Relinquishment

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1 Kings 19:11-13

11 God said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of HaShem, for is HaShem about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks by HaShem ’s power—but HaShem was not in the whirlwind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but HaShem was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire—but HaShem was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Relinquishment

After

Whirlwind
Earthquake
Fire

You come to me,
Finally Faceless.
Eyes Ears Mouth relinquished,
I hear the steadfast summons
With Other ears.

Here I am. Send me.

© Rita H Kowats May 21, 2017

 

Photo Credit: https://honesterrors.com/2013/10/16/the-cave-cities-of-cappadocia-were-carved-by-hand/

“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

An Easter Prayer for These Times

Lynn Schooler DAWN

 

Waiting for Hope

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
Into the womb of the Sacred deliver us.

Brood us, Lifegiver.
Warm our crippled core
with the elixer of your hope.

We waited…
The immalleable membrane of despair
Stretched to the limits against
Unimagined possibilities.

We dared to imagine-

Barrier breached.

© Rita H Kowats 4-10-2017

(Inspired by The Lord’s Prayer, New Zealand Prayer Book)

 

 

The video takes a few seconds to begin…don’t give up!

 

 

Photo Credit: Lynn Schooler, Juneau AK

Cultivating Wisdom in This Spate of Fake News

TiB+4

 

The beginning of wisdom

was when I learnt the difference
between believing in the truth
and telling the truth
about
belief.

Padraig O’ Tuama in Readings from the Book of Exile

 

 

Photo Credit: Truth is Beauty pictured at Burning Man. The 55-foot tall sculpture is part of ‘The Bliss Project’ by Marco Cochrane, and she currently resides at the San Leandro Tech Center, across the street from BART. Photo courtesy of marcocochranesculpture.net.

 

 

 

 

Solitary Self: A Valentine

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I don’t know what possessed this young pacifist years ago to take a class entitled “The Great American War Novel.” I read eight novels about war that summer. A scene from one story sticks with me after forty seven years. A soldier was shot in battle and left to die alone in a foreign field because his squad did not know he was hit. The soldier’s inner dialogue affected me deeply. He died alone and I resolved there and then that ultimately, whether or not accompanied, we all die alone, so I had better learn how to companion myself.

Sometime in those forty seven years I fell in love and the marriage I had hoped for didn’t happen. I learned again how to accompany myself. To all of you out there who are alone today, celebrate yourself! There is a whole community of us.

 

Love In Absentia

 

For ten years
I stepped and misstepped
In and out of the
Craters of your absence,
Tangled in the tidewrack of
Your memory.

You married
Someone else and
The tidewrack tangled
Around wounds not yet congealed,
In craters not yet sealed .

Twenty-nine years of
High tides and low tides have
Closed the craters now.
Tidewrack washes ashore to be sure,
But it doesn’t stay.
While you must be coupled,
I must be solitary.  Your gift to me
Is your absence, wherein I found
My Self.

© rita h kowats

 

Diminishment

mock-orange

 
Diminishment
Held my eyes in the mirror this morning
As she spoke her stark truth.
My body has declined.
There is no bringing it back.
Now Is the time of adaptation.

Yesterday, walking the Interurban Trail,
Bikers shouted “Seventy is the new 60. You can do it!”
Dropping me in a whir of wheels and wind
As they passed.
My mind wanders to the memory of another bike ride-
The rush of river rapids
A whiff of mock orange transporting me
To someplace beyond myself,
Hair awry in the wind and thirty-year-old muscles
Giddy With endurance
As they close in on mile thirty.
Grief and gratitude ride the memory with me
Calling me back to the visitor
In the mirror.

Today I live in that place beyond myself
With seventy two-year-old muscles
Wrapped around arthritic bones,
And the heavenly scent
Of mock orange to keep me company.

© Rita H Kowats 2-3-17

Photo Credit: http://www.nwplants.com/business/catalog/phi_lew.html

 

 

 

Sitting Together in the Light

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It is time to revisit Ernest Hemingway’s poignant masterpiece, “A Clean Well Lighted Place.” It is a short story about a cafe which shelters the lonely and distraught, affording them safe harbor for a few hours. A clean well lighted place where one can feel at home. A place where “everyone knows your name.”

An older waiter is convinced that all is “nada,” nothing, meaningless and that his elderly customer is there to push the nothingness away for a while because “This is a clean and pleasant cafe. It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves.”

Isn’t that all each of us desires, to sit with someone in the light when “nada” starts closing in? Let’s do that for one another when we feel hopeless, when panic pushes up from our gut threatening to take over our lives. Be that clean well lighted place, a safe haven for one another.

 
Surviving

An old codger on a bar stool
Spins victory vignettes
Swaying in sync
With the melodies of stories
That play in his head
Hoping for a listener to relieve him
Of the nothingness that calls him
To the warmth of the cafe.

RIta H Kowats 1-27-2017

 

Photo Credit:  https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-road-nature-night-1163/

 

 

“It was a bright cold day in April [January], and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

19842017

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“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

― George Orwell, 1984

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

― George Orwell, 1984

“It was a bright cold day in April [January], and the clocks were striking thirteen.” So begins George Orwell’s story of descent from freedom, 1984.  When I read the news in real-time this morning my instinct was to panic; instead I determined to weave reality with Orwell and develop a spiritual practice with which to combat the onslaught. Here it is:

Turn PANIC into PRESENCE:

P= Pay attention, live consciously

A= Analyze the situation; no intellectual or spiritual sloth

N= Now; Live in the now.  Don’t let fear of the future take possession

I=  Inhabit;  live in the deepest self where the divine in us is present

C= Call on the wisdom of the Spirit.  We are not alone.

And breathe…..be well travel companions.

 

It is encouraging to me that so many are in sync in our response to news of the last two days.  This morning the Washington Post carried this story:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/why-orwells-1984-matters-so-much-now/2017/01/25/3cf81964-e313-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.b4ab636b7a1b&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1