Soul Survival




 A bomb drops
On the northern rim of Iraq
Its devastation reverberating
Near and far
Around and beyond.
A two-year old child of Isis
In the wrong place at the wrong time
Lies cradled in the arms
Of his wailing mother
While I sit weeping in my chair
On another rim of the circle
Wondering what to do.

Get out of the chair.                          

© rita h kowats  9-29-14



Spirit-Spun Dawn

linda's sunrise


Spirit-Spun Dawn
Sets fire flaming
In the womb of day.


Empyrean wings cast crimson shadows
Across a waiting welkin
Teeming with the promise of new life.


We walk beneath the wings’ shadow
To catch a glimpse of glimmer
With arms outstretched to draw the dawn
Down to the dark spaces of doubt and despair.


“And God said, ‘Let there be light’-
And there was light.”

© rita h kowats 2014


Phot Credit:  Linda Roddis used with permission



Jacob Wrestles Again

(Genesis 32: 22-31)



The Invitation

I see you across the river.
Your massive wings catching the wind’s draft
Beckon me into the fray- I thought.
Your invitation is lost in the miasma
of my pugnacious fear.
The river pulls me toward my destiny
every step across the ford fraught
with illusions of empire.

The Fray

You stand stalwart in shinning sheen
that sets off sparks of fused energy
wherever it touches me.
Thrust and lunge pass and punt
around and under over and through
I wrestle in dusk then dark
demanding the blessing of blissful sovereignty
until I break with the dawning of new day.


I wake from the stupor of exhaustion
Supine and cradled in your protective wings.
Blessed with the chrism of your love
I rest in embryonic innocence
Face to Face
Free of fear.

© rita h kowats 2014

Photo Credit:   

A “SoulCard” by Deborah Koff-Chapin.  The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.”  The  cards come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  You can learn more at Deborah’s webpage

Used with permission from the artist.

The Winds of War

vietnam war memorial



Yet Again


I heard the sabers rattling
In digital space last night,
The same sabers I heard in ’90 and ’03.
The bladesmiths deftly forged their words
Hard as metal and plunged
Them into the furnace of fear
To be shaped and tempered into the fine point
That is called war.

Today I listen for the words
Of prophets rising above the din of sabers,
Their words clear and clean and true
Forged in the furnace of their souls
Shaped and honed by a justice
Crafted with eyes wide open.

I summon the prophet
Who lives in the furnace of my own soul:





Sacred Abundance

home hearth


Walking along the Interurban Trail near Seattle I was lured into the center of this copse as if pulled by a powerful invitation to be at home.  In that moment I felt an affinity with nature on a level not often felt before.  The copse became a safe hearth and for the moment cares melted in its fire.


Shorn and Unshod


Enter this untrodden space
unshod and enwrap
yourself in the protection
of Verdant Abundance.


©  rita h kowats 2014

Changing Focus

focus on rebirth


He looked at me in the enigmatic way he had as he asked the question.  I had been in great Sturm und Drang over something that thirty-five years later probably seems trivial.  When my spiritual guide asked me, “Rather than focus on what’s threatening to strangle you, why not focus on what’s struggling to be born?”  it opened up a new concept for me.  It seemed that I didn’t have to be a slave to my problems after all.  I could look at them, deal with them, and then change my focus.  Later, Walter Brueggemann made it clearer for me when he offered us the concept of the prophetic imagination.  Don’t just critique, although that is mandatory; we must create a new situation by first focusing on what COULD be. Buddhism adds such richness to this practice of changing focus by CHOOSING not to take on suffering created by ego.  We are mindful of real suffering and give it its just- due.  Then we change focus.

This practice of changing focus might be a helpful way of coping with the change of seasons.  We may grieve the loss of warm, bright sunshine as more clouds move in, but we can focus on the germination that is going on in the safe hearth of our souls.

Godplace: A Waking Dream Poem

Godplace in Dreamtime



Mystic Muse has led me to this poem by a quote from Meister Eckhart in which he says that if God wants to act in the soul God BECOMES the place wherein God wants to act.  Last month I had one of those tunnel dreams about re-birth camouflaged in deep, dark mystery.  This morning I reentered that dream in a waking state and it changed considerably, giving me somewhat of a different interpretation.


Godplace in Dreamtime


In Dreamtime Dawn
A demure little damsel
Steps into a tunnel, wheeling a suitcase
Behind her.

Like a Siren singing in foggy mist,
Lures her from the lair,

Its wispy tendrils lassoing embryonic innocence,
Pulling it through the Omega Aperture
To a new place, sans tunnel, sans suitcase.

Demure damsel no more,
The woman stands all ablaze in iridescent light.
Girlplace to Godplace


©rita h kowats 2014

Photo Credit:  Used and altered with permission “War Tunnel”  a k oa via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc-sa2.0cca

Summer Lament

summer collage


This lovely poem by Joyce Rupp speaks out loud what many are feeling as summer wanes and life moves in and out with the season.

Goodbye to Summer

seasonal change,
Call it by whatever name,
its bound to leave a crusty
on my reluctant spirit.


The time has come to end
my light-filled
when I floated on emerald
Now I stand here by the
patio door
looking out at naked trees.


Overnight, determined rain
nearly every leaf to the
Only a landscape of
emptiness remains
where once there lived
contented fullness.


I take a deep breath, give a
of resignation, gather my
remembrance of those
succulent months
while my memory takes
one last, grateful look
at summer’s dewy


Now is the time to yield, to
the next turning, accept
the stark contrast
of barrenness in place of


As I turn away from the
emptied trees
I take my generous basket
of summer
with me, trusting it has
enough to see me through
until the time of melting

by Joyce Rupp in My Soul Feels Lean


In the Wake of Ferguson: Revisiting “CRASH”

The year 2004 brought us an extraordinary film written and directed by Paul Haggis.  Crash won three Academy Awards, Best Picture one of them.  The film deals with every shade of the complex human experience of race in America.  It is on my mind as I have watched the news out of Ferguson, a microcosm of our experience.  The film calls me as a white person to see the truth straight on, ask the hard questions and work toward conversion.  It calls every race to do that by holding a mirror to the consequences if we continue to ignore our inner work.  I showed this film to seniors in a Social Justice Class and we had profound dialogue.  It shook them to the core.  Two scenes contain the seed of the whole film.

The first scene, “Pat Down by the Police” will ask you to be brave.  It is not for the faint of heart, containing violent language and action. Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) stops a car taking Hollywood director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) home after an awards event.  Its truth is stark and powerful.



The second scene, “Car Fire,” turns the previous scene upside down and we are forced to examine the meaning of forgiveness in an unforgivable injustice.



I invite us to gather in living rooms as adults and older teens to view this film for the first time or again.  Open a discussion of how it relates to Ferguson and how we each carry the seeds of Ferguson buried deep or edging to the surface.  Spirituality is to be born in acts of justice.  We must not hoard it for self-gazing.



The aging seer sits
Cradling the vision of her diminishing body
Acknowledging its changing landscape
Embracing the inevitability of its transition.

In youth the vision repels us- if we were to see it.
In middle age we glimpse it fleetingly from the corner of our eye
And quickly squeeze shut before it sees us.Elderspace soul card

In Elderspace
We listen intently to the universe chant
Its invitation to return.
Nurturing the vision,
We hold it fast to the spirit it enfolds.

When universe beckons,
Spent body bounds toward
Potential mystery.

© rita h kowats 2014




With this post I am happy to introduce the images of Deborah Koff-Chapin.  The technique Deborah has created is called “touch drawing.”  She calls them “SOULCARDS.” They  come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  You can learn more at Deborah’s webpage

Used with permission from the artist.