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The Power Of Yes



With the new year approaching, I want to share a quotation I’ve shared before—one I never get tired of thinking about.

Many years ago, Esquire magazine asked: “If your life had one question, would your answer be yes or no?”


Samuel Beckett, the playwright, said, “The answer is no. Life is awful. Grimace and bear it.”


Isaac Singer said, “The answer is yes. Life is God’s novel. Help him write it.”

Saying Yes to life can mean many things. And only you can answer that for yourself.

But when I think about that Yes, I think about the great invisibles, the things money can’t buy. As poet Carl Sandburg wrote:

“Money buys everything…except love, personality, freedom, immortality, silence, peace.”

These “invisibles” are easy to overlook, and yet they can powerfully affect the tone and quality of our days, the aroma of our lives.

And sometimes all it takes is a quiet moment to think about what it might be like for me, this day, to say Yes to joy, to say Yes to courage, to say Yes, to compassion, to say Yes to wisdom, to say Yes to love.

So my wish for you is that you may you find yourself sustained and renewed by the power of your own whole-hearted Yes through the coming year.

For, as e. e. cummings wrote:

“Yes is a world, and in that world lie—skillfully curled—all worlds.”

Geoffery Moore

Love Is The Answer, And You Are Its Seed



We’re taking a break from the mystic poets for the holidays. And as my, sort of, holiday greeting to all of you, I want to remind you of these lyrics from the song, The Rose, by Amanda McBloom (popularized by Bette Midler):

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed


It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live


When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

 The appropriately named McBloom is reminding us of some important truths:

Death helps us love and live. If we’ll just remember and never forget that we are all just passing through, that life is short, that we’re only here for a while—then we’ll never, never make the mistake of thinking there is anything more important than love. Remembering death can help us love more freely, give more generously.

Love comes with pain. To care deeply, to care genuinely, to love freely—means that we will be hurt. As Paul Simon writes: “A rock feels no pain, an island never cries.” But to keep growing in love in spite of the pain, ah, the world needs folks like that.

Love is not just for the lucky and the strong. It’s not just for those who got the breaks. In the school of love, the kingdom of love, as Jesus put it, “the last shall be first, and the least shall be greatest.” (And that’s good news for people like me who feel they are still in kindergarten when it comes to learning how to love.)

The seed the world needs is in you and me. There is this precious treasure inside each one of us, a treasure that can make our life count and make our world better: this capacity for being brave enough to care, to be compassionate, to be kind…to love. You are its only seed. And you can cultivate that seed.

May you have a joyous and loving holiday season!

Geoffery Moore




The Dance Of The Fighter



Last week we talked about the Hero’s Path to Joy in Fairy Tales. To achieve a joyful life, the hero of the story must—in the face of any problem or setback—take three actions:

(1) Open up, embrace the situation, rather than closing down or hiding;

(2) Overcome, take decisive action rather than be overcome;

(3) Break through to joy.

But does that work in real life? Is it true that you and I can overcome anything?

On the one hand, I believe it is. But I also know it can be very difficult. We’ve seen Hafiz talk about the “harsh world that has rained elements of stone upon” our faces.

And there are times in life when you feel like a boxer, flat on the mat, as the ref counts: “7…8…9…” and everything in you wants to stay down.

Paul Simon talks about that struggle to overcome in his song, The Boxer:

In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade

And he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down

Or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his pain,

“I am leaving! I am leaving!”

But the fighter still remains.

 Here is what I believe: The fighter still remains…in you.

You’re a human being. And that means you are greater than the sum of all the things that would shut you down or try to drain your life and joy away. You are more important than anything and everything that has happened to you.

So imagine yourself, flat on that mat. You whisper to yourself: I can’t just give up! My life matters. My story matters. The people I love matter. Today matters.

And then, a little louder, you repeat Churchill’s words to the people of London during the WWII bombings: “Never, never, never, never, never, never give up.”

Then, slowly, painfully, you stand up. You do the dance of the fighter. You overcome, again and again and again. Because you have tapped into the heart of the fighter.

Your Very Own Real-Life Fairy Tale?



Last week, I hinted at an idea that runs through many Fairy Tales; it’s an idea that I think is very helpful as we each seek to live our own unique story. Here it is:

Any person can keep in step with the life that loves to happen if—in the face of stress, problems, failures, or hurts—that person will over and over again take three actions:

  • OPEN UP rather than close down. (We talked about this last week; the post is on the website.) This means accepting problems, embracing whatever happens.
  • OVERCOME rather than be overcome. Because there’s a lot to overcome in life.
  • BREAK THROUGH to joy.

We see this in the story of Hansel and Gretel. They’ve been abandoned in the woods and the birds have eaten the crumbs that could have guided them home. They are on their own in the world. No one is coming to their rescue! So how will they respond?

They could “close down” saying, “If only we had had better parents.” “If only there wasn’t this famine.” “If only this or that happened…we wouldn’t be here.”

But instead they Open Up. They embrace their situation, encourage each other, and begin looking for a way home, following a white bird.

They come upon a ginger bread house covered with candy—and on the surface, this looks very promising! But they are in for a severe disappointment.

(This is such a common human experience. We think, Oh, if I could just get that job, or just get that certain person to love me, or if this or that would happen, life would be so fantastic! And then…life happens.)

Here, the disappointment comes as a wicked witch who captures them and puts Hansel in a cage to fatten him up to be eaten. But Hansel and Gretel keep their wits and courage about them and find a way to Overcome—to take decisive action.

The witch tells Gretel to look into the oven and see if it’s hot enough (thinking to shove Gretel in), but Gretel senses what’s going on and pretends not to understand. So when the aggravated witch shows Gretel what to do, Gretel shoves her in the oven.

Hansel and Gretel find the witch’s treasure and find their way home for a joyful reunion with their father who regretted abandoning them (the step-mother has died).

With money to survive the famine, they “live happily ever after.” In other words, they Break through to the dance of a life that loves to happen.

Again and again, it’s the same story in Fairy Tales. And again and again, it’s the same story in life: Open up. Overcome. Break through to joy.

And what’s the treasure you bring home? It’s this: You get to be the one who has made the journey and learned the lessons and now brings a joyful tone to life—the one who is learning how to make life better at home, better at work, better in the community.

You get to be the hero of your own story.