As my world turns upside down

As my world turns upside down

Cancer Center Wheelchairs in row

Woke up this morning
and damn but if the world
has not again spun on its axis
and without my permission
turning my world upside down
and inside out and turvy-topsy
leaving me disoriented and confused
and yes with Fear reaching to hold my hand
for now this woman I love and adore
was just diagnosed with a breast cancer
“aggressive and treatment resistant” Dr. says

So what is a fellow to do
but once again find
the origins of breath lying within
deep in the recesses of silence and stillness
and follow with attention the movements
of inspiration and of letting go
as soles of feet seek familiar comfort
caress naked Earth and bare soil under foot
and my mantra becomes “Here!”

“Yes, Here! Now. This moment.
This breath. This step. This heart.
Let the world spin as it may.
I can only fully meet what may come,
saying, Here. Now.”


I want to simply offer my deep gratitude to the community of family and friends who are reaching out in love and support of Dotty and I as we navigate these unfamiliar waters. I feel both humbled and held by the magnitude of hearts reaching out to us. And there is simply no way for me to respond to everyone in a timely fashion. So please know that just because you’ve not heard back from me… that your offers of support are not registered, felt and appreciated here.

We are very much still processing and navigating our way through this unexpected turn in our lives. I might row you through Lava Falls in the Grand Canyon with some experience and confidence, offer guidance through say a five day wilderness solo experience, coach you in navigating leadership challenges, help you learn to ‘see your face in the forest,’ gift words of support for navigating grief or other emotional challenges… but for now I am in unknown waters and simply fully occupied with the day to day and moment to moment challenges of my emotional life and of navigating commitments no longer fulfillable and in meeting the medical system gratefully available to us… with presence and grace.

There are no shortages of causes for broken hearts and disoriented world views these days. And as intimate and personal as this poem feels and is for me, I need to honor growing global and personal pains of climate change, ranging from droughts and food shortages and forest fires to deaths from record breaking heat waves, just for starters. Then the converging challenges and invitations of COVID and of the hunger for ‘normalcy’ and for a leader who can impose such upon our worlds. Someone perhaps, who can at last impose God’s will upon a sinful mankind.

Oh but we are an interesting species, and beings too! And the times are sure to get more ‘turvey-topsy’ as we move into a future of destabilizing convergent forces. And yet the personal and collective skills for meeting these times are the same ones we need for meeting the personal tragedies of family illnesses and deaths and of fire ravaged homes and narcissistic would be leaders and…all that may come.

These are most fundamentally the skills for ‘coming home’ to ourselves; skills for grounding in our innate belonging and worthiness, a mindfulness and presence that allows us to operate in present time, a remembrance of our place within the sacred circle of life and a capacity to live with the vulnerability of hearts and minds open to being transformed.

I pray here for such, for myself and for my beloved partner, and for all who would seek such strength and courage of being. May it be so.