“The Art of Precious Scars”

 

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Explosion

DANGER
Sizzles between air molecules
In spaces intended for patience and love.
Two-year-old Alice, impatient for food
Punctuates the room with a crescendo of piercing cries.
You are in the kitchen cooking a dinner that refuses to cook…
The Protector is away on retreat.
My seven year-old empathic brain is on high alert
Pleaser Stand-in Protector
I seek a distraction to divert the explosion.

From my place under the high chair
I make faces at Alice. It has worked before
BUT
As the high chair is bumped the milk sprouts wings

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NOW?”

Your behemoth bulk looming over me
You snatch me up and carry me to my bedroom

Do you know how terrified and shamed I am
As you pull down my pants
EXPOSING
My tiny seven-year-old bottom?

Off comes the belt
Which leaves angry welts on
The seven-year-old
Who just wanted to keep the peace.

THE PROTECTOR
Never left you in charge after that.

Reconciliation

My fifty-five-year-old empathic brain had evolved
By the time of your visit.
The Protector came first on another bright Autumn day
After she died. “Honey, I’m alright,” she said.
You came many years later, having also evolved.

I lay on the couch before a roaring fire
Pretending to grade papers
While Beethoven’s Ninth wove its magic.
The chorus intoned Shiller’s “Ode to Joy”
And I became the music.
You came to me at the fireplace
As I stoked and the chorus proclaimed

Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father reside.

“Honey, I do love you so much. Forgive me.”
Came the gentle whisper in my ear.

I wonder if Beethoven ever heard those words
From his abusive father.

Kintsugi

Sixty -six years later
The fissure gleams
With the gold
Of healing experiences
Whole gift to fellow fractured
Pilgrims

© Rita H Kowats 2017

 

 

For a poignant description of Kintsugi go here

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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This Cacaphony of Caca: A Spiritual Practice

soul card for combat fatigue

There has been a lot of cacophony over caca in the last week. Donald Trump’s now infamous racist epithet has left many of us in a deep depression fraught with rage and outrage. Let the cacophony careen until it crashes through every wall erected to protect us from diversity. We wonder how Germany could have raised up Hitler and then remained silent. Now America knows how it happened. There is a time for words, there is a time for action. The time for action is now.

From a place burning deep within my humanity, I have cried tears of anger and tears of shame. I have sat in solidarity with friends as they cried tears of rage and shame. There have been prolonged episodes of reading and analysis of Huffpost, the Washington Post, the BBC. I wrote to my three legislators calling them to gather support in invoking the 25th Amendment. Now I have settled into silence and solitude to support the soulcare that I so sorely need.

SOULCARE

Free The Mind

Distractions enter, threatening to take over thoughts and feelings.

  • Acknowledge their presence saying, for example, “Garbage Trucks.” Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings.
  • Establish a rhythm to your breathing saying, “Breathing in I acknowledge this noise and it’s hold on me, breathing out I release it.”
  • Breathing the intention will eventually create a space for the divine to enter. Say, “Breathing in God is here. Breathing out, I am peace.”
    When you feel yourself resting in God’s presence continue breathing and wait for the Spirit’s prompting.

Seek Healing

  • Detach yourself from the belief that you are the sole saviour of the world.
  • Acknowledge your rage and grief and be grateful you can feel them.
  • Send loving kindness to yourself, repeating the mantra throughout your day until you feel a shift in your consciousness:

Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation

May I be safe from harm.
May I be happy and peaceful
May I strong and healthy.
May I take care of myself with joy.

  • Send forgiveness to Donald Trump and to all of us for our complicity in racism; if forgiveness doesn’t come remember that it is a process. I have sometimes had to ask God to forgive for me:

Buddhist Forgiveness Prayer

If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions I ask their forgiveness.

If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions I forgive them.

And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.

For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions
I forgive myself.

Birth the Divine in the Unjust Situation

A Mantra

Breathing in peace
Breathing out transformed rage.
Breathing in the divine
Breathing out justice
Breathing in the divine
Breathing out justice.

God alive we thrive.
May it be so.

ACT

 

Photo Credit:   

“SoulCards” 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.  www.soulcards.com

Used with permission from the artist

 

Collusion

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Collusion

The day after
the Shame
the expanse of sometimes blue sky
is speckled with thick, sooty elephant-skin clouds
That bleed disdain on Lady Liberty
who holds vigil in the harbor
of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The Shame
shrieks, reeks inhumanity, holding us hostage
until we dare say it out loud:
Racist.
Brothers and sisters, forgive us,
for we know exactly what we do.

© Rita H Kowats 1-12-18

 

Photo Credit: Getty

 

 

Winter Doldrums

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Really, I am truly grateful for Seattle rain, especially as I see reports about places where people are suffering from much more adverse weather conditions; however, winter can wear thin, can’t it?

This lovely poem from Marge Piercy picked me up.  I hope it does the same for you today.

 

The butt of winter

The city lies grey and sopping like a dead rat
under the slow oily rain.
Between the lower east side tenements
the sky is a snotty handkerchief.
The garbage of poor living slimes the streets.
You lie on your bed and think soon it will be hot and violent,
then it will be cold and mean.
You say you feel as empty as a popbottle in the street.
You say you feel full of cold water standing like an old horse trough.
The clock ticks, somewhat wrong, the walls crack their dry knuckles.
Work is only other rooms where people cough,
only the typewriter clucking like a wrong clock.
Nobody will turn the soiled water into wine,
nobody will shout cold Lazarus alive but you.

You are your own magician.

Stretch out your hand, stretch out your hand and look:
each finger is a snake of energy, a gaggle of craning necks.
Each electric finger conducts the world.
Each finger is a bud’s eye opening.
Each finger is a vulnerable weapon.
The sun is floating in your belly like a fish.
Light creaks in your bones.
You are sleeping with your tail in your mouth.
Unclench your hands and look.
Nothing is given us but each other.
We have nothing to give but ourselves.
We have nothing to take but the time that drips,
drips anyhow leaving a brown stain.
Open your eyes and your belly.
Let the sun rise into your chest and burn your throat,
stretch out your hands and tear the gauzy rain
that your world can be born from you
screaming and red.

by Marge Piercy in Circles on the Water

 

Photo Source: https://www.pexels.com/u/pixabay/

The Homing Instinct

 

turtles homing

It is both frightening and painful for many Americans to witness the daily unraveling of the principles we hold sacred without relinquishing all hope.  Today I am returning to the magic of Pat Conroy in his novel Beach Music.  Let the vibration of hundreds of loggerhead turtles on their first march to the sea get deep into your soul’s bones as you take in Conroy’s description:

Beach Music

We must not forget our spiritual homing instinct, our restless urge to go beyond ourselves to the Other, however we define that for ourselves.  Know your spiritual landscape.  Fix your eyes on the vast ocean of the Other’s love, and let’s head out together. In this lies hope.

 

 

photo credit: Eddietherocker <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28393978@N07/35807963985″>Tres Turtles</a> via <a href=”http://Aphotopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Meditation Song by Jane Goodman

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So often people think that spiritual development just happens magically, however, all of those who are serious about their spiritual growth know that it is a process.  Letting go is hard work.

Jane Woodman at In Love Lust and Laughter has written a poem which describes this process beautifully.  Enjoy!

Click on the link below to read the poem.

Meditation Song

 

Photo Credit:  Rhonda Beck

Thank You

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I wish each of you abundant blessing in this new year.  I very much appreciate the energy you bring with you when you come to this blog, and I am grateful for the energy you infuse into it.  Together we experience God coming near.

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GOD JUST CAME NEAR

No
One
In need of love
Can sit with my verse for
An hour
And then walk away without carrying
Golden tools,
And feeling that God
Just came
Near.

 

HAFIZ

 

Photo Credit: Daniel Tran Cathedral of Light Sydney’s festival, Vivid Sydney

I See You

dove

And the feelings flattened and folded and
turned into something else, like emotional origami. Made to look pretty, but disguising something not at all attractive.

 A Rule against Murder Louise Penny

 

Phoenix Rising

 

 

Giddy with relief
We bid “Good Riddance!”
To the flattened and folded emotions of the old year,
Now smoldering embers of dashed dreams.

We stand poised to welcome a fresh start
Even as the embers flare up again,
Undulating on updrafts of promise-
Fleshed-out feelings inflated
With the expectation of transformation.

 

© Rita H Kowats 12-30-17

 

 

 

Photo Credit: DaPuglet <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43810158@N07/36341206095″>Dove Lounging In The Apple Tree</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Evidence of Flossing: A Book Review

Evidence of Flossing Cover

 

Jennifer A. Payne’s
WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR
OF
“Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind”

Book Summary:

Would God floss? Do spiders sing? Can you see the Universe in your reflection? Find the answers to these questions in more in this new book by Connecticut writer Jen Payne. Her poems in EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND investigate the human condition and its folly, the beauty of our natural world, and the possibility of divine connection. 80 original and vintage photographs include a series of discarded dental flossers that inspired the book’s title.
ALA Notable Book author Dale Carlson calls the book “a brilliantly incisive commentary on our simultaneous human sense of beauty and waste and loss.”
EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING speaks to the common heart that beats in you and in me, in the woods and on the streets, across oceans and around this planet. It asks us all to consider the effects of our actions and how they influence everything else in the Universe.

My Review:

Jen Payne’s book, Evidence of Flossing: What we leave Behind, carries prophetic power in the spaces between its words. It is truth and beauty delivered to us in wide-eyed wonder by a child’s heart passionately in love with nature.

The prophet shows up in bold statements like,”This watch around my neck doesn’t work,” (Time Peace) and “My fingers touch its teeth like rosary beads, penance for our collective apathy,” and “Numbed and dumbed by these machines,” (Now Trending>)

Other times we encounter a mystic drawing us into the essence of the universe, “Everything is flowing, god whispers. How foolish am I to resist?” (Resistance is Futile.)

In each poem Jen crawls inside a subject and settles in for a leisurely lie-in until she understands, then becomes her subject. The integrity of the process gifts readers with fresh insight and renewed commitment to be mindful of what they leave behind. As in this verse from “Sanctified without Assistance,” ‘Jen’s writing is sometimes spare, creating space for soulful birthing: “Come winter, bare-branch whispers of hope promised, stored.”

Evidence of Flossing: What we leave Behind should not be missed. You will come away with both righteous anger and with hope. You will be blessed with insight into the nature of spirituality and rekindled with the joy of nature.

Jen Payne Head Shot

 

About the Author:

Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.

Very often, her writing is accompanied by her own photography and artwork. As both a graphic designer and writer, Jen believes that partnering visuals and words layers the intentions of her work, and makes the communication more palpable.

In 2014, she published LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, a collection of essays, poems and original photography. Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is her second book.

Jen is the owner of Three Chairs Publishing and Words by Jen, a graphic design and creative services company founded in 1993, based in Branford, Connecticut. She is a member of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, the Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Connecticut Poetry Society, Guilford Arts Center, the Guilford Poets Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Installations of her poetry were featured in Inauguration Nation an exhibition at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven (2017), and Shuffle &amp; Shake at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (2016). Her writing has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health.

You can read more of her writing on her blog Random Acts of Writing, http://www.randomactsofwriting.net.

 

Jennifer can also be found online at:

Website: https://3chairspublishing.com/

Blog: https://randomactsofwriting.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/threechairspub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThreeChairsPub

Be sure to visit!

 

 

 

Looking For Cindy Lou Who

CindyLouWho

 

Cindy Lou Who
not asnooze
eyes alight with wonder

Waits
Expects
Believes.

Where wonder waits
Awe follows
Grace grows
Hope arrives.

Look within.
You will find her tucked
Between memories
playing with the possibilities
Of what might be

Shimmering
Sheer
Joy.

© Rita H Kowats 12-19-17

 

Photo Credit: http://seuss.wikia.com/wiki/User:Rickdrumz