Here is a little something for us to sit with in preparation for Easter.
It is time.
We sit on our designated hills
overlooking our private Jerusalems
watching the malignant intruder slither
toward the Holy City.
So they say.
They say it is a holy thing
that one chooses to die for all.
So we remember and choose
to muddle through our own dry and tattered times.
Like stark, barren limbs
giving way to bursts of chartreuse leaves
and sweet-smelling blossoms
that waft on winds of promise,
we too shall bear luscious, ripe fruit.
© Rita H Kowats
Photo Credit for Magnolia tree: photo credit: jennifernish <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/15004954@N03/6968390159″>sneak peek at spring</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
for my brother George R.I.P. 3-24-19
You ran out of this life
before we could say a proper good-bye.
Arms pumping and superman’s cape flying,
It felt like a rush to relief
from loss and shifting scenes.
Although tattered and torn
you ran too fast for us to pull you back.
Why would we? For us.
Because we now live a while
in the empty space you left
until your renewed presence comes
running back to fill the vacancy.
Then you will bring along your legacy of courage
and the triple double dare
to take on life’s challenges
with hero cape flying behind pitching us
© Rita H Kowats. 3-28-19
The leaf photo evokes the image of a crab’s pinchers poised to strike as it sidles sideways across the sand. As we know, the astrological sign of cancer is named for the crab. Those who are born under this sign are said to struggle letting go and they often communicate indirectly. Outer appearances serve as an armor of sorts, hiding the depths of their feelings, a universally human tendency.
In the process of growing up, crabs have to molt their hard shells many times to make way for each new, larger shell. As it molts, the old shell has to soften while the beginnings of the new shell grow under it. The crab must pull its whole self from the old shell; if it gets stuck, it dies.
Thinking sideways slanders truth.
Speaking sideways swindles youth.
Legacy leaving requires
Brittle, whittled half-truths
must soften and slip
to make room for new strata
soon sloughed off to shine
brilliant on sparks of pure
© Rita H Kowats. 3-22-19
As the creator of this photograph, I instinctively positioned the leaf one way and have only seen it from that direction. Until now. I decided to let the photo speak to me from all four possible positions. I invite you to do the same. You have my permission to position it as the spirit urges. For my first meditation I wrote from this position
The bone-weary phoenix
emerges from his marrow yet again
with wings worse for wear and poised for take-off.
He hitches a ride on Spirit Breath,
animated and ablaze, drunk
on the sweet elixir of life.
“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
Borne on the wings of grace
we reach into the marrow of our souls
and pull ourselves back to
© Rita H Kowats 3-17-19
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.
Photo Credit: Tumsu/Pixabay in https://radio.wosu.org/term/brain-plasticity#stream/0
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…
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/
“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.
“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.
They killed my mother
at the door of my room
She died and saved me.
Later, at dead of night,
I wandered with Bersi,
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
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!
The Scream Edvard Munch
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.”
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