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/

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

 

EXULT

 

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A conflicting tornado of emotions always snatches me up and plunks me down in the midst of this Pride Weekend.  I exult that finally in some sectors of the world a monolithic understanding of sexuality has opened onto a spectrum of dazzling, rich colors.  Our gender-varied God exults. But I also grieve that my friend Jim is not here to experience it and continue in the work of this important revolution.

Jim died suddenly in 2010 at the age of sixty-six after a passionate life as a gifted artist-priest-pretend/straight-out loud gay man.  I loved him in all the nooks and crannies of his being, and miss him keenly this weekend. Feast with me on his poem from Pride Weekend New York:

 

Corpus Christi: New York “87”

Sunny Sunday in late June.
Thousands march.
Joyous and free.
I joined.

Searchers and seekers
Walking with dignity and pride.
Approaching the Cathedral:
A contradiction!

Blue barricades, blue flashing lights
On cop cars and paddy wagons;
Blue shirted police arm to arm
Protecting the Cathedral.

A Crucifixion?
The front steps blocked by
A blue Army in blue berets
(looking psychotic)
Shaking rosaries, thumping Bibles
Yelling “Sinners Sinners” as we passed by.

“Shame, shame, shame,” we murmured
Softly in reply.
I looked for Jesus beyond the barricades.
Not there!
“Thank God,” I said.

At 3 o’clock the parade stopped.
Silence
A city fell silent.
Bells tolled.

From the Village up Fifth Avenue.
Coming closer and closer
Passing over us
Until the whole sky was filled with
Colored balloons.

My heart burned within,
I remembered all who died of AIDS.
Gazing at the heavens,
I watched a great loving God
Gather balloons, holding them high
In God’s bright blue sky
Above the blue barricades, blue lights
Blue armies & blue shirted cops.

My God gathered these children,
Sons & daughters into a peace-filled
Eternal embrace.

I wept.
Turning, I saw two older women,
Pioneers and witnesses of the movement,
Weeping and holding each other as they
Too gazed upward.

EASTER and ASCENSION.
CHRIST HAD COME AGAIN.  GLORY TO GOD!
Peace to you and me!
Birthday

Jim's signature

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.timeout.com/chicago/lgbt/pride-parade-and-more-major-gay-events-for-pride-month

My Cat Is My Spiritual Guide

 

Sherlock Portrait 3-22-16

“Sherlock”

 

My human spiritual guide is quite the cat’s meow, but my cat is also quite a guide. Sometimes Sherlock is a sleepy sleuth. Other times he attacks birds flitting across my tablet screen.  He waits for me to stir In the spare morning hours then butts me with his head, the steam engine purring a clear message,”Feed me!” I hear the words of Jesus, “Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.” Why do I hesitate to ask for what I need? My cat-guide teaches, “Don’t just ask, demand!”

Mr. Holmes rests peacefully on my lap as I muse, undisturbed by outside noise or inside angst.  Vulnerable and trusting he accepts each stroke of my hand and the love which accompanies them.  His simple, open spirit invites me to let go of constant activity and communication and to rest securely in my center.  The ability to do that calls for a self-acceptance unfettered by the need to prove myself with frantic feats of competence.  This feline companion is a cat of immense proportion who readily throws his weight around with the confidence of a majestic Leo.  No “Snagglepuss” is he.  Yet…he rests. He is vulnerable. He trusts.

Sherlock open and vulnerable

Animals are mirrors for us.  We will find spiritual guidance in them if we learn how to look for it.

Please enjoy the attached video in the context of the cat as spiritual director.  A friend of a friend posted it on Facebook with the caption, “This cat could be my spiritual director.”  I saved it and whenever I need a belly laugh, I pull it out of my bookmarks.  Enjoy!