“The Art of Precious Scars”

 

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Explosion

DANGER
Sizzles between air molecules
In spaces intended for patience and love.
Two-year-old Alice, impatient for food
Punctuates the room with a crescendo of piercing cries.
You are in the kitchen cooking a dinner that refuses to cook…
The Protector is away on retreat.
My seven year-old empathic brain is on high alert
Pleaser Stand-in Protector
I seek a distraction to divert the explosion.

From my place under the high chair
I make faces at Alice. It has worked before
BUT
As the high chair is bumped the milk sprouts wings

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NOW?”

Your behemoth bulk looming over me
You snatch me up and carry me to my bedroom

Do you know how terrified and shamed I am
As you pull down my pants
EXPOSING
My tiny seven-year-old bottom?

Off comes the belt
Which leaves angry welts on
The seven-year-old
Who just wanted to keep the peace.

THE PROTECTOR
Never left you in charge after that.

Reconciliation

My fifty-five-year-old empathic brain had evolved
By the time of your visit.
The Protector came first on another bright Autumn day
After she died. “Honey, I’m alright,” she said.
You came many years later, having also evolved.

I lay on the couch before a roaring fire
Pretending to grade papers
While Beethoven’s Ninth wove its magic.
The chorus intoned Shiller’s “Ode to Joy”
And I became the music.
You came to me at the fireplace
As I stoked and the chorus proclaimed

Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father reside.

“Honey, I do love you so much. Forgive me.”
Came the gentle whisper in my ear.

I wonder if Beethoven ever heard those words
From his abusive father.

Kintsugi

Sixty -six years later
The fissure gleams
With the gold
Of healing experiences
Whole gift to fellow fractured
Pilgrims

© Rita H Kowats 2017

 

 

For a poignant description of Kintsugi go here

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

New Year’s Everyday

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Although we are not celebrating Rosh Hashanna today and the calendar may not mark the beginning of another year, I offer Marge Piercy’s poem to give us hope that every day is new and we can come back after immigrants are rounded up like cattle and congresswomen are told to go back to the country they were born in if they don’t like this one.

 

The head of the year

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared

to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin
of all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides

in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.

Marge Piercy

Meloncholia On The Borders

I simply have no words for the treatment of migrants at America’s southern border, so I rely once again on the words of poet Jack Gilbert and the sculpture of Albert Gyorgy to convey feelings intense enough to move us to action.

 

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THE ABANDONED VALLEY

Can you understand
being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the
well so you could feel something
down there
tug at the other end of
the rope?

Jack Gilbert in Refusing Heaven

 

Wisdom from Parker Palmer

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It’s a soggy summer day in Seattle, folks, a day to silently drink in this pithy piece of wisdom and store it until the sun graces us with its presence again.

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Photo Credit: true self portraits https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/your-true-self/

“Restoration Area Stay Off”

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I have been feasting on the book, Whispers in the Wilderness by Erik Stensland.  That it was a gift from a friend who has great respect for restoration areas inside and outside, makes my stroll through its pages all the more poignant. In this book Strensland has compiled poignant photographs and reflections from hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park. He says this about restoration areas

These [signs] are placed in areas that have been heavily visited, where the feet of far too many people have worn down the grass and flowers to bare dirt, turning a place of lush beauty into an area that resembles a well-used football field….I find great hope in these restoration signs.  After years of watching them, I’ve seen these places spring back to life when they are given the space they deserve.

I learned how to give that space to a high school senior once.  Her parents had a brief get-a-way on the Labor Day weekend. You can leave a trusted eighteen-year-old alone for two days.  But this time a man broke into her home, raped her and forced her to drink poison.  Thus began her coveted senior year.  After a couple of months of constant police interviews, survivor support group, counseling, compassionate hovering of friends, parents and teachers she put up the sign for me to see, “RESTORATION AREA: STAY OFF.” I had seen her sitting on the floor before her locker and sat down beside her, asking the dreaded question, “So, how are you doing?”  She was in desperate need of being left alone for a while, to restore, to find her center and get back to it.

I could relate.  I was twenty-seven in 1976 when the group I was a part of gave over all of our power to an abusive psychologist who experimented with “Disclosure-Confrontation” marathon sessions. At one point in that journey I thought I was losing my mind, I so desperately needed space away from the others.  I found the courage to plant the restoration sign in the ground of my soul, and was gradually restored.

It’s a matter of timing and we need to discern what time it is.  Is it time to reach out with physical presence and words, or is it time to hold vigil in the quiet space we give the other? May we listen compassionately and wisely.

 

https://books.google.com/books/about/Whispers_in_the_Wilderness.html?id=5rbEAQAACAAJ

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: pexels.com

Radiant Ripples

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This gift of wisdom came to me this morning and reminded me of a poem I wrote earlier.  I invite you to meander between the words, between the lines.

A clear radiant unselfishness at the core of your being is a vital source of power and influence. It spreads as surely as ripples on a pond when a stone is tossed into the center. A sincere reliance on your own integrity generates supreme good fortune.  I Ching 61 Centering in Truth

The Sideway Swing

 

Photo Credit:   

“SoulCards” by Deborah Koff-Chapin.  The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.”  The  cards come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  www.soulcards.com

Used with permission from the artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Godlight to Soulight And Back Again

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Meister Eckhart’s Refectory

I relished some time with my old friend Meister Eckhart this morning.  I invite you into this meandering, while acknowledging that it is a bit out there (maybe more than a bit!)

 

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Homecoming: A Feast Of Sacred Poems

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Once again I am honored to introduce you to a freshly published volume of poetry penned by my friend Kay Mullen.  You can read more about it and order a copy at her  website.

I leave you now with a glimpse into kay and a taste of her poetry.

About Kay

[…in later life] Kay… earned a Master of Fine Arts from Pacific Lutheran University with a focus on poetry. She received a First Place in the Washington State William Stafford Award and was a Best of the Net nominee as well as a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Shark Reef, and Literature and Belief. Anthologies include Becoming: What Make a Woman, edited by Jill McCabe Johnson, and Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease, edited by Holly Hughes.

…Looking back on her writing she states: “I realize I intuitively strove to follow my birth mother’s music and artistic gifts somehow weaving them into my poems. My mother left me a legacy I discovered long after her death. She has become alive again in my poetry.” www.kaymullen.org

 

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Photo Credit:  https://www.pexels.com/search/nautilous%20shell/

www.kaymullen.org

A Tribute To Tina

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Tina strolls leisurely along the lake boardwalk with her happy little dog whose pink satin bow bounces with attitude as she leads Tina. Someone has to lead because Tina is intensely focused on the book she is reading.

When I saw Tina in the elevator yesterday I felt a burst of radiant well-being emanate from her. Light showcased clear brown eyes highlighted by tastefully applied makeup. Her long auburn hair fell loosely around shoulders pulled straight by some unseen string from above. Tears of joy waited for release as the realization emerged- Tina was well.

Focusing on a book was something Tina couldn’t do very well when she first moved into my apartment building. I would see her strolling around the grounds with her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, sometimes twice in one day. She walked bent over, studying the ground as if expecting it to swallow her up at any minute. Her face was contorted and conversation resembled a rapid staccato frenzie of unrelated words.

Standing upright a year later, Tina has become for me an icon of what the human spirit can do. Witnessing her noble struggle has been a spiritual practice which reminds me how to reach down and pull out the strength to go on, the strength to survive and then to thrive. She is a monument to the art of letting go.

I am grateful to Tina, to my brave niece and to thousands of others, for showing me how to let go.

The Winds Of Change: A Spiritual Practice

 

 

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Photo Credits: https://utahstories.com/2018/12/a-short-introduction-to-utah-native-trees/

https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/wind-storms