A Spirituality Of Aging

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I stand here
Outside of myself
And watch me
Commence the journey
Into venerable vulnerability-
At least that’s what the young call it;
It doesn’t feel venerable yet.

 

I watch with surprise-
This old body that once could stave off
All manner of ailment and bounce back Stronger,
Now fights a succession of infections
On a pilgrimage to commune with the Bones
Of my once stately cathedral.

 

I stand here
Outside of myself
And watch me
Cry through the loss.
Like an ancient willow wailing
Over limbs taken by thankless winds,
I feel the phantom sensations of my Coveted limbs-

Strength
Endurance
Agility

 

If I stand here
Outside of myself long enough
I will see green-leafed limbs
Poke through the paneless windows
Of the bone cathedral-

Patience
Acknowledgement (what is is)
Letting-go

 

I stand here
Outside of myself
Awestruck by this holy episode
We call life.

c. Rita H Kowats May 18, 2020

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia  Commons

Empty Is Full

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At some point in our spiritual journey we may feel the terror of falling into empty space without a net. Without landing. Just falling, falling, falling. Until we hear that voice of the divine, “I’ve got ya.”

I experienced this dream as a child, plagued by the fallout of PTSD. I can’t identify when I heard the voice or how it manifested, but the dream stopped. Instead of falling into empty space my spirit began expanding to reclaim it. No doubt my daytime world had become safer. No doubt I had discovered the Divine.

Sometimes the voice has to rise above some unhealthy ego chattering and I don’t hear it, but I know it’s always there. Perhaps the spiritual journey is a journey toward embracing the fall. Like the nimbleness of a child whose muscles and bones relax into a fall, we train our spirits to be nimble and let go.

Something for us to ponder today. Blessings on you and yours.

The Country of Uncertainty

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Figure at a Window Salvador Dali

 

I love Rile because he responded with integrity to the call he heard from the country of uncertainty.  We have no control over that call. We especially have no control over it in this time of pandemic.  I am, at least sometimes successfully, choosing to embrace the uncertainty and the lessons it offers me.  It’s a good end-of-this-life practice, I think. Luke’s story of the prodigal son is here

 

 

The Departure of the Prodigal Son

 

To go forth now
from all the entanglement
that is ours and yet not ours,
that, like the water in an old well,
reflects us in fragments, distorts what we are.

 

From all that clings like burrs and brambles—
to go forth
and see for once, close up, afresh,
what we had ceased to see—
so familiar it had become.
To glimpse how vast and how impersonal
is the suffering that filled your childhood.

 

Yes, to go forth, hand pulling away from hand.
Go forth to what? To uncertainty,
to a country with no connections to us
and indifferent to the dramas of our life.

 

What drives you to go forth? Impatience, instinct,
a dark need, the incapacity to understand.

 

To bow to all this.
To let go—
even if you have to die alone.

Is this the start of a new life?

New Poems

Rainer Maria Rilke in A Year with Rilke Translated and Edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

Weeping Willow Meditation

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Weeping Willow Meditation

 

My seven-year-old self often sat
Settled under the swaying, trailing branches
Of the weeping willow that stood guard
In the center of her backyard.

 

The wispy caresses of the supple branches
Danced on the gentle wind,
Soughing a message unheard
On the other, unsettled wind
That gusted through the house-

You are loved. You are whole.

 

My seventy-five year old self
Now sits before a willow weeping
For a world not supple,
A world bending to its breaking point.
Trailing branches whip and slap,
Howls replace affirming whispers.

 

The weeping will wane
With every sway of every branch.
Hope will caress us again.
Weeping and rejoicing are One.
Live through each,
You become the Other.

 

© Rita Hemmer Kowats 4-30-2020

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Daria Sannikova from Pexels

Effacement

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EFFACEMENT/ Hafiz

Effacement
Is a golden gun.
It was not easy to hold it against my head
And fire!
I needed great faith in my master
To suffocate myself
With his holy bag
Full of truth.
I needed great courage
To go out into the dark
Tracking God into the unknown
And not panic or get lost
In all the startling new scents, sounds,
Sights,
Or lose my temper
Tripping on those scheming
Night and day around me.
Hafiz,
Effacement is the emerald dagger
You need to plunge
Deep into yourself upon
This path to divine Recovery—
Upon this path
To God.

efface[ ih-feys ]

verb (used with object), ef·faced, ef·fac·ing.
to wipe out; do away with; expunge:
to efface one’s unhappy memories.
to rub out, erase, or obliterate (outlines, traces, inscriptions, etc.).
to make (oneself) inconspicuous; withdraw (oneself) modestly or shyly.

Dictionary.com

 

Response

 

Ever So Dear Hafiz,

In principle I experience this experience you’ve opened up for us; however, as a creature of the twenty-first century and one schooled in psychology, I am compelled to qualify. For me, it is the unhealthy manifestations of ego that I seek to efface, not my Self, the deepest self where divinity makes its home, if I let it.

With that said, dear sage, I now offer a way beyond this pandemic surging through our world today. In spite of the attention many pay to the needs of the common good, this virus has also unleashed a dis-ease of the worst kind. It has loosened the already tentative grip we had on the virtue of selflessness. Ego selfishness gravely threatens body and soul.

So, yes, let us efface, I say. Let us efface selfishness and greed and take on the posture of a parent who would sacrifice anything for the good of their child. We are all one another’s child now. Let us walk this path to “Divine Recovery” together.

Photo Credit: https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/events/2018/03/05/the-common-good-an-anglican-understanding

 

 

Respite

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How do we cope with the pace of covid 19?  This poem was my outlet.  It is heavy, but the times are heavy and allowing myself to feel puts me in solidarity with the suffering of others, and my own suffering.  I hold all of you in my prayer.

 

Respite
(Upon seeing Aid Units take neighbors to hospitals)

Last night
Lopsided Luna
Had shrunk to a sliver
While I rested safely
In the crook of her crescent elbow.

Yet today, as sometimes happens here,
Sol soars above the Salish Sea
In full, bold brilliance
Prompting squints to soothe and temper.
But try as we might to temper traffic-
The Aid Units keep on coming.

How I long to stagger the relentless surge
Of this viral onslaught.
Let me linger longer in that calm crescent cave
Where raw sadness can live its way back to hope,
Where I can hone the creed
That all is well-
Regardless.

C. Rita Hemmer Kowats 4-20-2020
Birthday of my father George J. Kowats +1988

 

www.etsy.com/shop/AbstraxStudio?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=724710159

This sculptor does poignant, skillful work.  You might enjoy visiting this website.

 

Regardless

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Quarantine
Day four

 

Sleep paces in the lobby
Of my soul

 

The waning supermoon
Rises to eye level
Dispersing divine light
Over Under Around Beyond

 

Ahh
Welcome, lopsided Luna.
All is well
Regardless

 

c. Rita H Kowats 4-10-2020

Disposable

Quarantined Italians Sing To One Another Across Empty Sreets

False alarm, everybody…turns out the coronavirus only kills old people.” @ahleuwu


Laura Dorwart, Ph.D. on Twitter: “Trying to claim disabled people aren’t regularly and systemically devalued, disposed of and dehumanized is pretty tough given all the “don’t worry, Real People won’t die, only Non-People like old and disabled people will.”


Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday 3-11 Seattle in response to a reporter’s question about the penalties for those who ignore social distancing mandates. “Penalty is you might be killing your grandad if you don’t do it.”

Elderly and disabled persons, among other groups, are often considered disposable. I do not refer to the medical community which has to make necessary decisions about who lives and who dies in extreme emergencies. I mean us. Let’s take the word “only” out of these discussions about covid-19. Instead, we could say, “primarily affects…”


Disposable

The Common Good lurks
Under a subterfuge of denial:

Only the old die.
Only the disabled die.
Only the poor die.

Come back, Common Good.
Cast your expected aura
Of empathy-energy around us.
Redeem our frightened and frazzled spirits.

c. Rita H Kowats 3-13-2020

Managing Our Dis-Ease

So many of you either have already, or are now experiencing the fallout of Covid-19. I am a seventy-five year old with a compromised immune system, recovering from flu and sitting in the epicenter of the outbreak north of Seattle WA,USA. I think of you all much more lately, believe me! Your courage and faithfulness to spiritual practice sustains me and lifts me up.

I have developed the practices below as a way to remain at peace and to balance the lack of control with the power of spiritual action. My list of people and places to protect grows with each day. These are the people and places I hold in light:

Thank you for whispering a quick blanket protection for us.

My sister and her husband
My nieces and nephews
My sister-in-law and everyone at her memory care center, including the families
My spiritual director and soul sister
My church campus, staff, our neighbors there without a roof over them
Members of my geographical house church
Life Care Center in Kirkland where nine have died and others are infected
The hospital where my friend works and my friend and herself
The 50+ Apartment building where I reside
Myself
My friends

Protection Ritual For This Time Of Epidemic

Ground yourself using whatever ways help you. Begin when you are ready:

Spirit of divine, cauterizing light,

Surround this place (name) and/or person (name) with your brilliant, healing light. Above, below, behind, in front, around and around.

(Imagine the swirling light banking and building heat and sending it throughout this person and/or place. Imagine that this spirit light is brooding in the center of this place/person)

Spirit Light, brood within them. Generate healing light and warmth. May they be free of all dis-ease. May they be free from harm. May they be happy and peaceful. May they be strong and healthy. May they take care of themselves with joy.

May it be so. Amen.

Protection Ritual For Yourself If You Are Sick

Susanne has recommended the Insight Timer free meditation app on Google play. My favorite music is “Delta Waves and Oceanic Sounds.” I like it because I can sync my breathing with the ebb and flow of the waves and because it is unobtrusive.

Inhaling, I breathe in healing energy. Exhaling I send it to every place in my body that needs healing (to my mind as well, in an effort to dispel fear and anxiety). Inhaling I gather up all sick energy from my body. Exhaling I send it down to the earth where it can be renewed.

photo Credit: https://www.transparentpng.com/details/hose-grey-hurricane-transparent-images-_3092.html

Protection Practice

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Thank you for your patience, friends.  Regardless of my absence on this page, you have been present to me in spirit.  This morning I sat with the I Ching and asked spirit what to share with you, and I received for present #29 Dangerous Depths and for future, #43 Determination. It is great wisdom about taking risks and handling the danger inherent in some situations, especially where evil and negativity underlie human affairs. The following practice is very helpful to me; I hope you find it so.

A Protection Practice for Dealing With Negative Energy

Breathe your body and soul into a relaxed, safe space.  The meditations and music on the google play app Insight Timer https://insighttimer.com/ are helpful.

Call upon your personal angels if you know them, and on traditional ones: Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Ariel.  If angels hold no meaning for you, invoke other protectors that do.

Ask them to surround you with divine light, creating a buffer zone of loving protection.  Ask them to let nothing pass through this zone, either from you or into you, that is not intended for the greatest good.  Imagine the divine light wrapping around you, warming you from inside out around you, before you, behind you, under you.

Rest in that protective embrace for awhile.  Make a conscious decision to try to dissipate negative attitudes in yourself before they pass through to others.  Sending loving kindness to yourself helps with this most human of struggles.

Throughout your day return to the safety of that light.

Be well, companions.

Photo Credit: pexels.com