As you fill with wisdom,
and your heart with love,
there ’s no more thirst.  

There ’s only an unselfed patience
waiting on the doorsill, a silence
which doesn’t listen to advice
from people passing on the street.   

Sanai

It is the month of May, and our neighborhood is teeming with flowers of all colors, shapes, and sweet scents.   Some blossoms like the California poppy are native to this region and others have been imported from distant lands.  Their collective presence creates a sense of lightness, as though their coming into their beauty had been effortless.  Yet, their growth has been nurtured by the light and heat of the sun, insects and birds, moisture, minerals in the soil, and the phases of the moon.   

As the daytime wanes, the heightened fragrance in the air announces the coming of night.   Then, the smells give way to sounds.  On a clear night, constellations of the stars are visible, and this week there is a supersized full moon.  In the depth of the night, there is an occasional howl of a coyote and or a bark of a dog.   Within the last few weeks, an owl has settled into the neighborhood, revealing its presence with its rhythmic hooting.  

Although I couldn’t see the owl, I am sure, with its keen sense of vision and observation, that it was aware of my efforts to peer through the darkness in the hope of seeing its form glide through the sky.  After the passage of a couple minutes, I chose instead to let go of the trying to see it and just appreciate that an owl was temporarily visiting our semi-wooded neighborhood.  I stood outside and felt the cool night air on my arms and face.  Silence enveloped me, offering reminders of times of feeling simultaneously safe, yet alert, when staying in a tent in the wilderness earlier in my life.  

“Keep your wits about you,” arose into my awareness.   Immediately, a sort of sixth sense arose, allowing me to intuit the night’s wholeness.  The surrounding trees had eclipsed the moonlight so where there normally would have been shapes and forms, there was only an expanse of darkness.  I had to rely on an innate set of “wits” to detect subtle movements around me, and to be able to respond in focused and discerning ways.   I thought of the owl, and all the owls around the world who are heralded by humans for their patient ability to observe and see what most species can’t, and to move with quiet, fluid precision.   Some cultures consider them as omens of death – not only loss of embodiment, but the demise of established systems and well-worn habits.

The wings that carried this owl to our neighborhood were those of sorrow and grief.  Near and far, a large number of humans are experiencing multitudes of loss and change.  The comfortable din of busy-ness has been momentarily muted, baring all that we normally can choose not to see.  This is a sad time of transformation. 

Other species have stepped forward with timeless messages of listening to our inner guidance; paying attention to and caring for the little things, especially those that go beneath our radar and that we take for granted; revering all that supports our comforts; taking and consuming only what we need; letting go of old patterns and voices of those that feed our fears and judgments; being courageous as we face the unknown; being patient, listening, and observing, then acting with discerning focus; offering beauty, sweetness, and kindness in all that we say and do; and, being filled with lasting truth and wisdom.   At the core of these is a change in heart toward thirst-less love.  Please join me in stepping into the nighttime of love, where all belong.  

Practice
This short practice invites an appreciation of silence.

Prepare – 

  • Find a comfortable seated position on the earth, floor, or on a chair. 
    • If on a chair, allow the soles of both feet to rest on the floor. 
  • Invite your breath to be free and easy, again without forcing. 

Practice – 

  • Close your eyes, or keep a quiet gaze.  Breathe:
    • As you inhale, imagine your breath is radiating outward from your heart center simultaneously in all directions – back, sides, front, up, down.  Relax your belly and release tension around your shoulders, chest, eyes and jaw.  
    • As you exhale, imagine your breath is softening into your heart center, deeply nourishing the very core of your being.
    • Breathe this way for six breaths.
  • Lightly place your hands over your ears. 
    • Continue with the pattern of breathing above for another three breaths. 
  • Allow your hands to rest in your lap.  Lightly smile and continue this heart-centered breath for another three breaths.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Sit quietly for a few moments.  
  • Then, consider ways you might move through your day with an inner sense of quietude, and how that might manifest in your thoughts, speech and actions.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 83, 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. 

(May 2020 – NATURE WISDOM FOR OUR FUTURE (video length is 1 min 47 sec)

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