Imagine the idea that you are the center of the universe
Is true. Imagine from where you stand a big bang unfurls creating everything around you.
Of course, some big bangs will be experienced as whispers,
Or deep sighs of acceptance after years of working hard to simply trudge
Another step. Imagine the universe blossoming through your blossoming;
That all space and time is hereby localized in you.
Imagine being a focal point of God’s light, an emissary of the moment—
The very ways and means of God’s omnipotence. Imagine it’s you and I
And every sentient being experiencing being alive all at the same time.
Imagine galaxies gracefully unfolding their arms from the center of your heart,
Stars forming from a single thought, planets set to spinning from an impulse
Imagine self-centeredness being a blessing.
Imagine it meaning something altogether different
From what we usually think it means.
Imagine it means the complete desire to serve and to share,
To create and to inspire, to let go of rather than hold on to.
Imagine it is the way in which we imagine self-centeredness
That selfishness of the most terrible kind arises.
Imagine opening your eyes and seeing everything revolve around you,
And imagine everyone else doing the same, so that everyone would see together
Through their own unique lens the eternal dance of now.
Imagine God seeing through you,
Breathing through you,
Thinking and loving and touching through you,
And the gift is you get to feel what it’s like
To be light,
To be breath,
To be a vessel
Imagine then your choice in all of this is whether or not
To close yourself off and turn away, or to be yourself–
An absolutely true center of the universe.
Imagine making your decision and then turning towards the momentum
And joining the dance.
I will fumble for the right words,
Old ideas I’ve built around how I think
Everything should go will crumble,
And there will be no doubt that again
And again I will stumble and fall.
I will bumble a big deal.
I will mumble telling the truth.
I will grumble when following
Someone else’s directions.
My thoughts will become entangled
In a jumble of feelings.
And through it all, the stomach of my soul
Will rumble with hunger for You, and You alone.
Along the way, which is of course, here and now,
The earth will be calling my name,
And as I draw closer to You, You will somehow
Tie heaven and earth together as I kneel
And allow my self to be lifted and placed
Securely in the lap of the way it is,
Where all of the fumbling and crumbling,
Stumbling and bumbling, mumbling
And grumbling, jumbling and rumbling
Will settle where it needs to be,
Which is in the sacrament
Of the present moment and me being
Joseph Anthony Petro
I am a runner. I have spent my whole life
Up to this point running from things.
Pain, for example. I run from pain,
And the past, the future, and the truth
Of myself. Sometimes I run long distances
Before even realizing I’m running; but there I am
Running—things flying by in my wake and there’s no time
To lose. Sometimes the road gives way
And a ledge or a wall suddenly appear
And I find myself collapsing out of nowhere
Into a ball of exhaustion and shame.
Sometimes I run headlong into the very things
I am trying to avoid since they feel
So strangely familiar. And sometimes
Time does the running for me, like
On the days I lose myself staring at the ceiling
As the summer afternoon runs by my window, like
A ribbon of light filled with the sounds
Of children playing and lawn mowers
And passing airplanes.
Lately, another more tragic truth has revealed itself:
I also run from things no one should ever
Feel compelled to run from. Things like
Joy—pure, unadulterated joy. Joy that encompasses
Pleasure both earthly and heavenly—joy
That doesn’t know the difference between the two;
Joy that includes perfection and imperfection,
Fullness and emptiness and once again,
Could care less which is which. Joy that’s comprised
Of puddles, whimsy, praise, and just the right amount
Of mischief. And most of all a joy constituted
With divinity—the steady, ringing divinity
That shimmers just below the surface of all things.
Sometimes I run from that very joy.
Today I see and accept that I am a runner,
And in this moment—this one, this one right here
I choose to pause, collect myself, breathe and focus
And hone in on joy. I see it up ahead,
It looks like a field of darkness illuminated by a carnival of fireflies,
It looks like a horizon blooming with light and song.
I see it. I breathe it. I taste it. It’s there.
So here I go, I’m running again,
Only this time I am going to run straight towards joy,
And I am going to keep on running
No matter what anyone says or does not say,
No matter what anyone does or does not do,
No matter what happens or does not happen,
No matter what appears to be or actually is—
I am going to keep on running until the running
Becomes dancing and then I’m going to run some more
Towards what I was and what I am created for.
I am a runner and I am going to run towards joy.