Books

These books are available online from Amazon and other vendors. You may also contact Phyllis to purchase them directly from her.

Poetry of Presence:
An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems
(forthcoming, 2017)

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Mindfulness poems invite us to bring our whole self to whatever moment we’re in, and truly live it. They encourage us to be more present, more attentive and compassionate, in the living of our days. They grant us a taste of being good enough, just as we are, in this world, just as it is.

Poetry of Presence ($21.95; dimensions 6″ x 9″) is a collection of more than 150 mindfulness poems, mostly by contemporary or recent poets. These poems call us to the Here and Now, and help us to dwell there. The Here and Now is all that truly belongs to us, and as the poets say, it’s enough.

This is a book for the times we live in. An inspiring read for lovers of beautiful, accessible poetry, it’s also a valuable resource for literature teachers, spiritual directors, meditators, interfaith clergy, mindfulness trainers, social workers, counselors, poetry therapists, hospice and grief workers, and medical personnel.

Anthologized poets include Yehuda Amichai  •  Margaret Atwood  •  Ellen Bass  •  Wendell Berry  •  Robert Bly  •  Billy Collins  •  Mahmoud Darwish  •  Thich Nhat Hanh  •  Joy Harjo  •  Tony Hoagland  •  Miroslav Holub  •  Marie Howe  •  Erica Jong  •  Kabir  •  Galway Kinnell  •  Ted Kooser  •  Howard Nemerov  •  Kathleen Norris  •  Mary Oliver  •  Rainer Maria Rilke  •  Rumi  •  May Sarton  •  William Stafford  •  David Wagoner  •  Alice Walker and many more.

Learn more about the connection between mindfulness and poetry, the background of the editors, and what people are saying about Poetry of Presence.

The Book of the World:
A Contemporary Scripture
(2008)

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Imagine scripture created for today. Scripture intended not to replace other holy books but to offer alongside them its own poignant witness. Scripture written not by prophet or saint, mystic or messiah, guru or god, but by the world. Scripture nearly 3,000 verses long, woven from quotations from around the globe. Scripture whose creator is unknown and whose origins are a mystery. Scripture that first appeared on the Internet, only to be suppressed. Scripture meant not only to be read but also to be tested, and transcended.

Imagine it no more. That scripture is here. Phyllis had the privilege of editing and publishing this powerful book of contemporary scripture by an unknown author. Nearly 3,000 quotations from around the globe are woven together into a poignant witness to compassion, love for the neighbor, love for the enemy, care for the earth, and more. Perfect for use in daily devotions or group study. Note: This book (PDF) may also be read online or downloaded for free by clicking here.

The Emptiness of Our Hands:
A Lent Lived on the Streets
(2004)

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Join Phyllis and her friend James Murray as they voluntarily give up their homes for 47 days to live on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. A “life-changing” and “eye-opening” read! Phyllis and James didn’t go out on the streets to satisfy idle curiosity or experience a strange new world.  They didn’t go out to find answers to questions or solutions to problems. They didn’t go out to save anyone. They went out for one primary reason: to be as present as possible to everyone they met. In other words, they set out, in their own way, to love their neighbor as themselves. Doing so, they were reminded just how difficult the practice of compassion can be. This is a fully chronological account, perfect for use in daily meditation. Includes nearly 30 black and white photographs, most of them shot by James on the streets using crude pinhole cameras he constructed from trash. Appreciated by readers of diverse backgrounds. This book is also available as an e-book.

Supplements

The Emptiness of Our Hands: 10th Anniversary Blog. In February-April, 2009, Phyllis wrote a special series of daily blog posts in observance of the tenth anniversary of her experience living on the streets. Links to each of those 47 posts are provided below. Just click a day to read its entry. All posts contain a downloadable excerpt from The Emptiness of Our Hands and Phyllis’s reflections on it.

Though this blog series also stands on its own, it is best appreciated when read as a companion to the book:

Day 1 (“Doors), Day 2 (“Survivors”), Day 3 (“Ritual”), Day 4 (“Seconds), Day 5 (from “Indulgence”), Day 6 (“Romp”), Day 7 (“Squatting,” “Prospects”)

Day 8 (“West Bank”), Day 9 (“Community”), Day 10 (“Carpetbagger”), Day 11 (“Please Seat Yourself”), Day 12 (“Preaching”), Day 13 (“Good Move”), Day 14 (“Specimen”)

Day 15 (“The Professor”), Day 16 (“Beloved”), Day 17 (“Blue”), Day 18 (“Muster”), Day 19 (“Freedom”), Day 20 (“Shoe Swap”), Day 21 (“Bosom”)

Day 22 (“Pain and Wonder”), Day 23 (“Trash”), Day 24 (“Sobering Up”), Day 25 (“Home Movie”), Day 26 (“Robin Hood”), Day 27 (“Houseplans”), Day 28 (“Pick-Up Line”)

Day 29 (“Kinship”), Day 30 (“Dust”), Day 31 (“Feast Day”), Day 32 (“Gravity”), Day 33 (“Answers”), Day 34 (“Zippers”), Day 35 (“Neanderthal”)

Day 36 (“Missing”), Day 37 (“Dictatorship”), Day 38 (“Hostilities”), Day 39 (“Neutrality”), Day 40 (“Doomed”), Day 41 (“Fences”), Day 42 (“Custom”)

Day 43 (“Goodbye”), Day 44 (from “Staying [4]”), Day 45 (from “Spikes”), Day 46 (“Fire”), Day 47 (from “Sage” and “Silence”)