Morning Prayer 37/100. Scratch outs

“Scratch outs. It’s important to hold the line on scratch outs.”

Scratch outs

Scratch outs

Speaking was the department chairperson at the school where I began as an English teacher. He went on to explain that no paper was to be accepted if scratch outs that were total blackouts of a word or phrase. “Only single line scratch outs can we accept.”

That seemed severe, but I was new so I accepted it.

Until I confronted papers handwritten by 7th and 8th graders.

Most papers handed in were not riddled with cross outs. However when there was one, it was normally a heavy handed cross out, many lines totally hiding the misspelling or the improper usage.

I was supposed to return the paper, instruct the student that it was to be rewritten with no cross outs with more than a single line mark through.

Quickly I sense that for 12-13 year-olds, showing a mistake to the public (aka, one’s classmates and teacher) was emotionally wrenching. I understood. I was young enough then to remember being adolescent and ashamed of even the slightest error. In fact, had I not already progressed to typewrite and white-out for almost all my writing, I might have still obliterated every handwritten error under complete ink blots.

40 years later. I’ve no idea of the evolution of the department chairperson’s edicts. Like everyone’s, my writing evolved from typewriter to computer and so errors are pointed out automatically and vanish with a single click. I do still keep handwritten journals, lots of them.

Scratch outs

Scratch outs

And in them I write fast and so I make lots of mistakes. Recently I noticed that I use the headmaster’s no-no: the single-line strike out. And it’s for a reason I hadn’t thought through. It’s just happened. My writing hadn’t become mistake-free, for sure. But I have.

Mistake-free doesn’t only mean “without error.” It can also mean being free with my mistakes. That can mean being unrestrained in accepting them, admitting them, recognizing them, and even appreciating them — for what they let me learn.

So the single strike through lets me retain (and not repeat) the error. And that goes far beyond writing. The errors that I’ve made need not be hidden, wiped out, or painted over. They still give me lots to learn.

Maybe that’s what the department chair intended.

Teacher of Love and Joy,
I thank you for letting me know
I need not blot out all the errors
I have made.
I thank you for reminding me
all I can learn from mistakes.
I thank you most of all for filling me
with the wonderful truth
from forgiving myself,
from forgiving my Self.
A simple mark through lets me remember
it was an error
and lets me mark it out
and still see the good that I can take.
Thank you, Teacher, for releasing me
from the frustration of inking over every trace
of mistakes and letting them speak more loudly
from behind their ink covering.
Thank you for your Love and Joy.
And so it is. Amen.

Love and blessings,



Posted on September 22, 2015 at 5:30 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Change, Happiness, Inner Peace, Joy, Love, Oneness, Prayer · Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Morning Prayer 36/100. Skinned knees

Skinned knees were a pretty common occurrence before I was 10 years old. Not so common now, they happen still.

Fortunately, the older I’ve gotten, the fewer knee-first falls. While I don’t recall specifics of the long-ago scrapes, I do have clear memories of the latest few. Those recollections let me know these are different from my childhood abrasions in two ways.

First, they result from inattention. Maybe all my skinned knee came from my not paying attention. But as an adult, I should pay attention. I should be careful. I should consider where my next step may take me.

7 years ago I was running around the neighborhood. I came upon a rock and all I wanted to do was kick it down the street as I ran

Skinned knees

Skinned knees – slower heal

past. I didn’t look closely and see it wasn’t just a rock lying on the street. It was the iceberg tip. It was anchored so firmly that it didn’t move. Both knees took a skid.

2 years ago I was running around the neighborhood. I smiled and waved and said, “Good morning!” to a couple on the sidewalk. I didn’t pay attention to the 1-inch difference in the sidewalk’s concrete slabs. The tiny ledge made my toe pay attention and my knees say “good morning” to the pavement.

2 months ago Cindy and I were walking around Union Square in San Francisco.  I joyfully encouraged myself to pay attention to everything there was to see. My eyes raced 360° all around Cindy and me: people, store windows, skyscrapers, open-top tour buses. But I didn’t pay attention to the curb. I stepped off and kept stepping down onto my knee.

Here’s the second difference:  skinned knees take longer to heal  the older I get. But because they do, I’m given more encouragement to pay attention.

It’s like that with my spiritual being, too. I should know to pay attention; I’ve had years’ of blessings to help me pay attention to the grace and joy I receive from Spirit. Sometimes I tend to kick a little bother out of the way instead of releasing the boulder below the surface. Sometimes I don’t realize the little ledges I’ve created can (and probably will) trip me up. Sometimes I’m intent on looking at the world outside, and maybe I should curb that with more time and peace looking within.

Skinned knees can be blessings. Sort of.

Good Friend,
I affirm more attention,
closer attention,
better attention
to the Truth of your blessings.
Rather than scrape my knees
on ego-assumption that I can take care
of my problems, my challenges, my doubts,
my self,
I turn to you for guidance.
I open my heart to hear and see
where you lead me to,
what you guide me to do.
And if I skin my knees,
I thank you for the lessons learned
as together we heal my pain.
And so it is. Amen.

Love and blessings,



Posted on September 21, 2015 at 5:00 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Commitment, Energy, Gratitude, Happiness, Healing, Humility, Inner Peace, Life, Prayer, Strength · Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Morning Prayer 35/100. Flashlight blessing.

My flashlight blessing this morning sticks in my mind.*

Alex and I were walking well before dawn. Quite dark. I was carrying the short, almost pocket-sized flashlight. Alex had situated himself, leg-raised, alongside a mailbox post. I saw in the darkness a leaf by the curb.

Loving the crisp crackle-crunch from stepping on a dried leaf–especially in the total predawn stillness– I lifted my foot to step on it.

Flashlight blessing

Flashlight blessing

Something–thank you, God!–withheld my foot and clicked on my torch and aimed its beam at a hand-sized, squatted flat on the pavement frog! Very much alive. Very much not a leaf. Very glad I didn’t step. At least I was!

Sometimes all around us is well lit. We can clearly see what to do, where to step. Or where not to step.

Sometimes it’s like the pre-dawn dark and we need a flashlight blessing. We need some guidance from the flick of a switch and a light beam showing us where we’re about to go, letting us decide if that’s our path. Or not.

As Alex and I finished the walk, I was likely the only one thinking of the many times I’ve received a flashlight blessing and figuratively spared a frog. And truly spared myself.

God of Love and Light,
what a blessing to see where we’re going,
what we are about to encounter,
where we are about to take ourselves.
Your guidance and your love
give us that light,
allow us to understand and appreciate
all that surrounds and supports us.
With that clear sight we make out choice
of whether to proceed and in which direction.
Thank you, God, for shining light
along the path before us.
And so it is. Amen.

Love and blessings,




*Mind-sticky enough I went back out with flashlight and iPhone to capture “kermit’s” pic.

Posted on September 16, 2015 at 9:13 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Affirmation, Gratitude, Grounded, Happiness, Humility, Inner Peace, Life, Oneness, Prayer · Tagged with: , , , , , , ,