“ A Calming Of The Clamoring”

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…let depart all that keeps you in its cage.

Jan Richardson “Blessing in the Chaos”
Blessing in the Chaos
Jan Richardson

To all that is chaotic in you, 
let there come silence. 
Let there be a calming of the clamoring, 
a stilling of the voices that have laid their claim on you, 
that have made their home in you, 
that go with you even to the holy places 
but will not let you rest, 
will not let you hear your life with wholeness 
or feel the grace that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you cease. 
Let what divides you cease. 
Let there come an end to what diminishes and demeans, 
and let depart all that keeps you in its cage. 

Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, 
where you find the peace you did not think possible 
and see what shimmers within the storm.

Jan Richardson in The Cure For Sorrow: A Book Of Blessings For Times Of Grief

Morning Meditation

Andy Bennett ”An Autumn Morning”

Morning Meditation

Hunting for solace
Fleet-footed and soul-suppled,
We dash down labyrinthine paths,
Crosscuts furrowed by unbounded grace. 

Like steam-fog rising 
from ponds in early morning,
Grace rises from well-worn paths 
And enfolds us in a holy embrace.

If we let her.

c. Rita H Kowats January 8, 2022

With a grateful nod to The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson




Standing Watch

Glass Houses, features a cobrador, a “cloaked figure acting as a conscience to those without one. Forcing payment of a moral debt.”

Louise Penny Glass Houses

When the pandemic first began, I longed for the comfort of Three Pines Village featured in the Louise Penny mystery series. So I reread all of the books. It helped! “Some might argue that Three Pines itself isn’t real, and they’d be right, but limited in their view. The village does not exist, physically. But I think of it as existing in ways that are far more important and powerful. Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines.” (Louise Penny)  So I read. And read. It’s time to go back to Three Pines on this anniversary of the horror perpetrated in the U,S. Capital.

One of Penny’s books, Glass Houses, features a cobrador, a “cloaked figure acting as a conscience to those without one. Forcing payment of a moral debt.” (Penny)  He/she stands wordlessly in the village green. Waiting. I’m reminded of that book every day lately when I see an unsheltered person come to rest on the bench across the street. Sometimes in chilling, drenching rain and high wind. They just sit for a while, and I hold vigil with them from my warm, dry apartment. I pray for forgiveness for my complicity with an unjust system that keeps them unsheltered. The visitor to the bench is a cobrador for me, calling me to accountability and inspiring me to action. My hope is that all of us will stand as a conscience that reminds us that there is still such a thing as the common good. That we will stand as a conscience that says no to violence and selfishness.

We stand. With or without words. We stand boldly in our “no.”

The Light Bearers

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Illuminate
The shadows that loom 
And shatter peace
By piece by piece,
But gentle your swings-
Don’t show us all at once
Lest you send us scampering
Deeper into the cupboard.

Illuminate.
Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Cauterize.
Bring your light beside our wound
To staunch the steady stream of negativity 
That threatens our well-being;
A slow burn, endearing and enduring.
Cauterize.

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Heal,
Lightbearer.
Ignite us with love
And stoke it, until transformed,
We bear the light to others.
Heal.

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

c. Rita H Kowats 2021


photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/227572587397001342/

More Spiritual Backwalking

Pixabay,com by Franz Josef

We find the courage to walk inside the dangerous fissures of constant change and uncertainty.  We take on a holy vulnerability when we risk

spiritual backwalking.

RHK 12-2019

I’ve been taking a hike through my blog this morning in search of nourishment to navigate this new terrain I’ve landed in. I first wrote about spiritual backwalking in December 2019 when I could not have known that our lives were about to change in ways not seen since my grandfather and his sisters died in the 1917 flu epidemic, leaving my mother destitute. Today would have been her 113 birthday, and I am only now reflecting on how her experience of a pandemic shaped her life, and consequently, my life. What fears did her trauma pass on to me? How did she imprint me with resilience? The covid pandemic is teaching me how to walk backwards, as it taught the child who became my mother.

I have recently been gifted with a profound metaphor that I will share with you, but first

TWO STORIES.  A treasured member of my faith community lives with early on-set Parkinson’s Disease.  When his brain stops moving him forwad, he walks backward.  Healthline.com says, “It’s a simple way for you to challenge different muscles and force your mind to focus and operate differently.”  Rather than stopping, my friend lets go and imagines another way to move.  Backwards becomes frontwards.

In the 1960’s war novel, Catch-22, Yosarian walks backwards, “…because he was continually spinning around as he walked to make certain no one was sneaking up on him from behind.”  Yosarian was experiencing the reality of war, not paranoia.  The enemy was sneaking up behind him with intent to kill.  His fixation on fear had taken possession of him, so he walked backwards to be safe. And now

THE METAPHOR.  What if we trained our souls to stop the unhealthy ego-spin by walking backwards?  This spiritual practice necessitates a profound letting-go, just as it does when our bodies attempt to walk backwards.  We are awkward and afraid of falling, so we rely on a friend’s arm or trekking poles, and our progress is slow.  Spiritual backwalking requires us to rely on the movements of the Spirit instead of relying solely on an out-of-control ego.  We find the courage to walk inside the dangerous fissures of constant change and uncertaintly.  We take on a holy vulnerability when we risk this spiritual backwalking.

Our society doesn’t endorse walking backwards.  It’s motto is forward-thrust with great gusto, a speed which supports all manner of unhealthy ego-patterns, the worst of them being an inordinate drive to control self and others at all cost.  This is the war zone we find ourselves in at this moment and like Yosarian, we have to walk backwards to be safe.  We have to let go and trust Spirit to companion us through the change and uncertainty that bombards us. 

Coming Home In The New Year

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Beannacht (New Year Blessing) – John O’Donohue

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

by John O’Donohue
In To bless the space between us: A Book of Blessings

Welcoming New Energy

HOPE


Creator and Sustainer of Time

Hold us close on this last day
of the year, as we disentangle unwelcome energies 
from body and soul.
Spirit these burnt-out energies
away on the updraft of time.

Rejoice with us over past energies
that sustained and enlivened 
our weary souls.

Bring us, we beg, 
seasoned courage and hope
wafting on the currents of your love.

Creator and Sustainer of Time,
May it be so.

Amen

c. Rita Hemmer Kowats
    December 31, 2021





Winter Solstice Blessing

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Blessing for the Longest Night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

—Jan Richardson
from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Vignettes Of Whimsey

After a morning inundated with news of violence and the omicron variant sweeping with breakneck speed across the world, I am once again rescued by the Meister’s stunning insight into the essence of divinity, “God laughs and plays.” (Meister Eckhart)
New York Magazine
Stuffed bird flew the coup
At Ascot’s royal racing
Racy Tweets  Twitter 

Sherlock sleuths out sleep
Wherever he can find it-
Exercise be damned.

Clap your hands believe
Magic dances in wide eyes
Resurrection Day

December 7: A Blessing In The Face Of Attack

Its been a challenging morning for me here in my fifty-five+ apartment. Most of us are eons past fifty-five. I often see first responders arrive below my window and most of the time I am grateful for the opportunity to ponder my own mortality. Today is not one of those days. Sitting at the front door earlier I saw five first responders leave in somber silence, when often they leave in jovial camaraderie. Remembering that I’ve not seen Steve lately I went to his door to check and his U.S. Army flag was gone, likely draped on his coffin now. I let all my feelings have their say then turned to Jan Richardson for solace. Ahh. All is well. May you too receive what you need today.

Blessing When the World Is Ending

Look, the world
is always ending
somewhere.

Somewhere
the sun has come
crashing down.

Somewhere
it has gone
completely dark.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the gun,
the knife,
the fist.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the slammed door,
the shattered hope.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone,
the television,
the hospital room.

Somewhere
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you,
will not mend you,
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
again.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons