Gophers – honoring interconnectivity

Gophers – honoring interconnectivity

Then there
crept
A little noiseless noise
among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh
that silence heaves.

John Keats

 

As spring matures, the days grow longer, inviting more late afternoon excursions.  Yesterday it was a short drive to a large public beach.  Instead of taking the usual stroll along the tide-line, I took a cue from my loving life partner Jay, who said he was feeling like nap and was in search of a perfect spot on the sand to spread out a blanket.  It seemed wise to be still and absorb the immense presence of the ocean, sand, and sky, so I tagged along behind him, sitting next to him as he napped.

We were nestled next to some shore vegetation with its diverse species of grasses and other plants, all conditioned to thrive and support one another in the harsh winds and salty waters.  A few were in bloom with soft purples, yellows, and pinks, but all offered a rich and nuanced palette of greens.  Not surprisingly, wild mammal and bird species are nourished by this verdant plant membrane separating the parking lot from the shifting beach sands.

While pondering an earlier encounter with a coyote emerging out of this dense greenery, I sensed a subtle movement nearby.  My mind spun into high alert, with a readiness to awaken Jay and respond to whatever being was nearby.  My peripheral vision registered sand cascading into an opening in the ground.  A sand-covered face briefly arose out of the hole and then vanished.

Dragonflies and butterflies danced in the air, small sand bugs scurried across the rippled surface of the sand, and now I also had glimpsed one of the gophers who lived in a hidden network of tunnels underground.  It seemed ironic that I was the nuisance who had interrupted this particular herbivore’s “top-side” visit to feed on a plant.  In a city backyard or garden, the gopher would be labelled as a pest.

It also seemed somewhat serendipitous to encounter a gopher after a COVID-year of staying closer to our human burrow with minimalized socialization.  This expanded gopher-like time has spurred “digging,” in a metaphorical sense, for a better capacity for understanding and nurturing the deeper, quieter truth tethering all life.  A gift of this year has been a renewed awareness of the hidden, fragile, and rich inter-relationship with one another and the rest of the earthly beings, all woven of a fabric of energies.  The mounds of damage caused by human attitudes, fears, and greed are more visible, calling for re-learning the timeless lessons of silence and love.

As Jay stirred from his slumber, the gopher re-appeared, perhaps as a greeting to this other intruder.  Or, perhaps as a reminder to tread lightly and more gracefully with a heart anchored in the silent love holding the tears, as we grieve in remembrance of that which we’ve lost, and cherish the joy in rediscovered awareness of every moment.

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of interconnectivity.

Prepare – 

  • Standing:
    • Gently shake out one limb at a time.  Imagine as though you are releasing unneeded tension as you do this.
      • If comfortable, do this without shoes.
    • With stillness in the body, gently move your head around, e.g., from side to side, up and down.  Then, pausing the movement of your head, make faces with your mouth and facial muscles.

Practice – 

  • Standing or sitting, quietly remind yourself that:
    • Your feet are connected to the ankles, the ankles to your lower leg, your lower leg to your knees, your knees to your upper legs, etc. – all the way through each part of your body until you reach your head.
    • Your back is connected to your sides, and your sides are connected to your front.
    • All your inner systems are connected – your respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, reproductive, etc.
    • Your emotions, thoughts, and actions are connected.
    • Your body and mind are a living network of connections.
  • Still, standing or sitting, bring your awareness to:
    • Your feet being connected to the earth.
    • Your mouth being connected to the plants, water, and nutrients of the earth, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
    • Your nose being connected to the air.
    • Your body and mind being part of a broader living network of connections.
    • Your life constituting a web of living relationships.
  • Walk around wherever you are with reverence for this interconnectivity of all earthly life, holding and being held by inner love and silence.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for as long as comfortable.  Invite a soft awareness of your breath.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 116, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.   H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com.    KateVogt©2021.

 If you would like to know about the philosophical underpinnings of these H E A R T H reflections, this Spring I am offering an online study group, 5 Thursdays, 3:15-4:45 p.m. PT, May 6-June 10, 2021.  It is not too late to join.

 

 

 

 

Walking

Walking

Keep walking, though there ’s 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 the way fear makes you move.

Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

Walking has long been an essential part of my daily life.  It was utilitarian early on, when going on foot was my primary mode of transportation.  In college, it was the best way to get from one classroom to another.  After college, for years I was fortunate enough to live in areas that supported an auto-free lifestyle with ample walkways and public transportation.  I think my feet fell in love with carrying me around because they didn’t want to stop, even at those times when walking was less necessary.

Now, I usually walk just to walk.  But, that freedom to meander has only come about in the past few years.  Prior to that, there have been several varieties of purposeful walking.  There have been phases when it was all about achieving a destination, e.g., if in an urban area, getting to a particular place.  Other versions have been in walking for accomplishment – maximum length, pace, or difficultly, e.g., steepness.  I even recall a period of being a purist where only being the wilderness would qualify as a real walk.  

Exploration has been the most continuous component of my walking.   As a child, I was intrigued with the play of tracing one of my fingers around the globe.   In my imagination, I would pretend my feet, walking around the world, were attached to my finger.  No matter how often I did this, it seemed mystifying that people all over the world were living and walking on the surface of the earth and that I could someday visit them. This eventually happened with a solo sojourn that I took around the world, and other travels.  Equally as fascinating, however, was that no matter how far I walked, if I kept walking in the same direction, I would eventually end up where I began.   

There is a bumper sticker on the rear bumper of a neighbor’s car that says, “happily going nowhere.”  I think that best describes my journey with the process of walking.  Likely my footfall has logged enough miles to have circumambulated the globe.  But, now I realize it is not the number of steps that matter, it is the quality of being present and buoyant within and between every step.  This way of being is visible in dogs and other animals as they move.  They are light-footed and generally conveying a sense of acuity wherever they are, even in the midst of their movements.   

Perhaps all that walking actually has been traversing the secrets in my own heart.  And, perhaps there really have been no footsteps or globetrotting.  Because, after all, as the poet Rumi says, “there is no place to get to.”   I’ll keep walking as long as my feet still are able to caress the earth, but I will let them do the walking while I go along for the ride.  

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of the life beneath your feet.

Prepare – 

  • Please find a comfortable standing position, ideally barefoot.   
  • Take a few moments to notice the connection between your feet and the surface beneath them.  Just notice and become aware of the sensations on the soles of your feet. 
    • Invite your mind to pause so that you can truly feel the feedback through your feet without expectation, labeling, or other mental chatter
  • Imagine the surface beneath you is welcoming your presence. 
    • Even if you are not standing directly on soil or sand, invite your awareness of your standing on the Earth, which is a living organism and home to not only you but millions of different life forms. 
  • Still standing in place, slowly bend one knee, then straightening that leg and bending the other knee.  As you do this, notice any changes in the sensations in the soles of your feet without naming or labeling the feeling – just noticing.

Practice – 

  • Slowly begin walking around the area where you are. 
    • Invite your awareness of that you are walking on the Earth, a living organism. 
      • Be aware of the quality and weight of your steps.
      • Pretend you want to leave as light a footprint as you can.
    • Notice the sensations in the soles of your feet.
  • Gradually lengthen the stride of your steps until you are taking giant steps.
    • Take three giant steps.
    • Again, try to leave as light a footprint as possible.
    • Notice the entire movement of stepping into the long stride and placing your foot down.  Notice the sensation in your foot as it connects to the surface beneath you.
  • Return to walking with your normal stride. 
    • Imagine your feet are smiling.
    • Imagine the earth is smiling.
    • Notice the sensations in the soles of your feet.
    • Perhaps notice the quality of your mood without labeling or naming.  Just noticing.
  • Slowly return to standing still.  Smile and thank your feet.  Thank the Earth. 

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This  verse appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 2, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2021. 


Support Wisdom in Your Life! Join me for this is well-loved class with practical tips to nourish and make room for wisdom.  This class celebrates that we each innately wise, but get sidetracked by life and forget our own capacity for ease, clarity, and creativity.  5 Tuesdays starting March 30 and ending April 27, 3:10 – 4:30 p.m. PT, fee $40.    Register Today! College of Marin Community Education, virtual classroom (course #4880)

Oranges & the gift of roundness

Oranges & the gift of roundness

I cannot lose anything in this
place of abundance
I found.

If something my heart cherishes
is taken away,
I just say, “Lord, what
happened?”
And a hundred more
appear.  

St. Catherine of Siena
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

A few weeks ago, oranges began to mysteriously appear outside our home.  Every morning there would be a couple nestled along the curb, with no obvious clues how they got there.  Their color was bright and shape was still perfectly round.  Yet, they were a bit soft to touch.

Since there is a lot of vegetation around where we live, I assumed there was an orange tree nearby and simply started doing what I do with fallen leaves – pick them up and put them in the compost bins.   But, in the same way that I do with the leaves, I found myself considering the lifecycle and qualities of these oranges and the similarities to my humanness.  

I am particularly drawn to their roundness.   They’ve made me much more aware of the spherical foundation of life.  Not only is our planet earth an orb within space but most of nature, including our own bodies, are formed by arcs, curves, columns, and spheres.   Delight is often stimulated by the sun and the moon, as well as the glow from candles, stars, and our eyes.   That joyfulness offers a sense of rich fullness and satiation.  

Personally, I feel that humanity could use more connection with our innate roundness.  The obvious arena is getting back to holding one another, taking our arms around each other for hugs, and being in circles of our friends.  But, equally pressing is turning around and holding all those that support us – from unseen essential workers, the trees and other entities that form the fundamental underpinnings of our lives.  Roundness is wholeness holding all equally, with love and infinite generosity.  

Geometrically, all forms begin with a dot.  We need to bring back old-fashioned analog clocks with a dot at the center to remind us of the interconnectedness of all living things, but also the necessity of a core.  The beauty of flowers radiates from a central point, and the delicious sweetness of fruit from their inner core.   Of course, there is the fiery heart of the earth upon which we live, and the all-important dot at the end of each sentence reminding us that after the bustle there is stillness.  Sadly, in our being enamored with our digital inventions, we becoming untethered from our core.  

Perhaps, like the orange, our roundness is both our nature and our fate.  Every aspect of our life – thoughts, ideas, actions, behaviors, words – has a rounded ripple effect outward, far beyond the boundaries of our body and community.    Recognizing, reclaiming and respecting the inherent roundness of life is a key to reshaping systems and values for collective well-being.  Yet, maybe it is a key to our folly.   The oranges were from a tree far up the hill from where we live.  Once they fell, they rolled with such momentum that they passed several homes, rounded a corner, and continued to travel along our relatively flat street, only to meet their demise in the compost bin.  

For now, I appreciate the oranges and how they have continued to show up each morning.  I know that there are many more lessons to be learned from this now-common fruit.  Over the ages and around the world, oranges have symbolized good luck, prosperity, love, endurance, abundance, beauty, happiness, longevity, and divine energy.  I hope you will join me in endeavoring to embrace these more unifying messages from the orange. 

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of wholeness.

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position. 
    • If seated on a chair or bench, place the soles of both feet on the floor. 
  • Lightly rest your palms downward on your thighs.
  • Notice the surface beneath you – for example, your chair, bench, or cushion – and the support that it offers.  Then, gently shift your awareness to the floor, if you are inside, and its support.   Lastly, shift your awareness to the earth – the soil, the microbes, the layers of rock, and even the very firey core of the earth.
    • Invite a sense of being supported by this planet, which supports and has supported all earthly life over a large span of time.
    • Allow your breath to be easeful and comfortable without forcing.
      • After several breaths, continue to the next steps.

Practice – 

  • Seated or standing.
  • Support your awareness of water:
    • Sway or rock gently from side to side, acknowledging the gift of fluidity with in the rivers and streams as well as within our bodily fluids and tissues. 
  • Support your awareness of light:
    • Stretch your hands toward sky in a v-position.
      • As you reach your hands upward, become aware of the sun and the light and heat it offers life.
      • Touch your fingertips to your eyelids with awareness of how light supports your sight. 
        • Thank your eyes for all that they do for you and the gift of seeing shapes and forms.
  • Support your awareness of air:
    • Lightly touch the top of your head, your face, arms, legs, and torso.
      • As you touch different parts of your body, become aware of the gift of touch and all the ways it supports your life.
    • Gently touch your nose.
      • As you touch your nose, become aware of the gift of your breath as a constant companion in your life.  
  • Support your awareness of space:
    • Lightly lightly cup your hands over your ears, appreciating the gift of hearing and sounds. 
    • If standing, slowly walk for a few steps with appreciation for the gift of space supporting your ability to move and navigate from place to place in the world.
  • Support your awareness of the core:
    • Place your hands over your heart – one on top of the other – acknowledging your innermost heart always holding all equally with love. 

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    


This  verse appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 87, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Lulucmy.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2021. 


Support Wisdom in Your Life! Join me for this is well-loved class with practical tips to nourish and make room for wisdom.  This class celebrates that we each innately wise, but get sidetracked by life and forget our own capacity for ease, clarity, and creativity.  5 Tuesdays starting March 30 and ending April 27, 3:10 – 4:30 p.m. PT, fee $40.  Register Today! College of Marin Community Education, virtual classroom (course #4880)

Plum Blossoms & Contentment

Plum Blossoms & Contentment

That one is blessed and at peace
Who doesn’t hope, to whom
Desire makes no more loans.

Nothing coming, nothing owned.

Lalla  
Trans. by Coleman Barks

As I peered out the front door, I noticed that the front steps were covered with delicate blossoms.  It seemed nature had given voice to the wind by leaving these sweet floral traces wherever a breeze had been.

The blossoms appeared as perfect as they had the day before when they were still clustered on the plum tree branches.  Each rested unscathed facing skyward with ample room to spread out.  Every floret was as beautiful as the next.

These blossoms needed no audience.  In their simple grandeur, they had their own role in the broader life story.  When the sun came, they opened and allowed the light to shine through their translucent petals.  When the wind came, they let go and danced in the air until softly landing in their new spot.  Then, they will wilt away taking their memories with them. 

Like the great prophets and poets, the blossoms offered reminders that contentment is at the heart of each moment.  They model the capacity to stay anchored in inner peacefulness while living within the whirls of the world.   I hope that I might learn from the grace and lightness of these blossoms, and let go of what was, or what is yet to be.  Perhaps you will join me. 

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of balance.

Prepare – 

  • Standing.
  • Lift one foot and rotate it in small circles.   Then, place that foot down and lift and rotate your other foot around.  Place that foot down.
  • Lift and lower and your heels a few times.

Practice – 

  • Walk at a slow even pace for twelve to fifteen steps.
  • Enjoy the fullness within each step.
  • Notice the sensations as one foot and leg move forward.  For example:
    • Notice the muscles involved, e.g., the thigh muscles, and how they respond as: the leg lifts; the foot comes down; and, the foot stabilizes in preparation for your other leg and foot to come forward. 
    • Notice as the heel of your foot comes down and then as the rest of your foot rolls forward until you have enough stability on that foot to allow your other leg and foot to come forward.
  • Notice how the rest of your body shifts as you walk. 
  • Optional:
    • Sync your movements with your breath.  For example, one breath for each side:  inhaling lifting your right foot and leg; and, exhaling placing, rolling and stabilizing your right foot.  Then, repeat with the left leg and foot. 
    • Add a saying as you walk, such as, “I am loving the earth with my feet as I walk.”

Transition back into your day – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position and sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The verse  appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 30, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by T. Hirai.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2021. 



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5 Tuesdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT,
Mar 30-Apr 27
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Golden Light

Golden Light

If God
invited you to a party and
said,

“Everyone in the ballroom tonight will
be my special

how would you then treat them when you arrived?

Indeed, indeed!

And Hafiz knows that there is no one in
this world who is not standing upon

His jeweled dance
floor.

Hafiz

The trunk glistened on what was otherwise a modest redwood tree.  Some of its branches were filled with greenery reaching upward and others were bare, slopping downward.  Its bark was a little greyer than some of its neighbors, but on this morning, it glowed with a golden radiance.  It seemed to be joyfully returning the kiss of the dawn’s light.

As the sun rose, the tree blended into the background.  The early morning rays caressed every hilltop, street, and roof.  A few crows and smaller birds glided through the sky.  Slowly, shapes and forms appeared in greater and greater detail.  It seemed as though the first kiss of light had given birth to another day of activity.  Light with radiant reciprocity pulsed through every leaf, flower, and grain of sand.  

Life is spun of this constant grace of light.  Not only does solar energy sustain all earthly forms, but a nameless luminosity shines within, bringing light to all existence.  The redwood and other species in nature steadily grow, reflecting and absorbing the light.  In the fall season, countless deciduous trees echo the golden yellows, oranges and reds of the rising and setting sun.  Their colorful leaves are released from the tree, and fall to the ground to create a carpet for new growth.

Glistening objects are everywhere in nature – mica, gemstones, silken furs – yet the bland and unnoticeable are equally living expressions of light.  There are battles and contests for survival, but the light remains an equitable presence, untouched by time and space.  Light holds the heart of existence.

Within different traditions, the closing of the calendar year has a celebration of light.  Whether it is the flame of a candle or a string of sparkling lights, it is a call to luminously receive the ever-present kiss of illumination.  Still, it is a challenge for us as humans not to chase after and try to own the golden object.  It is also a challenge for us to accept that we are neither superior or inferior, and to realize that we are beings of light. In the light, we can fully see and compassionately heal our individual and collective fears, grief, and expectations.  

As the poet Hafiz reminds us, we are all guests on this “jeweled dance floor.”   May this season of light inspire all of us to ponder how we can be like the redwood tree, humbly returning the kiss of the light within every thought, gesture, and word.  

 Practice  
This short practice invites awareness of light.   

Prepare – 

  • Sit in a quiet place.  Turn your device to airplane and/or silence to minimize the disruptions for the next few minutes.    
  • Look around wherever you are.  
    • Notice any plants or items that are made of plant material, e.g., wooden floor, fabric, baskets.  Acknowledge the life process of that plant or plant item, especially the significance of solar light to its growth.
    • Notice any candles or electrical lights.  Acknowledge the light that they offer.  Perhaps also acknowledge the source of the energy allowing them to be a source of light.
  • With your eyelids closed, rest your eyes in your palms.  
    • Invite an easeful, gentle breath.  Relax around your jaw and temples.  
  • Remove your hands.  Slowly move your eyes left to right, up and down, and diagonally from one upper corner to the opposite lower corner.  Acknowledge the gift of sight and its relationship to earthly light.

Practice – 

  • Hold your hands palms upward in front of your chest.  Relax through the center of your palms, between the fingers, and along your wrists and fingertips.  
    • Imagine they are holding a golden luminous presence. 
    • Smile and imagine this radiance is filling your entire being.
  • Place one hand over the center of your chest – your heart center – and then place your other hand on top.  
    • Allow your eyes to rest in a gentle gaze, or be softly closed.
    • Feel the touch and weight of your hands on your chest.  
      • Invite a sense of being comforted and held by the most loving, generous, compassionate, caring and selfless being.  
      • Smile as you welcome this loving presence into every pore of your mind and body.  
      • Stay here for several moments, allowing your breath to become smooth and easeful. 
  • Lift your fingertips to your eyelids, then your ears, nose and mouth.  Pause for a breath or two at each of your sensory organs.  
  • Place your hands on the opposite upper arm.  Invite a smooth easeful breath as your arms are crossed across your chest.
  • Then, sequentially rest your hands for a moment on your thighs, lower belly, navel area, heart, throat, and crown of your head.   
  • Return your hands over your heart and pause.
    • Quietly say to yourself, “I release sarcasm, rudeness, pride-fulness, clinging, delusion, and greed.”  “I invite in clarity, trust, receptivity, justice, discernment, responsibility, decency, courage, equanimity, love, compassion, and light.”
    • Then touch your fingertips to your forehead, lips, and heart as if to seal in your prayerful message to yourself.  May all your thoughts, attitudes, and words be energized with this awareness.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Find a place where you can sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The poem is translated by Daniel Ladinsky and appears on page 40 in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  
H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 

Fall Morning

Fall Morning

It is there
that our hearts are set,  

In the expanse
of the heavens.   

Pawnee Wisdom

Outside the open bedroom window, the sound of birds escorting another day into being.  Even before the had light arrived, new sounds accompanied the melodic chirps and warbles.  There were the familiar signals that it was a Tuesday, with the clanking of the lids of the trash bins as the garbage workers made their way up the street.  For a short while, there was the scratching sound of a metal rake against cement as a neighbor tended to the weekly sidewalk grooming.

In spite of the newness of the day seeping through the window, the walls of our apartment were still infused with the pre-dawn silence.   Being as noiseless as possible, I dressed and made my way out the front door for a daily offering of seeds for the birds.   As I closed the door, a squirrel scurried up a nearby oak tree and paused motionless on a lower branch, silently gazing in my direction.  

Just as sunlight began to make its way through the tree’s branches, the squirrel scampered onward, causing a mini shower of leaves and acorns in its wake.   It became still.  The raking and clanking had long since stopped and the birds had quieted.  Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there would have been a constant stream of sounds, such as the chatter of children making their way to school.  Now, there was only the noiseless presence of the light and the oak.

A spider web glistened as the sun’s rays made it into the higher branches of the tree.  The anchoring strands reached unimaginable distances from one another.   At the center of roundish spirals was the weaver of this shimmering masterpiece.  The spider had a plump body with its two lobes forming the shape of a figure eight, or the sign of infinity.  There was such symmetry in the evenly spaced protrusions from the body that I assume it had all eight of its legs, allowing it to freely navigate across its web.  

As the sun’s rays shifted, the spider and its web disappeared, perfectly camouflaged within the lattice of the tree’s branches.  Even though no longer visible, the web surely remained, not only as a home for the spider but also as a net to entangle some unsuspecting insect.  

I continue to marvel at the timeless wisdom woven into everyday occurrences in the natural world.  Just within a few moments on a fall morning, there had been lessons of infinite potentiality, stillness, interconnectedness, patience, and resilience.  There had been reminders of the steady, peaceful essence cloaked by the ever-changing earthly cycles of day to night, and of season to season.  There had been the sense of belonging to a larger whole, within which there is ample room for the diverse expressions of existence.  

If a bird can sing and a spider can spin silvery threads into intricate webs, then surely contemporary humanity can rediscover our gift to appreciate, respect and care for one another, and for all life.   I will try to arise each morning with this reminder, and hope you will join me.

Practice 
This short practice invites appreciation of wholeness.

Prepare – 

  • Standing.
    • Slowly and gently, shake out your right leg for about a minute.  Then, your left leg, followed by each of your arms.  As you shake, imagine you’re are releasing and letting go of tendencies toward jealousy, resentment, selfishness, anger, and overconsuming in all aspects of your life, e.g., food, ideas
    • Quietly walk in a clockwise circle, as small or large as you like.  Then, stand in the circle’s center.  Turn toward the east and pause.  If you don’t know where to face, just choose to face in one direction.

Practice – 

  • With an inhale, sweep your arms out to the sides and overhead.  Pause for a breath with your arms overhead as though greeting the expanse of the heavens.
    • If you have shoulder impingements, please adjust this movement to your comfort level.
  • On your next exhale, bring your arms to your sides with your palms facing inward toward your body.  Pause for a breath as though acknowledging the stability of the earth.
  • Repeat the following four times:
    • On your next inhalation, stretch your arms out in front of you, palms upward.  Pause for a breath in appreciation of all that life in that direction to the furthest distance.  
    • On an exhalation, bring your palms together over your heart center.  Pause for a breath in gratitude for all the nourishes you from that direction.
    • Take a quarter turn to your right.  On your last turn, you will be facing your initial position.   
  • Pause.  Acknowledge the full cycle of breath, i.e., each exhalation seamlessly arising as the inhalation ends, and v.v.  Take several breaths with this awareness.
  • Come to a seated position.  Allow your hands to rest in your lap or on your legs.  Become aware of your surroundings in all directions.  Imagine that all those directions are come together at the core of your being.  Simply breathe in, and out.   

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly.  
  • Bring your palms together in front of your heart center, and “thank you.”
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The verse is translated by Frances Densmore and appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 5, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by S. Lukka. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 

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