And love Says,
“I will, I will take care of you,”
To everything that is Near.
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
As I opened the front door, I was greeted by an elaborate spider web. The main strands were anchored to the four edges of the doorframe, leaving the web undisturbed by the movement of the door. The weaver was gracefully balanced in the heart of her newly spun home of intricately woven spirals.
Somehow the presence of this tiny being stirred a sense of graciousness within me. Perhaps it was simply because of the beauty and majesty of her artistry. Or, it could also be because of the recent reminders of the fragility of all beings with the rampant destruction of so much life and livelihood on the island of Maui. Whatever the reason, I found myself feeling a loving reverence and respect for this spider.
Across the globe, many cultures have revered the spider for modeling timeless qualities, such as patience, strength, gentleness, decisiveness, femininity, wisdom, mindfulness, wholeness, and infinite creativity. They are reminders that we alone ultimately shape our own webs – whether our worldly connections of relationality, or our inner landscape that shapes our perceptions and outward actions.
Within this brief connection, I felt a kinship with the spider because my abode – even with its seeming permanence – is also vulnerable to the ever-changing winds and waters. Still, humbly, compared to the brilliant exquisiteness of the spider’s home, I felt the clumsiness of my modern humanity with the walls and doors of my dwelling having origins in the woods and riverbeds, having been crafted by the hands of strangers. Like all living beings, we are temporary guests in our collective home.
Unquestionably, I felt an overwhelming sense of kindness toward the spider. I carefully closed the door, honoring the spider and her choice for where to locate her home. My comings and goings could easily be rerouted through an alternative door for as long as the strands of her web stretched across the front door. The shift was a welcome reminder of the grace of living.
(For those of you who are curious, the web disappeared within a few hours.)
This short practice invites an awareness of the grace of unseen support and connection.
- Take a moment to create a quiet space where you can fully be with yourself. For example, silence the digital device you are using and move others, including smart watches, to another room.
- Then, while standing, allow yourself to spontaneously dance or freely and loosely move through your limbs. Imagine you are letting go and releasing layers of tension. Take as long as you want but try for at least one minute of playfully moving.
- Once you feel complete (with above), slowly move around in the space where you are, gently acknowledging and touching any plants nearby. Please, no worries if you have no plants; instead, tenderly touch anything close to you made of natural materials, e.g., wood.
- Come to the center of the space where you are, and slowly turn clockwise. As you do this invite your gaze to soften with a sense of reverent lovingness and deep gratitude for the honor of safely being within your current space, and together with all that surrounds you.
- Once again, slowly turn and reverently behold your surroundings. This time, turn counterclockwise. Feel free to pause in any direction and just breathe. Imagine you are also being embraced in loving kindness from the air, space, and fullness of all within your surroundings. If comfortable, allow yourself to softly receive and be enfolded in the ever-presence of kindness and loving support.
- When you feel ready, come to a seated position. If comfortable, softly close your eyes and lightly and tenderly place your fingertips on your eyelids. Imagine you are receiving the loving touch of the divine (or, your choice of whatever you hold as most sacred or supreme). Pause here and invite a silent self-promise to see the world through the eyes of the divine.
- Release your hands into a comfortable, relaxed position, e.g., onto your lap, and imagine your open palms are receiving eternal, loving kindness. And, that kindness seeps through your fingers and palms into your arms and torso and bathes all your cells from the inside out, and then pours into the core of your being – your heart-center.
Transition back into your day –
- If you wish, remain seated for as long as is comfortable, quietly observing the gentle flow of the breath.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 8, 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 on katevogt.com KateVogt©2023.
UPCOMING CLASS WITH KATE – Inner Well-Being: Ancient Perspectives and Practical Insights.
Four Tuesdays beginning August 29, 3:10-4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Offered via the virtual classroom of the College of Marin Community Education.
To register and for information, please click here.