Old Wounds

labyrinthWe have all been treated unjustly in our lives.  We deal with it squarely, analyze the situation, feel the feelings, sort through what is real and what is not, confront it if we can and move on.  And those times come back to haunt us.  This poem emerged from an invitation today to return to them:


Old Wounds



* Short story by Ernest Hemmingway, perhaps about hospitality.

photo credit: Yavuz Alper via photopin cc


Non-Peace to Peace




“Forgive yourself for not being at peace.  The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace is transmuted into peace.  Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace.  This is the miracle of surrender.”  

Eckhart Tolle


We are not perfect, so why spend energy focusing on our limitations when we could use that energy to come home to our souls?  We are like monkeys aimlessly swinging from tree to tree screeching, “Where am I, where am I?”  All we have to do is sit still in one tree and we have already taken the first step into our inner sanctuary.

I know this to be true.  Someone told me I was this monkey at age twenty-seven.  The words singed my ego as they found their mark.  Eventually, I accepted the truth and began the practice of sitting still.  It’s been a long journey.





photo credit: Yavuz Alper via photopin cc

The Wound of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price signed

“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl. “

-Stephen Hoeller



The idea of this post emerged from my read of an excellent post, “The Dragon’s Pearl” on http://whatashrinkthinks.com/.  I hope you enjoy Martha Crawford’s journey through identifying and healing our psychological and spiritual wounds.


Laying It To Rest II

Laying It To Rest II

If you have experienced suffering in the context of instituional religion perhaps you will relate to my poem.  I offer it as a catharsis  to create an opening to healing.


I   Venomous Voices

Specks of stray spittle launched on spurious words
in hallowed halls of religion
fifty, thirty, sixteen years past:

“I’m the one asking the questions here.  You just answer them.”
(Yes, Daddy…or was that Father?)

“How long has she been chasing you?”

“I won’t hire her.  She’s angry.”
(Scared shitless)

“She discusses WITCHES with her students.”
(One of THOSE feminists)

II  Healing Voices

Hope is an April shower pinging
off tender green shoots
promising possibility:

“…I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction….Now choose life.”

“Rather than focus on what’s threatening to strangle you, why not focus on what’s struggling to be born?”
(Let go)

“Trust your intuition.”
(Be the Spirit Whisperer)

Passing showers lift
this withering flower
by the bootstraps of her integrity
and stand her up straight and strong.

III  Metamorphosis

The landscape has changed.
Fissures of venom have burned
new pathways in my heart.

No longer Bride of Christ
No longer Battered Wife

I am a seasoned colleague
In the business of Gospel Living.

© rita h kowats 2014


Photo Credits:  My dear friend ministers as a psychiatrist to veterans.  I took the original picture of this sunflower in the community garden which her team and the vets established as a sanctuary of peace and sustenance.


Holding Vigil For Oso



I sit in my chair to meditate this morning.  Gusts of wind heave heavy rain at my windows and the tears finally come.  They don’t stop, so I am here with you, holding vigil for the people of Oso.  Forty Five miles north of me loved ones stand in the rain over a 1.5 mile expanse of mud and debris waiting to confirm the fate of family and friends.  King 5 News reports that “…tons of earth and ambulance-sized boulders of clay” from Hazel Hill loosened by steady, pounding rain, came crashing down on the houses below last week.  They wait to have news of death crash down on their souls housed in now spent bodies.  The official count today is seventeen dead…but the missing list bears ninety names- half the population of Oso, Washington, USA.

The constant rain has brought geologists to the area to monitor the very real threat of more landslides to the rescue workers in the valley.  It is too much to dwell on it further.  The video embedded below recounts the story of the rescue of a four-year-old boy.  It helped me to understand better what this experience was for the people who died, and for those who wait. My thoughts from two recent posts bear repeating here.

One spiritual practice we can do for Oso is to step away from the role of spectator, and take the time and solitude to feel empathy for the people who suffer.  Although we cannot fully know their experience of suffering, we know that it matters that they suffer, and it matters that we stand with them spiritually.   Whatever the suffering is, it is.  In our prayer we can ask that they be given the grace to be faithful and true to the process of living through it.  May they eventually come to a juncture in their grieving, that they can embrace the reality of the experience and emerge whole again.   By holding vigil with them we can live the suffering with them from inside the presence of God, vulnerable, clean and stripped to our essence.  May they hold themselves together while training a vigilant eye toward grace.  For those of us from afar, words are ineffective.  We must send spiritual energy.  You may find the meditations below helpful.

Buddhist Practice of Metta, Sending Loving Kindness

May you be safe from harm.
May you be happy and peaceful.
May you be strong and healthy.
May you take care of yourself with joy.

Tonglen Meditation Practice:  Compassion

From: http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/practices.php?id=4&g=5#spiritualexercises

A fellow blogger at  http://wildninjablog.com/ has gifted us with links for sending donations and helping in other ways.  This is an in-person look at life in the 530 corridor at this horrific time  It holds up for us the people of Oso and their strength and committment to the common good of their community.


Photo Credit:  http://www.3news.co.nz/Photos-Washington-landslide-search-and-rescue/tabid/1125/articleID/337624/Default.aspx

Shifting Images

This reflection comes to us from my friend Ardine Martinelli, who lives in the beautiful NW where she is a Spiritual Director and retreat leader.  She enjoys gardening, hiking, travel,
and good conversation with friends.  May it speak to us in ways we can hear and heed.

dancer now

Shifting Images

While meditating I received the most amazing message, “Change your image from Warrior to Dancer.”  This jolted me back to the present as I began to reflect on what that might look like.

I have been a warrior most of my life. I felt I needed to prove, achieve, master and do.  I lived life like I had to conquer it. I moved out into the world, believing I had to make things happen.  This mode served me well for a long time.  I built a successful career and business, and created a sense of competency and worth around my achievements.  I am now 71 years old and this image no longer serves me, in fact, it drains me.  I am tired of pushing through, I want to rest and let life come to me.

Ah, this is the image of the dancer.  As I began playing with the dancer image I realized I craved the idea of letting life flow through me.  As a dancer, I am a partner with life not a conqueror of life. My dancer waits, trusting in life and knowing all is well.   My whole body relaxes as I let this image flow through me.  It is hard for me to imagine waiting for life to come to me.   Trust is not a quality that comes easy.

Warrior is my default mode.  When I feel stressed, anxious, frustrated, I move into the warrior, take-charge mode.  It is my warrior energy that creates the struggle of believing I “should” be “doing” more.  With awareness, I can allow my warrior to rest. It is not either/or, it is a dance between my warrior and dancer. The shift of image is a process and I trust in its slow movement through my being.

 Photo Credits:

“Amazon ” www.wikigender.org;     “Dance Silhouettes” free vector clip-art