November: Bare, Not Barren

Death follows naturally from old age. For John, it was not to be feared. It would be “a very beautiful meeting between you and yourself” and there would be “a great fiesta time ahead.”

Walking in wonder: eternal wisdom for a modern world / John O’Donohue and John Quinn.


Leaves And Roots And Seedling Souls

If you find yourself in a heated discussion with your ego off on a crash flight, try imagining your grounding cord planted in the earth with Gaia swinging from it. Not only will the image return you to presence, but if you dress her quite outlandishly, the chuckle it evokes may change your mood!


Grab on Gaia
To the grounding cord 
Of my being.

Hold fast, swinging in circles
That pull me 
down 
down 
down 
Rooting me in the fertile compost 
Of your faithful mystery.

www.spiritualitywithoutborders.blog

The Light Bearers

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Illuminate
The shadows that loom 
And shatter peace
By piece by piece,
But gentle your swings-
Don’t show us all at once
Lest you send us scampering
Deeper into the cupboard.
Illuminate.

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Cauterize.
Bring your light beside our wound
To staunch the steady stream of negativity 
That threatens our well-being;
A slow burn, endearing and enduring.
Cauterize.

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.

Heal,
Lightbearer.
Ignite us with love
And stoke it, until transformed,
We bear the light to others.
Heal.

Carry your light into the dark.
Swing it wide 
Into the hidden cupboards
Tucked away 
Under the staircases of our souls.


c. Rita Hemmer Kowats
    November 5, 2021


photo credits: Pexels.com

Holding Vigil in a Pandemic

Vision After The Sermon by Paul Gauguin

Recently I submitted this video-essay to my faith community’s talent show. A friend suggested that some of you might relate to its message, so here it is. I think it may be especially helpful to those of you who suffer with a loved one. It matters profoundly if we are there with them in their struggle, whether or not they know we are there. Blessings to you. May we receive what we need this day.

Dealing With Chronic Disease: A Spiritual Practice


BELOVED IS WHERE WE BEGIN

If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.
But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:

Beloved.
Beloved.
Beloved.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

It seems to be our human experience in dealing with chronic disease, (especially an unseen one) that we unintentionally hurt and misunderstand one another.  Instead of asking for an explanation so we can understand and support, we sometimes make assumptions based on ignorance. Other times we are impatient and push the other to get better because we’re tired of listening. Sometimes a valid sentiment! I’ve done all the above! Likely you have too.

My spiritual practice around this tendency, however, takes a different perspective. I want to grow into a place where I don’t have to have full understanding and respect around the chronic disease that I have lived with for ten years. Enough of this lonely feeling of abandonment! 

This mantra seems especially timely considering the pandemic when so many suffer so intensely:

I am Beloved.
I have everything I need within me.
I am Beloved.



Photo Credit: Autumn Road by ferro hanc, deviantart.com

Blurred Borders

I rediscovered this photo while rummaging in a long-forgotten drawer for a greeting card.  The find has had me rummaging through the time I spent in the Ground Zero community, a nonviolent resistance movement to nuclear weapons. I lived in the woods in a house above the railroad tracks that moved weapons and fuel in and out of Subase Bangor in Poulsbo/Silverdale WA.  Perhaps the message I want to share in the accompanying poem is the realization that if we allow our spiritual practice to divest us of the need to cling to possessions, the world will not need weapons to protect the “lifestyle to which we’ve become accustomed.”

I.

My intrepid Blue Cream Tortoise Shell
boldly went where no sane mortal 
dared to roam.
Emily slinked across the railroad tracks
which carried warheads and fuel-
fresh and spent- into Subase Bangor.
She scooted under the gate 
making her way to the bunkers 
where armed marines waited 
ready to shoot intruders at first sight-
but surely not Emily.
Emily who did not threaten to destroy 
"the lifestyle to which we had become accustomed."*

II.

Jim and I passed out the week's leaflets
from our respective lanes at Trigger Avenue gate.
We shivered against the temperature outside, 
and the inside temperature of workers
as they spotted us when traffic stalled.
It was a typical early morning arrival-
yawning, putting on makeup, shaving.
Until an unexpected guest materialized
darting in and out of cars, nostrils flaring 
eyes betraying the deer's sheer terror.
Guards rushed out to stop traffic
and opened the gate wide.
We waited. And waited.
Finally the deer leaped up
and shot to safety on the other side.
Jim looked at me and said,
"How ironic that she is safer in there than out here."

No open gate for those who "threaten the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed."

*Admiral Trost in The Trident Tides U.S. Navy publication

c. rita hemmer kowats Indigenous Peoples Day 2021

Spiritual Mulching

Sodden, mottled mulch
Mercurial Meanders
Lush feast for Gaia

(soul feast for the divine)


www.spiritualitywithoutborders.blog

Photo Credit: pixabay.com