May you be cast in full light today
Photo Credit: pexels.com
Photo Credit: pexels.com
If you are a person who often sees more than you want to see, or who accrues unwanted, negative energy flung far and wide by others, you may find this spiritual practice helpful.
May peaceful moments come and stay.
Photo Credit: Donna Coburn http://www.artrage.com
Rilke’s Book of Hours
You, God, who live next door—
If at times, through the long night,
I trouble you with my urgent knocking—
this is why: I hear you breathe so seldom.
I know you’re all alone in that room.
If you should be thirsty, there’s no one to get you a glass of water.
I wait listening, always.
Just give me a sign! I’m right here.
As it happens, the wall between us is very thin.
Why couldn’t a cry from one of us break it down?
It would crumble easily, it would barely make a sound.
Photo Credit: pexels.com
I entered the YMCA swimming pool earlier than usual today, desperate to heal from the strident rancor that stalked me through the written word, spoken word, unspoken word, words, words, words. No escape here. As I sank into the comfort of the hot tub, the blaring voice of Thursday’s aerobics instructor reverberated through the space, shattering my renewal attempt. “Let it go,” I told myself, “In twenty minutes she’s out of here.” I began my hour’s swim and instead of leaving with her class, the instructor lingered through “my” hour, engaged in a non-stop decibel-enhanced monologue with a captivated swimmer.
Workout ended and instructor gone, I sank back into the comfort of the hot tub, silence ensuing throughout the pool. Two deaf women joined me, signing sparingly, enjoying their time. Blissful silence wrapped around me like a child’s blankie warding off a nightmare.
A familiar thought pushed its way into consciousness. “I wish I were deaf. I hardly hear as it is, yet some sounds are physically painful…might as well take it all.” If my deaf companions could have read my thoughts I can guess their response. “It’s a privilege to be here,” they would say. “Its a privilege to be here as we are. It’s a privilege for you to be here just as you are.” Savor what you have. Savor who you are.”
I wrap a blanket of silence
around my battered psyche,
snuggling into its warm comfort
where I conjure the resilience
to surface in the world
© Rita Hemmer Kowats 10-4-2019
“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
My brother died last April and in May my sister and I received an unexpected invitation from his neighbor to accompany him to Wolf Haven. The unspoken intent was to pay tribute to George. This poem emerged from my longing for connection. I often encounter those who have passed in various ways. This was by far the most powerful.
The Holy Howl
On May eighteenth
before spring had taken hold,
we encountered the freshly transitioned spirit of our brother
in the haunting howl of twelve wolves
at Wolf Haven Sanctuary.
Once abused, abandoned or old,
now they pace, paw and hunt safely with a new pack.
George had loved these wolves
because they were the ancestors
of his beloved Siberian Husky Zane.
A self-designated member of Zane’s pack,
George would wrestle on the floor with Zane
and howl “JingleBells” in unison with the Husky.
We came to Wolf Haven to honor our brother.
We ambled in a tight circle
pausing at each of the six enclosures
to meet the pacing pair that called it home
and to hear the story of their journey to Wolf Haven.
Arriving back at the entrance we stopped
to listen to the guide’s closing remarks.
Eerily silent throughout the tour, now
a lone wolf lifted its head and let lose
a magnificent primal howl,
stopping the guide in mid-sentence.
An expectant silence ensued,
shattered soon by a raucous chorus
as the whole pack joined in.
They split the mythical veil
that separates here from hereafter.
We met our brother in the holy howl.
Rest in peace, George.
© Rita H Kowats 9-23-19
Wolf Photo Credit: pexels.com Continue reading
Last evening, the eve of Autumn, I was comfortably ensconced in my chair listening to the Pacific Northwest seasonal onslaught of rain gently ping against the windows. Sonorous snores from Sherlock, my tubby tabby, provided bass accompaniment and the savory aroma of beef stew on the stove wafted in, peaking my anticipation. As the Germans would say, this was the essence of Gemutlichkeit.
Yet, with autumn comes the denuding of trees and spirit, so this arrival of the season is bitter sweet. This blessing from John O’Donohue has eased me into it. Perhaps it will do the same for you.
photo credit: spoilt.exile <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/96301483@N05/46243352305″>Склон / Slope</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
A web of webs
connects bar to bar
on the lanai railing,
its silver threads catching
the subdued September sun
as it inches its way across the eastern sky.
Early autumn wind cools
the coffee hoarded in my hands-
a comforting respite from the nocturnal
ego storm that ensnared insectile what ifs
in the web of my soul, exhausting me
with their raging
against the storm.
out here in healing sun,
wind and real webs
a Spirit-Web of trust
has neutralized the what-ifs,
calling me back to rest
in the center of my own best self.
© Rita H Kowats 9-9-19
When the city of Milwaukee experiences violent crimes now, something different happens. The Black Strings Triage Ensemble arrives and re-consecrates the space by surrounding it with healing classical music.
This hopeful story has moved me deeply, taking me back to a time in my life when I lived in a house that overlooked the railroad gate to Naval Base Kitsap. I held vigil as shipments of fuel propellant entered and left the base. Afterwards, I knelt on the tracks and prayed. Burning cedar became a cleansing sacramental which reclaimed that space and the empty space in my soul. It began the healing process.
Take solace with me from the actions of these musicians. Who knows. Maybe some musicians among you will feel called to begin this healing ministry in your city.
In a previous post I described an image I use for the state of being bound to the ego. Meister Eckhart uses the term ichgebundenheit to describe this state. In my image the eye of a hurricane recklessly swings me around its periphery, subjecting me to a destructive array of errant ego-blasts, each one taking me farther away from the calm of the eye. Divine Presence resides in that center, calling me away from the storms I conjure.
Thich Nhat Hanh likens the state to clinging to the top of a tree during a storm, not a very safe place to be. In a collection of meditations he shared with prison inmates,
In a previous post I have described an image I use to describe the state of being bound to the ego. Meister Eckhart uses the term ichgebundenheit to describe this state. In my image the eye of a hurricane recklessly swings me around its periphery, subjecting me to a destructive array of errant ego-blasts, each one taking me farther away from the calm of the eye. Divine Presence resides in that center, calling me away from the storms I conjure.
Thich Nhat Hanh likens the state to clinging to the top of a tree during a storm, not a very safe place to be. In a collection of meditations he shared with prison inmates, Be Free Where You Are, he shares the spiritual practice,”The Art of Handling a Storm.”
When a strong emotion takes hold of you and you can’t seem to let it go, get into a stable position in which you feel grounded (sitting with feet planted firmly on the ground, lying down.) Focus away from the storm in your head and turn your attention to the stability of your belly. Feel your hands firmly in place on your belly and begin breathing in and out. With each inhale say,”Breathing in I feel my abdomen rise,” with each exhale say,”Breathing out I feel my abdomen fall.”
Thich Nhat Hanh assures us that after twenty minutes of this we will feel strong and after a while the emotion will pass. I may follow this up with a mantra that brings me into divine presence, such as Julian of Norwich’s words,”All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
May we all be well, friends.
Photo Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=trees+in+wind+free+clip+art&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwimwsn12IXkAhWikJ4KHZPwAXIQ2-cCegQIABAC&oq=trees+in+wind+free+clip+art&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.3…8205.10155..11718…0.0..0.174.665.0j5……0….1………33i10j30i10.2L-WKL4lpUw&ei=wb1VXebdIKKh-gST4YeQBw#imgrc=JTbPelTwTNLzbM