by KateVogt | Mar 21, 2023 | Nature, Spiritual - Inspiration
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.
Translated by Coleman Barks
I have long been taken by the endless generosity of trees. They are more than human to me, and hence I refer to them with human sounding pronouns, such as she or her instead of it. As a child, I relied on the elm tree in our front yard for understanding and insight into life. Some of my deepest and most foundation lessons came from the elm, especially to never forget humans are latecomers to the larger earthly family.
Now, whenever I travel, my first guide to any terrestrial region on the planet usually is a tree. Exceptions are high altitudes or other non-treed areas. The tree may not be native to the area, but is quite literally a very grounded local inhabitant. Almost as a center of a compass, a tree has a full view of the surrounding terrain and has been a quiet observer of the passing of generations of occupants. The tree’s steady presence feels like an invitation to slow down and see the broader view. While I might just be a visitor passing through, I, too, belong with her and others into this part of the worldly epic.
Most recently, I spent about one third of my waking hours with a frangipani tree. She lived outside the home where I was staying with my dear friend (aka husband) Jay for a half a moon cycle – it was near full moon when we arrived, and shortly after half-moon when we left. During that I time, I began to remember childhood lessons from the elm tree; for example, I observed the grace and fluidity with which the tree danced with the wind, received nourishment, welcomed any insect, bird or mammal and unhurriedly grew new growth.
Within the constant change, the tree was still fully herself. She was there at sunrise and sunset. If I happened to arise in the middle of the night, she quietly reflected the light of the moon and stars. Morning and evening birdsong arose within and around her, yet her quietness remained. Leaves and blossoms slowly came and went, and she gracefully reached outward and upward.
Like a prayer for the well-being of the earth and all beings, she graced the air with her elegant fragrance. Her scent seemed to glide between worldly and extra-worldly realms. I could imagine why some cultures attribute her blossoms as sacred, while others consider them as symbols of death or the supernatural. When coupled with their physical beauty, the smell of the blossoms seemed to evoke a full universe of feelings and memories.
Not surprisingly, when I checked with friends later about the meanings of the frangipani flowers, I heard: hope, passion, intensity, courage, strength, romance, friendship, good fortune, devotion, godliness, nobility, power, purity, death and rebirth, innocence, clarity, healing, beauty, energy, strength, being welcomed, fertility, transcendence, optimism, play, warmth, immortality, and joy. So much lovingly flowing from just one tree!
I hope you also view trees as more than inanimate supports of our human activities – breathing, cooling off in their shade, taking photos, eating, sitting (furniture), building, reading (paper books and media) and playing music (wooden instruments). If anything, my wish is that trees inspire the “humus” (soil, dirt, earth) in humanity to patiently live within the ancient presence of other beings.
This practice brings awareness of our interconnectedness with other humans and species.
- Choose a day when you have some extra time in the morning. On the night before, just as you are ready to go to sleep:
- Simply remember a moment in your day when you were aware that you were interacting with one of the elements, e.g., air, or the life of another species. (There are no further instructions here, but follow your own intuition, e.g., ask yourself, how did that interaction enrich or support your life?) If nothing comes to mind, don’t worry. Just invite awareness that throughout the day, your existence has been supported in all sorts of invisible ways.
- When you awaken from your sleep and still in bed, notice what you first notice. No judgment, just noticing. Take your time.
- Then, before you arise, bring your awareness to the bedding on your bed. For just a few moments, reflect on your bedding. For example: How does it feel on your skin? Soft? Scratchy? How do you feel, taking the time to notice an everyday item?
- If you feel so inclined just for this single morning of practice, you may wish to extend this to a more analytical inquiry.
- For example, you might reflect on: Where was the fabric made? How did it get to the factory or place where the bedding was made? Who transported it? Who made the bedding? What elements support their lives, e.g., water?
- You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, nor try to find answers to the reflections. This is simply a way to help reawaken our awareness of and respect for the anonymous, intricate, and delicate web of our existence – human and non-human.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Arise. If you have time, sit quietly for a few moments.
- When you are ready, move into your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 74, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The practice is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry, pages 141-143. Photo is by “shelter” on Unsplash. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
by KateVogt | Mar 7, 2023 | Nature, Spiritual - Inspiration
You’re in my eyes.
How else could I see light?
You’re in my brain.
This wild joy.
If Love did not live in matter,
how would any place
have any hold on anyone?
Translated by Coleman Barks
It is nearing springtime here in the Northern Hemisphere. Rainbows and migratory robins seem to magically re-appear. They arc their way across the sky to the earth. And, from the earth back across the sky.
They are an odd couple – the rainbows and robins. Yet, sightings of them become more common as this side of the planet begins to tilt toward the sun. The light seems to shed the wintery cloak of greyness and reveal the brilliant diversity of color, shapes and forms. With their red crests, rainbows and robins boldly boast the beauty and fertile vibrancy that had been enshrouded in the darker season.
In a way, this springtime pair is a harbinger of the potency of light. There is not only the power of the sun to nourish or destroy earthly existence, but that of the indescribable, boundless resplendence of everlasting light. In springtime, the pair comes together as poetic messengers of light, both formed and formless.
Within their momentary presence, rainbows and robins are offerings of timeless wisdom. Life is neither past nor future. It is simultaneously both. Through song and hue, they are joyous expressions of the ephemeral and eternal nature of existence. Thus, it is no wonder that humans of different traditions, religions and cultures have viewed rainbows and robins as the grace of eternal peace, truth and love.
They are considered reminders that timeless wisdom is always nearby. I view this as a prompt to remember that the planet and other living beings have long been loving and generous inspirational companions to prophets, sages, saints and other enlightened beings. This sparks within me a sense of humble gratitude and praise toward rainbows and robins. I hope you will discover uplifting insights from nature wherever you are on the planet.
(Please note: This reflection refers to migratory songbirds of North America with the common name of robins. They are of the thrush family. Their song, appearance and flight patterns are different from the European robin of the Old World flycatcher family.)
This practice supports awareness.
- Set aside any potential distractions. For example, remove digital watches, and set your phone to airplane mode.
- Find a comfortable seated position. If you are on a bench or a chair, rest the soles of your feet on the floor. Rest your hands in any position that is comfortable for you.
- Regardless of where you are seated, notice, relax into the support beneath you. Imagine you are lovingly supported by the earth. Pause for a moment, truly feeling this support.
- Invite your spine to softly rise upward. Imagine you are being gently and lovingly embraced by the space around and above you. Pause again, appreciating the space and air supporting you.
- Soften across your neck, shoulders, jaw and your facial muscles.
- With a soft gaze, slowly look around wherever you are. Try to do this without labeling or naming, and just allowing the various shapes and colors to register through your eyes. Take your time. Whenever you feel ready, return your gaze forward. You may wish to close your eyes for a moment.
- As your sit quietly, notice any sounds – near or far. Again, take your time. When you are ready, please continue.
- Gently rub your palms together until you feel some warmth in your fingers. As you do this, continue your awareness of being supported by the earth beneath you and the air and space around you.
- (Read through the next step before practicing it.)
- Raise your palms upward in front of your face. Close your eyelids. Then, lightly rest one or two of your fingers of each hand on your eyelids, i.e., fingers of your left hands on your left eyelid, and fingers of your right on your left eyelid. With your fingers in place and closing off visual inputs, close off sounds. Do this, by stretching your thumbs and gently pressing your thumb tips over your ear flaps (tragus). Breathe here for six, easy slow breaths through your nostrils.
- After your sixth breath, slowly look around once again, taking your time. When you are ready, pause and then again notice sounds near and far.
- If you feel so inclined, smile.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- With soft, gentle inhalation and exhalation, sit quietly for as long as is comfortable. Invite continued awareness of the seamless support within the ever-changing visual and auditory diversity.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 48, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
SPRINGTIME 2023 CLASS WITH KATE
Pathways to Peace: Truthfulness, Non-Stealing, Compassion and Other Universal Principles
5 Thursdays, March 30 to May 4 (with no class on April 6), 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT via Zoom.
Offered through with the College of Marin Community Education.
Click here for more information and to register,
by KateVogt | Feb 19, 2023 | Nature, Spiritual Ecology
Tranquil our paths
When your hand rests in mine in joy.
Your voice gives life, like nectar.
To see you, is more than food or drink.
Trans. by Ezra Pound and Noel Stock
As I sat on a park bench the other day, I appreciated the sound of laughter and conversation from the people around me. There was a family with three young children playing tag, an elderly couple, and a group of young adults sitting in the grass talking. Eyes were beaming and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoying being together.
Ten years ago, I might not have even noticed the jovial atmosphere. Not because I’ve necessarily become more aware over the past decade, but because it would not have been noteworthy to hear and see people happily conversing and interacting. The woman of the elderly couple rested her hand in the palm of the man’s hand. The parents of the young children smiled at the sound of their children’s voices. Even the trees, grass, and flowers seemed more alive.
While savoring this rare moment, I began to fantasize that somehow this group of humans had discovered an ancient secret to happiness. It seemed that if they had had musical instruments, they would have made music together. Or, with paint brushes, they would have harmoniously created a painting together. I could only fantasize so far; like me, they have shelter, food, and access to a clean public park. Yet, it was still striking that given their age, gender, and racial diversity, none were using digital devices. All heads were raised, hands free, happily engaged.
Humans have long experimented with and been influenced by our tools – flint arrowheads to earthenware to typewriters and robots. None have been as overpowering and as luring as our most recent inventions. It is rapidly becoming more commonplace to see humans interacting with screens and electronic devices than with one another or nature. The average person is unaware that this shift is radically narrowing – rather than widening – our capacity for true happiness.
Social bonding, compassion, creativity, contentment, and the generally ability to be able to feel and care evolve from interacting with other humans and living beings. Studies of the brain show that it needs dynamic interaction. While our screen world seems to be multi-sensory, the studies show we have the illusion of being more connected but are less aware and more isolated emotionally. We need real physical social interaction, like these people in the park, for well-being and inner tranquility.
The anonymous Egyptian poet from about 1500 B.C.E. summarizes the gifts within everyday touching, listening, and seeing. When we gently hold the hand of a loved one, no words are needed. The love and support is understood. Their voice can bring us ease and a mere glimpse of their face can make us smile from the inside out. The seemingly mundane shapes our ability to trust, accept and explore, and to surrender our cravings and other obstacles that cloud our day-to-day perspective. I will continue to take intentional cyber-breaks – some short and some long – in honor of those ancient poets and sages who preserved perennial truths about the beauty and joy to be discovered through our innate humanness. I hope you will join me.
This practice helps renew your awareness of the sense of sight, hearing and touch.
- Sit somewhere where your digital devices are out of reach, sound, and sight. Even if they are in airplane mode, create some distance between you and them.
- If you are in a chair or bench, place the soles of your feet on the ground.
- Close your eyes, or have a soft gaze.
- Give yourself a gentle hug. If you feel fearful about being out of touch digitally, squeeze your upper arms with your hands and quietly reassure yourself that for the moment you are surrounded with support of the air around you and earth beneath you.
- Place the palm of one hand over the center of your chest. (Your fingertips will point toward the opposite arm and shoulder.)
- Allow yourself to explore whether there are any sensations or emotions. There is no right or wrong here. Just explore. For example, does the skin on the chest – even beneath the clothing – feel different when your hand is lightly touching your chest, resting there, or moved away. How about the skin on the fingers and palm? Does it register different sensations if you let your hand completely relax and rest on the chest versus if you lightly touch? Are there any feelings, such as comfort?
- Keeping that hand resting on your chest, rest the other hand on top of the hand on your chest. Explore sensations and feelings that you may have in the hands.
- Breathe here for a few moments. Notice any movement in your torso associated with the inhalation and exhalation, e.g., your ribcage expanding as you breathe in.
- Lightly cup your palms over your ears. Relax through the shoulders and eyes. Breathe five to six breaths. Notice the sound of your breath and any sensations associated with having your hands over your ears.
- Lightly place your palms over your eyes. Fingertips are pointed upward and lightly curling over the top of your scull. Breathe five to six breaths. Notice any sensations, both while the hands are over your eyes and when you bring your hands away from your eyes.
Transition Back Into Your Day –
- Rest your palms lightly in your lap.
- Breathe calmly and peacefully for as long as is comfortable.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This reflection is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry pages 144-148, author Kate Vogt. The poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 26, co-edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo is by Janis Smits. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
JOIN ME FOR MY UPCOMING VIRTUAL COURSE “Pathways to Peace: Truthfulness, Non-Stealing, Compassion and Other Universal Principles” – 5 Thursdays. March 30 to May 4 (with no class on April 6). 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT via Zoom. Offered through the College of Marin Community Education and their virtual Zoom classroom. Here’s the registration link!!
by KateVogt | Feb 5, 2023 | Nature, Spiritual - Inspiration
Mountains are steadfast but the mountain streams
go by, go by,
and yesterdays are like the rushing streams,
they fly, they fly,
and the great heroes, famous for a day,
they die, they die.
Translated by Peter H. Lee
A new month has waltzed in, causing me to turn the page of my old-fashioned paper calendar. The holidays of the month hold promises of remembrance of love and spiritual sacrifice as well celebrations of the praised and unsung heroes. To the right of my calendar is my sketchbook, which holds a different form of promise – one of remembrance of the everyday beauty and grace in the natural world.
I am shy about sharing my sketches. They are a sort of personal diary of my attempts to register the feelings of communing with another living being – a tree, a flower. To an outsider, the image may or may not be recognizable, but for me, the blank space punctuated with a random set of lines is like a record of celebration of my heart.
One such sketch was of a hibiscus flower. The drawing itself barely looks like a flower, but I still feel a rush of having been immersed in the presence of pure, delicate sweetness. This was a complete sweetness of spirit – free of any traces of malice, greed, or prideful-ness. That sweetness felt powerful, almost like a condensed essence of the timeless potentiality of all life. There was an inner stirring within me of the feeling of the grace of true beauty – ever-present, independent of form.
In being in the presence of the hibiscus flower, I felt like I had tuned into the real news channel. The “breaking news” alerts were messages for my soul and reminders of the fleeting nature of existence. Within one breath, there is an entire universe, reaching across all time and boundaries. Similarly, within a blink of an eye, there is all time: waking, sleeping, and dreaming; and, sunrise, high noon, and sunset.
As I journey through this month, I will remember the message of the hibiscus – that each moment blooms and then fades. In the blooming, there is a wholeness and completeness. There is a grounded-ness in what is, rooted in the present. There might be insects or hummingbirds that come to rest on the petals, or other potential disturbances, but the blossom blooms fully. I hope you will join me in being more attentive to thoughts, words, and gestures in each moment.
This practice supports awareness of the loving support in the world around us.
- Set your phone on airplane mode.
- Interlace your fingers, stretch your fingers out in front of you, and reverse your palms. Invite two to three full breaths into your lungs.
- Let your hands relax into your lap and notice their natural weight on your thighs.
- With your hands resting in your lap, recall being in a place, or situation, where you felt completely safe, trusting, supported, calm, joyful, and maybe even in the presence of unimaginable magnificence.
- If you have difficulty doing this, slowly look around at your surroundings and find something from the natural world that you find beautiful—a flower, a plant, a wooden floor, a cotton fabric. (Ideally, the choice is not an image of another human.)
- Invite this memory (of being totally safe, trusting, supported, in awe, and/or being loved) to seep into your awareness. Imagine this sweet memory is spreading throughout your entire being.
- You may wish to imagine that with each inhale, this sense is slowly expanding outward from deep within your heart center. Like rays of the sun, it radiates out in all directions. And, with each exhale, you can savor the sweetness as it nourishes each cell of your body. Take your time with this. You may feel or notice resistance. If you do, try to gently coax your awareness toward this subtler, more peaceful memory.
- Once you feel the sweetness having gently filled your entire being, sit quietly.
- Imagine: awakening into this feeling; moving through your day; eating your meals; talking and interacting with others; and then, falling asleep, still with this feeling.
- Know that this sweet, gentle part of you is always there.
- Throughout the practice, invite the facial, neck and shoulder muscles to release tension. Invite a soft gaze into your eyes. Your breath is easy and relaxed.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Invite this feeling to settle into the tips of each of your fingers.
- Take your time before returning to your day. Instead, consider sealing in this practice within the environment around you through touching your surroundings. (If you are in a public place, you can imagine touching your surroundings.)
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 60, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The practice is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Poetry and Nature, pages 329-330, authored by Kate Vogt. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
by KateVogt | Jan 21, 2023 | Life Inspiration, Nature
The weight of arrogance is such
that no bird can fly
And the man who feels superior
to others, that man
the real dance when the soul takes God
into its arms and you both fall
onto your knees in gratitude,
a blessed gratitude
St. John of the Cross
As I walked through the neighborhood in the early morning, I felt the urge to change my route and make my way over a hill toward the beach. It would be a little longer and more strenuous walk, and it was still relatively quiet along the streets. That is, except for the birds, who seemed unusually persistent in their search for food. Most of them were scurrying and quickly pecking along the ground. Others were acrobatically exploring every side of a tree limb and the leaves.
The bird activity prompted me to remember a forecast for stormy weather. I felt a little “aha” within me as to why my body had felt the impulse to linger outside. Although I had no scientific evidence to back up my “aha,” intuitively it seemed likely that my body had tuned into the atmospheric shift and felt an impulse to linger outdoors to be doing what the birds were doing – gathering and soaking up the available nourishment while the weather was drier and calmer.
There was something humbling about the glimpse of my nearly forgotten capacity of truly listening and living in sync with the larger bio-organism of all existence. It stirred a feeling of deep reverence for the earth and soil not only supporting my feet as I walked, but being the source of all support of my life – e.g., food, shelter, relationships, environment, breath. I felt the caress of the air around me, and felt gratitude for the trees and plants with their gift of reciprocity of oxygen and carbon dioxide, along with nutrients.
The horizon was pure blue. As I meandered down the hill, ocean and sky seamlessly filled my sight, absorbing my awareness in the endless space holding all existence. Even though some part of me knew that wild rains and winds were predicted to appear out of this blue expanse, I felt the “aha” ease into an “aaah.” I was home, along with everyone and everything. All existence has always equally belonged to this vastness.
As I walked along within this reverent sensibility, a flock of birds flew overhead. Their flight felt like a gesture of heavenly grace. The easefulness that they flowed through the openness made me smile. For a moment, they offered me a bird’s eye view of modern humanity in its seeming quest to forget the subtle and rich interdependence and value of all life. Before heading back to my little box that I call home, where my food is stashed in cupboards and in a refrigerator, I simply stood and took in all this togetherness and let myself fully belong.
This practice supports awareness of belonging.
- Please find a quiet place where you feel a sense of safety and comfort. If indoors, please remove electronics and any modern devices, including any digital watches (unless you truly need them for medical or emergency reasons).
- Gently stretch out in any way that feels comfortable. For example, reach one arm at a time overhead and toward the opposite side; or, place your hands on a cabinet, table, or back of a piece of furniture and walk, walk backward a bit and stretch out through your back.
- Find a comfortable seated position. If you are on a chair or bench, please rest the soles of your feet on the surface beneath you. If you feel distracted, invite your mind to notice your breath – inhaling in and exhaling out.
- Wherever you are seated, gently invite awareness of the support immediately beneath you, and then slowly acknowledge the layers of support beneath whatever you are seated upon. If comfortable, silently acknowledge that the earth’s surface supports all life around the globe. Take a few moments, appreciating the interwoven fabric of earthly existence.
- Slowly shift your awareness to the space above and around you. Invite an appreciation of space always being there kissing every morsel of life. If comfortable, silently acknowledge space holding all life, including the air which we breathe. Take a few moments to appreciate the intimate touch of space, even in its vastness.
- Invite an inner feeling of a seamless community of life – beneath, above and all around you. Slowly, stretch your arms to your sides, imagining one is reaching to the north and the other to the south. Then, reach one arm forward and one to the back, imagining one is reaching to the east,and the other to the west. Next, reach your fingers toward the earth and then toward the sky, acknowledging the downward and upward directions.
- Once you have reached your arms in all directions, bring your fingers toward the place where all directions meet (at your heart center). Bow your head slightly with your fingers still touching your heart. If comfortable, appreciate your seamless belonging.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Quietly, sit for a few moments.
- When you are ready, transition back into your day.
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 11, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo by Valentin Hintikka. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.
I offer this particular HEARTH blog in acknowledgment of the enduring presence of the Indigenous People around the world. With that, I wish to share a link to a vibrant, yet financially challenged, project Red Sunrise Taos Pueblo. I ask that you consider supporting them to your level of comfort (scroll to the bottom of their page for their donation link). Thank you.
by KateVogt | Dec 23, 2022 | Nature, Spiritual - Inspiration
With Thy look of love
Leave in me
grace and beauty.
St. John of the Cross
Translated by Edgar Allison Peers
I love rising early. The late-night noises and movements have faded. And, before life stirrings begin anew, there is a sense of an all-pervading calm. It feels like a prayerful pause when, if even momentarily, the quietude is all there is.
Within that moment of complete peacefulness, I both lose and gain a sense of beingness. Like the nighttime noises, all the normal sensations of age, health, gender, accomplishments, race, or even species are absent. Hankerings born of yesterday and expectations for tomorrow have disappeared. Instead, there is a calm expanse that feels infinitely abundant in pure grace and love.
As if an expression of the tranquility, bird sounds begin to fill the air. Rather than ending the calmness, their voices seem to amplify it with effusive, melodic beauty. Their song gives way to the first rays of morning light, which in turn magnifies the awareness of a peaceful, loving presence.
The calm of the early morning is true benevolence. Saints, prophets, sages and indigenous people are intimately connected with its abiding presence. it is generally less perceptible for the everyday person. But, luckily the natural graciousness of early morning gently and lovingly envelopes the earth and all beings – human and non-human, animate and seemingly inanimate.
Such endless benevolence is free of selfishness, judgment, or duty. It is not transactional or laden with an anticipation of reciprocity. Rather than being a single act, it is universal and freely supportive of all. It melts boundaries between the outer and inner and erases the illusion of separateness. Even when ignored or overlooked, it is untouched by sorrow or dismay. Instead, it peacefully and lovingly remains a source of courage to boldly arise into a new day.
This practice supports awareness of the benevolence of peacefulness
- Find a quiet place where you can be free of human-made sensory inputs for the next ten minutes or so. Silence the digital device you are using to read through this practice. Remove any other devices other than the one you are using, including smart watches, computers, earphones, stereo speakers.
- Standing, gently pat one foot on the ground beneath you. Then, the other foot. As you do this, invite an awareness of the earth, offering you safety and solid support in this moment.
- If you are feeling a bit dull or agitated, take a few moments to shake out your limbs. Shake one at a time, i.e., right arm then left arm, right leg then left leg. If it feels comfortable, fluidly move in any way you feel inspired, e.g., dance to imaginary music.
- Find a comfortable seated position. If you are on a bench or a chair, allow the soles of your feet to rest on the ground beneath you. Wherever you are, invite a remembrance of the earth solidly supporting you in this moment.
- Slowly, reach your arms to the sides, palms upward with fingers relaxed. Slowly, roll your upper arms back until you have the sense your upper chest and face rise slightly upward toward the sky. Allow a gentle inhalation, and perhaps a feeling of a soft opening across your facial muscles, throat, and heart center. Invite an awareness of the sky and how it lovingly and peacefully holds all life near and beyond.
- Even if temporarily, imagine the heavens are filling your hands, eyes, cheeks, mouth, throat, and heart center with infinite peacefulness. Pause, allowing yourself to be bathed in infinite grace of quietude.
- Then, slowly bend your elbows and place your hands on the top of your head. Invite your temples and crown of your head to relax. Imagine the entire inner space of your skull – top, back, sides, and front – is filled with the grace of peaceful contentment, even if temporarily.
- Stay here as long as it feels comfortable for you supported by your natural breath. Give yourself permission to go at your own pace free of a sense of judgment, competition, comparison, or rushing – remembering the earth is supporting you and infinite benevolence is enfolding you. Continue with this sense of acceptance and kindness toward yourself.
- Allow your palms to rest on your thighs. Imagine your legs and feet releasing into the earthly support, and are infused with peacefulness.
- Then, allow your palms to rest on your belly. Imagine the entire inner space of your belly – back, sides, and front – is filled with the grace of peaceful contentment, even if temporarily.
- Allow your palms to rest on your heart center in any way that is comfortable – e.g., one hand one top of the other, palms together. Imagine the entire inner space of your shoulders and upper chest – top, back, sides, and front – are filled with the grace of peaceful contentment, even if temporarily.
- With your hands still over your heart center, allow this feeling to seep deeply into the core of your being. Bow your head slightly and again invite a release of any tension in your eyes and face. Stay as long as you are comfortable.
- If you have a particular faith, you might wish to bring in a feeling of deep surrender into the grace of the ever-present peacefulness.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- Slowly lift your chin to a neutral level. If you had your eyes closed, slowly open them. Taking your time, look around the area where you are – perhaps noticing the spaciousness between the objects and overhead.
- Sit quietly for a few moments.
- When you are ready, transition back into your day.
This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 51, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. Photo by Sebastian Scheuer on Unsplash. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2022.
Please consider further poetic inspiration from my books:
Our Inherited Wisdom: 54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry
Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems
Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems