Beat, Great Heart

Beat Great Heart

At Christmas time last year my family visited the Bellevue Botanical Gardens as a ritual of celebration for our sister who had died suddenly four months earlier.  Today I come across the photos of the gardens and tears of delight mix with tears of sorrow, as they always do.  This was one of our last outings with Mary, and she so loved to garden!

I think of her and all of our loved ones who have passed as being immersed in the beating heart of the universe, as Martin Buber phrases it so well.  They live and breathe in every flower in every garden and continue to light our way.

May we stay in tune with the beating of the great heart.

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In Celebration of Telephone Lines: A Response

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In Celebration of Telephone Lines: A Response

                                    They stretch for miles,
                                    all those lines and spaces waiting
                                    for the notes to arrive, for the music
                                    to begin from blues and golds of the Sound:
                                    winds and crows, careening swallows,
                                    cedars swaying to tunes heard
                                    in hill tops and valleys: tulips, crocus,
                                    dancing white magnolia blossoms.
                                    So many messages of joy they carry.
                                    Yes, yes we honor those lingering lines
                                    and spaces of song.

    Kay Mullen

In Celebration of Telephone Lines

Flaws, faults, and faux pas
Line the landscape of human character
Like telephone poles stretching toward
A much-desired vanishing point.
We can wish them gone, but
They stand guard over the
Authenticity of our humanity.
They are the contours which
Showcase Beauty.
Honor them.

rita h kowats

In Celebration of Telephone Lines

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This morning I sit in my chair watching the next storm move in from the Pacific.  Clouds of every type race across the dawn- streaked blue, creating a backdrop for swaying cedars.  Crows struggle to stay airborne as they make their way toward their day jobs after a night of willow-nesting up north.  Idyllic.  Except for the damn telephone wires.  They intrude upon the landscape like the proverbial elephant in the living room.

 

Flaws, faults, and faux pas
Line the landscape of human character
Like telephone poles stretching toward
A much-desired vanishing point.
We can wish them gone, but
They stand guard over the
Authenticity of our humanity.
They are the contours which
Showcase Beauty.
Honor them.

© rita h kowats 2014

Two-Spirit Spirituality: Gift

dreamstime_l_8136471 Two-Spirit Symbol 2

I have known for a very long time about the tradition of gender-variant shaman among Native American peoples primarily in North America, and recently I felt moved to research further.  This poem is the fruit of my research and prayer.  I dedicate it to my dear friend Jim, the extroverted mystic, who gave this gift at the hardest of times to a church which could not receive it.

As unlikely as it sounds, the idea germinated from a word challenge to create a post around the word “violet.”
 http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/a-word-a-week-photograph-challenge-violet/posted the challenge.

Violet

 

photo credit:  ID 8136471 © Njnightsky | Dreamstime.com

Bibliography:

http://potnia.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/native-american-two-spirits/

http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/twospirit.php

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/oct/11/two-spirit-people-north-america

An Outstanding TED TALK about gender variance:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5295619?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Two Spirit: The Story of a Movement Unfolds – Native Peoples – May-June 2014 – Native Peoples
http://www.nativepeoples.com/Native-Peoples/May-June-2014/Two-Spirit-The-Story-of-a-Movement-Unfolds/#.U6noMPBpU60.facebook

“Invictus” February 11, 1990

mandela

In July of 1990 I was released from a county jail on an island after serving ten days as a federal prisoner for illegal trespass  on a naval subase to raise concsiousness about possession and deployment of nuclear weapons.  I was inmate number four in a cell block intended for three.  Constant chatter, and piped in heavy metal music from the likes of The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, provided a fitting backdrop for drug dealers, identity thieves and pacifists.  Or so they thought.  I coped by sitting on the floor against the gray cinder block wall and breathing myself to an inner world beyond the mayhem.  “You’re meditating, aren’t you?  Cool.  What ya in for?” my companions asked.  One day they brought in a sorry excuse for library books, one of them scarred with horrific racial slurs.  I slipped it to the guard and asked her to remove it.  She did.  Ten days passed quickly.  It was nothing.

On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island Prison in South Africa after surviving twenty-seven years.  It was a sacred and unbelievable survival.  One wall of his tiny cell had been painted white to reflect the blazing South African sun.  Mandela walked out partially blinded.  This was one of their more subtle tortures.  With concentrated effort, I could shut out mayhem for ten days.  I didn’t suffer constant torture and debasement.  It was nothing.  Mandela held onto these words from the poem, “Invictus” to hold him together in his suffering.  While they could touch his body, they could not touch his soul, if he did not allow it.  I am in awe of his strength and commitment.  Amanda!

Invictus – the poem

by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

photo credit:  http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1374898/nelson-mandelas-struggle-freedom-inspired-world

Shifting Images

This reflection comes to us from my friend Ardine Martinelli, who lives in the beautiful NW where she is a Spiritual Director and retreat leader.  She enjoys gardening, hiking, travel,
and good conversation with friends.  May it speak to us in ways we can hear and heed.

dancer now

Shifting Images

While meditating I received the most amazing message, “Change your image from Warrior to Dancer.”  This jolted me back to the present as I began to reflect on what that might look like.

I have been a warrior most of my life. I felt I needed to prove, achieve, master and do.  I lived life like I had to conquer it. I moved out into the world, believing I had to make things happen.  This mode served me well for a long time.  I built a successful career and business, and created a sense of competency and worth around my achievements.  I am now 71 years old and this image no longer serves me, in fact, it drains me.  I am tired of pushing through, I want to rest and let life come to me.

Ah, this is the image of the dancer.  As I began playing with the dancer image I realized I craved the idea of letting life flow through me.  As a dancer, I am a partner with life not a conqueror of life. My dancer waits, trusting in life and knowing all is well.   My whole body relaxes as I let this image flow through me.  It is hard for me to imagine waiting for life to come to me.   Trust is not a quality that comes easy.

Warrior is my default mode.  When I feel stressed, anxious, frustrated, I move into the warrior, take-charge mode.  It is my warrior energy that creates the struggle of believing I “should” be “doing” more.  With awareness, I can allow my warrior to rest. It is not either/or, it is a dance between my warrior and dancer. The shift of image is a process and I trust in its slow movement through my being.

 Photo Credits:

“Amazon ” www.wikigender.org;     “Dance Silhouettes” free vector clip-art