Joan Fenold, LMFT

Psychotherapy for Individuals and Couples

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Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco

Inspirational Poetry

May you enjoy these readings.

Buddhist Inspired and Poems PoetryOur bodies, our minds, and even our souls are the abodes of love, not love itself. Love exists everywhere around us and permeates everything—it is the treasure of this world, and by its very essence it cannot be kept captive inside our own coffers.

True love exists beyond the people we love. When we understand this the expectations we place on others diminish: We are loved by existence itself, and so we don’t need to feel rejected or hurt when a partner or friend isn’t able to love us the way we wish. When our feelings depend on no one, we have attained a high state of realization–our love is our own, our happiness is our own; we are responsible for the way we feel and there is no longer any need to ask others to provide us with these states.

This is an important step on the path of love: Link your spirit to love itself, open your heart to existence, choose love as your spiritual journey and you will never be disappointed with humans.



Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
What you counted and carefully saved,
All this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness..

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
You must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
How he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes and sends you out into the day to mail letters
and purchase bread, only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say: It is I you have been looking for, and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye

The Guest House

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorable.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Mary Oliver

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow.
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals or if you have become
shriveled and closed from the fear of future pain!
I want to know if you can sit with pain; mine or your own,
without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own.
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful,
realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the “story” you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bare the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithful and, therefore, be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not present everyday.
And, if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure; yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes”!
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live
or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get
up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and
not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where, what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer