The Stuff We Stay Alive For . . . Helping Us Be More Fully Conscious!


zen stones


My favorite quote from the movie “Dead Poets Society” keeps resurfacing in a variety of life situations and helpful applications:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.”  ? N.H. KleinbaumDead Poets Society

I’m a growing writer and don’t think of myself as a poet…..but there are times when I have such a strong, overpowering feeling that is difficult to convey in prose alone. There needs to be a combination of just the right words that go beyond the mundane, like colors of paint and musical notes, touching the heart, absorbing it’s truth in the only way livable. To me, that’s poetry. Perhaps that’s why song writers often do their best work during deep losses/depression in their lives, finding just the right combination which opens the healing floodgates—for themselves and us!

But don’t take my many words for it, here’s a great iTunes App I found just last night advertising on my Facebook page:

poetry App


Even if you have the slightest interest in poetry, its a BEAUTIFUL app that not only gives you a number of favorite classical poems, but is user friendly, even allowing the writing and audible recording of ones own poems. And best of all…..IT’S FREE! 

Again, don’t take my words for the POWER of poetry, here are some delicacies of my favorite poet, RUMI:

best rumi painting


rumi 1



rumi 2




rumi 3



rumi 4


rumi 5 field out there



rumi 6 repeat field out there



And a few more below to peruse that illustrate to me the very truths that I have held dear for years, being pounded into my mind and heart through losses, accidents, joys,  sadness and sorrow—healing balm for a growing and more fully awakened heart and life!

Enjoy…..and Keep Shining even more brightly as you apply ‘the stuff we stay alive for!”

~ Ken.


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” 


“What you seek is seeking you.” 


“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 


“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” 


“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” 

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”


“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” 


“Knock, And He’ll open the door
Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.” 


“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” 

My Friend Jim . . .




     My good friend Jim of 20 years died just a few months ago on March 9th, 2013. He was an enlightening-inspiration to me ~ always upbeat, spiritual, a first class conservationist of God’s creation—a kind of Renaissance Man and always a soft spoken gentleman…..a real gentle man.  (You can read more if interested from the link at the bottom of this page).     

      For the past twenty years I would stop by his cluttered ‘junk shop’ that housed so many special treasures he collected on his thousands of walks in the woods during his life—he was always out walking, and so much more. I often say he was responsible for restoring the bluebird population in our area by building and installing dozens of bird houses along the Beaver Islands Trail. He also replanted hundreds of trees in the woods near his home and beautifully landscaped the river across the street where his little shop lay—and that’s just a tiny fraction of his outdoor generosity!

      Not only have we spent time together in the Boundary Waters, but he assisted a number of my friends in installing new windows in our 3 season porch—he was always giving, always talking about a new hiking adventure and always growing in his faith and God’s creation around him. When I wrote my book this past year, he and his shop were an inspiration one morning as I walked in and saw the new sign he had written. Here is that opening excerpt:


New-Old Signs In My Life
This morning I read a new sign that Jim, an amazing elderly friend, had written and was displaying over his workbench:
Jesus, help me get to know your voice so that I can stay in the safety of your fold. Thank you for your unfailing and faithful love. 
I liked that, but I liked the one below it even better:
Whatever you are doing, find God in it.
Our resources for devotions are as varied as
our imaginations.
     This past week I went back to Jim’s shop for the first time since his death….it was like he never left. As I walked into the crowded, magical space, this same sign, in his own handwriting, was waiting to greet me, welcoming me back. I was moved, and brought it home to that same porch Jim worked on, displaying it in the center of my ‘altar’ area.  It is a treasure! Today I took this picture:
3 season porch pic
       For the past twenty years, I could drop by anytime to visit Jim in his shop, and when he wasn’t there, I’d leave a note, and for years he responded. That old clip board was still on his work table, loaded with our notes back and forth . . . It reminded me of a verse in Revelation that is so fitting for Jim:
       Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Rev. 14:13)
       Blessed is Jim….he is resting from his labors…finally HOME. Blessed am I for knowing him, as his deeds have followed, deeply touching my life and the lives of so many others. 
       Having almost finished reading the near death experience of Dr. Eben Alexander in his book Proof of Heaven I have no doubt that Jim is fully free,  taking his greatest hikes, encountering the most incredible vistas!
     Dear Jim, I will not say goodbye, but I will say ‘Aufwiedersehen’ ~ “I will see you again!” 
Your friend in time….and beyond….
~ Ken.