Sanctuary

The Angel that presided o’er my birth
Said ‘Little creature, form’d of joy and mirth,
Go, love without the help of anything on earth.
William Blake

 

Most of the day had been stormy with high winds and heavy rain. I had gone out to feed the birds and pick up the mail in the early morning, but otherwise had stayed inside. It felt like a luxury to be somewhere warm and dry without any necessity to navigate the wet roadways and detours around debris and flooded areas.

Serendipitously, the day was unscheduled with no work or other appointments.  I needed to physically be nowhere other than home. I felt an impulse to begin filling up the day with phone calls and conversations online. Yet, I couldn’t let go of the awareness of the gift of shelter and the choice to retreat into that.

At both the deepest and broadest level is the sanctity of the heart, and its abundance of love and joy. Within the heart, everyone and everything belongs. There is room for all life – the sky, mountains, oceans, lands, and the objects and species residing in those regions.   Divine love and joy are the essence of the heart.

The rainy day made me reflect upon a more basic form of sanctuary – four walls, roof, and floor, and a consistent place to rest our head and nourish our body. Instead of getting lost in my social media, I chose instead to clean and care for the philodendron, fern, and other houseplants by watering them and trimming the leaves. Albeit small, the apartment felt like a castle filled with the blessings of safety, comfort, love, and wellbeing.

I have done nothing special in this life to be one of the privileged humans to have a shelter. Although I have not asked them, my guess is that like me, most of my family members take for granted the sanctuary of home. I am grateful to the inclement weather to have caused me to slow down and appreciate shelter and the rich blessings in my life.

Practice

This practice supports awareness of the body as an earthly home.

  • Prepare –
    • Stretch out. Give yourself a hug.
  • Practice –
    • Hold your upper right forearm with your left hand. Gently squeeze.
    • Hold your mid right forearm with your left hand. Gently squeeze.
    • Hold your right wrist with your left hand. Gently Squeeze.
    • Hold each finger on your right hand with your left fingers. Gently squeeze.
    • Hold your right hand with your left. Gently squeeze.
    • Repeat with the opposite arm and hand.
  • Return to Your Day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.  When you are ready, return to your day.

Note: In the last line of this poem, scholars are unsure in reading Blake’s handwriting whether it is “live” or “love;” or, “king” or “thing.” In other words, instead of “Go, love without the help of anything on earth,” it is “Go, live without the help of any king on earth.’

This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 11, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Benjamin Wong on Unsplash.

H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.

Please stay tuned – H E A R T H is moving to a new cyber home soon.

 

 

 

 

Elm Tree

Complaint
is only possible
while living in the suburbs
of God.
Hafiz

 

As I read this poem by Hafiz, I found myself tempted to complain about complaining. It sometimes seems easier to share a story about a mishap or mistreatment, or an unexpected event.  Fortunately there was post-it note on my desk reminding me of “an elm tree.”

There was elm tree that stood for decades in the front yard of my parent’s farm in Western Kansas on the High Plains.  It was planted by my father and survived droughts, disease, lightening, gale force winds, blizzards, high heat, hail, and ever-changing weather. Yet, it steadily grew without complaint.

As a child, I would rest in the grass and watch the elm’s leaves dance in the wind and sunlight. It seemed to always be there whenever I needed comfort.   For example, I appreciated its quiet presence when I sat next to it after our dog Poochie died, and later, our dog Rider. In my early teens, when my best friend started dating the boy whom I secretly loved, the elm silently reassured me that life goes on. Outdoor family photos often included some part of the tree, even if only its shadow.

Even after I moved to Europe for a while, it offered inspiration. When I first attempted a yoga pose named “tree,” it was there to teach me. Initially the lesson was just with physical balance, which was extra challenging with my inner-pronated feet.   The balance on one foot came as I learned to use my feet with the same stability as my childhood tree-friend that was securely tethered to the earth. Its cousins in the form of the wooden floor fully supported me.

Over the years, more of its limbs died and broke off. For at least ten years, my father would announce, “this would be the year” when he would have to cut down “that old elm.” In his usual succinct way, his announcement would be short, followed by a pause inviting some feedback or comment. Each year, there was a silent message that his commitment had grown stronger and that we need to prepare ourselves that eventually the elm would really be cut down.

During that decade, I thought about what it would really be like when the elm was gone. I would miss its crusty old bark and graceful presence. I would miss its lopsidedness from having lost limbs in stormy weather. Its trunk had grown wide with age and seemed to sink more solidly into the ground. In the warm seasons, the leaves that sprouted on its branches still rustled delicately as though singing to a cloudless blue sky. Its branches continued to reach upward and outward as though expressing its eternal beauty and presence.

Whenever I visited, I sat down on a walkway close to this gracious tree. I would trace its shape with my eyes from its base where the roots sank into the ground up to its uneven and mostly barren branches. One consistent message was that it was what it was, nothing more and nothing less. It was a singular expression of the divine Self. Rather than trying to be the sky, a blade of grass, or any other part of nature, the elm’s energy was focused on being a tree.

On my last visit with the family elm tree, it had this message:  “Sway with the wind but remain steady. Be still and feel the raging storms rush over you. Accept the storms and allow a part of yourself to release in return. Time is for release and change. Listen. All that you need to know is there.  Open your arms to the sky as I reach my limbs toward the heavens. Mirror the seasons to the fullest, so that others might share in your splendor.   Each season has its beauty. If it is fall, do not mourn springtime. Be a witness to others as I have been to you. Tolerate and nourish those around you for they compliment your natural brilliance.  When your body becomes diseased, remember your true self. For even though I have been stricken with elm disease, I am still the elm that I have always been. Anchor yourself firmly in the universal wisdoms no matter how rich or sparse they may seem. Be. Just be.”

It is now nearly ten years since my father cut down the elm. Even though both the tree and my father are gone, their lessons live on.

Practice

  • Prepare –
    • Sit on the floor or in a chair. If in a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
  • Practice –
    • Rub your palms together vigorously for a few seconds. Then, place your hands lightly over your eyes. Breathe as though you are caressing the breath.
    • Rub your palms together again. Then, place your hands over your jaw and sides of the face.   Breathe softly and gently.
    • One last time, rub your palms together. Then, place your hands over your heart with one hand on top of the other. Breathe.
    • Release your hands to the sides of your body. Sweep your hands and arms upward . Pause for a breath with your hands are overhead.
    • Bring your palms together overhead. Then, with                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the palms still together, lower your hands to your heart.
    • Bow your head slightly. Make a vow of to be complaint free.
  • Transition into your sleep –
    • Stay seated. Close your eyes or have a soft gaze. Sit quietly for several minutes.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

 

This poem is Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 12, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.

Stay tuned.  HEARTH will have a new cyber-home in June.

 

Joyful Connectedness

Spring overall. But inside us
there’s another unity.
Behind each eye here,
one glowing weather.
Every forest branch moves differently
in the breeze, but as they sway
they connect at the roots.
Rumi

 

Cece looked up at me with wide blue eyes.  She seemed to be deciding on whether to hide behind her mother’s legs or continue watching this new stranger in her home.  She chose the latter, likely comforted by her mother’s laughter and effusive welcome.

She reached down and offered me one her toys.  The floor around her was covered with small wooden balls and cups in different colors and sizes.   In her hand was a red cup.  Cece’s mother, Ellen, and I understood this timeless, welcoming gesture.  It was a simple but clear invitation from Cece to sit and join her.

Springtime offers a similar gesture to humans and other species.  Each year, she invites all to put aside the immediacy of the never-ending list of wants and things to do, and, instead, join in reveling and praising the gift of existence.  Like Cece, there is a fragile innocence to Spring, as the grey landscape and bare trees turn into swaths of rich green and brilliant yellows, reds, purples, and pinks.  By offering such raw beauty, Nature conveys a sense of trust that all are her kin and would only wish her well-being and longevity.

As we sat, I noticed a large tree with pink flowers outside the window.  The branches were gently swaying back and forth.  Some of the blossoms twinkled in the afternoon light.  a squirrel scampered along the branches of a tree outside the window.  It seemed that in that moment the entire world was sharing, exploring and playing.

Small children often bring adults back in touch with the joyful interconnectedness of the universe.  Without the filter or restrictions of language, they are attuned to the subtle, universal language of nature.  Children have a keen drive to commune with the richness of natural textures, sounds and shapes.  Their innate awareness inspires them to touch the plants, notice the creeping of a caterpillar, plop down in the sand or grass, and giggle at the sight of a bird or an animal.

Children point us to what people of the world’s indigenous cultures have known from the onset of time.  At the root, all life is an expression of the divine – all in one and one in all.  Ancient sayings and poems continually remind us to notice and celebrate the sacred vitality pulsing within each moment.   The gift of remembering is tucked into the blossoms of Spring, the patterns of the moon, the wag of a tail, and the clarity in a small child.  May we all rejoice in the ordinary gifts in the everyday!

Practice

  • Prepare
  • Comfortably seated, rub your palms together briskly.
    • Once you feel some warmth, rest the heels of your palms over your eyes.
      • Your fingers can lightly curl over your forehead toward the top of your skull.
    • Invite in a sense of ease and peacefulness.   After a few moments, allow your hands to relax in your lap.
  • Practice
    • Imagine you are sitting at the base of a large tree.  The weather is a comfortable temperature and the air is still.
      • The earth is supporting and nourishing both your body and the tree.  Pause.  Deep beneath you is the core of the planetary home to all species.
      • The trunk of your body and that of the trees receives and processes the essential vitality from the earth, atmosphere, and heaven.
      • Around and above you, space supports your capacity to flourish.
    • Breathe.
      • Revel in your kinship with the tree in breathing together – in and out, out and in.
      • Celebrate the earth that gives you both minerals and unseen layers of support so you may be upright and be a conduit of vitality in the world.
      • Honor the vastness of the sky and the gift of the sun.  Praise the Divine.
  • Transition Back Into Your Day
    • Stretch out.
    • Sit quietly for a few moments before returning to your day.

 

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and reprinted with his permission in Mala of the Heart:  108 Sacred Poems, co-edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt, and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is published each full and new moon in honor of the wisdom that lives in all of life, every moment in every day.   KateVogt©2019

Deer

Keep walking, though there is no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move in the way fear makes you move.
Rumi

 

There was a loud snap outside our front door.  It was early morning and the world was yet to stir – that is, most of world. Some other being was also up and moving around. I paused for a few seconds and listened. My ears were greeted by peaceful silence and I felt myself slip into inner quietude.

If there is any time that I feel at home, it is pre-dawn. These early twilight hours feel open and expansive like endless horizon of the Great Plains where I grew up. It is as though there is fullness posing as nothingness. On the surface, it seems as though nothing is happening – no birds are singing, no traffic, no smells of coffee – but yet, the mystical beauty and potentiality of all life is there.

As the tranquility slipped into the background, I could feel my senses come alive. My nose registered the scent of fresh jasmine and my eyes the approaching day. There was the faint outline of two shapes hidden in the trees near our front steps.  In the early light, the two forms were barely discernable.

Two deer –  a mother and fawn – were grazing the wild grasses. Their translucent presence gave the appearance that they were otherworldly beings in earthly form. In the lore of mythology, deer are considered to be messengers of grace, serenity, gentleness and innocence. They convey the qualities for navigating difficult and unpredictable terrain with calmness, lightness, and acuity. Instead of living in fear, they swiftly move away. They are revered in stories for being able to hear the wordless wisdom of great teachers and for melting the hearts of demons with their loving gaze.

Divine messages are everywhere. They are tucked in the cycles, rhythms, and countless beings of nature.   They invite us to harmonize our minds and hearts with our planetary existence and responsibilities, all with loving humility. I feel that to “move within,” as Rumi proposes, is to embrace, and live by, our finer, subtler qualities written in the language of the planet and cosmos. This language is echoed in the words of sages, saints, prophets, and wise poets.

The quietude of pre-dawn and the deer can open us to discovering the rich reservoir of gifts that reside within and all around. I feel the first step is fully re-connecting with the net of reverence for all life. I hope you will join me.

Practice

This short practice brings awareness of pre-sleep habits.

  • Prepare –
    • Choose an evening where you feel you can attempt to be cyber-free for one hour before bedtime.
  • Practice –
    • One-hour before you plan to get into bed, minimize the potential influences on your mind.
      • Drink only tap water or herbal tea.
      • Disconnect, i.e., from your phone, computer, television, tablets, e-readers, and all digital devices.
      • Limit reading any material related to politics, war, self-improvement, society or famous people, or work-related material, e.g., books, papers or magazines.
      • Be aware of your sleeping space. Ideally, move all electronics at least five feet from where you rest your head at night, and out of reach of your hands. Try using a non-electronic alarm clock.
      • Note how this this feels.
    • During that “free” hour.
      • Take extra time with your nighttime habits, e.g., brushing your teeth.
      • Look around your sleeping space.
        • Lightly touch –
          • The things you have chosen to have near you during your sleep.
          • Your bedding and pillows.
          • Imagine that all these things are your friends.
          • Allow yourself to feel genuinely grateful for these friends.
    • Transition into your sleep –
      • Either before you get into bed, or when you first get to bed
        • Take one of your hands to your heart.
        • Consider beneficial qualities you really value in yourself, e.g., gentleness, light-heartedness,
          • Choose one as your intention for the next day.
          • Take ten easy, breaths.
            • Say to yourself – now, “breathe in;” and, “now, I breathe out.”
        • Sweet dreams 

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 2, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Matthew Schwartz on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019

 

 

Springtime Fields

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
Rumi

 

As the season changes to spring in the northern hemisphere, it feels as though nature is inviting us to begin anew. As the days are grow longer, migratory birds reappear along with insects, such as butterflies and bees. Fresh leaves are unfurling on the trees, tulips and daffodils are forming buds, and mountain creeks have reappeared.

The springtime meadows and fields are wide expanses of green. I have many memories associated with fields as the new growth emerges. My earliest ones are from my childhood when I would ride with my dad to look at his fields.   I could barely see out of the pickup window, but was captivated by the immensity of the flat Kansas horizon and vastness of the blue sky and green land.   More recent ones are from hikes with my husband Jay to large meadows in the wilderness

These memories carry a sense of spaciousness, peacefulness and the promise of eternal abundance. To me, open spaces are both symbolic and physical reminders of the essence our of humanness. On a practical level, they are the sources of the plants that nourish our bodies. Regardless of our dietary preferences, plants form the foundation of nearly all of the worlds’ foods.

Symbolically, we can rest our minds and hearts in the boundless openness. There, there is only pure awareness.   It has no purpose other than to nourish the soul of all. It is ever abundant, eternally free and open. In the world, it sprouts seeds of kindness, equanimity, gentleness, and compassion. These are rooted in the universality of truthfulness, non-harming, and non-greed.

The springtime fields can remind us of how to be authentically “human.” The word human, as with humility, derives from the Latin word, humus, earth. The earth itself is nourished and fertilized by the changing of seasons. Leaves from last year’s trees are nutrients for renewal. As we let go of old paradigms and habits, new growth can occur.   I believe that we once again can remember that we are connected to all life through our breath and food, and through the enduring field of divine love.   Perhaps we can join Rumi there.

Practice

  • Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated in a chair, place both feet on the floor.
    • Take a moment and vigorously shake out your arms. Imagine as though you are letting go of habits of gossip, judgment, and finding fault with others.
      • If comfortable, shake your arms alongside your body and overhead.
      • When you feel complete, let your hands relax in your lap.
    • Stretch your mouth wide, and make an imaginary yell from deep in your belly.
      • Imagine as though you are clearing out any debris of insecurity, lack of confidence or clinging to scarcity.
      • Relax your mouth.
    • Take a few deeper breaths.
  • Practice –
    • Place your hands over your heart.
      • Choose one of the following qualities that you would like to grow within your newly cleansed inner field: kindness, equanimity, gentleness, or compassion.
    • Breathing naturally
      • Silently, lovingly, and slowly repeat the quality your have chosen.
      • Feel as though that every cell in your mind and body is longing for, and soaking up, that quality. Particularly pay attention to the palms of your hands, the center of your head, and your mouth – the areas of your thoughts, words, and actions.
      • Let your entire being be infused with that sense that you are that quality.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Slowly stretch your hands and arms outward and upward.
    • Bring your palms lightly together over your head. Then, with the palms still together, lower them to the front of your heart in a prayer position.
    • Nod your head downward toward your heart and with a sense of humility, offer gratitude for your capacity to let go of old habits and embrace new, qualities for the wellbeing of all. If you have a particular faith, please adjust this prayerful gesture according to your belief.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 74, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019

 

 

 

 

Squirrel

If you want money more than anything,
you’ll be bought and sold.
If you have a greed for food,
you’ll be a loaf of bread.
This is a subtle truth:
whatever you love, you are.
Rumi

 

Wildlife often grazes on a hillside outside our kitchen window. Yesterday, as I was eating breakfast, a squirrel romped across the hill and then scurried up a tree. After a few minutes it darted back to the ground and began digging up and moving some of its stashes. I am sure that whatever it has, there will be just enough to sustain its nourishment through the winter.

I marvel at wild species’ ability to use only what they need. Unlike humans, they rarely over-consume. Most are careful with their food sources, i.e., not over-grazing, polluting, exploiting, or destroying, but leaving enough to foster regeneration.   Like the squirrel, they accurately predict what will carry them through leaner times. Overall, they model timeless principles of non-greed, trust, respect, patience, responsibility, and authenticity.

Abundance is something that is innately understood and often shared in the natural world. As humans, we struggle to reconnect with this fundamental aspect of our existence. It isn’t surprising that, universally various religions warn us to beware of the pursuits of gluttony, pride, lust, envy, anger, greed, and sloth. Most of us likely feel as though we have these in check, especially since we can readily identify them when we see them in others.

However, with almost every aspect of our life orchestrated by commercialism – from pregnancy to sickness to death – the words from the poet Rumi are even more valid now than they were in the 1200s during his lifetime. Slothfulness, for example, has seeped into our lives in the guise of convenience. Gluttony seems to be woven into the comforts of our paved, plastic, and metallic world.

Rumi’s words “whatever you love, you are” inspire hope that we as humans can once again fall in love with what has been there all along:  Not only the eternal love of the divine, but that love expressed in every aspect of nature.  Small children understand this until they are conditioned to separate themselves from that awareness.  I endeavor to reclaim that gift of our humanness being joyfully alive and in kinship with our sacred world. To do that, I choose to intentionally cultivate and squirrel away those qualities that engender peace and love, e.g., kindness, gentleness, and respect.  I hope you will join me.

Practice

This practice supports gathering eternal, loving values.

  • Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
    • Quietly notice your surroundings – what is beneath you, around you, above you. Notice your body, sense of self, and breath. Say “thank you” to all.
  • Practice –
    • Choose one inner value that you would like to be-friend; for example, gentleness, calmness, kindness, or loving-ness.
      • Take your time.
      • Just like a squirrel that patiently collects and stores acorns, you are embracing one inner value to guide and support you in life.
    • Breathe sweetly as though sipping in the air.
      • Inhale: Imagine you are greeting your value and inviting into every aspect of your being.
      • Exhale: Imagine as though it is comfortably settling into every dimension of who you are.
        • Allow yourself to trust that like a well-cared for plant, your value will steadily grow and deepen its roots.
      • Let yourself be absorbed in the sweetness of your value for as long as is comfortable.
    • Transition back into your day –
      • Place your hands over your heart to seal in your friendship with your eternal value.
      • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 5, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  Photo by Ian Tuck on Unsplash.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.

 

 

 

 

Water

Complaint
is only possible
while living in the suburbs
of God.
Hafiz

 

I tugged my raincoat over a couple layers of sweaters and pulled on my boots. What had started as a few sprinkles was now in the third day of colder temperatures and heavy rain. The local creek waters have risen and dozens of new rivulets have appeared on the hillsides. In some places, the heavy earth has slid downward. Everywhere there is the sound of the movement of water rushing, clattering, and at times roaring.

The intense wetness had not only altered patterns in the landscape, but also all the local human activity. My puffy attire is just one little example.  Traffic has slowed; parents are out with their children helping them wade through the puddles; and, inside the grocery stores and coffee shops, there are no signs of cell phones. Most striking is that people are talking to and helping one another. Complaints, and the customary dialog of one-upping one another with grumbling, seem to have magically disappeared. Instead, most of the conversations are filled with expressions of gratitude for being safe and stories of kindness from neighbors.

These dramatic shifts in human behaviors are perhaps not so surprising when we reflect on the grace of our existence and its connection to water. On a purely physical level, a large percentage of our body is water. It is essential to key bodily functions: regulating body temperature; metabolizing and transporting nutrients; distributing oxygen; cushioning the brain and spinal cord; removing toxins; and enabling us to express deep emotions through our tears. Plants and trees need water to nourish us and other living beings with food and air. It clears away our waste and is fundamental to some of our most creative and artistic adventures.

Our planetary home is also largely water. On our “blue” planet, water is ever-present. Water reminds us of the flow of life.   Its molecules exist in the forms of solid, liquid, and gas. We recognize these forms as ice, fluids, and vapor/steam, but on a broader level, they represent the eternal realms of earth, atmosphere, and heaven. Universally, ancients regarded water as sacred. For example, the Greeks honored the multi-dimensionality of water with more than two dozen gods and goddesses, e.g., for the ocean, rivers, etc. Water is at the heart of holy ceremonies and rituals to symbolically purify, cleanse, and bring closeness to the divine.

I like to think that those millions of raindrops are caring reminders of the divine connectedness of all things and beings. As humans, we often live separately from this awareness, or as the poet Hafiz says, we can live “in the suburbs of God.”   When we are removed from the awareness of our true nature, our behaviors slip into harshness and complaints.  The rain carried an ancient message of the wholeness of all, and temporarily freed us from the illusion of separateness.

As if to add an exclamation point to the message within the waters, the sky cleared soon after I went outside. Dewdrops glistened in the light on the grass and leaves, a double rainbow appeared, and once again people paused and smiled. Even with its scary potential to displace our human habitats, I am grateful for the rainfall and the divine hidden within this water-full life.  Each time I touch water – to drink, shower, cook, etc. – I’ll silently say “thank you.” I hope you will join me.

Practice

This practice supports awareness of water to wash away unwanted emotions and nourish your energies.

  •  Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
    • Release tension in your hands and finger by gently wrapping your fingers over your thumbs, squeezing, and then slowly letting go.
      • Try hugging your thumbs 3-7 times. Then, relax through your hands.
    • Take a moment to acknowledge the watery fluids in your body, e.g., the blood in your veins, subtle moisture in the breath.
    • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Practice –
    • Imagine that your schedule is free and you are outside in a comfortable, beautiful natural spot.
      • For example, this could be in a garden, at the beach, on a balcony, or any place where there is water or plants.
    • Feel as though the sun is shining and that it begins to lightly rain. The rain is so light that you do not feel the need to move.
      • The temperature of the rain is warm and refreshing.
      • Imagine that as the rain touches your skin, it generously carries away stress and any unwanted underlying emotions.
      • Gently breathe.
    • After a few minutes, the rain disappears and a rainbow appears in the sky. Feel the air around you and any sounds of nature, such as the wind or a bird.
      • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.
    • Hold your palms in front of you and cup them together.
      • Imagine as though fresh water is poured into your palms.
      • Gently reach the water up toward your face and lightly brush your fingertips across your face as though washing your face.
      • Invite a sense of renewed joyfulness and energy.
    • When you are ready, return to the activities of your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 12, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.