Oxymoron As Spiritual Practice

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I was dragging my body of spent muscles
out of the locker room at the YMCA when
I stopped in my tracks (plodding though they were)
before a big window displaying the Tai Chi class in motion.
There before me stood a twenty-something hulk of a man
Serenely engaged in the exercise, seemingly suspended from the ceiling
By an invisible wire attached to the bristles
Of his Lisbeth Salander Mohawk.

I giggled with delight at this delicious oxymoron
Placed along my one-size-fits-all path to wake me up.
Divinity lurks in the oxymorons of life,
Showing up where and how we least expect it.

© Rita H Kowats 2-8-18

 

 

 

photo credit: Thomas Hawk <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/15801792012″>Punks Not Dead</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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Forget the Perfect Offering- Love the Flaws

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Two books which I have found very helpful in opening my wounds to let the light in:

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Heart of Forgiveness: A Practical Path to Healing by Madeleine Ko-i Bastis

 

RELIEF REVEALED

winter to spring collage

For a few years I rented an apartment located across the street from Volunteer Park in Seattle where I would visit the conservatory to escape the incessant, driving rain of winter. Some of you are experiencing the harshness of desert heat at this time. Others can hardly endure freezing temperatures. Relief, pour out your sweet elixir!

 

By the time I walked through the conservatory doors
my rain-drenched coat dripped
into rivulets between the tiles of the green ceramic floor.
The moist heat cocooned me in an aura of sensuous pleasure
releasing me from the burden of my winter coat.

I strolled from room to room
Eyes feasting on a kaleidoscope of vivid color
Paraded with pride by paradise flowers
Orchids Birds of Paradise Hibiscus

Reaching the desert succulent wing
I sat for a while to ponder the plants.
How do you survive this intense aridity?
How do I survive this incessant humidity?

They survive because they must
We survive because we know
That relief lies latent
In the recesses of our souls
Warming us like the moist heat
Of a conservatory on a winter day.

Visit often and spring befalls us
Like pollen cascading from fuchsia Hibiscus.

© Rita H Kowats 1-23-18

 

 

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60878-d141258-Reviews-Volunteer_Park_Conservatory-Seattle_Washington.html

Welcome, Whimsy!

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Good Morning, everyone.  Today is a day to take our souls out to play.  I will meet you in the backyard at the ancient cedars and we will swing away our cares.

 

TO BUILD A SWING

You carry
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare—
Don’t mix them!

You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
For God.
That sounnds
Like a hell of a lot more fun.
Let’s start laughing, drawing blueprints,
Gathering our talented friends.
I will help you
With my divine lyre and drum.

Hafiz
Will sing a thousand words
You can take into your hands,
Like golden saws,
Silver hammers,
Polished teakwood,
Strong silk rope.

You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy,
Mix them, mix Them!

HAFIZ

 

Photo Credit: photopin.com, creative commons

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/

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

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

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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