A Spirituality Of Aging

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I stand here
Outside of myself
And watch as I 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
That this old body that once
Could stave off
All manner of ailment
Bouncing 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 as I
Cry through the loss
Like an ancient willow wailing
Over limbs taken by thankless winds.
I feel the phantom sensations
Of my coveted limbs tingle
With strength, endurance and joy.

If I stand here
Outside of myself long enough
I will see green-leafed limbs
Poke through the paneless windows
Of my bone cathedral,
Stretching toward
patience, acceptance and resignation.

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

Anticipatory Grief

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This heartfelt offering comes to us from my friend Vija, who waits in empathic prayer for her friend’s child to heal from the haunting feelings that threaten her life.

In time of anticipatory grief
Bring comfort to those who endure pain so great
that ending their life to stop such suffering makes perfect sense.

Spread peace like grass seed on the souls of those who love them,
those whose thought, each second of every hour, is for the safety of their beloved.
Let that seed take root and build up a prairie of undulating grasses,
beauty to behold for the poor in spirit.
Comfort those who sleep lightly, anticipating disaster and the worst of news, all night long.

You – you are deeply asleep in the stern of the boat, tucked up snuggly against the wooden ribs,
wrapped in wool that repels the splashing waves, lying on a dense cushion.
We here are panicked – trying to navigate while sinking, shouting to be heard above the storm.
The boat is tipping so perilously that we beat the oars aimlessly against the air
as frequently as we plow them through the water.

We, furious, shake you awake – pissed off that you would relax in such a moment as this.
You chasten us (what??) then right the boat, flatten the water whose area under the wet,
curved surface was as complex as a calculus equation only seconds ago.

Faith – where is our faith, you demand?
Because apparently sometimes, peace is present, but for the asking.
So – Ask.

Maybe bail for a bit, too:
praying and cursing as you toss bucket after bucket of water
out of the boat and back into the lake.

© Vija Merrill, 2020

 

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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

Wisdom from Parker Palmer

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It’s a soggy summer day in Seattle, folks, a day to silently drink in this pithy piece of wisdom and store it until the sun graces us with its presence again.

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Photo Credit: true self portraits https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/your-true-self/

A Spiritual Practice For Aging

THE ABANDONED VALLEY

Can you understand
being alone so long
you would go out in the middle of the night
and put a bucket into the
well so you could feel something
down there
tug at the other end of
the rope?

Jack Gilbert in Refusing Heaven

RESPONSE
(for a loved one who wandered too far)

Old age is like
an abandoned valley
where you have to
venture out in the middle of the night
to find a well to sink your bucket
in search of someone to send it back.
Don’t wander far.
The well is closer
than you imagine.

© Rita H Kowats

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

Sway With the Wind

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The black wrought iron bench was toasty-warm today where I sat watching lakeside trees sway against the gentle autumn wind. Against the wind. I hear Bob Seeger singing in my ear,”…we were running against the wind.” The wind today was coming from the Fraser River Valley in Canada. Normally wind comes from the south around here in the Puget Sound area and our trees know that. They are genetically disposed to sway with the southern winds. When those winds howl down from Canada in winter accompanied by cold temperatures, we can be in trouble. It happened one winter when I lived in a rural wood. I woke up to eighteen trees uprooted on the road behind me. They can’t handle seventy-mile-an-hour sustained northern winds.

I saw the lesson in the trees gently swaying today. I’ve been feeling a bit off lately, an underlying dis-ease in response to an impending hip replacement. The surgery itself doesn’t make me uneasy…I’m a pro, having already had both knees replaced! It’s all the preparations and doctors’ appointments and constant questions and questionnaires that unnerve me. The trees reminded me to be flexible, to sway with the wind rather than against it. Much easier. Much healthier spirituality and physically. Of course, sometimes justice demands that we run against the prevailing wind hanging on tightly, but not this time.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

 

 

 

photo credit: KarinKarin2 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/123747563@N07/32265204954″>Sylt</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Innocence Re-Membered

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Epilogue

On my way home I passed the girls and stopped to chat.  They showed me each new leaf on a shrub they had discovered and their brother told me the story of the Tyrannosaurus Rex that lumbered across his T- shirt.

Also, this…

from “A Brief for the Defense” in Refusing Heaven, Jack Gilbert

We must risk delight. We can do without
pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness
in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the
only measure of our attention is to praise
the Devil.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: James Bowe <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29848680@N08/41372593744″>Buttercups</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;