an experiment with love

52 - Give thanks. Every morning. Every night. Give thanks.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love.

Not so much romantic love or family love but big, broad, deep eternal love. Love like Mother Earth has for all life. Love between the sun and the sky.

The Middle Eastern poet Hafiz once wrote: “And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.”

Contemporary poet Elizabeth Alexander asks “What if the mightiest word is love?” and US public broadcaster Krista Tippett in her wonderful book “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” writes:

“Spiritual geniuses and saints have always called humanity to love, as have social reformers who shifted the lived world on its axis. When the civil rights leaders began to force a reckoning with otherness in the 1960s, they did so in the name of love. The political, economic aspirations of this monumental work of social change in living memory grew from an aspiration to create a ‘beloved community'”.

In my book “the dharma of surfing” there is a little wisdom that goes like this:

“We have within us a capacity to love all of life without judgement or exclusion, like the ocean.  What if we are all from the one source of life, one infinite, eternal energy? Then all life is one.

“The ocean accepts all in her waters: whales, whalers and protectors; predators and prey alike without judgement or exception. So too the sun and the moon and the sky. There is deeply challenging wisdom in Mother Nature.”

26 - We have within us a capacity to love all of life without judgement or exclusion, like the ocean...

Photograph by Scott Johnson

I’ve been wondering whether, in this physical human form, it is possible to hold, to express, to BE such love? And then I remember Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, St Francis of Assisi, Jesus Christ, Buddha…

And so I recently wrote a poem called An Experiment with Love

Is that a number between
1 and 10?
Or a colour with which to describe
grace or beauty or compassion or wonder?

The soft breath of Autumn roared into
a howling westerly when we
crossed the threshold of June and now
I sit at the window, writing,
with a pink woollen scarf wound up to my ears,
while the forest bends over backwards
under cloud.

Election campaigns are frothing here and
in the US, pitched presidential battles
look anything but promising.
But in the crack that runs through the
middle of everything
I experiment with love.

What if I become one of the ones who
refuse to hate?
Not Trump, not Murdoch, not Rinehart, not Palmer.
What if I allow them space without derision?
This also, is my experiment of spirit,
To explore the broken edges without closing
my heart to the world; 
To remember I am kin to the sea and the sky
and live openly under the sun, dedicated
to the wave and the water and all life.

When I sit on my cushion in the sacred room and breathe,
the inhale fills my belly like food and
the exhale joins the mindstream of eons if
I am present.

The heart can handle anything that arrives at the doorway of our lives.
We could become peace.

blue is the colour of my love

You’ve got to hand it to Mother Nature, when she sends an east coast low through South East Queensland we all get to feel her might. And that’s what we’ve felt over the past 24 hours as swells reached about 4 metres and winds hit 85-95 knots.

On Friday before the low hit, lots of us raced out for a surf before the swell got out of hand and the forecast nor’easterly gale hit.

The water was glassy and grey.  We played for hours in fun 2 foot waves. And we watched the most astonishing light show in the sky and across the horizon.

surfboards, sky, EC low

Mountainous brooding cumulous piled upon themselves to the heavens. Wherever the sun broke through it shivered across the sea in scattered pathways.

At one stage we couldn’t see approaching waves because the colour of the ocean merged entirely into the sky.

That experience combined with the following 24 hours of howling wind and rain- storm brought back memories of one of the first poems I wrote in about 2008-09 called “blue is the colour of my love”:

in the utter peace of dawn

a world of hanging mist and forest blur


after night’s mayhem

of tidal-wave winds

and squalling rain flung against shivering windows.

there in deep shadows beneath exhausted trees

is midnight blue

the colour of my love.

silent mystery in pools of exhaled air

gasping, i climb towards the surface

on a ladder of streaming sunlight

and silver webs.

this blue of love is new.

never have I seen such depth and dimension

and all the while the casuarinas flower and lyre birds caroll

colliding in yugambeh-land language.


the day was still

poised on a cliff edge

as crows scrawled symbols across the sky.

reading bird talk is an ancient art here

and shadows mark the way.


how blue is my love?

as deep as the forest in this silent soil

as vast as the ocean of peace

home is the place my heart now sleeps.

Rock, sky, EC lowSurfers, sky, EC low


into the temple

Into the Temple

In my relatively short surfing life Thursday morning’s sunrise offered new levels of depth.

There were no horizon clouds so as I paddled out, that immense ball of fire silently exhaled straight out of the sea.

Just a few blokes were out the back on their boards – in full black steamers silhouetted against the sky. And as I paddled into the lineup there was silence and stillness…everyone was transfixed by the rising sun.

It felt like paddling into a temple of monks and it brought me a little undone actually, to experience such a shared moment of sacredness in this most secular of societies.

When I caught my first beautiful wave the sun was at my back and the newly-waning moon still shone almost overhead. It was a tender moment of open-heart and open-mind and as my wave sighed to a close, I could only bow in thanks for something so much bigger than me.

“Wherever you are is the entry point” Kabir


dawn surf temple