The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Prison or Prism

“Two men looked out from prison bars. One saw the mud, the other saw stars.” (I’ve seen it attributed to Frederick Langbridge and Dale Carnegie)


As this article is taking shape, the late afternoon into early evening sunlight is slanting through the half dome window in my living room, causing what since childhood, I have thought of as angel sliding boards. Dust specks dancing in the sunbeams that seem magical and not just evidence that I need to do more serious cleaning. I know that Spirit takes all kinds of forms and I welcome it into my life on a daily basis.

This morning, I was sitting in the midst of a standing room only gathering to say farewell for the second time in a week to my friend Bob Goodwin who joined the cosmic crew at 91. A photo sat on the table that also was draped with his minister’s stole with interfaith symbols embroidered on it, as well as a butterfly that one of the members of our community had found on the path while he was walking to church this morning. The butterfly is the logo for Circle of Miracles. To look at the picture, you would never know that this vibrant man had entered into the 9th decade of life. He was colorful, funny, alert, deeply spiritual, questioning everything, except love. And love is what was swirling around the room.


His wife, Hannelore is the minister of our interfaith community and although I imagine she was immersed in a whirlwind of emotion, she was ever the leader who used both humor and humility to share her message with us today. Vulnerability was evident as she told the tale of the journey that led her to that moment. She spoke on the topic….”If It Hadn’t Been For…” which called forth the idea that experiences; as painful as they might be, wind inexorably to where we are now. I loved the imagery she evoked, of prison vs. prism. We can keep ourselves locked behind imaginary cold, hard, impenetrable steel doors of fear and regret, reinforced with the belief that things will never improve OR we can view the events through a prism, which allows us to see reflections and multi-facets. Confinement or creative possibility? What if the very things we are experiencing are part of a grander plan?


As I look back on my own life, I can wholeheartedly agree that even the most tumultuous relationships, the deepest losses, the perceived rejections, the crises have been exercise equipment that made me stronger and more resilient. Still not convinced that everything is pre-planned and I do believe in free will, but I have a sense that there are soul agreements we make and God/Goddess/All That Is, has some kind of divine design in the works. Things are too cosmically coincidental not to be made of that stuff. Do I wish things had been easier at times?  Absolutely. I do know that every seemingly closed door allowed for the opening of a portal into another opportunity that I might have otherwise missed.

I would much prefer the rainbow hued dancing light that allows me to see infinite possibility than the darkness of imprisonment with the fear of a life sentence.


  • kimkrauseberg

    My first time hearing Rev. Hannalore speak, and her honesty, humor, grace and leadership, and absolute composure, are things I will remember forever. What an example! Her use of the prism as the prop was perfect. I thought often of my sister, who runs a program for women at a prison, who are heroin addicts and suffer from other things. It would be interesting to explore people, like her, who bring the prism into prisons and what they learn and see.

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