Tenderly, I now touch all
things,
knowing one day we will
part.

St. John of the Cross

 

Oops.  That was the thought I had as my boot began to slide.  My mind had been absorbed in the beauty of the surrounding hillsides.  It seemed that overnight the slopes had transformed from dull to jeweled shades of green.  The “oops” quickly brought my attention back to the trail beneath my feet.  It was a reminder that a slip of awareness could mean a slip in my footing.

I could feel my mind a little disappointed that it couldn’t continue to meander in its musings of the emerging sounds and colors of springtime.  It seemed to want to entice my senses away from the grey and rocky trail to search for sightings of wildflowers or songbirds.  The lure felt like commercials for not-to-be-missed experiences.

Finally, my mind settled into quiet joy of responding to the earth’s terrain, step by step.  Wherever I walk, the earth gives, receives and remembers.  My steps touch an unknown number of other beings – large and small, human and non-human – who have walked or lived there before.  Others will follow.

Near the end of the trail, one of the world’s most ancient insects appeared on the path in front of me.  A grasshopper led me to the end.  Together, we are an offering of hope for care, safety and peace for all.

 

Practice
This practice supports your awareness of interconnectivity. 

 Prepare— 

  • Begin standing, ideally barefoot.
  • Gently shift your weight forward and back, and then side to side.  As you do this notice the texture and feel of that which is supporting you, e.g., the floor.
  • Slowly walk in place, imagining as though you are lovingly touching the earth with your feet.

Practice— 

  • Standing, find a sensation of balance between your left and right side, and front and back of your body.
  • With your arms along the sides of your body, notice your fingertips are pointing toward the earth.  Imagine that you are standing upon all past and future generations.
    • Silently, offer appreciation for the abundance and support of the earth for all beings, including you.
  • Slowly, reach your arms toward the sky.  If comfortable, turn your face slightly upward.
    • Silently, offer appreciation for the vastness of all realms of life.
  • Softly, reach your arms out to your sides, elbows relaxed and palms upward.  Slowly turn 360° twice.
    • On the first turning, silently offer gratitude for the unseen layers of connection and support of all earthly life.
    • On the second turning, silently invite a prayer that all beings be cared for, safe, nourished and living harmoniously.
  • Arms go back along your sides. Take a few easy breaths.
  • If you wish, slowly walk for a few minutes.  Invite awareness of interconnectivity within and without.

Transition Back into Your Day— 

  • Come to a seated position.  If on a chair, gently rest the soles of both feet on the floor.
  • Allow your hands to rest in a comfortable position.  If comfortable, close your eyes.
  • Invite awareness of your breath.  Perhaps notice the gentle, rhythmic flow of the inhale giving way to the exhale, and the exhale yielding into the inhale.
    • After a few breaths, silently offer appreciation of the breath as a form of a gentle, loving touch, both outward and inward.
  • Sit quietly until you are ready to return to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 83, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Matt Briney.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2024.

 

Join me for my upcoming class Ecological Roots of Spirituality:Ancient Roots and Modern Relevance.  Mar 28 – Apr 11, 2024, 3 Thursdays, 3:10-4:30 p.m.  Pacific Time, Virtual Zoom Classroom through College of Marin.   Click here to register. 

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