Is a thought, emotion, physical sensation or outside stimulus bugging you at the moment? Like an irritating mosquito? Is something in the news, at work, in a personal relationship or in your own nature bringing you down? Is a memory reactivating a feeling of sadness or a future event igniting anxiety prematurely? And if you were in a lovely aligned space, are you still there?

Sometimes when I am wrestling with an experience, I begin to hear words and phrases in my head. I often record them, and sometimes they lead me to writing a poem. As I put my thoughts and feelings outside of my head, I sometimes access a higher vision and guidance. I find my way back to consciously choosing my thoughts and creating a reality aligned with my highest good and intention. 

This poem helped me with the external sounds and also with my inner response to noise and challenging life events.  The pivotal moment for me, and the last line I wrote, had to do with letting go of wanting to control.  Maybe you can think of a similar experience in your life.  How do you make peace with what is or find your way home?


                  Holy Mystery


Their incessant chatter grabs my attention.

This sound, like twenty typewriters pounding,

Like jackhammers tearing up the ground,

Who is making all this racket?

I struggle to break free, to focus on something else,

But this noise will not stop, and my mind will not let go.


As I walk down our hill, the cacophony increases.

How can our new neighbors stand this noise,

Piercing the morning air, poking like needles inside my brain?

I love animals, but where is my father’s shotgun?


The neighbors are outside, so I ask.

Their main complaint is the mess of feathers and poop

On their patio and in their pool.

Slowly I realize, these are not insects

Or aliens from outer space.

They are babies,

Babies of the birds that stop me in my tracks,

Great soaring masters of movement and stillness.

This noise is the song of a blue heron nursery

Ensconced in these towering redwood trees.


Awe opens my eyes, cranes my neck.

I look up to watch the great grey-blue wings

Swoop in and kiss those small squawking beaks

Filling with sustenance and comfort.

The sight of so many singing mouths

Fills me now with amazement.


I thank my winged friends and wander home

To soothe my ruffled feathers, to tame my wild mind,

And to surrender what I can’t control, 

These noisy birds, my cranky ankle,

My brother’s death by drink he could not stop,

My aging parents, whose hearts I cannot heal.

I choose again to accept 

And to love this world and myself

In all our holy mystery.


Wendy von Oech       2019


The photograph of the baby Blue Herons was taken by my brother Dave Caldwell at a heronry in Florida.   Dave is an amazing photographer and lover of the natural world.