Keep walking, though there is no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move in the way fear makes you move.


There was a loud snap outside our front door.  It was early morning and the world was yet to stir – that is, most of world. Some other being was also up and moving around. I paused for a few seconds and listened. My ears were greeted by peaceful silence and I felt myself slip into inner quietude.

If there is any time that I feel at home, it is pre-dawn. These early twilight hours feel open and expansive like endless horizon of the Great Plains where I grew up. It is as though there is fullness posing as nothingness. On the surface, it seems as though nothing is happening – no birds are singing, no traffic, no smells of coffee – but yet, the mystical beauty and potentiality of all life is there.

As the tranquility slipped into the background, I could feel my senses come alive. My nose registered the scent of fresh jasmine and my eyes the approaching day. There was the faint outline of two shapes hidden in the trees near our front steps.  In the early light, the two forms were barely discernable.

Two deer –  a mother and fawn – were grazing the wild grasses. Their translucent presence gave the appearance that they were otherworldly beings in earthly form. In the lore of mythology, deer are considered to be messengers of grace, serenity, gentleness and innocence. They convey the qualities for navigating difficult and unpredictable terrain with calmness, lightness, and acuity. Instead of living in fear, they swiftly move away. They are revered in stories for being able to hear the wordless wisdom of great teachers and for melting the hearts of demons with their loving gaze.

Divine messages are everywhere. They are tucked in the cycles, rhythms, and countless beings of nature.   They invite us to harmonize our minds and hearts with our planetary existence and responsibilities, all with loving humility. I feel that to “move within,” as Rumi proposes, is to embrace, and live by, our finer, subtler qualities written in the language of the planet and cosmos. This language is echoed in the words of sages, saints, prophets, and wise poets.

The quietude of pre-dawn and the deer can open us to discovering the rich reservoir of gifts that reside within and all around. I feel the first step is fully re-connecting with the net of reverence for all life. I hope you will join me.


This short practice brings awareness of pre-sleep habits.

  • Prepare –
    • Choose an evening where you feel you can attempt to be cyber-free for one hour before bedtime.
  • Practice –
    • One-hour before you plan to get into bed, minimize the potential influences on your mind.
      • Drink only tap water or herbal tea.
      • Disconnect, i.e., from your phone, computer, television, tablets, e-readers, and all digital devices.
      • Limit reading any material related to politics, war, self-improvement, society or famous people, or work-related material, e.g., books, papers or magazines.
      • Be aware of your sleeping space. Ideally, move all electronics at least five feet from where you rest your head at night, and out of reach of your hands. Try using a non-electronic alarm clock.
      • Note how this this feels.
    • During that “free” hour.
      • Take extra time with your nighttime habits, e.g., brushing your teeth.
      • Look around your sleeping space.
        • Lightly touch –
          • The things you have chosen to have near you during your sleep.
          • Your bedding and pillows.
          • Imagine that all these things are your friends.
          • Allow yourself to feel genuinely grateful for these friends.
    • Transition into your sleep –
      • Either before you get into bed, or when you first get to bed
        • Take one of your hands to your heart.
        • Consider beneficial qualities you really value in yourself, e.g., gentleness, light-heartedness,
          • Choose one as your intention for the next day.
          • Take ten easy, breaths.
            • Say to yourself – now, “breathe in;” and, “now, I breathe out.”
        • Sweet dreams 

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 2, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Matthew Schwartz on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019



Springtime Fields

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.


As the season changes to spring in the northern hemisphere, it feels as though nature is inviting us to begin anew. As the days are grow longer, migratory birds reappear along with insects, such as butterflies and bees. Fresh leaves are unfurling on the trees, tulips and daffodils are forming buds, and mountain creeks have reappeared.

The springtime meadows and fields are wide expanses of green. I have many memories associated with fields as the new growth emerges. My earliest ones are from my childhood when I would ride with my dad to look at his fields.   I could barely see out of the pickup window, but was captivated by the immensity of the flat Kansas horizon and vastness of the blue sky and green land.   More recent ones are from hikes with my husband Jay to large meadows in the wilderness

These memories carry a sense of spaciousness, peacefulness and the promise of eternal abundance. To me, open spaces are both symbolic and physical reminders of the essence our of humanness. On a practical level, they are the sources of the plants that nourish our bodies. Regardless of our dietary preferences, plants form the foundation of nearly all of the worlds’ foods.

Symbolically, we can rest our minds and hearts in the boundless openness. There, there is only pure awareness.   It has no purpose other than to nourish the soul of all. It is ever abundant, eternally free and open. In the world, it sprouts seeds of kindness, equanimity, gentleness, and compassion. These are rooted in the universality of truthfulness, non-harming, and non-greed.

The springtime fields can remind us of how to be authentically “human.” The word human, as with humility, derives from the Latin word, humus, earth. The earth itself is nourished and fertilized by the changing of seasons. Leaves from last year’s trees are nutrients for renewal. As we let go of old paradigms and habits, new growth can occur.   I believe that we once again can remember that we are connected to all life through our breath and food, and through the enduring field of divine love.   Perhaps we can join Rumi there.


  • Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated in a chair, place both feet on the floor.
    • Take a moment and vigorously shake out your arms. Imagine as though you are letting go of habits of gossip, judgment, and finding fault with others.
      • If comfortable, shake your arms alongside your body and overhead.
      • When you feel complete, let your hands relax in your lap.
    • Stretch your mouth wide, and make an imaginary yell from deep in your belly.
      • Imagine as though you are clearing out any debris of insecurity, lack of confidence or clinging to scarcity.
      • Relax your mouth.
    • Take a few deeper breaths.
  • Practice –
    • Place your hands over your heart.
      • Choose one of the following qualities that you would like to grow within your newly cleansed inner field: kindness, equanimity, gentleness, or compassion.
    • Breathing naturally
      • Silently, lovingly, and slowly repeat the quality your have chosen.
      • Feel as though that every cell in your mind and body is longing for, and soaking up, that quality. Particularly pay attention to the palms of your hands, the center of your head, and your mouth – the areas of your thoughts, words, and actions.
      • Let your entire being be infused with that sense that you are that quality.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Slowly stretch your hands and arms outward and upward.
    • Bring your palms lightly together over your head. Then, with the palms still together, lower them to the front of your heart in a prayer position.
    • Nod your head downward toward your heart and with a sense of humility, offer gratitude for your capacity to let go of old habits and embrace new, qualities for the wellbeing of all. If you have a particular faith, please adjust this prayerful gesture according to your belief.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 74, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019






is only possible
while living in the suburbs
of God.


I tugged my raincoat over a couple layers of sweaters and pulled on my boots. What had started as a few sprinkles was now in the third day of colder temperatures and heavy rain. The local creek waters have risen and dozens of new rivulets have appeared on the hillsides. In some places, the heavy earth has slid downward. Everywhere there is the sound of the movement of water rushing, clattering, and at times roaring.

The intense wetness had not only altered patterns in the landscape, but also all the local human activity. My puffy attire is just one little example.  Traffic has slowed; parents are out with their children helping them wade through the puddles; and, inside the grocery stores and coffee shops, there are no signs of cell phones. Most striking is that people are talking to and helping one another. Complaints, and the customary dialog of one-upping one another with grumbling, seem to have magically disappeared. Instead, most of the conversations are filled with expressions of gratitude for being safe and stories of kindness from neighbors.

These dramatic shifts in human behaviors are perhaps not so surprising when we reflect on the grace of our existence and its connection to water. On a purely physical level, a large percentage of our body is water. It is essential to key bodily functions: regulating body temperature; metabolizing and transporting nutrients; distributing oxygen; cushioning the brain and spinal cord; removing toxins; and enabling us to express deep emotions through our tears. Plants and trees need water to nourish us and other living beings with food and air. It clears away our waste and is fundamental to some of our most creative and artistic adventures.

Our planetary home is also largely water. On our “blue” planet, water is ever-present. Water reminds us of the flow of life.   Its molecules exist in the forms of solid, liquid, and gas. We recognize these forms as ice, fluids, and vapor/steam, but on a broader level, they represent the eternal realms of earth, atmosphere, and heaven. Universally, ancients regarded water as sacred. For example, the Greeks honored the multi-dimensionality of water with more than two dozen gods and goddesses, e.g., for the ocean, rivers, etc. Water is at the heart of holy ceremonies and rituals to symbolically purify, cleanse, and bring closeness to the divine.

I like to think that those millions of raindrops are caring reminders of the divine connectedness of all things and beings. As humans, we often live separately from this awareness, or as the poet Hafiz says, we can live “in the suburbs of God.”   When we are removed from the awareness of our true nature, our behaviors slip into harshness and complaints.  The rain carried an ancient message of the wholeness of all, and temporarily freed us from the illusion of separateness.

As if to add an exclamation point to the message within the waters, the sky cleared soon after I went outside. Dewdrops glistened in the light on the grass and leaves, a double rainbow appeared, and once again people paused and smiled. Even with its scary potential to displace our human habitats, I am grateful for the rainfall and the divine hidden within this water-full life.  Each time I touch water – to drink, shower, cook, etc. – I’ll silently say “thank you.” I hope you will join me.


This practice supports awareness of water to wash away unwanted emotions and nourish your energies.

  •  Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
    • Release tension in your hands and finger by gently wrapping your fingers over your thumbs, squeezing, and then slowly letting go.
      • Try hugging your thumbs 3-7 times. Then, relax through your hands.
    • Take a moment to acknowledge the watery fluids in your body, e.g., the blood in your veins, subtle moisture in the breath.
    • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Practice –
    • Imagine that your schedule is free and you are outside in a comfortable, beautiful natural spot.
      • For example, this could be in a garden, at the beach, on a balcony, or any place where there is water or plants.
    • Feel as though the sun is shining and that it begins to lightly rain. The rain is so light that you do not feel the need to move.
      • The temperature of the rain is warm and refreshing.
      • Imagine that as the rain touches your skin, it generously carries away stress and any unwanted underlying emotions.
      • Gently breathe.
    • After a few minutes, the rain disappears and a rainbow appears in the sky. Feel the air around you and any sounds of nature, such as the wind or a bird.
      • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.
    • Hold your palms in front of you and cup them together.
      • Imagine as though fresh water is poured into your palms.
      • Gently reach the water up toward your face and lightly brush your fingertips across your face as though washing your face.
      • Invite a sense of renewed joyfulness and energy.
    • When you are ready, return to the activities of your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 12, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019.






Dear God, please reveal to us
your sublime
that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere
so that we will never again
feel frightened.
St. Francis of Assisi


There was a loud siren booming throughout the neighborhood. I was inside putting clothes in the washing machine, but the sound fulfilled its purpose. Like most humans, my mind immediately shifted into high alert and sifted through the possibilities for the alarm. Even though my husband and I live in an area prone to fires and earthquakes, I quickly dismissed either of those. There had been no ground shaking and rain was pouring down outside. The neighborhood dogs began to howl, and then I remembered there was a prescheduled test of our town’s firehouse siren.

While it is an absolute necessity that we alert one another to impending danger – especially with the growth of natural disasters – I wonder what our world would be like if humans had invented “sublime beauty” alerts. Imagine if we had regular sirens for every stunning, natural occurrence. We’d be enveloped in constant awe of everything that sustains us.

Instead, we have used our ingenuity for threat alerts. Not the necessary ones like my neighborhood firehouse alarm, but a stream of promises to soothe every fear – be better looking, more productive, healthier, richer, more balanced, calmer, or happier.   The modern commercial space subtly taps into our woes and wraps us into their brand’s product, app, or service. As a result, our lifestyles and habits rarely bring us in direct touch with nature. Our food is pre-packaged, our outdoor exercise is with equipment, our contemplation is with apps, etc.

Somehow, humanity has allowed itself to become enamored in our cleverness – forgetting that homo sapiens refers to ‘wise human,’ not ‘clever human.’ Other species sing praises to the co-existence of all of life in an abundance of glorious shapes, forms, sounds, and fragrances.   There are upheavals and invasives in other species, but we are unique in our trail of efforts to conquer, outsmart, and ignore the sacredness of all of life.   We need the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi more than ever to bring us back in sync with one another, the planet, the divine, and ourselves.

The daffodil is where I choose to begin the re-righting of my human perspective from a separatist to a holistic view. It is among the first spring blooms and is lauded around the world as a messenger of renewal and abundance. Its trumpet-shaped crown is an uplifting announcement of the unfolding of new energy and hope.   As a warning, its botanical name narcissus is a reminder to be a ‘wise,’ rather than ‘clever,’ human, to tune into the “sublime beauty” messages, and to listen to the wisdom that they have to share.   I hope you will join me.


This practice cultivates loving tenderness in your touch.

  • Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
    • Stretch out through your palms and fingers. Then, gently squeeze each finger with the fingers of the opposite hand.
  • Practice –
    • Slowly, lightly and gently stroke the palm and fingers each hand a few times. Stroke with kindness and gentleness as though you are touching the most beautiful thing on earth.
    • Allow your hands to rest in your lap or on your thighs. Fingers relaxed and palms upward. Quietly sit and breathe softly and gently.
      • Imagine as though your breath is caressing you from the inside out. Receive this inner kindness. Savor it.
    • Transition back into your day –
      • Look at your hands. Say ‘thank you’ to them for helping you communicate with the life in the world.
        • Silently vow that as you go about your day, you will be aware of your hands each time they grasp or touch something or someone.
          • For example, as you pick up your fork before you eat, wash your face, fill your car with gas, hug a friend, or feel rain or sunshine on your face.
        • Before you re-enter your day, lightly touch your fingertips to your heart center, symbolically sealing in your vow.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 20, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019.


True love gives us beauty, freshness,
solidity, freedom, and peace.
True love includes a feeling of
deep joy that we are alive.
Thich Nhat Hanh


As I turned the corner toward my front door, a streak of color darted before my eyes. A soft hum penetrated the air, giving me the sense that I had entered an ancient temple infused with the peaceful chanting of Om. Almost instantaneously, I felt a childlike joy in this encounter with a hummingbird.

It is not surprising that this tiny bird sparked such feelings of delight.   Hummingbirds playfully move through the air as if they are dancing with the light.   Their aerobatic agility allows them to fly in all directions at full speed. With their fast wingbeat – 50-80 beats per second – they can appear to stand still when they hover, as though suspended in time.   This mirage of timelessness is echoed in their wings’ figure-eight pattern, or the symbol of immeasurable and boundless infinity.

The sign of infinity represents eternity and balance. In more modern times, it brings timeless messages of true love and the gifts of strength, vitality, peace, and beauty. There is simultaneously a sense of the divine and the eternal grace of existence.  It is buoyant and unburdened by the heaviness of brooding over the past or tension of worry over the future.   It offers a reminder to lighten up and tune into the heart of life.

I feel that the hummingbird carries the tranquil messages of infinity, and fills us with gratitude for the sweet nectar of life. With acuity for authentic sweetness, the hummingbird eloquently slides its slender beak past the bitter exterior of plants to fully delve into the sweetness within. Its inward journey not only retrieves the nectar, but harmoniously gives back to the plant by pollinating the flower.

Sages, saints and masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh are like hummingbirds transmitting timeless wisdom and filling us with awe and hope.   It is as though they lovingly nourish us with seeds of truth.  The beauty of nature and their wise words are reliable doorways into our deepest and most sincere selves.   Over the next few weeks, I will be more attentive to the small moments of wisdom. I hope you will join me.


This practice supports the sweetness of loving abundance.  Allow at least fifteen minutes. 

  • Prepare –
    • Choose a place with there is minimal ambient noise or light. Put your digital devices out of reach and turn the volume off.
    • Sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair, or the floor. Note: This practice could also be done resting on your back. Make any adjustments you need for comfort.
      • If on a chair, rest the soles of your feet evenly on the floor.
  • Practice –
    • Slowly, shift your attention to your breath. Notice the gentle expansion in your torso on the inhalation, and the release on the exhalation.
      • Gradually lengthen your breath, keeping it smooth and even.
    • The following has three segments, each segment with three breaths.
      • Breath throughout:
        • Inhale – Say to yourself, “Every part is loving abundance.”
        • Exhale – Let the feeling of loving abundance settle into every cell.
      • The three segments with the above breath:
        • Sweep your awareness from:
          • your hips to your legs to your feet, and to the tips of your toes;
          • your shoulders, your torso, arms, and to your toes; 
          • the top of your head, your body, arms, and to your toes.
    • Gently breathing, let loving abundance seep inward,:
      • e.g., into your tissues, muscles, organs, neural and circulatory networks, respiratory system, and your bones.
        • If you find areas that feel heavy or agitated, just notice them. Imagine that you can gently reassure them that you have noticed them, yet, for now, they may just rest in loving abundance.
      • When you feel ready, invite your awareness to shift to the center of your chest, symbolically the deep and timeless core of your being.
        • Imagine that deep within you is a beautiful, vast space that stretches into infinity. It is filled with loving abundance.
        • Let your awareness delve into that sweetness, enfolding and enlivening you with the nectar of loving abundance.
          • Remain here for a few breaths.
    • Bring your palms over your heart, one hand on top of the other. Imagine as though this gesture is sealing in the vitality, peace, and joy of loving abundance.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Sit quietly for a few minutes.
    • Perhaps set an intention to notice “loving abundance” as you move throughout your day.
      • e.g., in the water flowing from a facet; the food that you prepare and eat; your friends and family; your home and belongs; the air you breath; and, all of nature.
      • You live in the midst of living abundance. You are loving abundance.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 64, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019



Night is passing,
sun comes by dawn,
Awaken now, beauty’s essence,
heart of love.
Hakim Omar Khyyám


As the New Year began, I reflected on the number of people I know who had lost someone special recently. Funerals and services have been held for daughters, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Some deaths were sudden and unexpected and some came after a long struggle with illness.   Yet, all brought about grief and sorrow, which the survivors are each quietly traversing in their own way.

While the calendar gives a sharp demarcation between the past and the future – between December 31 and January 1 – these recent losses seemed to be a reminder of the more nuanced relationships of endings and beginnings.   As humans, we need time and a sense of past and future to anchor us within our ever-changing lives.

Nature has her own way of offering us comfort and strength.   We rely on the regularity of the patterns of the sun and the moon. Each morning the sun appears on the horizon, awakening the day. Like a sweet mother, she rouses everyone and sets them in motion toward their life activities.   At first light, diurnal creatures begin stir, birds sing, roosters crow, dogs begin to bark, and eventually there is the arrival of the din of vehicles and mechanical beeps.

A primal part of us senses the magnificence of the daily arrival of the sun.   The sun nourishes us not only through the growth of plants for our food, but through its light and vital energy. Different studies have shown that exposure to sunlight can reduce anxiety and calm the nerves. It stimulates inner systems, such as the metabolism of minerals and helps glands that take care of internal secretion. It is the natural source of Vitamin D connected to the production of the hormone endorphin, which gives us the feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

It is not surprising that ancient sages viewed dawn as symbolic of hope, the end of the shadows of pain and hardship, and the promise of renewal. The parade of colors across the sky surpasses even the greatest of human inventions and evokes a raw awareness of the powerful essence of life. We somehow recognize that within this one dawn there are the many dawns that have come before and will come afterward. Magnificent, splendid, glorious beauty glimmers in the morning light and lovingly charms the sun to shine anew.

This dawning of the day inspires the deepest part of us – our inner sun – to rise into and be held in the loving embrace of the divine.   Through the simple language of nature, the poet Hakim Omar Khyyám offers praise to the sanctity of life held in a peaceful balance between life and death, night and day. As the New Year moves forward, I will endeavor to awaken with the dawn, and hope you will join me.


This practice can be done anytime, but preferably at dawn.

  • Prepare
    • Sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair, or the floor.
    • Stretch your hands and arms out to the sides. Reach through the center of your palms to your fingertips.
    • Cross your arms across the front of your body and give yourself a big hug.
    • Allow your hands to rest in your lap. Let yourself release tension physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Practice
    • Reach your arms upward and slightly outward as though reaching into the expanse of the sky. Then, allow your hands to return to your lap.
      • Close your eyes if that is comfortable. Otherwise, keep them in a soft, somewhat inward gaze.
    • Imagine as though are lovingly surrounded and enfolded by the beauty of the early morning light. Allow the gentle glow to absorb any of your current worries or fears.
    • Quietly shift your attention to the quality of your inhalation and exhalation. Invite the transitions between the in- and out-breath to be smooth, even, and quiet.
    • Allow the feeling that your breath is infused with the soft radiance of dawn.
      • Imagine that each cell, each atom of your being is silently uttering, “Love. Peace. Joy.”
      • Throughout, gently allow these utterances to melt any deep gripping of the muscles around your heart, sternum, back ribs, navel, entire neck and shoulder area, face and entire skull.
      • For as long as is comfortable, allow yourself to receive the abundant awareness of love, peace, and joy ebbing and flowing. Let its presence hold you like a cradle stretched between night and day.
    • Still attentive to your breath, smile and stretch your palms outward in gratitude for the awareness of the light of love. If your eyes were closed, open them into soft gaze.
  • Transition back into your day
    • Sit quietly for a few minutes. Observe your surroundings. Imagine as though each item had joined you over the last few moments and were now glimmering with love, peace, and joy.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 9, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit  KateVogt©2019.


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