Just for Fun: Spiritual Ecstacy

Spiritual Ecstasy Buttercup and  Raymond 2

 

 

[in Just-]
by E.E. Cummings

in Just-
spring              when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistle s      far     and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far     and     wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan     whistles
far
and
wee

Spiritual Ecstasy

 

A friend posted this picture today from http://www.edgarsmission.org.au/, and it delighted me so much I was prompted to share it with you.  Edgar’s Mission is a farm animal rescue in Australia.  Treat yourself and look at the pictures of all their animals, noticing the apt names they have bestowed upon them.

Buttercup and Raymond remind me of King David dancing with abandon before the Ark of the Covenant.  The bounding lambs also recall a time when I walked with a loved one in spring rain and just had to stomp in the mud puddle and splash it all over him.  It was so “mud-luscious” I couldn’t resist.

When we throw off the things of adults and put on the heart of a child we enter into spiritual ecstasy.  We stand outside of ourselves, outside of mundane ego concerns, leaving us free to relish that spirit space where God lives.

May we all have at least twenty minutes today when we can be creative and throw ego-decorum to the wind!

 

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The Land of Nod and The Feast

Recently, a fellow dreamer, Kayla, (www.dreamerly.com) posted this dream:

“Last night my dreams took me to the strangest places – to a little neighborhood of modern buildings nestled among the familiar imagery of my hometown.  On our way to our destination, my companion in the dream and I passed a light blue modern structure, a restaurant called “The Almond.” (I think that name is delightful and if I were to start a restaurant, I would surely name it just that!) Our destination in the dream was the house of a woman who served dinner from her home. It was a Sunday, and we were uncertain if she would be serving dinner that night. She was. When we were seated, we were the only ones there, but soon more people came and more and more, so that the room was completely full. A strange feast of the oddest foods was served. It was a marvelous dream, one that evokes memories of Babette’s Feast and that has had me moving through my day with an inward eye and a strange state of mind.”

With Kayla’s nod, I made an attempt to enter her dream and create a poem:

Tomboyseer 2

The Feast

Thirty-Seventh Ave. S.W.
Basks in the glow of yesteryear,
Yester joy, and the abandonment of youth.
Its aura creates an illusion of “All is well,”
When it isn’t….But THIS part is well:
Re-enacting every movie we saw,
I at the top of one vacant lot, a virtual Carol Burnet, singing at the top of my lungs,
“I’m calling you, ooo, ooo, ooo,”
Melania Wozniak echoing from the opposite vacant lot,
“I’m answering you, ooo, ooo, ooo.”
A “gemutlich” time, a hospitable hiatus
From a sometimes inhospitable home.
Out on Thirty-Seventh Ave. S.W.
I didn’t have to fit in where I didn’t fit.
Here, the wild, tomboy-seer
Fit.

The neighborhood of my youth
Tenders a gift:
“Return to my table and re-member the memories.”
I return.
New table.
Renovated restaurant.
And in the breaking of the bread
I see.

Deo Gratias

© rita h kowats

The Black and White Pinto Pony

Mary and Rita.jpg enlarged
One spring day in 1949 a man strolled through our lazy Seattle neighborhood, leading a black and white pinto pony.  I left my little heart on 50th St. in West Seattle that day.  “Hey, kids, you want to ride my pony?”  Duh.  We ran into the house and wore Mom down with begging.  After all, for just $5 she would have a swell portrait of us.
I remember that day as the happiest of my childhood- not the details- I didn’t know until recently that my sister had wanted to wear the chaps, but she let me instead.  It’s the experience of ecstasy I remember.  It’s there on my face, bursting through the dimples.

I also remember sitting on the floor in front of the book case at age seven and a half, ecstatic at my re-discovery of a book, If Jesus Came To My House.  It portrayed a child leading Jesus by the hand through the house and neighborhood, pointing out the most special people, places and toys.  I remember feeling so close to Jesus as I read, and the yearning for him to come to my house and stay.  The seeds of mysticism planted.  A remodled house now, an evolved image of Jesus; nevertheless, the same yearning.

Jesus arrived at my house the day the black and white pinto pony came, and every time since then, when I watch toddlers play, and my cat chase her tail.  This old shaker song ,“Simple Gifts” was written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.  It says it all.

 

‘Tis the gift to be simple,
’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Mary and Rita close up

Adaptations of the Soul

4187-4457

While looking for food, a nomad in the Namib Desert might see this little Fringe-Toed Lizard doing his gymnastics to survive the otherwise unsurvivable heat.  He lifts one appendage at a time, removing it momentarily from the sand’s heat.  At noon he will burrow into the cooler sand beneath the surface.  At dawn our nomad would enjoy the cool mist blowing in from the ocean, and with many other plants and animals, sip from its moisture left on leaves.  The Sidewinder snake adapts its behavior by heaving  its body across the sand, touching down in only two places at a time.

Adapting.  And how do we human beings adapt our souls to meet the overwhelming challenges thrown at us by our environment?  Like these desert animals, we are a resilient lot.  We survive and we often thrive.  Adaptation of the soul is analagous to adaptation to environments; however, unlike other animals, we can make choices- choices which get us and others into dire situations, and choices which redeem us.  Apartheid imprisoned Nelson Mandella for twenty-eight years, and his spirit adapted and thrived.  I can only conjecture about the details of Mandella’s adaptation.  You have developed your ways of adapting to spiritual challenges, to “The Dark Night of the Soul,” as John of the Cross called it.  These choices have redeemed me at times:

1.  Be Faithful

To mantras that focus me, affirmations, rituals, other prayer forms.

2.  Be Helpful

Seek out viable and positive service opportunities.  Service takes us out of ourselves.

3.  Be Creative

Paint, draw, write, compose music, play music)  Creative activity often puts us into an altered state where we can forget our despair for a while, and unite with the Other.

4.  Be Communal

Talk with a spiritual guide or trusted friend.

These adaptations get me through the heat of the day:  Old truths embedded in a new metaphor.

Glimpsing Joy

JOY

ME on joy

Buongiorno!

The essence of joy is detachment. Pure joy is an experience of ecstasy, in which we stand outside of ourselves. It is like the baby featured recently on YouTube. Every time his father tore a piece of paper, the baby erupted into peals of spontaneous gut-giggles(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4abiHdQpc. (I dare you to refrain from giggling.) True joy is standing outside of all ego-judgments, and entering into an experience feet first.

 Glimpse

Walking along the Puget Sound waterfront in 80 degree weather, I met a Vietnam Vet walking his white shih Tzu, “Pootie.” “Pootie is a service dog trained to create a peaceful environment for the vets he visits at the VA hospital. Time enjoyed with “Pootie” lowers blood pressure, and keeps the demons of PTSD at bay, at least during this sacred, liminal time. This little Shih Tzu seems to have the same effect on his owner. As we chatted there in the glorious sun, joy emanated from this vet and made its home in me.

Glimpse

A walk along Echo Lake began with my daily encounter with “Beautiful,” a magnificent Great Blue Heron. Escaping notice at first, I finally spotted her hiding among the cattails. “There you are!” I cheered. She stretched her long neck and turned her head sideways, the better to see me. I serenaded her with, “How are you today, Beautiful? It’s so delightful to see you again. Thank you for coming.” And she slowly plodded her way over to within ten feet of me. Watching. Listening. Honest.

I continued on to the lake’s end, and watched three groups of people fish. A man walked by me with an eight inch pink-speckled trout dangling from his thumb. His nearly toothless grin and tattered coveralls conjured images of Tom and Huck playing along the shores of Old Man River. I greeted the fisher with, “You caught one!” He smiled widely and announced, “Oh, I caught a few. You want this one?” I hesitated as a movie of me walking home and into the lobby of my apartment building with this fish dangling from my thumb, played out in my head. Tom caught my hesitation and in a mournful tone exclaimed, “You don’t like FISH?” I rushed to explain my dilemma, which he graciously understood. I wish I had accepted Tom’s gift. I could have mounted it on my wall and framed it with a plaque cautioning, “DON’T LOOK A GIFT FISH IN THE MOUTH.”

Glimpse

In 1982, two years after my sojourn in Berkeley, I moved from a small provincial town to Capitol Hill in Seattle. Finally, I could breathe again! Capitol Hill is home to many citizens of the kingdom of Out-of-the-Box. Last week, in 2013, I had returned for an appointment and joyously wasted time strolling down 15th Avenue. I was ecstatic to rediscover the Bagel Deli, which was established in 1980. Last year it was awarded the title, “Best Bagel in Seattle.” Still crazy, after all these years!” (Thank you, Paul Simon.)

Inside, delicious memories, not all culinary, wafted around the loft like ghosts looking for a hostess: stimulating conversationalists, friends always up for a good belly laugh, lox and bagels to die for. It had been a time in my prime, when my body and my mind still cooperated with me. I sat at a table beside a wall of windows thrown open to lure in the cool Puget Sound breeze on this warmish day. Before pouncing on my bagel, I “gave thanks for all that has been, and said yes to all that will be.” (Dag Hammarskjold)

Ciao!

Some people write gratitudes at each day’s closing. I savor these glimpses of joy as reminders of what God can do in me if I jump in feet first. Nourish us with your own glimpses of joy in the comment section, if you feel so moved.