Raucous Rending: Tears of the Spirit

 

Raucous Rending Framed

A poem for this season when the veil is still thin and emotions burst into being….

 

Raucous Rending Poem

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/54741099@N00/1792111952″>High Force</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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Have You Heard? Pass the Word.

WW Ride the Waves with Us

 

 

Do you live in the Seattle area, USA?  Do you know someone who does?  Come to the next gathering of the worship community at Welcoming Waters, October 18, and pass the word.  We are growing in number and our intention is clear:  healing and spiritual nourishment in a loving and inclusive environment.

Welcoming Waters is a gathering of people who seek to hear the message the spirit is speaking through one another. Many of us were asked to leave religious institutions because we revealed our authentic selves. Some of us told our worshiping community that we were members of the GLBT community, others of us expressed our doubts, and some of us expressed an understanding of faith that was outside the borders of the church we were attending. When we were all ushered to the door, formally, or subtlety of those communities, we found that the Spirit of love, the Spirit of God, the insights of our faiths did not stop working in our lives or teaching us profound truths. We simply lost a place to talk about them.

We are so blessed to be able to gather at the beautiful Lake Ballinger Community Center five miles north of Seattle on the third Sunday of the month at 10:30 and like the great blue heron who finds herself on the shores of Lake Ballinger, we wait and wade in the waters of the Spirit together.

If you sense the spirit has something to say but you have not found a safe place to express those words, or if you are seeking a faith gathering that will accept all of you, we invite you to come to our gathering.

We will gather again on October 18 at Lake Ballinger Community Center 1030am.
All are welcome.

 

WW step into the healing waters with us

 

If you would like to talk to someone before attending please email
Pastor Linda Roddis linda.heronspirit@gmail.com
or
Rita kowats, MA Theology soulseeing@gmail.com

www.welcomingwaters.org

https://www.facebook.com/PastorLindaRoddis

Mountlake Community Center
23000 Lakeview Drive
Mountlake Terrace WA 98043

Photo Credit:

: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40883175@N06/19803298938“>Surfer</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com“>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/“>(license)</a>

edited

Welcoming Waters: A Sacred Place for Varigated Human Beings

lindas ww fb pic for swb

In February we gathered for the first time.  Now it is August and our graced gathering of Welcoming Waters members has grown in trust and strength and healing.  We are twelve vibrant and variegated human beings, and we invite you to bless us with your presence if you live in or are visiting the greater Seattle area.

Welcoming Waters is a gathering of people who seek to hear the message the spirit is speaking through one another. Many of us were asked to leave religious institutions because we revealed our authentic selves. Some of us told our worshiping community that we were members of the GLBT community, others of us expressed our doubts, and some of us expressed an understanding of faith that was outside the borders of the church we were attending. When we were all ushered to the door, formally, or subtlety of those communities, we found that the Spirit of love, the Spirit of God, the insights of our faiths did not stop working in our lives or teaching us profound truths. We simply lost a place to talk about them.

We are so blessed to be able to gather at the beautiful Lake Ballinger Community Center five miles north of Seattle on the third Sunday of the month at 10:30 and like the great blue heron who finds herself on the shores of Lake Ballinger, we wait and wade in the waters of the Spirit together.

If you sense the spirit has something to say but you have not found a safe place to express those words, or if you are seeking a faith gathering that will accept all of you, we invite you to come to our gathering.

We will gather again on March 15 at Lake Ballinger Community Center 1030am.
All are welcome.

If you would like to talk to someone before attending please email
Pastor Linda Roddis linda.heronspirit@gmail.com
or
Rita kowats, MA Theology soulseeing@gmail.com

www.welcomingwaters.org

https://www.facebook.com/PastorLindaRoddis

Mountlake Community Center
23000 Lakeview Drive
Mountlake Terrace WA 98043

Beach Homing

girls building fort on beach 2

Camping chair sunk in sand
Feet cooling in aberrant waves
Towering crags bear witness
To the muse asleep in my interior shelter.

Their first trip past me almost escaped notice
Giggling girls gallivanting (Do Not Disturb)
Except these girls did not giggle.
No bikini-clad Beach Barbies here.
No Pollyanna pleasantries.
These new women were beach-striders on a mission
Spurred on by the Women’s World Cup amulets they wore.

They return dragging driftwood booty
To some sacred place beyond me.
I call out, “I bet you girls are building a fort, aren’t you?”
They break into ecstatic grins and throw down the gauntlet
“YES!”
I shout a blessing, “Oh, what fun!  Carry on!”

A shelter of their own
Away from adult eyes and ears
Away from expectations of princess peers
They build their sanctuary
And weave stories to carry them
Through to the other side
Where a god of strength and freedom
Welcomes their self-assurance.

The day-before-yesterday
My twelve-year-old self combed
This beach for driftwood booty
Which has become the sacred shelter
Of my Muse.

 

© rita h kowats June 2015

I See You

I watched Avatar again last evening and luxuriated in the luminescence of Pandora.  The Na’vis’ greeting of “I see you,” moved me as it always does.  “I see you,” not “What’s up?”  I offer three vignettes of the phrase:

 

I  I see you.

Mom greets me from her station on the front steps
Where she weeds and waits.
“Honey.  Tony is gone.  He died today.
Tony sang his little heart out for us.mom and rita
I’m sorry.
I lay my loss down in the softness
Of her embrace,
Knowing that she saw me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.  I See You.

We shared song and soul,
Discourse and discovery.
Then we set sail separately
To save our respective worlds.

I had not knownroman collar with eyes overlay
We were in love until the energy
In our farewell ignited the truth
Living in our eyes.
A bittersweet moment of sheer joy
Imprinted on the genes of our souls
Left to shape us separately even now.
I see you.

 

 

III.  I see you.

Innocent on-looker to T.V. reporter:
“I’m not prejudiced,
But
Those people need to respect
Themselves more and not stoop
To such beliefs and actions.
I know you.  You’re me.
And
I see you.

 prejudice

© rita h kowats 2015

 

Two-Spirit Spirituality Revisited

dreamstime_l_8136471 Two-Spirit Symbol 2

It feels like a good time to repost this piece which I published February 2014.

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 gay mystic, who gave this gift at the hardest of times to a church which could not receive it.

Violet

photo credit:  ID 8136471 © Njnightsky | Dreamstime.c

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

Fire in the Belly: A Lenten Practice

 framed fire in the belly soulcard

 

 

Fire in the Belly

 

Photo Credit:  Deborah Koff-Chapin has created  a technique she calls “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 www.soulcards.com

Synchronicity

Great Blue Heron on beach  no poem cropped for bus cards

 

 

Last evening my friend and I met over dinner at a restaurant at the Edmonds Marina, in the Seattle area, USA.  We were surrounded by the sea and by another sea of blue and green and 12’s.  This town is electric with football right now.  But the seahawk is not the only seabird which graces our shores.

The Great Blue Heron is an ever-present witness of vigilance and solitary self-reliance.  We had come together to plan the first gathering of the Spirit of the Great Blue Heron, an intentional liturgical gathering of persons who have experienced rejection by and alienation from institutional religions.  They seek healing and renewed spirituality.  Our hope is to create a safe environment where the Spirit can free each one to connect with sacred presence, however they experience it.  As we begin, most but not all participants are from the LGBTQ community.  Half of all donations will go to causes which aide LGBTQ teenagers.

Here’s the extraordinary synchronicity:  While we ate and discerned, seven large Great Blue Herons perched atop the marina roof below us, as if holding vigil and blessing the gathering in their name.  Honestly.  It happened.

Stirring the Waters

Pieces of my soul have been banished
To distant islands in the water of my life
Where no shark can catch the scent of blood-letting.
Torpid remnants of miscarried experiences
Are cast away, not cleanly cut
As Tibetan Buddhists
Dismember their dead to honor life.
These are rejected out of fear of life.

The Spirit of the Great Blue Heron
Weeps for the missing pieces and waits
For the time to stir the healing waters.
No meek dove, this Spirit.
She lifts her mighty frame forward
On thunderous wings
And with keen eyes fixed on the fractured pieces
She clasps them in her powerful beak
And brings them home.

What was separated is seamed
Pieces to Peace.

© rita h kowats 2015

A Voice Cries in the Wilderness

2 nudes in the desert

 A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare
The way of the LORD!  Is.40:3

 

I offer this poem to honor the struggle and the victims caught in the wilderness:  Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Joseph, Diana, Linda, Jim, Jeremy the Boy Poet, Eddy, Bob, and thousands more. Presente!

 In the Wilderness

 

 

Photo Credits:  Female nude: photopin.com creative commons.  Male nudestudy of a male nude in desair trying to hide himself nicolai Abraham Abildgaard.jpg: Metropolitan Museum of Art used with permission.

Stonewall Anniversary: Honoring One True Man

June 28, 2014

Today I reblog this piece that I wrote last November to honor my friend Jim.  His poem about marching in New York’s Gay Pride Parade in 1987 still carries the emotion evoked by Stonewall.

Ms. Beatrice

We arrived in Berkeley in September 1978, young theology students, eager to change the world.  I was, anyway.  Jim wanted to play.  He was so full of life and passion for all things beautiful.  Years later he would admit to being more immature than anything at that time.  So was I.

A month later all hell broke loose.  Harvey Milk was murdered across the Bay, and Jim’s life was never the same.  Along with several other priests in our program he claimed his identity and joined the march for gay rights in San Francisco.  The intensity of his rage frightened me for a long time, until he found peace and I found courage.  We left Berkeley, and our former selves, and continued 32 years of friendship.

Not likely to be branded as a mystic by strangers, Jim was, nevertheless, an extroverted mystic extraordinaire.  He was like King David, life spilling over in love and sin; joined at the hip to the God he so passionately loved.  At age thirty- six he wrote an essay entitled, “My Life in the Good God balloon.”  He described how he pushed, pulled and recoiled off the balloon’s boundaries, always moving closer to the center.  He said that the shape is God, and that his destiny was to always move to the limits of the shape.  He felt called to always love the shape, himself, the testing and pushing, and his fellow testers.  I am deeply grateful to live in that balloon with him and with our soul-sister Cynthia, in a new way now that Jim has died.  The balloon has expanded to massive dimensions!

Blinded by stereotypical concepts of mystics, strangers would not have readily seen the deep waters of Carmelite mysticism running through Jim.  They expected, instead, to see prayer beads, and lowered eyes.  With Jim, I got his alter-ego, Beatrice, an elephant gallivanting in a dazzling tutu, shouting to me, “Live, Reet, Live!”  I miss Jim’s irreverent humor, and even the tirades he rained down on me when fear convinced me to stand down in the face of injustice.  To honor his courage and expansive love, I stand for the rights of all those who experience injustice because of their sexual identity.  Not because it’s politically correct but because it’s right.  Here is the poem he wrote on the occasion of the Gay Pride Parade in New York in 1987.  Perhaps you too will re-frame your portrait of a mystic:

balloons

Corpus Christi: New York “87”

Sunny Sunday in late June.
Thousands march.
Joyous and free.
I joined.

Searchers and seekers
Walking with dignity and pride.
Approaching the Cathedral:
A contradiction!

Blue barricades, blue flashing lights
On cop cars and paddy wagons;
Blue shirted police arm to arm
Protecting the Cathedral.

A Crucifixion?
The front steps blocked by
A blue Army in blue berets
(looking psychotic)
Shaking rosaries, thumping Bibles
Yelling “Sinners Sinners” as we passed by.

“Shame, shame, shame,” we murmured
Softly in reply.
I looked for Jesus beyond the barricades.
Not there!
“Thank God,” I said.

At 3 o’clock the parade stopped.
Silence
A city fell silent.
Bells tolled.

From the Village up Fifth Avenue.
Coming closer and closer
Passing over us
Until the whole sky was filled with
Colored balloons.

My heart burned within,
I remembered all who died of AIDS.
Gazing at the heavens,
I watched a great loving God
Gather balloons, holding them high
In God’s bright blue sky
Above the blue baracades, blue lights
Blue armies & blue shirted cops.

My God gathered these children,
Sons & daughters into a peace-filled
Eternal embrace.

I wept.
Turning, I saw two older women,
Pioneers and witnesses of the movement,
Weeping and holding each other as they
Too gazed upward.

EASTER and ASCENSION.
CHRIST HAD COME AGAIN.  GLORY TO GOD!
Peace to you and me!
Birthday

Jim's signature