Radical Self-Care

So many women have been raised with an attitude of “interior violence” toward themselves. In this gift of succinct wisdom Ardine Martinelli helps us examine how we do and don’t care for ourselves. You will discover more inspiration and practical guide posts on her blog, listeningtomylife.blog

Listen to Your Life

Self-care is not self-indulgence.  Self-care is self-respect.

It is often difficult to find time for ourselves with the pace of today’s world.  We are pulled in so many directions–family, work, community–that we often put ourselves and our needs last.  Self-care is crucial.  We can’t take care of others with depleted internal resources.

What does self-care look like?  I’ve come to believe there are different ways we practice self-care.  The first is physical self-care. Eating healthy foods, exercising, if possible getting massages, yoga, using alternative health care options.  All these are ways we find to stay healthy, to relax, to take care of our wonderful bodies. With healthy bodies we have much more energy to care for others.

There is another kind of self-care–emotional self-care.  I talk to many people who take good physical care of themselves yet don’t think about what they say to themselves on a…

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Finding Truth

 

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For Light

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.
In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.
When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.
When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.
When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.
As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.
And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found world.
– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us:
A Book of Blessings

Be True to Yourself

Please take a moment to feast on this helpful guide for truthful living.

Listen to Your Life

Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.     Parker Palmer

Finding our truth and speaking our truth is the spiritual journey of coming home to our true being.  Below is an acronym for being true to yourself that outlines the four qualities needed to grow into who we are meat to be:

T – Trust  

Do your trust your own voice–the “still small voice” that tells you what is right for you? Are you able to decipher what is your truth vs what others expect from you?

R – Respect  

Have you set personal boundaries? Do you respect yourself enough to honor your needs?  Do you know when to say No?  Practicing deep self-care is when you fully respect and listen to yourself.

U – Understanding

Do you understand…

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Lake Lament

 

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In June, even though I couldn’t see the lake I at least had a piece of it. On this August morning thick underbrush enveloped me and I lamented the loss of the lake.

At first I felt closed in and irritated that the city had not followed through with its mandate to prune. What about the common good and our need for beauty, after all? A practice of sitting ensued and soon I felt protected by the semi-circle of green, holding me, shielding me from the pending evil about to descend on Portland Oregon today.

Earlier I had sent loving kindness to the far right hate groups Patriot Prayer and Proud boys, due to hold a rally there. I sent loving kindness to the counter-protesters. I imagined nonviolence prevailing.

At the lake I imagined the overgrown green surrounding all of them with love and nonviolence and I called on all that is holy to shield them from the evil of hate. The little lake that I love is not what I needed. Nature knows best.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” has experts all over the country monitoring hate group activity. Here are some links that detail the rally in Portland today. Heads up Washington State voters. Our primary ballots are due this coming Tuesday. Are you aware that one Republican candidate running for U.S. senate is Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer?

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/08/04/patriot-prayer-and-proud-boys-met-hundreds-counter-protesters-portland
https://www.splcenter.org/pnw-rallies

Playdate With The Divine

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THAT SHAPES THE EYE
Children
Can easily open the Drawer
That lets the spirit rise up and wear
Its favorite costume of Mirth and laughter.

When the mind is consumed with
Remembrance of Him
Something divine happens to the Heart
That Shapes the hand and tongue
And eye into
The word Love.

Hafiz

in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master (Compass)
trans. David Ladinsky

 

Photo Credit: https://www.littlemiracles.com.au/fostering-your-childs-imagination/

Can We Care Again?

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The headline in the Seattle Times reads “For third day, grieving orca carries dead calf in water.” (July 26, 2018). As I write this morning it is the sixth day the mother has carried her dead baby on her nose, diving down deep to retrieve it whenever it slips off. I don’t have words to express how I feel. The photo says it.

Elephants also mourn, holding wakes for fallen elephants. In a PBS production I saw a herd come across the remains of a bull elephant. They circled the skull caressing it with their trunks, even lingering over it. Around and around they went, emitting those low rumbling sounds humans cannot hear by ears alone.

I mourn that many humans no longer hear. We seem to have forgotten how to care enough for one another to hold vigil.
My practice:

Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release indifference
Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release hate
Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release fear of the other.

Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release indifference
Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release hate
Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release fear of the other.

May the merits of this practice extend to all sentient beings in the universe.

Amen.

Photo Credit: Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/puget-sound/for-third-day-grieving-orca-whale-carries-dead-calf-in-water/

How the Universe Moved My Sofa and Changed My Life

Jen Payne offers us here a template for healthy spiritual living. I relate to the benefits of cleaning up and making our living space clear and spare with room for spiritual energy.

I hope you enjoy Jen’s writing and vision as much as I do.

This essay is 10 years old. In 2009, it was a finalist in the WOW! Women on Writing Fall Essay Contest sponsored by skirt! Books. All very cool then, all bears repeating again now because life is flow and change and lessons and this…


HOW THE UNIVERSE MOVED MY SOFA AND CHANGED MY LIFE

“The Universe is poking sticks at you,” my friend DeLinda consoled during a distraught phone call last May.

In the previous four weeks I’d been sick with the flu, diagnosed with osteoporosis, and discarded by my boyfriend. My computer crashed, leaving my business on hold with technical support for a week. A close friend moved away and my cat died — all while I was braving a twelve-month hormone treatment that induced menopause.

Poking sticks? This was a shock-and-awe assault.

The Universe can be pushy when she wants you to change. I just wasn’t getting the…

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Mother Hospitality

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This morning I feasted on a video from American Public Television entitled, Borders. PBS describes it this way:

“BORDERS explores the relationships and influences that Mexican and American craft artists have on each other and our cultures.” You can enjoy it here:

http://www.pbs.org/craft-in-america/tv-series/borders/

As I luxuriated in the rich, intense colors and the spiritual meaning inherent in the folk art I determined to learn more and to incorporate Mexican culture in my life more. Then I was slapped in the face by Donald Trump’s assessment of the Mexican people and I wept. This poem, Mother Hospitality, emerged as a spiritual practice to deal with my waning hope.

 

 

Caged within the borders of his fear
the xenophobe hunkers down untouched
by the diffused difference of cultures
casting bits of light on uncaged seekers outside.

Mother Hospitality tootles across the globe
picking up variegated pieces of light and love.
Her basket swings blithely on her arm in rhythm
with the hope that beats in her heart.
She watches for signs of cracking
then, quick as she can, tosses in a sliver of light
One sliver.
Enough to rattle the cage.

© rita h kowats 7-24-18

 

Photo Credit: free download from https://kathleenhalme.com/explore/cage%20clipart%20person/

Meditation on Passing Judgment

Sherlock Portrait 3-22-16

 

Sherlock sits on my lap
eyes fixed on shards of light
cast by cracks between slats in blinds
(that is how the light gets in, you know, through the cracks.)*
I have only to look in his green oval eyes
to know what he sees-
cracks of light dance there on the surface.
Sherlock’s meditation becomes mine:

If we let it, cracks of light from outside
will dance on our inside,
casting colors clear and keen
illuminating the eyes of our souls.

I see you now.

© rita h kowats 7-24-18
* Thank you, yet again, Leonard Cohen