Posts Tagged ‘life’


Porous to Life

Written by Jacob Nordby on . Posted in Blog



I only know one way to keep or regain a passion for life.

The word is porous.



Able to be penetrated by

Capable of being drenched all the way through


There are as many ways of living as there are humans, but there are two main ways of being which determine how much we can absorb of this thing called life:

Open or Closed.

You and I, well, here we are. We were born naked and shivering. I was and so were you. Tabula rasa–soft, fragile blank slates. We had no choice except to experience everything. At first we screamed and pooped and crawled around and stuck our fingers into wall sockets, potted plants, ant hills, and that jar of delicious face cream on mother’s vanity stand in the bedroom. We crayoned walls and family heirlooms, we stripped out of our diapers and wandered around the front yard delighted by the grass tickling our naked skin.

Before long, though, we learned. We ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and nothing could ever be the same again. One bite at a time we discovered how unsafe it was to be a walking, talking experiencer-of-everything.

Remember the time you were jumping around, telling a story and suddenly noticed that they weren’t looking at you? Their eyes were glassing over and maybe you caught the shake of a head or a cruel little laugh barely veiled.

But you learned. Oh, yes you did, and so did I.

And in the learning, began to close the portals of ourselves. One at a time, in subtle, quiet ways, we plugged those chinks in the armor. 

The armor was heavy but it was safe inside there. We learned how to block out experiences and how to numb ourselves against pain and fear.

You’ve seen them, these armored souls. They grow shells of spirituality or cynicism or optimism or whateverhow-important-you-are other -ity or -ism they use to keep out the freezing rains of life.

You know them because you can only ever talk to the outside of this shell. You ask a question. Something curious, an invitation to tell you something true. What you get in return is a mantra–a memorized phrase designed to fend off your thrust of interest. It can appear so beautiful, too. An elegant, sugarcoated, wise-sounding response is often as much a shield as anything hard or brutal might be. 

We can’t blame them or ourselves for cladding the tender, passionate spirit of us in this way, either. Though it limits our movement, this unporous armor keeps out the badness of life–helps us feel safe enough to get out of bed and mingle with those terrifying others out there.

But it’s no way to live. If someone told you that they would keep you safe, feed you every day and be sure that nothing would alarm you so long as you would agree to live inside a prison cell with only that one high barred window showing a patch of sky, would you do it?

Probably not. 

Because what is a life of safety if it means cutting off our senses? Would you cut off your arms to guarantee that you’d never be burned or put out your eyes to be sure that you could not see ugliness?

But this is what we do to our spirits in tiny, invisible ways every day when we choose Closed instead of Open.

So what does it mean to live porously?

  • It means remembering to (as often as possible) unbuckle the armor and step out of it into naked experience.
  • Look strangers in the eye.
  • Say that honest thing which has been hiding inside but, if said, will set you free.
  • Speak a non-rhyming, spontaneous poem at the sunrise. 
  • Read a book which goes exactly opposite of all your beliefs.
  • Stand on the ridge of a hill and let the wind blast your face, then imagine that your body isn’t a solid block but able to let everything blow through.
  • Risk loving deeply.
  • Do something uncalculated and stay absolutely curious because that intense, passionate child living inside you just wants to know what happens next.

Oh, and much more important than any list of ideas I might offer, the main thing is to take this moment–the one right here–and swan dive into it without looking first. Just ask, “What feeling is this?” then say, “Oh, hello Feeling. Tell me all about yourself. I know you won’t stay here long but you have so much to teach me.”

In the real world, I’ve learned to notice my body and the signals it sends. If I sense my jaw clench or my body contract, that’s a sign to remind me that I’m closing down on something which hurts or I am afraid to feel. This reminds me to take a deep breath, and open my body and mind to whatever has showed up in this moment. Opening, opening, opening…again and again. Body, mind and spirit.

And what is the payoff for living like this? There must be some great reward or it wouldn’t be worth the risk.

The reward is death.

Death of boredom. Death of fear. Death of that petrified shell which keeps everything and everyone out. Death of what is not alive. Death of cynicism. Death of death.

And when you, I, we begin to live this way, we change the world. Because the world is begging for change, but not merely for change’s sake. It wants to remember. It wants to recover what came before the first bite of that fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wants to know that it can use all the experiences and learnings but somehow regain its senses.

Don’t do it for the world, though. That’s too big, too much to ask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your children. Do it because there’s no other way to “…live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”.


The only real question any of us must ask if we wish to live in this way is, “can I keep opening myself to myself again and again, as long as I live?”


You know porous people as soon as you meet them. It isn’t that they are always nice, or make you feel good. The thing is, they’re real. They’ll look in your eyes and ask you an honest question. They are quick to laugh at themselves. They are raw, they listen, they watch. They have courage to get up in the morning and do what must be done whether they feel like it or not. They go all in. They try things. They fail faster. If you are reading this, you are probably one of those people.



“You can’t know this right now, but…
your ragged, rugged honesty…
your crazy, passionate, naked vulnerability…
your trusting plunge into the unknown of Life at every turn…
your journey of love and healing…
these change your world, the world of those around you and the world as a whole.
Someday you’ll know how important you are.”



woodlands castle door

Just Keep Living

Written by Jacob Nordby on . Posted in Blog

woodlands castle door


Just keep living,
but that’s not all.

Constantly open your eyes,
and not only the ones on your face.

Find yourself in commonplace moments,
with all your senses alive.

Let your invisible ears burn
with the hidden music of everyday things.

Feel the surge of your heart
as it sallies forth into adventures beyond.

Tune the nerves in your fingers and nose
to tingle when spirits are near.

For the world is honeycombed with secrets,
doorways and windows wait everywhere.

Everything is more than it seems, 
but nothing is, too.

And life delights to open to those
who know the secret knock.


Jacob Nordby


A Razor’s In The Peach

Written by Jacob Nordby on . Posted in Blog


A Razor’s in the Peach

A Poem To Life
Jacob Nordby

For me, like biting into a summer peach
with a razor’s blade hidden
inside its flesh,
Life’s pain and sweetness
Raw and shocking,
But still so sweet.

Given the choice to foreknow
the juice that runs down my chin
Will soon be mingled with tears
and lifeblood.
I still take the bite
of Life
With no hesitation.

For I have come to just treasure the experience of life
…all of it…
Its raw, windswept,
Sunrise-laden, barefoot shit
and splendor.

Time changes all.
Into time everything is birthed
Out of time,
everything dies
But is reborn again
Like another moonsparkle
on an ocean wave.
We rise and shine
and fall back into the great Sea
to rise again
Another way perhaps.
But for now we shine
and that is enough.



(P.S. The unbearable, sweet shortness of life makes me want to be a miserly, reckless spender of joy – an obsessive profligate, never wasting a second’s opportunity to love and live with abandon. Doesn’t it you, too?  JN)



Photo Credit: Kyoto Sasaki

What If Life

Written by Jacob Nordby on . Posted in Blog

What if Life?

a poem of imagination by Jacob Nordby Press Play to hear this poem read by the author  

awake sunrise violinWhat if now we listened to Life as it seeks to celebrate through us?

What if, as we sit here beating our hearts and growing our hair and fingernails as if these things were no uncommon miracles, what if we suddenly understood that they are? What if we tune, in this moment, to the grand song Life is singing through us always and all ways? What would become of ourselves if we stood on the windswept mountain and faced the reflection of our own nature in the rising sun without fear?

What if now we slowly awakened from an old, old dream of smallness and the fog just…melted….from our minds?

What would we do with these golden moments of time if suddenly we glimpsed the power of Who We Really are? No, I mean now. Not in some other place or with some other people or after we have lived a thousand more lifetimes to grind away the hardened shell of unworthiness


What if in your eyes…and yours…and yours….and my own I could glimpse the sly, gorgeous Divine peeking out through brown windows, or blue or gray or green or whatever gemstone color they might be? How would Life be if all this came true…was true…and no other lie could ever be remembered again?

What if there were only one possibility?

What if Life and more life and more and more, forever brighter and better and free-er was the only way things could ever be? Would we put down our heavy old armor and simply play as beautiful children in this landscape of all possibilities? What if, you know?

What if Life…

Author’s Note: The What If life is one in which we engage our powerful, creative imagination and hold the vision of our own world as it can be. This pure curiosity is a pied piper which plays a different tune and leads us beyond the edge of our common maps.
  jacob nordby Jacob Nordby is the author of The Divine Arsonist: A Tale of Awakening. He lives in Boise, Idaho and is currently writing Blessed Are The Weird People.  He hosts a weekly show on the Empower Radio network titled Blessed Are The Weird.  

When Death Affirms Life: The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

Written by Jacob Nordby on . Posted in Blog

Do you ever wonder what will happen after you die?



If you’re like most people, you don’t like to think about it too much. Death is, after all, an inevitability wrapped in mystery. 

And what if you didn’t live a “good” life? Are you punished for your misdeeds?

Many of us grew up believing that death was the end of all our chances, the termination of our personhood as we have known it, and a point at which we would be judged worthy of heaven or hell.

What if none of that is true?

I had the opportunity to interview Annie Kagan who released her new book, “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers” for Blessed Are The Weird radio show a couple of days ago.

She wrote this book after her brother, Billy, was killed when he was hit by a car. He didn’t live an easy life. Many would say he didn’t live a virtuous life, either. But he returned to communicate with his skeptical sister in ways she couldn’t ignore. 

Listen in to this fascinating conversation. 

Click here





Also, I highly recommend that you read this book. It is deeply life-affirming and the central message is, “…love your life. Live it to the fullest. You are on earth to learn and grow and shine”.


Click here to check this book out on Amazon