Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Praise and Unspoken Gratitudes



I wish I could bring you with me on walks around the island.  I snap photographs and jot notes in my notebook, receiving words and poems.


Here is this morning’s poem……..

There are undreamed dreams inside you.
Might you name a few?

There are some hopes that were dashed and are jagged –
could you breathe them into repair?

And what of praise and unspoken gratitudes-
begin to speak them in every moment.

Speak them and feel your life turning
from worry into song.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff


Love That Is A Lamp

Here is a poem about Love; married love; enduring love….
from my book,
What Holds Us.  (photo credit unknown)

Love That is a Lamp

Give me a story
with a gorgeous
ebbing shoreline
a few green fields
a modest house
a garden
and enduring love
not the
heat that could
burn a village
but a love steadfast
aware of its own
good fortune
love that is
a lamp unto itself
longed for
and held
an inner ember
in its knowing
told and retold
perhaps simply

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff,
from the Book What Holds Us

my word for the year… chose me

Lucy Vincent at Dawn

I enjoy the popular practice of choosing a word for the year to help focus intention and awareness.  I love words, so many words.  I delight in opening them up, living with, and exploring within them.  But this year’s word?  My spirit says “Yes!” My ego says, “OY!”   And as if this were a game of scabble, I keep trading my chips in for new ones.  But when I become still and ask for a word, this is the word which comes…  It’s a loaded word and a very private word.  It’s a word I often leave unsaid between the lines.   My husband the historian is very cautious of this word, and I deeply respect his feelings.  My Unitarian Universalist friends call this the “G word,”  and I’ve watched it shut people right down.  In many ways, I’ve spent my life seeking substitutes for this word- ways to describe that sweet and indescribable awareness of Life’s Divine Presence- without triggering old concepts, grievances or philisophical misunderstanding.   In any case, it is the word inviting me into itself- the word which seems to contain every other word.  And so, I give myself to it. I offer my days to its company.  And I wonder what the year will bring- in acceptance, in adventure, in friendship, and in growth?



This year I choose God –
a word which baffles and worries
even my closest friends;
a word so vast to contain
all other possible words;
and a word which chose me once,
but I hadn’t the will to receive it.

Instead, one year I decided
my word to explore would be Joy,
and then I found that joy is how
God lives and loves inside me.
Another year I chose Grace,
which unfolded the revelation
that grace is a beautiful word
for the way that God loves and lifts and holds us.

And Love, I’ve learned the long way, is another word for God…

Divine Spaciousness, Fullness, Oneness ~
I delight in this exploration –
yet how I’ve tiptoed, dancing around
the central fact within each of these words.

I’ve chosen Essence, Bliss, Forgiveness,
Compassion, Wonder and Spirit…
Beloved, Friendship, Sacred,
Beauty, Service & Soul –
and each year found that these are
among God’s sweetest, most favored disguises.

And then, in a time of unravelling,
searing darkness, grief and pain,
the most nourishing word was still God.

So this year, with shy surrender,
I offer my life and my being
to this word which blossoms inside me –
though I know not how or why;
a word which chose me once long ago,
that I accept now and also choose.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff


Stay With this…


There is a trail just beyond my home that I wish I could share- to invite others to come and walk with me, to be transported by its beauty.


May you craft a life that honors
the deep longing for love and meaning
with delight in the human, the holy,
and spacious friendship with your soul.

May you remain open to the secret ways
that come to you in dreams,
with a keen ear for the soul’s wisdom
and a heart that trusts the unknown.

And if your life ever darkens or narrows,
allow your soul’s grace to guide you
and remind you in times of sorrow
to breathe kindness into your days.

May you receive the gifts your soul gives you,
and share them in love and oneness,
knowing the sweet joy of living
from the essence of your being.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff
from the new book, Befriending the Soul


New Book! Befriending the Soul

When you do things from the soul,
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.



I’m very happy to announce the arrival of Befriending the Soul.   It is my deepest joy to create books that contribute to the practice of Lectio Divina: spiritual reading ~ both for personal reflection and for retreat settings.  With Befriending the Soul, I’ve compiled 90 pages of inter-faith contemplative passages:  imaginative poetry, journal notes, windows and words that celebrate a life of oneness with the soul.  I offer them to warm and encourage your journey into the deep presence of your life, and I hope they instill a rich sense of love, blessedness, belonging, divine imagination, and joy.

Below, and on the product detail page, are just a few excerpts- but they just aren’t the same as holding the book in your hands.  All unattributed passages are written by me.  I’m so excited to send you this book!  There is a discount for multiple copies- this is a lovely gift for students and friends.

Oh, and the beautiful art on the cover is a bluebird etching by Beldan K Radcliffe- a friend and fellow Night Heron Gallery partner.  To see more of her art, you may visit her website here.

Joy is the realization of the truth of our oneness –
the oneness of our soul with the world soul,
and of the world soul with supreme Love.

~Rabindranath Tagore

  When I allow myself to live from the soul, it feels as if I am returning home to the most natural way of being- a relaxed state of love, spaciousness, and infinite belonging~of oneness with all.  By oneness I mean that I keep receiving the sense that we are all part of one great family, and yet something so much more: we are part of one great everything, like cells in an infinite body, waves in an eternal sea.  In these moments of soul realization, nothing else matters. The longer I remain within them, the greater they become, sometimes stretching for hours or even days.  The lonely mental discourse of plotting, pushing and judging ceases, and I feel the inkling of a warm and trusting energy subtly radiating and expanding beyond all bounds~ the bounds of the body, the bounds of thought… the bounds of how I’ve imagined myself and the universe to be.

~Journal notes


This soul, or life within us,
by no means agrees with the life outside us.
If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks,
she is always saying the very opposite
of what other people say.
~Virginia Woolf


The more we invoke, converse with, bless ~
become intimate with the soul, the more our soul becomes a close friend ~
not simply a far-away, lost, or chance encounter.
This requires a life full of spaciousness ~
with uncluttered times and places.
Within this spaciousness, we develop personal
daily practices of communication and caring,
remembrance, awareness, intimacy, and friendship
with the indefinable, animating part of us which
is engaged with ~ and one with ~ the deep, wide, infinite,
divine mystery that is life, our life, all of life.


Above all, practice
being loyal to your soul.
~John Roger


… Your soul knows you best…loves you….forgives you….judges not…. Waits patiently…. Cheers you on…. Sees where you are going…. Knows where you have been… knows your gifts and talents, even before you do… loves you to feel joy… thrives on your deepest joy… radiates divine presence right through the essence of your being…. Soul holds your laughter and your weeping, your beauty and belonging, and waits for you to awaken to
the truth of who you are.


The best soul-mate you will ever find is to be
in friendship with your own soul.


Trust the secrets soul whispers in your ear.

It’s not the earthquake
that controls the advent
of a different life
but storms of generosity
and visions of incandescent souls.

~Boris Pasternak


Put your ear down close to your soul
and listen hard.

~Anne Sexton

We are all wanderers on this earth~
our hearts are full of wonder
and our souls are deep with dreams.
~Gypsy proverb

The Great Oneness Dancing


   We are all part of God,
   The Great Oneness Dancing~
   You and I and the songbirds;
   crickets and the trees swaying in the wind;
   the people on the street;
   the creatures of the woods;
   flowers in the garden;
   every drop of rain…

   Alight with this knowing,
   the soul stretches out
   in every direction
   with an un-containable love…

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff
from the book, BEFRIENDING THE SOUL 

The Soul Is Like A Wild Bird…

This is a corner of the parchment of Soul Wisdom, from Soul Blessings Gift Bags…
Poem from the book, BEFRIENDING THE SOUL