In Search of Abundance

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In another post I told the story of this photo, 

On my walk along the lake I spotted a maple leaf, dried to death by the intense summer heat, stunning in its aridity.  Unable to ignore its call, I snatched it up and carried it home to await the muse.

It called to me again as this season of Lent commenced, but I wasn’t prepared to receive its unexpected power.  The liturgical artists from my spiritual home, Seattle Mennonite Church, extended an invitation for us to engage our lenten theme, Parables of Abundance: “We are interested in creating a visual piece that reflects both the abundance we experience in trying to live with less, as well as our feelings of vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.” We are invited to bring our image or our written piece to the sanctuary to create a rich collage of our experiences of abundance.

As the photographer, 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.

 

Lenten Meditation One

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Max Musing

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2-21-19

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…

too soon.
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/

 

 

 

Rose Petals Floating Downstream

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I recommend this lovely new book of Anita Neilson’s spiritual poetry:

https://anitaneilson.com/2018/12/07/its-raining-rose-petals/

Ordinary Time


Yesterday, to save time, I took the E-line bus which runs through the non-Amazon side of Seattle.  It is a route which usually leaves me depleted of psychic energy.  However, this time the E-Line gifted me with the blessed ordinariness of life.  It was a holiday and folks were basking in their liminal time. Gentle smiles graced the faces of the poorest of the poor.  An aging woman who still walked well gave her seat to an aging man who no longer walked well.  I was unaware of my need to see ordinary folks going about their lives with courage and joy.  Today this poem emerged.


Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/349447/ by Eugenia

A Spiritual Practice For Ragged Souls

 

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So much is too much when it happens within a tight time frame. When I caught myself sitting still in a stare choking on emerging emotions I pushed my body out to the earth. The ritual that brought relief to my ragged soul follows. I hope you will also find it helpful.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE TO RELEASE AND RECHARGE ENERGY

Sit with feet planted firmly on the ground and breathe naturally while you gradually take in your surroundings (“Wherever you are be the soul of that place.”- Rumi)

Imagine that a cord stretches from the base of your spine down into the earth acting as a channel through which all accumulated unwanted energy passes into the earth where it can be reconstituted and positively recharged. With each deep exhale send this energy downward until it no longer has a hold on you.

As you gather this unwanted energy from your body let your prayer be this or something else meaningful to you:

Divine spirit moving in the universe, I release this energy into the earth.

You will know that this energy has left your body when it feels lighter and less dense.

Now imagine that a second cord extends from the base of your spine into the earth; its purpose is to carry positive energy from the earth into your body. With each deep inhale bring healing energy into every part of your body.

As you gather healing earth energy into your body let your prayer be this or something else meaningful to you:

Divine spirit, let this energy awaken me and flow through me to others for our greatest good.

When you feel balanced and grounded slowly bring your consciousness back to present time and place. Know that you may feel a little spacey, so move slowly and intentionally.

Now you are ready to receive again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: pexels.com

Let Not Swollen Cities Suffocate

 

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Like a Metal That Hasn’t Been Mined

by Rainer Maria Rilke

You, mountain, here since mountains began,
slopes where nothing is built, peaks that no one has named,
eternal snows littered with stars,
valleys in flower offering fragrances of earth….

Do I move inside you now?
Am I within the rock
like a metal that hasn’t been mined?
Your hardness encloses me everywhere….

Or is it fear I am caught in?
The tightening fear of the swollen cities in which I suffocate….

The Book of Hours III, 2

in A Year with Rilke: Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

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Call me a pantheist. I don’t mind. I am one with my cat, so why not with a mountain? Sherlock just jumped onto the table and has boldly pushed his way into my arms. I lay my head on him and feel the deep resonant purring. Our breaths synchronize and for that moment all is well. It isn’t enough that I observe momentarily. To become one with nature takes time. Time enough to blend breathing.

When I feel suffocated in the city, and all the politics that come with it, I need to immerse myself in nature to the point of saturation. Only then can I return to the city strong enough not to lose my self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: diana_robinson <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62501682@N00/41437040220″>Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, Seattle, Washington</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/40223073965″>Mount Hood – Oregon – USA</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Can We Care Again?

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The headline in the Seattle Times reads “For third day, grieving orca carries dead calf in water.” (July 26, 2018). As I write this morning it is the sixth day the mother has carried her dead baby on her nose, diving down deep to retrieve it whenever it slips off. I don’t have words to express how I feel. The photo says it.

Elephants also mourn, holding wakes for fallen elephants. In a PBS production I saw a herd come across the remains of a bull elephant. They circled the skull caressing it with their trunks, even lingering over it. Around and around they went, emitting those low rumbling sounds humans cannot hear by ears alone.

I mourn that many humans no longer hear. We seem to have forgotten how to care enough for one another to hold vigil.
My practice:

Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release indifference
Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release hate
Breathing in I care
Breathing out I release fear of the other.

Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release indifference
Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release hate
Breathing in we care
Breathing out we release fear of the other.

May the merits of this practice extend to all sentient beings in the universe.

Amen.

Photo Credit: Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/puget-sound/for-third-day-grieving-orca-whale-carries-dead-calf-in-water/

Free-Flowing Action

 

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From Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
trans.Anita Barrows and Joanna Macey

1,12
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

 

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Conflicting Images Emerge:

-No forcing, no holding back

-But rivers can overflow,.wrecking havoc on nearby communities

-“Let justice roll down like a river,” Amos 5:24

-The Colorado river carved out the Grand Canyon over a period of millions of years

-Rivers plunge over steep ledges into pools below. Hear the roar of Niagra Falls and Victoria Falls in Zambia

-The River Dee in Scotland meandering along peacefully, allowing fly fishers the luxury of patience.

I resist the drive to dualize by insisting that I act this way and not that way. What matters, in Rilke’s mind, is that my action be true to itself, authentic.

Afterall,

“Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Norman MacLean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: ShinyPhotoScotland N08/24432298457″>Mist in the Carse of Gowrie via photopin (license)

Breach the Beach

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I settled into my meditation on the dock this morning, luxuriating in black bird twitters and the flash of red wings. The sun on my back thawed my winterized bones.  Ahh, how good to be alone with the divine… until the holy muse quietly morphed into a magnificent Great Blue Heron holding vigil in the water lilies.  Her faithful practice spoke to me,”Stand still. Watch and wait.  Your authentic self will catch up with you.”

 

Beach Combing