It becomes increasingly more lonely to live a life of presence in today’s world. We try to listen deeply and the other drinks in the empathy we channel. Then when we need deep listening, it is often not to be found. We are greeted with a barrage of self-absorbed words tripping over more words. We survive by leaning into the constant presence of the divine that informs and sustains us.
We desire to listen as an unconditional gift, even making it an intentional spiritual practice; however, our humanity longs for reciprocation. May we live into a bountiful space where deep listening defines our humanity and each one is blessed with a generous listener.
Constant Spirit Sprung
My young self shook
with sheer terror
in the Disclosure Confrontation Marathon
where they likened me to a monkey
swinging from bar to bar
shrieking,”Look at me, look at me!”
A constant stream of words
“saying nothing worth hearing” until,
the truth I sought so desperately
welled up from Constant Spirit
“I don’t love anyone because I don’t know how.”
to know a starting point for growth.
Disclosure Confrontation Marathon-
No deep listening here.
Trauma aside, it pushed me onto the path.
How much better to have been led to it.
c. Rita Hemmer Kowats 7/31/2021
He was pinned to himself to die,
a royal tern with a black crest blown back
as if he flew in his own private wind….
We borrowed a clippers, cut and drew out the hook.
Then the royal tern took off, wavering,
then acrobat returned to his element, dipped,
zoomed, and sailed out to dive for a fish.
Virtue: what a sunrise in the belly.
Marge Piercy “Gracious Goodness”
I hadn’t been to the little dock at Echo Lake in two weeks and I eagerly anticipated seeing the ducks and Great Blue Heron, my long time friend. Perhaps a few cormorants as well. Imagine my disappointment upon arrival, seeing that the reeds and spindly cottonwoods had taken over my view of the lake. For a few futile minutes I yelled inwardly at the park department for not maintaining this little spot that gives such great joy to so many of us.
Then my ear caught that familiar flapping of tiny hummingbird wings and I watched one after another drink from the blooms of a tree that blocked my view of the lake. One bright red dragon fly hovered at an apparently fecund tree stump, while a two inch zebra-stripped one landed on the railing beside me. Another smaller dragonfly, the color of my blue shirt, landed on my arm seeking a like-minded creature, perhaps. My favorite red-winged blackbirds were sadly silent, avoiding the midday sun rather than serenading me with the song I love so much.
“Virtue: What a sunrise in the belly.” See divinity where it is, not where we want it to be.
Letting Go Of Trauma
Fly we must
Over the canyons of our despair
Spare us from echoes
Of shame and blame
That twist in and out
Of our honeycomb hearts.
Fly we must-
Surviving until we thrive.
Surviving until we let you pluck us
From the safety of flight
And set us down on
The holy ground of your love.
Root us in you, Holy One.
Mute the voices of shame and blame.
May it be so.
[a] 1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the broad valley. It was filled with bones. 2 He made me walk among them in every direction. So many lay on the surface of the valley! How dry they were!
5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 7 I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. 8 As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.[b] 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet….
As I walkabout the valley
of my soul today,
I gather scattered skeletons
I’ve discarded in shame.
Remnants of missteps dangle from dry bones.
Brushing them bare, breathing
forgiveness and compassion into them,
I rise yet another day.
c. Rita H Kowats 6-20-2021
“In navigating the changes, in wrestling with boredom, in confronting our restlessness, in learning to pay attention to what is before us rather than forever moving on to something or someplace that looks more appealing, we come to know regions of our souls that we could never enter otherwise.
Where do you find sources of stability?
What do you learn in committing to something—a place, a person, a way of life—over the long haul?”
I looked at my cat this morning and exclaimed, “Wheel of Fortune!” capturing as much of the exuberance of “Rain Man” Ray as I could muster. Sherlock yawned in reply.
Tarot card “Wheel of Fortune,” had been my meditation. I learned again that change is inevitable and try as we may, we can’t control everything. We should just work on staying centered as we experience the spin, the fortune and the misfortune.
How could I not be inspired by the long running American game show, “Wheel of Fortune?”
Wheel of Fortune!
With a flick of the wrist
The Wheel offers up both
Fortune and misfortune.
Around and around she goes
And where she stops, nobody knows.
The trick is to relinquish control,
Relax into the spin
Learn from the landing point.
We can always call for a vowel
From the great white dove
Who wafts across the stage
Of our lives handing out hints
And glints of grace
For puzzle solving.
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.
May this blessing from Jan Richardson console us as we wrestle with so much these days.
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. —Genesis 32:24
If this blessing were easy, anyone could claim it.
As it is, I am here to tell you that it will take some work.
This is the blessing that visits you
in the struggling,
in the wrestling,
in the striving.
This is the blessing that comes
after you have left everything behind,
after you have stepped out,
after you have crossed into that realm
beyond every landmark you have known.
This is the blessing that takes all night to find.
It’s not that this blessing is so difficult,
as if it were not filled with grace
or with the love that lives in every line.
It’s simply that it requires you to want it,
to ask for it, to place yourself in its path.
It demands that you stand to meet it when it arrives,
that you stretch yourself in ways
you didn’t know you could move,
that you agree to not give up.
So when this blessing comes,
borne in the hands of the difficult angel who has chosen you, do not let go. Give yourself into its grip.
It will wound you, but I tell you there will come a day
when what felt to you like limping
was something more like dancing
as you moved into the cadence
of your new and blessed name.
Jan Richardson in The Cure For Sorrow: A Book Of Blessings In Times Of Grief