space for mystery

People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. ~ Richard Rohr



The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science… I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvellous structure of the existing world. ~ Albert Einstein

Third-eye seeing is the way the mystics see… I like to call it presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness. At that point, you either want to write poetry, pray, or be utterly silent. ~ Richard Rohr, The Naked Now

I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it. ~ Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

As winter approaches, we experience long nights and long spaces of continuous dark. While this can be difficult, long nights are also times for long dreams, reflections on what is possible. These are the spaces we foster on the page and in our writing group each week. We interrupt the long and empty space of the page with our words, the long and uninterrupted space of silences between us with witness.

In the space below, you’ll find an account of how we interrupted the long night.


Meditation and prayer are structural as one.
All things can be brought together.
I am so many different people:
a daughter, a mother, a sister,
an aunt, a grandmother, a friend,
but I am just one.
Gaze at the night sky,
the stars, the moon, glimmers of light,
they become beauty, brought together as one.
If you burn two candles,
bring them together, they form one.
The greatest mystery of the universe,
the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit,
three people – but just one.




Gazing, wondering,
I stare through my window
struggling to see what I cannot
as time goes on I want to know what I can
and I ponder…
What really matters?

Where are you now?
Where is she where is he where are we?
Will we be together or apart?
And will we know?
Who will finally remember?




The mystery of my life, the moments of total wonderment, a flash of clarity – a future laid before me, so much of the path hidden from my sight.

It is a mystery to realize that life and death are one, reincarnating across my existence.

I held my daughter to my naked chest and I felt the weight of her life in my heart. I died. I died and was born a mother, the sacred guardian of her journey. I could never unknow what it means to love her.

I sat there waiting, watching as Michael took his last breath. Relief was fleeting for as realization came that I would never again hold his gaze, I died. Heart torn from my chest I died and was born alone. Our time was gone and it could not come back.

I could never again be the same person I had been only seconds before.

I have died so many times. When my arms spread out beside me as I lay in the grass. The sky spread before my wondering gaze. And I knew I was small.

I could never be so big again. I pulled the glass from my arms, felt the telling lump on my cheek and I knew I was mortal. Confined to the same natural laws as others I could never again be cocooned in my teenage fancies.

I heard Chopin, just the piano and it moved my soul. I knew my spirit speaks in music. I could never unknow or deny that language again.

How much more do I die?

How much more will I be born to so much mystery?




Both women have begun to cry. But neither stops her song.

It’s going to take more than this to stop my song. It’s going to take more than a few tears or these floods of emotions that follow. To think that this weight I bear will sink me, I tell you that you’re wrong. Overboard was the only way and that’s that I did. Not by choice, but by fate maybe. Dare I say this all was never by chance but the thing that rattled my cage so severely that although the damage was irreversible, it created a new way…

brought light to the dark. The mystery lied in that space creating illusions only substance could make sense of. It’s funny how a small little bag or a tiny little pill creates the color needed to fill in the black.

Talk about mystical, huh? Kinda like a unicorn – you don’t ever see it, it’s just talked about and it will never actually materialize… the power it holds and the truth it will tell. What about the life it takes?

That is what brings the tears.

The song will always follow and it will

always stay the same.


7 thoughts on “space for mystery

  1. Frank Maurovich says:

    I came to these brilliant verses late but loved them all.
    I especially resonated with ER’s insight that “life and death are one.”
    We die to ourselves and are reborn to new life at various junctures.
    The mystery unfolds only in recognizing the death.


    • sarahwbartlett says:

      Thanks so much, Frank, for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. It means so much to these women to have comments from readers like yourself on the ‘outside.’ Love that you called them ‘brilliant verses.’ We’ll be sure to let the women – and EP in particular – know their/her words elicited such a response. Do come again!


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