The Park – living together

The Park – living together

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.

Egyptian Wisdom
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.

Prepare –

  • 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.

Practice –

  • 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!!





Rain – an invitation to wholeness

Rain – an invitation to wholeness



It was a rainy day.  My impulse was to hibernate, but a glance out the window inspired me to instead go out for a walk.  Other species had yet to take cover so I took a cue to join them.  A few sparrows hopped around on the deck, crows were flying around and a deer was calmly eating the new growth of ivy on the nearby hillside.  Raindrops glistened like jewels on the tree branches and overhead wires.

I couldn’t help but laugh at my human leeriness of getting wet.  A few days before, I was longing for rainfall to refill the creeks and temper the risk of fires in the California forests, mountains, and natural habitats.  Now, the rain had arrived, and it took a cue from other species to get me to join in the celebration of the promise of our collective relief and renewal.  

As I walked in our hilly neighborhood, I barely felt a drop.  The boughs of the redwoods and other evergreen trees reached out over the streets and pathways, offering a canopy of shelter.   There was no longer a need to be hunching my shoulders or scrunching my face – a fairly typical human habit that I have, believing those gestures will shield me from wetness.  Instead, I felt an easeful sense of belonging to life’s greater wholeness.  

“Whole rather than separate” is an ancient human experience and worldview.  Early humans were keen observers of everyday natural phenomena and saw life as a living organism, within which they lived.  The wellbeing of all shapes the wellbeing of the whole.  If one part is depleted, then the whole is disrupted.  Harmony within the greater whole reflects observable qualities such as the generosity of the rain to nourish new growth, the non-greed of the animals in leaving enough plant life for continued survival, gentleness in the step of even the largest mammals, along with kindness, equanimity, reciprocity, and non-harming.

World wisdom is always nearby, but sometimes it takes other species to stir us out of our conditioned sense of individuality and separateness.  A step outside of a boxed-in world of walls, ceilings, and online squares into the natural world is like coming in touch with a sacred poem.  There, we belong.  There, we are whole.   

This short practice invites awareness of wholeness.

Prepare – 

  • Sit in a quiet place.  Turn your device to airplane and/or silence to minimize the disruptions for the next few minutes. 
    • If you are seated on a chair or bench, allow the soles of your feet to rest on the floor.   
  • Gently, cradle your head with your hands.  
    • Do this in any way that is comfortable.  For example, rest your palms on your temples and curl your fingers over the top of your head.  
      • If you have shoulder impingements and find it uncomfortable to hold your arms overhead, then simply rest your palms in your lap.  
    • Soften your gaze or close your eyes.  Relax around your upper chest, belly, shoulders, neck, and face.  
    • Invite an easy, calm breath to arise.  (This may take a few breaths if you have had a busy or agitating day.)
  • Allow your hands to rest in your lap.  Quietly say to yourself “I am whole.” 
    • Imagine every cell in your body is listening as you repeat this three times.

Practice – 

  • This practice can be done seated or resting comfortably on your back, e.g. with support under your head and knees.
  • With a sense of wholeness, gradually move your awareness through your body from the top to the bottom.  
    • Slowly and sequentially rest your attention in one part of your body at a time.  Imagine a luminous radiance touching each area.
      • For example, your scalp, your forehead, your temples (the right, then the left), your eyes, (the right, then the left), your ears (the right, then the left), your nose, your jaw, your mouth, your throat, your arms and palms (the right, the left, then both simultaneously), your torso, your pelvis and sacrum, your hips, legs, and feet (the right side, the left, and then both simultaneously). 
    • Shift your awareness to your entire body, sensing it as a field of radiance.
  • Sustaining your awareness of being held within a calm field of radiance, quietly observe the gentle movement associated with your body’s breathing.  
    • Linger here for as long as is comfortable.  
    • If your mind begins to chatter, gently invite your awareness to return to the subtle rise and fall of your rib cage and softness around your throat and nostrils.
  • When you are ready to return to your day, slowly bring your awareness to the surface of your body and the room around you.  If you are on your back, slowly return to a seated position.

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 verse is translated by Daniel Ladinsky and appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 101, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.    Photo by Aaron Burden.  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.

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. 



I am the Mother
of fair love…
and of knowledge,
and of hope.
In me is grace
of the way and of the truth…
My memory is
unto everlasting generations.

Book of Ecclesiasticus

The rising full moon loomed over the boulders at one end of a nearby beach.   On the opposite end, the sun was disappearing behind a cloudbank.  Every grain of sand and atmospheric particle seemed aglow, as though promising to carry forward the memory of light into the nighttime. 

A golden warm hue caressed the crevices of the massive rocks.  Otherwise appearing inert, they seemed to happily reveal their deepest secrets of majesty, tranquility and beauty.  They are in no hurry to get somewhere or be anywhere other than where they are.  Slowly they erode and give way to the inevitable cycle of change.  They are imbued with patience and quiet ease, undisturbed by the lichen or countless crustaceans that grow on their surface.  

These mammoth stones, like all their smaller, rocky counterparts – even to the size of a pebble – are models of strength, constancy, and inclusiveness.  They tirelessly comfort whomever comes near.  Birds in need of a rest pause on their surface.  Adults and children are drawn to touch, lean against or sit on them as though instinctively attracted to their steady calming, soothing, and non-judgmental presence. 

 As I walked toward the boulders, I noticed my pace began to slow.  Perhaps that was the result of awe of the intimate and dynamic dialog of the light with the air and earth.  More likely, however, it was the serenity of the rocks that stilled anything close by.  It is no wonder that humans have long created stone structures, gardens, sculptures and markers to evoke steadfastness, longevity, peacefulness, and divine permanence.     

In the turmoil of our individual and collective times, it is easy to forget that Nature is infused with timeless wisdom.  Nature invites us to acknowledge that we are an integral part of the larger universe.  Seeing a rock could be a reminder that we are stubbornly resistance or complacently silent.  Yet, these boulders are an example of how Nature continually offers insight to decelerate, pay attention, and honor all that we take for granted.   Nature generously offers the land on which we live, the air that we breath, the sunlight that sustains the plants, and constant reminders to re-align our inner rhythms with the outer rhythms.   As a way to stay grounded and hopeful, my touchstone will be to cultivate lessons from the boulder – selfless generosity, fairness, and fortitude.  I hope you will join me.

This short practice invites appreciation of patience.

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position.  
    • Become aware of the surface beneath you.  Notice the effortless support that it offers.  If on a chair or bench, reflect on the layers of support down to the earth.  
  • Lightly touch the surface beneath you with your fingertips.  
    • Silently say, “thank you.”  

Practice – 

  • Even though there are times that the layers of the earth stir, imagine the steady layers of support for earthly life.  Particularly, consider the seemingly everlasting nature of mountains, boulders, rocks, stones, and pebbles.  Because of their apparent immovability, they are models of steadiness and patience.  Say “thank you.”
  • Patiently, allow your breath to steadily flow in and out.
    • Invite your eyes to relax with a soft gaze as though looking inward.
  • Invite a sense of deep inner stillness as your breath gently moves inward and outward.
    • Imagine that your breath moves so quietly that it barely brushes that inner stillness.
    • As you continue, imagine the stillness slowly infusing your inhale and exhale a bit more breath by breath.  Invite the quality of patient awareness as you observe the quieting of your breath.
    • Perhaps savor the slight pause as one inhalation slides into the next exhalation.
    • Continue inviting awareness of the breath moving at the pace of a stone – patient, gentle, accepting, and calming.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly.  
  • After a few moments, look around and slowly observe the space around you without labeling or judging – just observing.  
  • Touch your thighs with your palms downward and take a deep breath.  Then, once again touch the surface beneath you and say “thank you.”
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This verse appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 84, 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. 

Upcoming Virtual Class with the College of Marin Community Education: The Path to Inner Quietude: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali   In the midst of sweeping global changes, many of us are looking for reliable insight into re-orienting our perspective and lifestyle to foster clarity and peacefulness. In this course, we will look to the 2,000 year old text, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, for its theory and application to stilling our mind. (lecture, discussion, & guided experiences; 6 Wednesdays, 3:10-4:30pm PT, Oct 21-Dec 2)   Registration class #4749

Bees – Seeing Anew

Bees – Seeing Anew

Listen, if you can stand to. 
Union with the Friend means not being who you’ve been,
being instead silence:  A place:  A view
where language is inside Seeing. 


This year of 2020 continues to prod me to an increased awareness of the microscopic aspects of life.   It truly feels like the last few months have been a constant visual exam, searching through layers of blurred vision for 2020 acuity.  While it isn’t new to me to revisit hidden assumptions and sift through the strata of skewed perceptions, the avalanche of deaths and change spurs a recalibration of and an openness to a renewed view. 

In the midst this age of human reckoning, I anchor myself in the remembrance that the planet and the rest of nature has been around longer than our species.  While we are endowed with great mental capacities, we are prone to forget the grace of our existence.  Yet, nature is always there with endless reminders of our earthly interconnectedness with all beings, the deeper essence of life, and transformative qualities such as generosity, kindness, collaboration, and equanimity.

I find that nature consistently presents insights far beyond those in volumes of books or opinions.  For example, the sun doesn’t favor one group of people, or one part of the planet, over the other.  It just shines, offering light, warmth, and renewal to all.   Without the sun the plants wouldn’t grow, and without the plants, animals and humans wouldn’t have food.   First people as well as ancient knowledge preserve this simple but profound wisdom: that all life is a living community. Yet in the mainstream, this view is considered irrelevant and economically unproductive.

Small things make a difference, primarily in our thought patterns and consumptive behaviors and their influence on social justice, but also in recognizing and appreciating our inherent reliance on other species.  Bees, for example, are intricately connected to our existence.   As pollinators, they are important to the proliferation of crops of many of our favorite fruits and berries, as well as of vegetables.   They also support the perpetuation of the beauty of flowers that have their own role within the larger ecosystem, in addition to uplifting human spirits.  And, of course, bees produce honey and wax, which have been used by humans since the earliest times for nourishment, art, light and more.

For our current times, bees offer several timely reminders.  They harmoniously live and work as a community that creates abundance.  They accomplish the seemingly impossible in that they carry multiples of their weight – some say up to 300 times their weight.  Even though aerodynamically they aren’t naturally designed to fly, they fly.  They move from one plant to another as living examples of the interconnectedness of all living things, including humans.   Individual bees have the ability to focus, yet take time for rest and renewal.

My personal experience is that nature is a safe place for us to practice empathy, e.g., just sitting and observing without inner labeling and dialog, and accepting the clarity and joy of seeing anew.  We can do the same when we listen to one another and to our own thoughts and inner heartbeat.  Nature not only supports us biologically, but gives us the courage to see and face the inhumane inequities within our own species, and then proactively shapes new paradigms for the respect and wellbeing of all.  I will continue to rely on nature for renewed perspective, and hope you will join me.

This short practice acknowledges the sound of the bees.

Prepare – 

  • Please find a comfortable seated position.  
    • If you are seated on a bench or in a chair, rest the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Invite an awareness of the surface beneath you. 
    • If you are aware of the First Peoples of the land where you are, please take a moment and say their name with reverence.
    • Then, in your own way, acknowledge the layers of support beneath you, e.g., the floor, those that constructed the floor, the earthly resources with the floor, and the earth and microbes beneath that. 
  • Allow yourself to be fully held by these hidden layers of support.  Invite an openness to seeing and acknowledging those that you take for granted and regularly overlook even though they are always there supporting you.

Practice – 

  • Still seated.  Allow your hands to rest wherever they are comfortable.  Your eyes may rest in a soft gaze or gently closed.  As much as you can, relax the muscles across your face, including your jaw and chin. 
  • Vigorously rub your palms together until you feel some heat in your hands. 
  • Place your warmed palms over your ears.
    • Breathe two to three breaths. 
    • Then, begin to hum in a bee-like way.  Pause whenever needed.  Then, continue for about a minute. 
  • Take one hand over your chest and the other on top.  Smile slightly. 

Transition back into your day – 

  • Allow your hands to return to wherever they are comfortable.  Sit comfortably and breathe for as long as comfortable. 
  • When you are ready, transition back into your day.

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 76, 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. 

Bat and Butterflies

Bat and Butterflies

We bloomed in Spring.
Our bodies are the leaves of God

The apparent seasons of life and death
our eyes can suffer;
but our souls, dear, I will just say this forthright

they are God Himself,
we will never perish
unless He does.

St. Teresa of Avila

The body of a small bat lay at the roots of the tree.  It looked as though it had just been in flight, with its clearly defined head and body and outstretched wings.  Yet, it was on the earth not in the sky, and visible at the peak of daylight and not at night.   As I stood and observed this microcosm of our greater outer world, two blue butterflies flew by. 

Living in a semi-urban as I do, it is easy to forget that the wilderness is always nearby.   Since the onset of the 2019 coronavirus, unexpected encounters with the wild have become the new norm.  Today, it was the bat and the butterflies along the trail.  Yesterday, it was a doe and her fawn outside the kitchen window, dragonflies leading the way on a nearby trail, and a skunk scampering across a street in broad daylight.  

Throughout different cultures, the presence of wild species carries timely messages.  The bat, for example, signifies letting go of anything that comes in the way of our divine nature.  That can be old habits that cloud our thinking, clinging to the impermanent, attitudes of judgment, and self-indulgent behaviors.   For most of us, this type of letting go feels like a loss of life as we know it.   The butterflies inspire us to have the courage to let go and embrace the gentler, wiser aspects of our humanness.   

For me, there is some comfort in this ancient observation that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and vice versa   Whenever I am not clear about what is happening within the wilderness of my own mind, I turn off my phone, put on my sneakers, and go out for a walk, even if only for ten or fifteen minutes.  As I walk, I remember that there are insects and microbes in the ground beneath me, even if it is paved over.  That helps me remember my embodiment is like a cell within the living organisms of the earth and universe.  Whether it is a bat or a butterfly, a redwood or a rose, most often some other being during my walk attracts my attention and sheds light onto whatever had moved me to the walk in the first place.  

It is nearly impossible to make sense of the scope of death and upheaval that has come with the presence of the coronavirus, but I take solace and hope from other species that if we heed their subtle messages, the road ahead will be much less painful.  It is time for us to let go of our habitual distractions, and instead step up to the responsibility of being attentive, caring, loving, and compassionate to all beings.  If we read the words of St. Teresa of Avila again and again, we may indeed discover that this is a time to rise up to our truest selves.   I am willing to try this steeper path and hope you will join me. In the meantime, please stay well.

This short practice invites an appreciation of being part of the larger whole.

Prepare – 

  • If possible, find a safe and comfortable place to be seated outside.  Inside is also fine.    
    • Wherever you are, acknowledge the surface beneath you by offering a silent appreciation for its steady support.   
    • Allow your hands to rest on your thighs or on your lap.
  •  Acknowledge the space around you – front, back, sides, and above.  Invite awareness that as you sit and move through the world, this space is always there.  It offers you complete awareness of your surroundings. 
    • Note:  We often only relate to what is directly in front of us, especially when using our technological tools.  Yet, we take in and share information holistically.

Practice – 

  • Soften your gaze and the area around your eyes.  Imagine you are looking from the back of your head rather than from the surface of your eyes. 
  • Keeping your 360° awareness, allow your breath to move into your lungs – front, back, sides, lowest and uppermost parts of the lungs.
    • Without forcing, breathe with this awareness for six breaths.
  • For three breaths, invite your arms to move with your breath:
    • As you inhale, allow your arms to move out to the sides, slightly back, and overhead.  If you have shoulder conditions, please adjust as needed.
    • As you exhale, allow your arms to return to the sides of your body.
  • For three breaths:
    • Bring your palms into a soft lotus bud shape (gentle prayer position) in front of your heart. 
      • Pause for a breath
    • Keeping your palms in prayer position, inhale your hands overhead, taking them up the center line of your torso and face to overhead. 
      • Pause there for a breath.
    • Keeping your palms in prayer position, exhale your hands back to your heart center.  Repeat.
  • Allow your hands to rest in your lap.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • Then, consider ways you might move through your day with awareness of the world around you.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This poem is translated by Daniel Ladinsky and appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 73, 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. 

NOW AVAILABLE!!   My new book “Our Inherited Wisdom”  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry  (click for online purchase).  This is a perfect companion for your personal reflections. 

Enjoy gems of natural beauty 
& #naturesutras

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