Institutional Plasticity

This is an offering I posted a few years ago which seems even more relevant today as many churches grapple with deeply felt justice issues.  May we learn to bend without breaking.

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Photo Credit: Tumsu/Pixabay in https://radio.wosu.org/term/brain-plasticity#stream/0

Max Musing

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2-21-19

Resting beside Echo Lake

in the waning winter sun
I spot His Majesty Maximiliano Mallard
and chat him up from a distance.

“Oh, you exquisite gift! Look at that magnificent head gleaming
now emerald, now sapphire in the sun. Your rich chestnut chest
precedes you, as well it should. Thank you, friend.”

He waddles close, quacking in time to kissing sounds
(surely sounded by some silly passerby)
He turns his head sideways to check me out.
Then called away by the flock,
He collects his mate who waits patiently
(in the shadows)
and they are off…

too soon.
Your visitation is the recurring echo of lessons offered
heeded, exceeded and ignored.
I wanted to ask, “What is your lesson today Your Majesty?”

His voice comes to me
In the peaceful quiet of Echo Lake:
“Be content with your own best self. Strut your own stuff, girl!”

© Rita H Kowats

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Capri23auto-1767157/

 

 

 

Invitation to Fireworks

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Jim Neafsey https://www.sacredbondprints.com

used with permission

I wanted to evoke a living Presence, a palpable sense of Mystery
infusing the mother and child, the green hills, the foggy valleys,
the starry night…and ourselves.

Jim Neafsey

https://www.sacredbondprints.com

This stunning and evocative icon gifts me with a rich array of feelings, faith and questions. It takes me to that place where you, my readers, also desire to go, so I offer you this introduction. On his website Jim offers us insight, knowledge and experience about the creation of his icon and how to use it in meditation. Many of you are involved in spiritual practices for yourselves and others. Prints can be effortlessly ordered here.  I intend to hang my print above my sacred space where it can be a spirit muse for my own meditation and for those who join me in spiritual practice. Those of you active in a myriad of justice ministries, especially immigration justice, might hang a print in your office. I can see it sparking rich sharing. Greeting cards are also offered…these could be meaningful Christmas cards for friends and family this year.

My Response

Invitation to Fireworks
Can you see her there
Vibrating in the spaces between stars?
A persistent luminescent beacon, she beckons
you in and
down
deep
deeper.

Throw on her cape of lush verdant vales and flailing whales
Move with her through divine pregnant spaces
until you come to that road rarely walked.
Plant your soul-feet firmly on it and bring her home.
What was otherwise mundane and profane,
Becomes fire-infused divinity.

© Rita H Kowats 2-19-19

Collecting Tears

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May our tears collect in an ocean of active compassion

“I collect all your tears.  I am the God of Love.  I am life.”  I have been releasing tears and asking a loving god to collect them since my church shared that our pastor’s credentials are again under review for once again officiating at the marriage of a gay couple.  How long must we spend energy and time on these reviews, energy and time sorely needed to do the ministry of Christianity: Loving?

Comfort and inspiration have come to me from watching the 1993 film, “Philadelphia,” the story of Andre Beckett’s struggle to receive justice from the law firm that fired him because he was a gay man dying of AIDS.  This character’s integrity and courage represent hundreds of real men and women who have suffered through the stigma reserved for those who live outside familiar “norms” of society;  men and women whose sacrifices now sustain others.  If you missed this film or were moved by it the first time, now might be the time to visit it.

As he awakens to the unavoidable truth of his impending death, Andrew Beckett listens to the aria “La Mamma Morta,” and experiences pure ecstasy, in the sense of standing outside of oneself.  He becomes one with the god who is love, who is life itself with the god who “collects his tears.”  Listen.  Open.  Be comforted.

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La Mamma Morta, The Dead Mother,” is an aria from Umberto Giordano’s opera, “Andrea Chenier,” composed in 1896.  It is sung by a daughter whose mother died protecting her during the upheavals of the French Revolution.

 

Libretto

They killed my mother
at the door of my room
She died and saved me.
Later, at dead of night,
I wandered with Bersi,
when suddenly
a bright glow flickers
and lights were ahead of me
in the dark street!
I looked –
My childhood home was on fire!
I was alone!
surrounded by nothingness!
Hunger and misery
deprivation, danger!
I fell ill,
and Bersi, so good and pure
made a market, a deal, of her beauty
for me –
I bring misfortune to all who care for me!
It was then, in my grief,
that love came to me.
A voice full of harmony says,
“Keep on living, I am life itself!
Your heaven is in my eyes!
You are not alone.
I collect all your tears
I walk with you and support you!
Smile and hope! I am Love!
Are you surrounded by blood and mire?
I am Divine! I am oblivion!
I am the God who saves the World
I descend from Heaven and make this Earth
A heaven! Ah!
I am love, love, love.”
And the angel approaches with a kiss,
and he kisses death –
A dying body is my body.
So take it.
I am already dead matter!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mamma_morta

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.easyfreeclipart.com/sad-face-with-tears-clipart.html

 

Sending Loving Kindness to Furloughed Government Workers

 

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The Scream Edvard Munch

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/mysterious-motives-behind-theft-scream-180964531/

 

 

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Loving kindness Meditation

https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/loving_kindness_meditation

My Soul Is My Soul

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I was recently introduced to a children’s song about respect for body. These lines caught my attention:

“My body’s nobody’s body but mine.
You run your body, let me run mine.”

Peter Alsop, entertainer, counselor, psychologist

I am taken aback by its stark, bold truth. It carries a wake-up power that summons us to respect. What if we paraphrased these lines to read:

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

Thoughts translated into words are an energy that either affirms or negates its intended target. Yet, we pass easy judgment on the process of one another’s spiritual development as though we have that right and as though we actually know the heart of someone else.

In their book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald describe their study which concluded that every human being fills in what we don’t know with what we think we know. We develop Mindbugs which keep us from seeing reality clearly. E. Adelson defines them as “ingrained habits of thoughts that lead to errors in how we perceive, remember, reason, and make decisions.” Banaji and Greenwald point out that mindbugs can be so powerful that they can cause us to more often remember things that didn’t happen than things that did happen. Given this research, I ask, Who has the moral authority to judge the status of someone’s soul? Is it not deserving of as much respect as our body?

There is a place for professional discernment, even for nonprofessional discernment for the sake of protecting our souls from intrusion. However, we must always be aware that we have mindbugs and try to get out of their way as we discern. Otherwise, discernment becomes judgment of motives and choices .To pass on judgments made out of our mindbugs is not only irresponsible, it is often just an act of self-aggrandizement. If the other is down, I am up.

Isn’t the task of running my own soul monumental enough without trying to run other’s souls? Leave it, I say.

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

A Spiritual Practice

My spiritual practice comes in the form of a pause. I try to pause before I judge. I breathe in respect and release fear. I breathe in love and release judgment. Once in a while it works. Our human instinct is to protect our ego, but the pause interrupts the knee-jerk impulse to insert our ego into the unknown spaces of the other. The pause lets in the Spirit who sees reality as it is.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay.com

 

Winter Solstice Sonnet II

Profound food for thought from Jane Woodman on this Winter Solstice. Enjoy and reflect.

inlovelustandlaughter

With weight of Winter warming causing pain,
We long for snow and ice to come again
To bring protection for the soil below
And friendly freezing’s later soaking flow.
The birds know this warm Solstice isn’t kind
And mob each seed in feeders they can find,
Soft breezes telling them what we can’t hear:
All harsh winds, frost and biting cold draw near.
Come cold night, then, and even colder dawn;
This warm December should not, can’t go on.
All seasons have their purposes in turn;
Pale Winter balances Sun’s Summer burn.
This Solstice counterweighs its Sister’s light
With sparkling cold and deeper, lusher night.

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Being Light

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Recently I introduced the newly published book of spiritual poetry, Rose Petals Floating Downstream by Anita Neilson (  https://anitaneilson.com/ )

I picked up the book in an in-between time today and opened to the poem below, “If Thine Eye be Single.”  Here it is, accompanied by what it evoked from me.

If Thine Eye be Single

“The light of the body is the eye:
if therefore thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Matthew 6:22

 

Eyes twinkling
like headlamps dipping
o’er the brow of a hill;
silent messengers
through the mists of time.

Windows on the world
but also to the soul
if we look deeper.

Codeless truths blink
to those who seek
meaning en route.

An eternal clignoter
Clic, clic, clic.

If thine eye be single
a million stars
Will diffuse into one
and every twist and turn
a delight will be
on this path to eternity.

Anita Neilson

 

Response

The eye with which god
sees me is the same eye
with which I see god.

One seeing
knowing
loving.

My eye and god’s eye
are one.

Meister Eckhart

∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞

The light with which god
sees me is the same light
with which I see god.

One seeing
knowing
loving
One  Light.

God’s light and my light
are one light.

rita h kowats