Sunday, May 20, 2012


People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom? 

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

It may seem strange to have an entry about commuting on a blog about grief and gratitude. But I've been giving this some thought, so bear with me. For those of you that don't know, I live on an island that is a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. I've lived here almost 19 years and have never had to commute downtown to work. I've always been able to work within a ten-minute drive from my home (and believe me I've been grateful for that). Well that's all changing.

The organization where I have worked for almost 13 years-The Center for Courage & Renewal-has moved to downtown Seattle. So my days of the ten-minute commute have come to an end. I have joined the ranks of people who file onto the Washington State Ferries, for what has to be one of the most beautiful commutes around (gratitude). Right now, I am writing this (thanks to BOINGO) on the 7:05 am ferry on a Sunday morning. I just saw an eagle perched on a pylon. Seagulls are encircling the boat as we cross Puget Sound. It's overcast today, so Mt Rainer remains in hiding.

Seattle looms on the horizon, and the Cascades stand further off in the distance.

This will be a new venture for me, and I'm determined to make the most of the commute. I don't know exactly how I will use my ferry time--writing, reading, talking or just sitting and looking out the window. But I do know that rather than look at it as adding hours onto my workday, that with a little change of attitude I can put a positive spin on it and embrace the change. 

Closer view of Seattle

October 2011 sunrise from the bow of the ferry

So as I say goodbye to my old way of commuting and hello to my new mode of transportation, I want to close with an excerpt of a poem by John O'Donohue.  Our Executive Director opened with this at our first staff meeting last Thursday in our new office.  I hadn't seen this poem before, and feel it's a beautiful way to embrace a new space that one is about to inhabit (office or home). 

May this home be a lucky place,
where the graces your life desires
always find the pathway to your door.

May nothing destructive
ever cross your threshold.

May this be a safe place
full of understanding and acceptance,
where you can be as you are,
without the need of any mask
of pretense or image.

May this home be a place of discovery,
Where the possibilities that sleep
In the clay of your soul can emerge
To deepen and refine your vision
For all that is yet to come to birth.

May it be a house of courage,
Where healing and growth are loved,
Where dignity and forgiveness prevail;
A home where patience of the spirit is prized,
And the sight of the destination is never lost
Though the journey be difficult and slow.
May there be great delight around this hearth.
May it be a house of welcome
For the broken and diminished.

May you have the eyes to see
That no visitor arrives without a gift
And no guest leaves without a blessing.

John O'Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us


  1. That's such a lovely poem - thank you for posting it. I pray all that he says will be true for you, your colleagues and your clients in your new space, and as you commute - and in your home, as well.

  2. Robin, Just thinking about you as a commuter today. I will say that commute was a solace for me in many ways. now that I'm back on BI, I occasionally find myself wishing for it again. The water became a place to deposit many thoughts. Of the day and of this life. Enjoy. Much love, Teri

  3. Today I'm working at home (grateful for not commuting) but wishing I could pop down to Seattle Coffee Works (referencing another of your gratitude posts!) -- give it a try if you haven't already. The people are cool and friendly and the coffee is yummy.