pluck sundrops from the sky,
Their laughter reminds the old trees
that their lives were, after all, worthwhile,
They know there will be a forest tomorrow.

Old trees are very wise, you know,
So much they have learned
through the many seasons of their lives,
Their bark, branches, and roots
are vast libraries preserving all this wisdom,
which the wind passes on through the trees' seeds
to future generations.

For now, the young trees across the way
are too busy growing to see
the wisdom filling their limbs,
That's ok, for someday they will
join the gathering of old trees,
Then they will have plenty of time
to reflect on their lives.

The old trees teach me to stand tall,
branch out to find the sunshine in my life,
use my roots to grow from, and do the best
I can from my place in life everyday.
I am thankful for the gathering of old trees.


Wednesday Thought: Hard Times and How We Cope

A man was selling oranges in the middle of a road.
He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers.
He put some signs along the road and spent the
whole day praising the flavor of his wares.

Everyone bought from him and the man thrived.
With the money he placed more signs on the road
and began to sell more fruit. Business was growing
fast when one day his son - who was educated and
had studied in a big city - asked him: "Father, don't
you know that the world is going through very hard
times? The economy of the country is in an awful state!"

Worried by this, the man reduced the number of signs
and began to sell fruit of inferior quality because it
was cheaper. Sales slumped immediately.

"My son is right," he thought. "Times are very hard."

Source: Paolo Coelho, Warrior of Light


Tuesday, April 13, 2004


More on emptiness...

People must be so empty of all things
and all works, whether inward or
outward, that they can become a proper
home for God, wherein God can operate.
--Meister Eckhart


Deeper Letting Go
By Don Iannone

Let go of
your reluctance
to let go
of whatever
you hold onto
on a deeper level.
These are among
the hardest beliefs,
and subconscious ideas
to release,
but you can,
if you look very closely
in your spiritual mirror.


Tuesday Thought: Many Doors

This is one of my favorites:

God has made many doors opening into truth
which He opens to all who knock upon them
with hands of faith.
--Kahlil Gibran


Monday, April 12, 2004


Monday Chuckle: Something Gets Lost in the Translation

In a hotel in Athens:
"Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9
and 11 A.M. daily."

In a Paris hotel elevator:
"Please leave your values at the front desk."

In a Japanese hotel:
"You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
"You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet
composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday."

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
"Our wines leave you nothing to hope for."

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
"Ladies may have a fit upstairs."

In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
"Drop your trousers here for best results."

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
"Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute
customers in strict rotation."


The Dogwood Transformed
By Don Iannone

Oh dogwood, what have
they done to you?
It wasn't your fault
that men two thousand years ago
chose you for The job.
How could you know?
Dear tree, who grew so tall, and from
that fateful day forward on Calvary Hill,
you were forever transformed,
and so were we.
Your cross-shaped blossoms
and ever so delicate branches today
are lasting reminders
that Christ's blood
was shed upon your
once strong timbers.
Never again,
shall you be asked
to bear such a burden.


Monday Thought: Spirit of Life

This is one of my favorite religious songs. It sends
such a powerful message about our spiritual being.

Spirit of life
Come unto me,
Sing in my heart
all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind,
rise in the sea,
Move in the land,
giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close;
Wings set me free;
Spririt of life,
come to me,
come to me.

Carolyn McDade
Unitarian Universalist hymn


Sunday, April 11, 2004


In Praise of the Easter Lily
By Don Iannone

Dearest trumpet-shaped flower,
Virtuous mother of rebirth,
You remind us, ever so well,
of early springs
when we were much younger.
How could we ever forget?
White-robed apostle of hope,
Gracing all about you,
Your sweet scent
lingers far after you're gone,
In you, we resurrect our
faith in something larger,
Something eternal,
Something magical,
Something infinite that
lives on inside all of us.



The Easter Lily
By Louise Lewin Matthews

Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow'd day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.


Easter Sunday: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, you heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where’s your victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to you by both be given, Alleluia!
You we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
You to know, your power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

--Charles Wesley


Sunday Thought: It's All Sacred

Recently, I read an interesting interview with
Paulo Coelho, the author of the wonderful book,
The Alchemist. I like the point Coelho made about
everything having a soul, which is something that
I also believe.

Question: The Alchemist character says that '
everything has a soul'--including inanimate objects like
rocks and water. Do you believe that?

Answer: I do believe that everything we see,
everything that is in front of us is just the visible part of
reality. We have the invisible part of reality, like emotions
for example, like feelings. This is our perception of the
world, but God is--as William Blake said--in a grain of
sand and in a flower. This energy is everywhere.

Coelho reminds us that it's all sacred, every last drop of
water, every grain of sand, every face in the crowd,
every insect in our garden, everything. If anything is
sacred, then everything is sacred.


Saturday, April 10, 2004


A Daffodil's Sense of Humor
By Don Iannone

A daffodil
laughed at me
this morning,
I saw its head
wildly bobbing up and down
in the sunshine,
Can you imagine?
"What's so funny
little daffy dill?" I asked,
"Life! Silly human flower,
and how it grows on us,"
replied the daffodil,
I roared in laughter,
It is funny how life
grows on all of us,
Even us human flowers.


Hide and Seek with Yourself
By Don Iannone

Where are you?
I know you're there,
You must be hiding
from me again,
Come on in
to home base,
It's ok to show yourself,
Is that you
behind that tree?
There you are!
You rascal, I knew
you were there,
Some mornings,
some parts of me
hide so darn well.


Saturday Thought: What We Hide

I was struck by this quote:

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the
evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The
hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.
--Eric Hoffer, Psychologist

We have a choice in what we fill ourselves with each
day and each moment of our lives. Sometimes, such
as when we meditate, we actually seek to experience
the "empty space" that underlies our thoughts and
feelings. In my way of thinking, emptiness too is an
aspect of who we are.

I think all of us--at times--seek to hide behind lots of
different things. Perhaps some even hide behind their


Friday, April 09, 2004


Walk Your Landscape
By Don Iannone

Walk the landscape
of your own being,
Walk the mountains,
and the valleys,
Get to know
the highs and lows
of who you are.


In a Moment

Think about this paradoxical question:
"How far can you go in any moment?"
The question has nothing to do with
the physical distance you can travel in
a moment. Let me re-phrase the question
just slightly. "How far can you go within
a moment?" Still stumped. Try this. How far
can you go into a moment? Ah yes, how
fully and deeply can you experience life
in any given moment?


Friday Thought: Living in All Our Rooms

There is an Indian belief that everyone
is a house of four rooms: a physical,
a mental, an emotional and a spiritual room.
Most of us tend to live in one room most
of the time, but unless we go into every
room every day, even if only to keep it
aired, we are not complete.

-- Rumer Godden, House of Four Rooms


Thursday, April 08, 2004


Thursday Thought: Nurturing

The better parts of ourselves require nurturing.
They need to be encouraged, coaxed, motivated,
inspired, and yes, fertilized to grow.

Close your eyes for a moment. Give thanks for
that moment. Now, identify one aspect of your
being that needs your attention and some help
in growing. Take that aspect of yourself to heart.
Speak to it with your inner voice of understanding.
Listen to what it says it needs from you. Make a
commitment to give yourself what you need.
Believe you have what you need--because you


Taking Care of You
By Don Iannone

Re-boot yourself,
Replenish your inner energy supply,
Fill your being with Nature,
beauty, kindness, and most of all--
self-healing love,
Feel yourself rebuild molecule
by molecule,
Take time for yourself, Now!
Burst forth, bloom,
be a butterfly.
You are whole again.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004


Dry Well
By Don Iannone

When your well runs dry,
dig a new one,
Your soul is a deep
and powerful river
where truth flows,
Ask the right question,
listen for the answer,
and be filled once again
with the magical
water of life.


By Don Iannone

what we need
when information
fails to satisfy
our thirst.



"Adventure is not outside
a man, it is within."
--David Grayson


Wednesday Thought: Joy

We were put on this earth to be joyful.
While life has its share of suffering,
our real job is to find and share joy in
our life.

Sometimes it is easy to get distracted
by our pain, confusion, doubt, and
other feelings and experiences. We
must remind ourselves daily to discover
and live the joy that is ever-present in
each of us.

This morning I find joy in being a
teacher and being able to guide
learning in the nearly 200 economic
developers I am teaching this week
in Indianapolis. It gives me joy to
play some small role in helping
others grow.


Tuesday, April 06, 2004


The Circle of Life
By Don Iannone

Create a circle,
Imagine you are that circle,
Feel its arc and balance,
Walk the circle, and
find its rhythm,
Imagine your circle
without any lines to define it,
That is your life.


By Don Iannone

For no good reason, we cling
to what we are not,
We cling because we cling,
We fight letting go of our addictions to life,
death, and everything in between,
Somehow, we feel clinging is living, and
that is what we are supposed to do,
If we only knew, that it is all ours to--
experience, but not to keep.


Tuesday Thought: The Zen of Spring

Can we ever get enough of spring?
I don't think so. It's simply magical.
Transformative. Transfixing. Delightful.
Joyous. Watch, and let spring reveal
who you are in its unfolding.

Here is a nice meditative reflection on
our dear friend, spring.

Spring has come again
The snow has finally stopped
The crescent moon and
Leafless trees look
Thinner than before
At night I push my window open
And gaze into space
Beyond my pillared eaves
Spreads a sky of stars.

--Han-shan Te-ch’ing (1546-1623)


The Call of the Wind
By Gina Hatchell

Do you remember
when you first
felt the wind?
Did it promise to show you
secret, faraway places
and introduce you
to exotic, new faces?
Did it whisper softly
or sweep you off your feet?
Did it beacon you to follow
like a long lost friend?

You travel through this world
barely touching, then letting go.
Leaving footprints in the air
that echo through hearts
when you aren't there.
Do you ever look back
and see where you've been?
Are you really happy....floating
like a feather in the wind?

I can only hope a gentle breeze
won't ever be a storm in disguise,
and that rain won't ever bring you
falling down upon your knees.
I wish for you to have blue skies
with a rainbow at the end.
I'll always love my restless feather
though he answers the call of the wind.


Monday, April 05, 2004


Zen Running
By Don Iannone

Heart pounding,
Legs stretching,
Feet digging,
Arms reaching,
Mind clearing,
filling myself with lightness,
Spirit becoming--
one with the wind.


By Don Iannone

what grows
inside us
when we
give to others


By Don Iannone

adding value to others,
adding value to ourselves.


Monday Thought: A Good Death

Most of us would prefer not to think about it--death
that is, and yet it is a reality for all of us, at least for
our physical beings.

Yesterday, Reverend Nicole Kirk, the Minister
of the East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church,
delivered a wonderful sermon on "A Good Death."
What is a good death? I had never asked myself
that question before. It is a question overflowing
with thoughts and feelings.

We think a great deal about whether we are
living a "good" life, but how do we know we will
or can die such a thing as a "good" death?

Is there even such a thing as a "good" death?
A peaceful and painless death would be preferred
by just about everyone. I think we would agree on
that point. But how could any death be a good
death when we want to live forever?

Rev. Kirk quoted the Dalai Lama, who said "A good
death flows from a good life." I can buy that. She
also said that a good death is one that reflects the
pecularities of our life, that is those things that
make us unique human beings. I think that is a
nice way of saying that there is no one way, or
"right' way to die. Why should everyone have to
die the same way, when in fact they lived their
lives quite differently? This is helpful thinking.

Two things are everyday signs of our "life," and
also our eventual "death." They are: our breath
and our heartbeat. May we look to both as readily
available reminders of the preciousness and the
sacredness of all life each day of our lives.


Sunday, April 04, 2004


The Living Conscious Organization
By Don Iannone

The world is--
conscious and alive,
so why do we create
that are so lifeless?
Because organizations
they have
bodies, minds,
and yes--spirits.
A mind change
is underway--
watch and you can see it--
our design of
organizations for
the real business of living--
and loving.
feel, think, and breathe.
They are places
where our
hearts and minds
exist and connect
with others.
Pass it on!


Heartful Living
By Don Iannone

The heart
opens us
to see
new things,
and altogether
new ways
of seeing--
The heart
teaches us
to walk--
on this Earth,
to care
about people--
not because
we want
something back,
but because
they are--
all we have.
The heart
teaches us
to live
each moment
for like
each is unique
and special
in its
own right.
Live with
great heart!


Sunday Thought: Conscious Organization

Our thoughts about organization have changed
greatly over time. They have changed very
significantly since I studied organizational behavior
in the mid-1970s.

Some issues, such as effectiveness, motivation,
satisfaction, growth, and other dimensions of
organizational life have remained important, but
the lense through which we see these issues
has changed profoundly. Today, we see the
world of organizations through the eyes of
complexity theory, self-organizing systems
thinking, and a host of new concepts that see
organizations as open, dynamic, holistic,
living systems. This is a sign of progress as
I see it.

Recognition of the role of spirituality in the
workplace is growing, although when you look
at the recent spate of corporate ethical blunders
place, we begin to question whether that is the
case. And still, human rights are being violated
in business organizations across the planet.
While the corporate world has made some headway
in treating the environment better, it still abuses
our natural resources on a daily basis.

I have become increasing interested in the notion
of the "conscious" organization, taking after the
focus of this website, Conscious Living. I
believe we must build more "conscious" organizations
that care more for people, matters of the spirit, and
the Earth. We must create organizations that
engender happiness in the world, and that contribute
more to the happiness and well-being of those who
work for them.

A new "consciousness" is required of all of us to build
more conscious organizations for business, governance,
education, religion, and other purposes. I believe there
is a role for poetry in calling attention to this new, more
conscious way of being in organizations. I'm not the only
one who believes this. Look at the work of David Whyte,
an avowed corporate poet. Others, like poet Larry Smith,
call attention to life of working class people. Poetry is a
powerful tool because it comes from the heart, which
should be the central organizing point for building more
conscious organizations.

My own work is shifting--actually back to my original
training in religion, anthropology, and organizational
behavior. I see my work in economic development
changing in many respects, as matters of the heart
and spirit weigh more heavily on what I do.

This is only a starting point for this discussion. I expect
my poetry, public speaking, and other work will begin
to incorporate more and more about "conscious"
organizing. Watch and see.


Create an opening for yourself...

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again until now.

--David Whyte


Saturday, April 03, 2004


When is Spring?
By Don Iannone

it's sprung.


The Lake Sings to the Sleepless Child
By Andrew Hudgins

Come walk
where no one walks. Come dance
across the lilies while quick fish nudge
the bottoms of your feet.
Come quickly.
You're light,
my darling—buoyant, nothing—
and in my hands I've held a rowboat,
a rowboat holding
mother, father, you—
all in my hands, light
as the mist
that rises from me in the blue moonlight,
and wafts
through dark pines to your window
Come, daughter, come
and soar into the world beneath your feet,
where swift
fish slide between your fingers.
You too will swoop like the swallow here,
or dart and
hover like the dragonfly.
You love your blue and yellow light
but deeper down, the green
light gleams
above you like an emerald sun,
and deeper yet
the plush black glow
reveals all living things are one,
and you'll be that one thing, my lovely,
as you fly deeper,
deeper down,
swooping and soaring slowly
on the current's
unfurling breeze. Come, lean your light
on the lily, and rise forever
on the dark unhurried waters of descending.

Andrew Hudgins
Ecstatic in the Poison
The Overlook Press


A Life of Love
By Don Iannone

Cherish love
in your life,
Allow love
to be
your sunrise
and sunset,
share your love
with others,
Accept others' love
with thanksgiving,
and bring
to all things
in your life.
You can
then say
you have
really lived.


Saturday Thought: Tending Our Heart Garden

Our hearts are gardens where love grows. Like any
garden, our heart requires cultivation, sunshine, an
occasional rain shower, and regular tending.

Meditation, contemplation, prayer, and reflection are
vital to caring for our heart garden. This is work we
do underground to help our 'love garden" grow.

Dialogue, conversation, interaction, and sharing with
others are also important to a flourishing heart garden.
This is the work we do above ground to ensure that
love grows inside us, and that we share our love with

Love grows best where there is a healthy balance
between the two.


Friday, April 02, 2004


What Spring Does Teach
By Don Iannone

Behold magnificence
in a budding flower,
as the dogwood
gives birth
to new leaves,
the world
in a single raindrop
that dallies
on a blade of grass,
at the gold finch
whose feathers turn
from drab olive
to bright yellow,
the change
inside yourself,
taking place
as you open
to all the
possibilities of spring.


Friday Thought: Openness to Learning

For learning to occur, we must first be open
to the learning process. That is what a gentlemen
from Calgary, Alberta said in an email to me this
morning. He is absolutely right. We must be open
to the many possibilities that learning may introduce
in our life.

Many of us have been conditioned to think that we
should approach a "learning process," whether it is
a formal educational process, a process to acquire
new interpersonal skills, or a spiritual learning process,
with defined goals and outcomes in mind. Sounds good,
but as we all know, so much more occurs during the
process of learning something new. Often, we learn
many things that contradict our learning goals. In
more than a few cases, my learning has caused me
to move from one set of goals to another. That was
learning at work; that is seeing that I needed to
change directions.

The outcomes of a "truly open" learning process are
uncertain. That is the way they are supposed to be.
Why embark on a learning process if you already
"know" the answer? Some times we worry too much
about "right" and "wrong" answers, and as a result,
we settle for pre-conditioned responses and not "real"

True learning comes with the awareness that we
are the "learners," and as learners, we must be
open to our experience of life on many levels, not
just intellectually, but also emotionally and I think

Open yourself to the many possibilities of learning
in your day today. After all, it is spring, and "She" is
a wonderful teacher.


Thursday, April 01, 2004


Sleeping On a Train Through Life
By Don Iannone

What train is this
I am sleeping on through life?
We've passed many stations,
but I dare not get off--
for fear of losing my seat,
even though I don't know
if this is the right train for me.
how I keep on going,
even though I don't know
where or why.
Moving from one dream to another,
I continue to sleep on the train.
Even at the end of the line,
I remain on the train
so I won't lose my seat.
Is there a right train for me?
Does it matter anyway,
if I just want to sleep through life?


Blissful Reflection
By Don Iannone

Half asleep,
a long lost moment in time
catches up with me.
I remember a blissful,
lush green spring morning,
overflowing with sunshine.
A gentle breeze ruffles
the green forest canopy above me.
Peace is everywhere.
In that single moment,
I want nothing,
just to be there (here) forever.


Thursday Thought: The Power of Visualization

My meditation practice is sharpening my ability to
visualize the past, present, and future in my mind.
It's a powerful thing to clearly see the images, hear
the words and sounds, smell the scents, and
otherwise bring ideas to life inside yourself.
Anyone can do it. It just takes relaxation and

What's the payoff? Greater clarity of my life purpose.
More peace in my life. Increased creativity, especially
in my poetry and also in my work. Improved
relationships with others by putting myself in their
shoes. Improved business results as I clarify where
my career and work should head in the future. These
are just a few benefits that I'm seeing.

I highly recommend it.

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