Tenderly, I now touch all
knowing one day we will

St. John of the Cross

Childhood memories seemed to suddenly gush into my mind.   I could feel the warm surface of the back porch where my sister Gail and I would stretch out on sunny Saturday afternoons.   Living on a farm a few decades prior to this digital era, we found a familiar comfort in seemingly doing nothing.   Clouds would drift across the sky as they eased into one animal shape after another.  While we’d never seen real lions, seals or elephants, they’d freely roam into and out of our field of vision.

On cloudless days, we’d often become absorbed in the vast openness of the sky.   Or, instead of gazing upward, we’d turn toward the earth.  There, we often became enchanted by the miniscule.   A parade of ants, or a stray leaf, might pass quickly by.   Or, there might be small seeds or pebbles that would twirl in the wind as though dancing across the porch.

The prompt for these memories was a small, fluffy caterpillar quietly progressing across a wooded pathway where I was walking.  Without hesitation, the child part of me giggled, bent down and said “hello.”  Wooly caterpillars had been my favorite minute earth beings and upon seeing this one, my skin seemed to remember the light and gentle touch of a caterpillar’s movement.

In observing the graceful consistency of her movement, I could easily imagine this caterpillar transforming into a winged being and gliding fluidly across the sky.  Whether a moth or butterfly, there will still be the light joyfulness that she had while moving on the ground.  Perhaps my human heart can learn to be more peacefully humble in that I too touch this shared earthly life a little more harmoniously and lightly– through my movements, hands, thoughts and words.

This practice supports your awareness of ways we touch the world. 


  • Create a quiet environment free of potential digital disruptions, e.g., turn the device you are using to silent and remove all other digital devices, even smart watches, from your immediate environment.
  • Gently shake out through your limbs, inviting a sense of releasing tension throughout your body.   Allow your body to move as freely as possible in a relaxed manner.


  • Find a comfortable seated position.
  • Quickly rub your hands together to create a sense of warmth in your hands.
  • Then, lightly stroke your:
    • face with your fingertips – stroking your forehead, eyes, cheeks, mouth, jaw, ears and alongside your nose.
      • Imagine you inviting awareness into your sensory organs as sacred portals for the ways you connect with the world, e.g., mouth for eating and speaking.
    • arms, hands, legs and, if convenient, your feet.
      • Imagine you are inviting awareness into these parts of your body as sacred tools to help you engage with and move in the world.
    • torso – front, back and sides.
      • Imagine you are inviting awareness of the grace of all that supports the life of your body, e.g., the air, food, water.
  • Take a moment to practice tenderly receiving and offering touch with other living beings.  For example:
    • Appreciate the power of your sight to touch the world and the world to touch you through your eyes and what you take in through your eyes.  Slowly look around at your surroundings.  Allow your gaze to be gentle and soft, inviting a sense of deep appreciation of everything around you.
    • Appreciate the power of your speech to touch the world with your words.  Slowly look around again, and sincerely and quietly say to all that you see, “I appreciate you and all you offer the world.”   Lightly touch your lips as a reminder to care for the words you utter and put into the world.

Transition Back into Your Day

  • Gently close your eyes and sit quietly for as long as you are comfortable.
  • When you are ready, transition back into your day.  As you go throughout your day, invite awareness in tenderly touching the world through your thoughts, words, senses, and actions.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 83, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  The practice is an adaptation of a practice in my book Our Inherited Wisdom:  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry, pages 199-200.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2023.

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