Looking for serenity this season?

Serenity Star:
A Writing Workshop for a Serene Season.

Have you ever written a poem or intention just for yourself? A poem of the soul to guide and support your journey? You don’t need to be a writer or a poet to gather words into a beautiful message. Join me for this online workshop, an hour and a half of relaxation and creativity. With delightful prompts, you’ll write your own poem, prayer, or intention, a star in the night to help you navigate the holiday season with serenity and light.

This workshop will be held online! That means you can show up in your smooshy clothes with your favorite wineglass or hot cocoa mug and simply click a link to enter our workshop “room.”

Think of this as a retreat from the tumbleweed of demands and emotions that arise in December. Think of this as a time of restoration, an hour to consider your focus for a time of year that for many of us gets completely out of control in one way or another. You will be guided through a series of writing activities, and will finish the workshop with a poem or prayer you have written just for yourself.

The workshop will be Sunday, December 8th at 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST.

Just as if you were at one of my in-person workshops, you’ll be able to see the other participants and share your thoughts and work (or not, if you don’t want to).

In a season where it’s easy to spend hundreds on gifts for others, you can gift yourself with this workshop for a gentle price of $35.

Sign up here.

The funny thing is, as we give a gift of time to ourselves, something good happens in our heart, and that goodness comes with us wherever we go. Your heartfelt work affects the world. Instead of just wishing for peace on earth, let’s create some.


Do something different this year.

Join me. Write yourself some serenity.


Be a Serenity Star: Sleep Well

Be a Serenity Star: Sleep Well

Sweet Serenity Star,
Sleep well. Imagine
a single Energy Angel
of infinite sparkling
energy, watching
over you
all night, infusing
you, your every
cell and space,
with crystalline
of healing light.
This is your new
energy. Beautiful
All is well.


A gift of comfort and joy for yourself or someone else…my book of poems, 59 Prayers, available on Amazon.

59 Prayers by Cheryl Racanelli

Beautiful Starry Sky Photo at top by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash.

Be a Serenity Star: An Intention for the Christmas Season


Be a Serenity Star: An Intention for the Christmas Season

This year, I’m trying something new.
I’m creating a practice:
Be a Serenity Star.

Right about now
I usually start “Christmas Thinking,”
that endless rumination
on the infinite ways
to do or not do
the things I believe
are required for a
(Perfect) Christmas.

Despite my efforts every year
to manage Christmas Thinking,
I deplete myself.
I lose sleep. At both ends of the night.

But this year instead,
when I find myself
getting caught up in what
doesn’t really matter,
I’m choosing to
find a Serenity Star,
which is:

1. a soft illumination
in the sky or field or mind
that guides me back
to the Present Moment.

2. someone with an inner light
that illuminates a kinder way
and welcomes me back
to my true self.

This is a practice.
Something to return to
a thousand times a day
if need be.

Find a Serenity Star.
Follow a Serenity Star.
Be a Serenity Star.





Awesome star photo by NASA on Unsplash

For My Sister

Beach by Chris - 2.jpg


For My Sister

This is your portrait at age 42:
sitting on your favorite beach
watching the summer ocean curl in,
your hair clipped away
from your bare face,
a few wild strands in the salt breeze,
your luminous smile.
You make the kind of before-picture
where anyone would think, she’s already
This is you, by nature,
serene, an artist in wonder,
you, before you leave
what you came here
to remember.


Beach by Chris - 4.jpg

The photographs in this post were taken last week by my sister, Christine. I had written this poem a bit ago (and never told her), but was searching for a beautiful image to go with it. How serendipitous and ironic that the gorgeous shots I imagined should come from her! When she showed me her photos, I asked her if I could use a few for my next post, but I didn’t tell her about the poem. Surprise, dear sister! And thank you for beautifying my day.


i can sit with this


i can sit with this

when i am
prickly, fidgeting

i cannot figure

i announce:
i can sit with this

I can sit with the
unwieldy sum
money heart family
a broken coffee cup
and bad hair cut

i can sit with this

and I must
sit with this

without naming
or solving

just sit and say
in a very gentle way
as if sweeping cooling cloths
over a feverish forehead

i can sit with this
i can sit with this

and then without
fanfare i find
i am empty
and i am sitting
with nothing
and everything
all at once

Monday Morning Mary: Cradled in the Quilt of Now

Cradled In Quilt of Now

Cradled in the Quilt of Now

Stop your churning
and hop up onto the Quilt of Now.

Settle into the soft heart at the center,
and let it cradle you like a hammock.

The scalloped edges are wings that will lift you
from the muddy fields of the future
and the weeds of regret
to exactly where you are meant to be.

You can thrash,
or you can relax
enchanted by the stars
like a baby seeing them for the first time,
recognizing in the vast space overhead
the angels you knew before you got here.

Mary in Snow

Monday Morning Mary: From Gray to Grace


Angel Wing in Sky

From Gray to Grace

Today you have been given gray skies.
Although your intellect prefers black and white,
and your inner child prefers sun,
look past the easy connections of gloom
and uncertainty.

Instead, pause quietly
and allow the luminous gray
to reveal itself as an angel’s wing
spanning over you
in protection.

Send your questions skyward,
and in your unknowing,
discover the shelter of grace.


Mount Saint Mary - Perpetual Help

Mount Saint Mary’s Academy, Watchung, NJ


Becoming a Pond



Becoming a Pond

Some days I am so serene
a clear pond
surrounded by quiet pines
like the one I stumbled upon
thirty years ago outside Bar Harbor

cool and clear
with silver minnows that dart and still inside me
disturbing nothing
still and clear I am
in need of nothing

maybe this is
the Holy Instant,
where every question meets
its miracle

if you will hold still
right now
you will feel, as I do,
the infinite verticality of
the present moment

and realize that
that there is no other moment
but the one in which
I write this,
the one in which you
read this,
stumble upon
the clear pond,
or find that you yourself
have become that pond.

Giving Thanks When Things Seem Spare

Sometimes it seems that almost everything is gone.

Loss comes, and drains the blue sky and lush greens from our world. We focus on what is gone. Our vision is darkened as if by a veil. We struggle to get back to what we once knew, what was once ours.

But what is gone is no longer real. What is real is what is left.

Yes, loss itself is real, and for serious loss, grieving is a necessary process. But at some point, the fact is that the leaves have curled up and blown away. Our landscape has new space, a space that allows us to see more clearly everything that is still there, everything that is real. Inside illness, we have bodies that still do many things with ease, like hear or see. Inside job loss, we still have our talent. Inside heartbreak, we still have hearts that love.

Through the eyes of gratitude, our world slowly comes into focus, and we start to see simplicity and beauty in our world. We appreciate the delicate branches of a beech tree echoed by the sturdy silhouette of a linden tree. We find delight in three leaves, two beechnuts, and a glass pear.

For all I have discovered in spare landscapes, I give thanks.

Admiring the Clouds

A few weeks ago, I did a “mind sweep,” speed-writing a to-do list as long as a roll of toilet paper that included every imaginable thing that I need to do or want to do, from simple tasks to complex projects. Mixed right in there with “scan a million non-digital photos” and “schedule dentist appointment”, I typed, “Admire the clouds.”

Tonight, I’m doing exactly that. The sky is dressed in mammatus clouds lit by the setting sun.

I love the sky. This afternoon’s perfect, uninterrupted blue was startling in its post-storm clarity. Now the evening’s white fluff balls are turning silver, and will soon darken to pewter as the sun drops from sight.

Staring at clouds makes me want to do something, to respond in some way. As wonderful as this is, and as many times as I’ve waved my arms and twirled in a field where I’ve hoped no one can see me, admiring is more than that. It’s the split second when I first notice something wonderful in the sky. It’s the instant before my reflexive smile or “wow,” before the words roll in to dissect the scene into silver, white, stratus, cumulus, dog bone, feather.

Most of the stuff on my mind sweep is the typical life stuff that makes me feel “productive” when I can check something off as complete.  So how did “Admiring the clouds” get on my list of things to do? While typing out the list at a maddening clip, I paused for a split second and spotted something incredible outside my window.