Living The Now

“There’s no pre-pandemic button we can hit. This is our life now. We shouldn’t waste it.” Steven Petrow https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-36c93e6e94fb_story.html

In Steven Petrow’s essay he gives us a Buddhist-like road map to living our lives in this pandemic now, while it is still with us. After reading it, I took an audio walk in Gordon Hempton’s forest:

(Ear buds recommended for fuller experience)


https://music.amazon.com/albums/B000QZTD5W?ref=dm_sh_dIHqCvzt9tzx7onJuq6bC0ROs

You might also appreciate reading:

and this…

Photo Credit Hoh Rainforest: https://www.planetware.com/seattle/olympic-national-park-us-wa-onp.htm

A Little Light Fantastic

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The light in August
shoots linear lines
of spun gold
into the gardens of our souls
producing unique, varied fruit
a joy to behold.

 

I love this time of year in Western Washington.  I wake up to autumn mornings, followed by summer afternoons, culminating in still-long, warm evenings bathed in shafts of nuanced August light.

May gratitude become my daily practice, it’s shafts of nuanced light become the grace I need to believe that all is well. Regardless.

Photo Credit:  pexels.com

Waiting

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The virtue of patience often eludes me.  Today I am longing to return to the swimming pool in the worst way.  The confines of covid don’t bother me, nor do long periods alone, because it is my intentional lifestyle. But my poor old body can barely wait to get back to the pool.

A meditation on I Ching 5 hexagram this morning is helpful, especially this line:

It is only through patience that you can
become the bridge between the fickle fish
and the eventual feast.

I send you the gift of graceful waiting today.

 

Heron Patience

The Great Blue Heron
Lurches from side to side
Scouting succulent salmon
Twitching in the tide.
Settling on a spot in which to spy
She turns her head sideways
To see salmon swimming.
And waits.
And waits.

In my dotage
I too lurch from leg to cane to leg,
Longing for the feast, but missing it,
Too intent upon ego offerings
That clamor for attention.
The wait is too long;
“Succulent salmon, slither hither!”

c. Rita H Kowats 5-28-18, revised 7-7-20

 

https://divination.com/iching/lookup/5-2/

https://tricycle.org/magazine/finding-patience-2/

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Hilary Halliwell from Pexels

JOY

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Joy is exemplified by a group of friends playing, or a carefree young girl singing to herself while engaged in her work. The happiness is rising from within and spreading out into the world! Joy comes into the world through gentle means, but springs from a solid sense of self. The power of joy should never be underestimated.  

I Ching 58. Joy

 

 

Life on the Ledge: Encore

goats

Little did I know when I first posted this piece, that it would become far more haunting and applicable to today’s experience of a pandemic..  I wondered if human beings, like mountain goats, are spiritually coded to stand on the ledges of spirit.  May we not fall off.  And if we do fall off, may we land well.  Godspeed everyone.

Life on the Ledge

In-Sight

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In-Sight (2)

Coleridge enthusiasts will recognize the reference to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “Alone, alone, all, all alone/ Alone on a wide, wide sea/ And never a saint/ Took pity on my soul in agony.”  Whether spawned from an opium delerium or a moment of contemplation, the truth is there.

A nod to my friend Ernest Hemmingway and his brilliant short, short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted place,” where all is nada without one.

 

 

Photo by Hasan Albari from Pexels

The Holy Howl

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My brother died last April and in May my sister and I received an unexpected invitation from his neighbor to accompany him to Wolf Haven.  The unspoken intent was to pay tribute to George.  This poem emerged from my longing for connection.  I often encounter those who have passed in various ways.  This was by far the most powerful.

 

The Holy Howl
(for Martha)

On May eighteenth
before spring had taken hold,
we encountered the freshly transitioned spirit of our brother
in the haunting howl of twelve wolves
at Wolf Haven Sanctuary.
Once abused, abandoned or old,
now they pace, paw and hunt safely with a new pack.

George had loved these wolves
because they were the ancestors
of his beloved Siberian Husky Zane.photostudio_1569422446543
A self-designated member of Zane’s pack,
George would wrestle on the floor with Zane
and howl “JingleBells” in unison with the Husky.
We came to Wolf Haven to honor our brother.

We ambled in a tight circle
pausing at each of the six enclosures
to meet the pacing pair that called it home
and to hear the story of their journey to Wolf Haven.

Arriving back at the entrance we stopped
to listen to the guide’s closing remarks.
Eerily silent throughout the tour, now
a lone wolf lifted its head and let lose
a magnificent primal howl,
stopping the guide in mid-sentence.
An expectant silence ensued,
shattered soon by a raucous chorus
as the whole pack joined in.
They split the mythical veil
that separates here from hereafter.

We met our brother in the holy howl.
Rest in peace, George.

© Rita H Kowats 9-23-19

 

Wolf Photo Credit:  pexels.com Continue reading

Welcome Autumn

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Last evening, the eve of Autumn, I was comfortably ensconced in my chair listening to the Pacific Northwest seasonal onslaught of rain gently ping against the windows.  Sonorous snores from Sherlock, my tubby tabby, provided bass accompaniment and the savory aroma of beef stew on the stove wafted in, peaking my anticipation.  As the Germans would say, this was the essence of Gemutlichkeit.

Yet, with autumn comes the denuding of trees and spirit, so this arrival of the season is bitter sweet.  This blessing from John O’Donohue has eased me into it.  Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Vespers
As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.
After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.
And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)

photo credit: spoilt.exile <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/96301483@N05/46243352305″>Склон / Slope</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

“Sleepless in Seattle”: Navigating an Ego Storm

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Spirit-Weaving

A web of webs
connects bar to bar
on the lanai railing,
its silver threads catching
the subdued September sun
as it inches its way across the eastern sky.

Early autumn wind cools
the coffee hoarded in my hands-
a comforting respite from the nocturnal
ego storm that ensnared insectile what ifs
in the web of my soul, exhausting me
with their raging
against the storm.

Now
out here in healing sun,
wind and real webs
a Spirit-Web of trust
has neutralized the what-ifs,
calling me back to rest
in the center of my own best self.
Steady
Ready.

© Rita H Kowats 9-9-19