I was sad one day and went for a walk:
I sat in a field.
A rabbit noticed my condition and
came near.
It often does not take more than that to help at times-
to just be close to creatures who
are so full of knowing,
so full of love
that they don’t
they just gaze with
marvelous understanding.
(St. John of the Cross, Trans. by Daniel Ladinsky)


Autumn is approaching in the Northern Hemisphere.  The daylight hours are slowly giving way to the longer nights, the squirrels are burying their winter stash, and the deciduous trees are baring their trunks.  Even if we miss the cues in nature, nonprofit groups remind us of the arrival of fall with appeals for funds, a new school year has begun, and retail sites are announcing discounts on seasonal products and services.

I feel at the very heart of this season is what I call giving-ness.  “Giving-ness,” to me, is a state where giving and receiving flow seamlessly. It is what sustains and nourishes us in our daily life.  My sense is that, like pure love, this intangible form of giving upholds the world.  With each breath, we exchange gifts with the trees.  Our food arises through the giving presence of the waters and soil.  Symbolically, we give back to the earth through our bodies.  The fall equinox offers a momentary balance in the otherwise constant swing between lightness and darkness.

St. John of the Cross and other mystics often use nature as a way to remind us that we abide in and are inherently part of giving-ness.  My hope is that this awareness will ripple into my daily choices and interactions.   Please join me.


This practice symbolically shakes off unwanted emotions and invites lightness into your heart.


  • Standing.
  • Gently shake one limb at a time, beginning with your right arm. Then, shake your right leg. Then, move to your left side and shake your left arm, and lastly, left leg.
  • Shake each limb for at least 30 seconds. If you have an injury, please take care.


  • Begin by reaching both arms upward and apart.
    • Move slowly, as though you are caressing the space around you.
    • Allow the hands and elbows to be relaxed.
  • Then, slowly bring both hands to the center of your chest, with one hand resting over the other.
  • Continue this movement and add an awareness of the breath, as follows.
    • Inhale—Slowly allow your hands and arms to move upward into a “v” position.
      • Joints soft. Imagine you are reaching into the darkness.
    • Exhale—Slowly bring your hands over the center of your chest.
      • Place one hand over the other.
      • Imagine you are accepting lightness into your heart.
      • Allow a feeling of an inner smile as you receive this
      • gift of light.
    • Repeat 5–7 times.

Transition Back into Your Day—

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


This reflection is an excerpt from Our Inherited Wisdom:  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry, page 203-206, by Kate Vogt.  HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2021.

Upcoming Online Class
Pathways to Peace: Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Compassion, and Other Universal Principles
October 19-November 16, 5 Tuesdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m. PT, $80.
Registration is through College of Marin Community Education – (415) 485-9305




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