Hallowed Life

Hallowed Life

The weight of arrogance is such
that no bird can fly
carrying it.
And the man who feels superior
to others, that man
cannot dance,
the real dance when the soul takes God
into its arms and you both fall
onto your knees in gratitude,

a blessed gratitude
for life.  

St. John of the Cross

The weight of arrogance is such that no bird can fly carrying it. And the man who feels superior to others, that man cannot dance, the real dance when the soul takes God into its arms and you both fall onto your knees in gratitude, a blessed gratitude for life.  St. John of the Cross

The moon once again is fully bathed in the light of the sun, giving the appearance of a glowing disc in the night sky.  Like the solar source of its radiance, the moon illumines the surface of the earth with a glistening luster.    

As a child, I would pause outside on such nights, and be filled with a dual sense of a spooky eeriness and joyful astonishment.   The land around my parents’ farm gleamed with a surreal translucence.  The large buildings, such as a Quonset, and equipment such as tractors, had a ghostly weightlessness as though they were simply mirages floating within the moonlight.   All was aglow, regardless of shape or size.

Now, several decades later, I am still captivated by this primordial dance of the moon endlessly cycling from being completely visible to invisible – all due to its orientation to the sun.  I find the phases of the moon are a sobering reminder not only of ever-changing nature of my mind, but also of how the continual churnings of thoughts obscure clarity.   Yet, about every thirty days, the light shines evenly and free of impediments, offering hope for my heart to soar in infinite luminosity, with untainted compassion.

Universally, sages, prophets, saints, and elders model our innate human capacity to reflect – and revere – the boundless radiance.  They inspire us to recognize the sweet interconnectedness of all life, where no spirit is superior to the other and where each is a precious part of the whole.  The Indian poet Tukaram offers an image of all life belonging on God’s “jeweled dance floor.”  Navajo wisdom offers steady reverence for the earth, sky, moon, sun, and all beings.  And, the mystic St. John of the Cross honors the ever-present grace of divine light, inviting us to let it freely shine in gratitude for this hallowed life.

I continually venture to embody the wisdom that lives within natural phenomena and sacred poetry, and hope you will join me.  

Practice 
This short practice invites appreciation of the sacredness of the earth.

Prepare – 

  • Choose a place where you can be undisturbed for a few minutes.  If you are using your phone for this mini-practice, consider placing it on silent.  Also, if comfortable, remove your shoes. 
  • Standing (Note: if your balance is feeling unstable, feel free to be seated for this portion.) 
    • Slowly rotate your right ankle, a few times one direction and then the other.

Repeat with your left ankle.

  • Gently lift up the toes on your right foot and spread them apart.  Then, curl them under.  Repeat a few times and then do the same on your left foot.
  • Lightly tap one foot on the floor a few times, then the other. 

Practice – 

  • Standing quietly.
    • Pause.  As best as you can, balance between your left and right side, and front and back. 
    • Notice where your feet are touching the surface beneath you. 
      • If inside, acknowledge the floor and all the resources that made the floor.  If wooden, for example, acknowledge source of the wood, e.g. the trees, as well as the humans that laid the planks of the floor, and all the earthly resources that nourished them so that they could do the work.   Acknowledge the concrete foundation, and the stones from the riverbed that made the concrete, and the waters.
      • Whether inside or outside, acknowledge the soil and its life, e.g., the insects and microbes.  Then acknowledge the layers of earth, e.g., the rocks and whatever is unique to where you are.
      • Wherever you are, acknowledge the First Peoples of the land of your area.
  • Still standing, begin to slowly walk for a few minutes, e.g., in a small circle
    • Consider all the life beneath your feet.  As invited by Thich Nhat Hanh, “walk as though your feet are kissing the earth.”  Consider also the awareness that the earth is kissing your feet. 
  • Pause again, standing quietly. 
    • Reach your hands upward to the sky. 
    • Imagine that you are receiving the luminous light of a full moon through your open hands, and that light is pouring down your arms into your torso and down through your legs to your feet. 
    • Lightly touch the top your head with your fingertips and imagine as though that light is washing away all tendencies toward judgement and self-centeredness with joyful love, compassion, and equanimity. 
    • Then, rest your hands over your heart center with remembrance that the four horizontal directions begin and end with the light of your own heart.
      • With gratitude for the gift of life, say “thank you.”

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 appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 11, 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. 

Boulders

Boulders

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.

Practice
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

THUNDER – inviting loving attentiveness

THUNDER – inviting loving attentiveness

The love of God, unutterable and perfect,
flows into a pure soul the way that light
rushes into a transparent object. 
The more love that it finds, the more it gives
itself; so that, as we grow clear and open,
the more complete the joy of heaven is.  
And the more souls who resonate together,
and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.

Dante

The stillness of the night melted into slow, drawn out rumbling.  In the haze of my sleepiness, my mind registered it as a sonic boom.  When the sound repeated itself a few minutes later, I remembered that it had been months since there had been any late-night planes passing overhead due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on air travel. 

Flashes in the sky drew my attention and offered a partial answer to my confusion.  An unusual phenomenon had replaced a previously routine one.  Unlike fires and earthquakes, thunder and lightning rarely occur in coastal California.  The grumbling sky seemed be like a great being clearing its throat with “ahem.”  I felt a familiar alertness ripple through my body, with childhood memories of thunderous skies over the Great Plains that captured everyone’s attention.  Even the animals would perk up their ears and listen. 

Thunderstorms have a way of widening our perspective.  Their grandeur and splendor are both fearsome and dazzlingly enchanting.  Within a moment, separateness melts away and there is a roaring reminder of the sky’s all-encompassing embrace of our planet.  The entire globe is held by ethereal layers of space, as if to be a constant reminder that we are here to learn to emulate its compassionate and equitable lovingness toward all life. 

To further the lesson from the sky, a sweet fragrance wafted through the bedroom window, followed by the gentle thump of rain on the leaves of the trees.  A rhythmic harmony began to form as thousands of drops resonated together.  Dust washed away, the warm temperature began to drop, and the cycle of rain began anew.  The clouds continued to freely release their moisture, offering it back to the earth until the sky began to clear, revealing the sparkle of the stars.  

As we undergo our stormy times, nature and poets such as Dante inspire me to listen more closely to the timeless, wise undercurrents woven into our collective earth school.   I would like to believe that great “ahem” has gotten humanity’s collective attention, opening us to see that the sky shows us that everything is shared and everyone equally belongs; so, it is up to us to lovingly care for, and resonate, with one another and the rest of earthly species.   
 

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of the sky. 

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position, ideally outside.   
  • Reach up and gently squeeze the skin around your eyebrows, starting with the outermost edge of your brow and slowly moving inward toward the bridge of your nose.  
    • (You will be holding your brows between your thumb and index fingers.)
  • Then, repeat from inward to outward.  When you reach the outermost tip of your brows, gently massage your temples, your forehead, and then the bridge of your nose with the tips of your fingers.
  • If comfortable, close your lids and let your fingertips rest lightly over your closed lids.  Soften through your jaw and invite your breath to slowly lengthen.  If you wish, replace your exhales with a quiet sigh of “aaaah.”
    • (If uncomfortable closing and touching your lids for any reason, feel free to simple sit and breathe.
    • Gently open your eyes.

Practice – 

  • Allow your gaze to look downward toward your heart center.  
    • Still with your eyes looking toward your heart with a soft gaze, imagine there is a radiance emanating from your heart center and it is tenderly bathing the entire surface of your eye and your optic nerves with the light of loving awareness.  
    • Invite your entire eye area to relax with a sense of receptivity to seeing anew.  
  • Slowly look upward toward the sky.  Invite a continued sense of receptivity where you are seeing through your eyes, not “with” them.  
    • Through your eyes, receive an awareness of the ever-present embrace of the sky of our planet.  Invite your view to arise from the depth of your heart.  
    • Imagine your upper body is encompassed in a radiance infused with compassion, equitable lovingness, kind generosity, and deep joyfulness.  Then imagine you are seeing through the lens of this radiance.
  • Allow your eyes to come to a neutral view (a middle view between lowering your eyes and looking upward).  Either close your eyes or allow them to relax into a soft gaze.  Say to yourself, “thank you.”  Perhaps invite in an awareness of ways we can move forward toward a just world where everything and everyone belongs and resonates with their own brilliance for the well-being of all.
  • Pause and sit quietly for several minutes.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Stay as long as you are comfortable.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

 
This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 97, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by NOAA. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 


Fall virtual class “Support Wisdom in Your Life.” (6 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT, Aug 27-Oct 1).  For more information, please visit the College of Marin Community Education

LOVE – seeing beyond preconceptions

LOVE – seeing beyond preconceptions

But love of God
hath so absorbed me
that neither love
nor hate
of any other thing
remains in my heart. 

Rābiʻa

Yesterday was a foggy summer morning.  The air had taken on form and texture.  Like a freshly painted canvas, it was heavy and wet with soft, silvery hues.  A subtle radiance seeped through the thinner layers of the fog, revealing the presence of light.

While in many ways this was a typical coastal California foggy day, it felt instead almost hallowed   A tranquil, loving gentleness enveloped the hillsides and canyon of the neighborhood.   There was a near stillness with an occasional cooing of a dove or rustle in the tree branches.  As if to seal in the divine sweetness, a large deer rested on the grasses of a nearby slope.  

I was grateful for my diligence in observing my habit of starting each day outside.  Sometimes this is just a brief greeting of the day while feeding the birds.  The peaceful atmosphere yesterday felt like an invitation to settle in for my morning contemplation outside.   

 When I had looked through the glass of the bedroom window, the fog appeared to be a flat lifeless mass of grey.  Although I am normally a very curious person, it took the force of my morning habit – rather than curiosity – to experience fog as the opposite of my mind’s predisposition toward viewing it as gloomy and foreboding. 

 Nature always seems to continually offer these lessons for us to see, hear, and touch anew, with reverent appreciation.   Just one moment of slowing down and getting a little closer to her pace and language can change our inner view.   I have now met fog in an entirely fresh way.  Along with that, I have a heightened awareness of showing up again and again for the possibility of softening preconceptions and being absorbed in a love beyond bias.

 These everyday moments can be anywhere and with anyone.  Accompanying our interactions with nature, there are our COVID-masked greetings in the store and along the street.  Also, there are the choices of what and how much to consume in food or ideas, and possessions.   And, our thoughts, speech, and actions.   Living and ancient sages and saints like Rābiʻa remind us to boldly walk the path of love and trust that little by little, light will permeate the haze and enfold us in love. 

Practice 
This short practice invites awareness of the path of  love. 

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position.   
  • Slowly lean your right ear toward your right shoulder.  Smile gently and take few easy breaths.  Then, gently bring your head to center and pause.  When you are ready repeat on your left side. 
    • Note:  If you have a condition that is irritated by taking your head to the side, e.g., positional vertigo, please make adjustments that are suitable for you.
  • Pause with your head to center.  Invite a few easy breaths.

Practice – 

  • Hold your hands in front of you with your palms upward, slightly cupped.  Imagine your hands are holding a boundless amount of love.  No matter how much you receive or give away there is still an overflowing abundance of love.
  • As though washing your hair and showering, bathe yourself in this love from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet as well as the back, front, and sides of your body and head.  
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you.  An abundance of love still pours you’re your hands.
    • Lightly touch your sensory organs – nose, mouth, eyes, skin (choose one place, e.g., skin on your face), and ears. 
      • If you are uncomfortable touching your face during COVID-19, please feel free to hover your hands over these sensory organs. 
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you, again holding endless, pure love.
    • As though the love were rose petals, gently toss them upward and out into the space around you – in front, to the right, behind, and to the left of you. 
    • Repeat this one more time.  Imagine as you release love in all directions that it is traveling the distances of the world from nearby to the farthest lands and people. 
  • Pause with your palms cupped in front of you still holding boundless love.
    • Bring one hand over your heart and the other on top as though you are sealing in the awareness of eternal love within your heart.  Invite all its expression of equity, kindness, and compassion to inform your thoughts, actions, and speech. 
    • Bow your head slightly.  Invite all your sensory engagements to arise from your heart through your nose, mouth, eyes, skin and ear.  Invite them to be free of grasping and clinging and free of the conditioned filters that bring harm and injustice to others.    

Transition back into your day – 

  • Relax your hands into a comfortable position, e.g., turned downward onto your knees. 
    • Allow your eyes to rest in a soft gaze.  
    • Invite an easeful, calm breath.
  • Stay as long as you are comfortable, perhaps following the rhythm of receiving and releasing the breath with each inhalation and exhalations.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 105, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Alexander Kaunas.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2020. 

Fall virtual class Support Wisdom in Your Life. (6 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT, Aug 27-Oct 1).  For more information, please visit the College of Marin Community Education.  

Bark – staying in touch

Bark – staying in touch

I know a cure for sadness:
Let your hands touch something that
makes your eyes
smile.

I bet there are a hundred objects close by
that can do that.

Look at
beauty’s gift to us –
her power is so great she enlivens
the earth, the sky, our
soul. Mirabai

Mirabai

Near our apartment is a small, wooded park.  It is nestled between two streets with a ravine in the center.  On both sides are magnificent coastal redwood trees. They are only echoes of their parent trees, some of which would have been as wide as a two-story house is high, at the time those trees were milled by the colonizers more than a century ago.  This park is a type of haven where this second growth can thrive as living representation of the story of this locale, and beyond. 

Each day when I take a neighborhood stroll, I pass through this park.  The wide path is cushioned with the redwoods’ needles, so there is a quietness that muffles even the sound of the teenage boys daring one another to ride their bicycles down the steep slope.   I like to linger with the trees for a few moments of touching and admiring their bark.  

Just being near the beautiful reddish-brown bark of these giant conifers reassures me that dominance doesn’t necessarily mean oppression and destruction.  It can be compassionate, gentle, and genuinely equitable.  The redwoods’ bark has a larger role than just protecting the tree.  Its soft, almost spongey fibrous texture of outer bark is home to many types of insects and other invisible species that are integral to the vitality of the multi-dimensional web of life.   

When I touch the bark of redwoods, I am reminded of the words attributed to the 15th century ascetic Mirabai.  The beauty of the redwoods, like all of nature, continually invites us to pause and re-connect with the most fundamental part of our embodiment – we are part of a dynamic, earthly organism that gracefully and generously offers the air, ground, and endless nutrients for the well-being of all.  

Ancient sages such as Mirabai offer us both:  a warning –  e.g., if we remove ourselves from nature, humans will become coarsened toward one another;  and, guidance – e.g.,  stay in touch with something greater than us.  As a small way of heeding their wisdom, I will continue to touch the redwoods as a reminder of our innate human capacity for honesty, endless loving kindness, sharing and caring.  

Practice 
This short practice invites awareness of our connection with nature.

Prepare – 

  • For this practice, either be outside, or, if inside, be near a living plant.    
  • Standing, gently shake your forearms and hands for a few times.  Roll your shoulders around in any way that is comfortable for you.  Smile.  Smile again.  And, then really smile at how silly you might feel just smiling.  
  • Invite a few deeper inhalations of your breath.  Then, smile again.

Practice – 

  • Take your hands in front of you, palms facing one another.  
    • Slowly, take them apart and then back together a few times, similar to playing an accordion.  
    • Allow your palms and wrist to be relaxed.   Perhaps add a feeling of playfulness to this movement.
    • Breathe.  
      • As you inhale, invite your hands to move away from one another; and, as you exhale invite your hands to move closer together.  
      • Imagine as though you’re are playing music with your breath. 
      • Maybe sway gently with these movements.
      • Do this for at least a minute.
  • Come near a tree or other living plant.  Smile as though you are with a dear friend.
    • Hold your hands on either side of your plant friend, close but not touching.  If it is extra large, choose just a branch or a smaller part of the plant.  
      • Similar to above, allow your hands to gently and slowly move away from and then closer to the plant.  If you wish, connect the movements with your breath (as above).
      • If you are comfortable, imagine as though the plant is breathing.  Imagine your breath and movements are synchronize with the plant’s breath.  If you have found it comfortable to do this, be playful and free.
    • Now, lightly touch the plant.  Smile.
      • If you are comfortable, allow yourself to feel any sense of touch in return.
    • Say, “thank you” to your plant.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Find a comfortable place to sit quietly for a few moments.  
    • Allow your eyes to rest in a soft gaze.  
    • Invite an easeful, calm breath.
  • Touch your heart center lightly with your fingertips.  With a smile, say, “thank you.”
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 9, 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. 

Earthworm – Tending to the Unseen

Earthworm – Tending to the Unseen

To learn the scriptures is easy,
to live them hard. 
The search for the Real
is no simple matter. 

Deep in my looking,
the last words vanished. 
Joyous and silent,
the waking that met me there. 

Lalla

Small things can sometimes provide fresh awareness, so over the years I have learned to slow down and pay attention.   Usually, it is an unexpected encounter – for example, a swarm of honeybees along my path prompted me to choose a different direction, a spider in the bathtub caused me to pause and not mindlessly run a tub full of precious water and instead, I let the spider be.    This morning it was an earthworm slithering where I was about to step.  It was making its way to a pile of moist dirt that had slid off the hillside abutting our apartment deck.    

Earthworms’ homes are underground.  An apt reminder that life relies on humble, gritty work beneath the surface.  Just on a pragmatic level, earthworms are constantly working underground.   Along with bacteria and microbes, they support the growth of plants that nourish all of us humans.  Literally, they do the dirty work of ingesting the organic matter in the soil so that their castes can be used for food for other creatures.  Aerating and moving soil, they are some of our invisible earthly caretakers.  

Outer life relies on the workings of the invisible.   At life’s rawest level, we are dependent on other species for our air and our food.   The sun appears and disappears, offering us a sense of the passage of time.  The origins of earth and water began billions of years ago and continue as fundamental underpinnings to life.   The more that our awareness filters out these hidden dimensions of our collective existence, the more likely we are to be unaware of the innerworkings of our own mind, attitudes, and perceptions.  And, by extension, the more likely we are to be unaware of the countless ways our lives are supported by the hardship and labors of others.  

The earthworm patiently does its part to provide health to the whole.  There is a harmonic balance between what the earthworm consumes and gives back through its existence.  It reminds me of the timeless wisdom to leave the world a better place than you found it.  Within that are reminders of caring for the entire organism of life, and the hard and tedious discipline of constant vigilance about the hidden dimensions of our thoughts and lifestyles.  I hope that through deep introspection and consistent, conscious living we will begin to shape a world of wholeness and well-being for all.   Please join me in this work.

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of the unseen.

Prepare – 

  • Begin standing. 
    • Please minimize any possible interruptions, e.g., silence your phone, so that you can sit quietly for the next few minutes. 
    • If comfortable, remove your shoes and socks.  It is okay to leave them on.
  • Wherever you are, notice the surface beneath your feet. 
    • If your shoes are off, notice the quality of the texture, e.g., smoothness, coolness – just notice without judging.  Lift your toes, spread them apart, and then slowly lower the toes – starting with your little toes, then your 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and big toes.
    • If your shoes are on, notice the texture of your sock or inner sole of your shoe.
  • Still standing, imagine the layers of support beneath whatever surface you are standing on, e.g., the foundation of the building, the soil, the microbes and moisture in the soil.   
  • With that awareness of the life beneath your feet, slowly walk in a clockwise circle. 
    • As you walk, reflect on these words –
      “Walk as if your feet are kissing the earth.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Practice – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position.  As you settle in, again notice the surface beneath you. Silently offer a few words of appreciation for the layers supporting you.
    • If you are in a chair or on a bench, allow both soles of your feet to rest evenly on the floor or earth.
    • Allow your hands to rest wherever is most comfortable for you, e.g., palms down on your thigh, palms on top of one another in your lap.
    • Invite a softening in the small muscles around your eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and throat.
  • Bring your awareness to the sides of your torso and arms – left side and right side. Perhaps linger your awareness on one side, and then the other.  Then, return to awareness of both simultaneously.  Breathe with ease for a few breaths.
  • Bring your awareness to the lower half of your body, remembering the support beneath you.  Shift your awareness to the upper half your body (including your head).   Then, of your body from head to toe.  Breathe as effortlessly as possible throughout.
  • Become aware of the back of your torso and head.  Relax the muscles along the base of your skull, back of your neck, tops of your shoulders, and backs of your arms.  Breathe.
  • Imagine the inner workings of your body – e.g., your spine, bones, veins, nerves, tissues, and organs (including your brain).  Imagine all those areas relaxing and saying “aaaah.” 
  • Place one hand on top of the other over your upper chest.  Imagine infinite spaciousness deep within the core of your being offering endless support, ease, acceptance, and clarity.  Imagine all your thoughts, words, and actions arise from that place.  Pause here for a few moments and breathe. 

Transition back into your day – 

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

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 99, 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. 

Our Inherited Wisdom”  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry by Kate Vogt.  This book is a perfect companion for your personal reflections. 

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