Blue Planet

Are you jealous of the ocean’s generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?
Fish do not hold the sacred liquid in cups.
They swim in the huge fluid freedom.


The plane slowly began its ascent over the Pacific Ocean.  The crests of the waves gradually faded until there was an unbroken expanse of blue below.  After we saw photos from outer space, it is no wonder that we call our earthly home the blue planet.

There was something magical seeing the sky and ocean merge into a sweeping blueness.  It was as though our plane and all earthly existence were held in an eternal embrace.  From this aerial perspective, an exquisite blue seemed to seamlessly envelope and sustain all of life.

Such loving kindness is beyond our human imagination.  The air and the waters constantly hug us inside and out.  Our bodies and our planet are approximately 70% water.  The movement of the breath and fluids creates a rhythmic giving and receiving with nothing in between for us to call ours.

Ancient sages and poets such as Rumi offer us the metaphors of the ocean and fish within the ocean to understand our paradoxical nature.  In our ordinary reality, we are mortal beings with glimpses of omniscient, luminous awareness.  Each culture has its own beliefs and ways of helping us live with the miracle of life free of clinging and grasping.   We want to savor the ubiquitous presence but it is beyond ownership.  There is only the simple realization that we are that.

In my experience, shifts in perspective are subtle.  The color blue is always around us to remind us of the grace of life.  Blue has many symbolic meanings.  For example, it represents wisdom, trust, and heavenliness.  We know, by resting on our backs and looking up at a clear sky, or gazing out on the ocean, that blue offers feelings of peacefulness, tranquility, and wholeness.   Even though we are spinning through space, blue can give us the sense of stability and trust that one kind gesture at a time matters.  Over the coming weeks, I will upward and outward as much as I can.  I hope you will join me.


This practice is a way to connect with water.

  • Prepare –
    • Find a quiet spot, inside or outside. Place your devices on airplane mode. Ideally, remove watches and any trackers from your wrists.
    • Standing, for at least a minute sway and move as though you were a seaweed flowing in the ocean.
      • Don’t worry about how you look.  Let yourself feel the fluidity.
      • If outside, notice the blue in the sky, or the waters.
  • Practice –
    • Imagine you are stepping into a calm, clear blue ocean.
      • Take your time and slowly immerse yourself in the water.
      • Breathe smooth and easy. This is an imaginary ocean so you can completely submerge yourself in the blue expanse.
    • Feel the peacefulness on the surface of your entire body and head.
    • Imagine that peace seeping into your pores.
      • This is as if your entire being were taking one long drink of tranquility.
      • Let calmness soak into your muscles, organs, bones, and deepest core.
      • Imagine all the toxins and negativity completely dissolving until only the sparkling blue ocean remains.
    • Let yourself feel like a seaweed being swayed by the water.  You can do this with or without movement.  If with movement, allow yourself to be moved.  (If you tend to be active mentally, you may notice the mind wanting to initiate the movement.  If that happens, tell the mind to relax.  Reassure it that it is still special and that everything will be okay.  Here, it can take a break and be rocked.)
  • Transition Back Into Your Day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.


This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 8, 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©2018

The Quilt


And yet one word
frees us from all the weight and pain in life
That word is Love.


I noticed a small rip in the flowery blue fabric. This caused me to look a little more closely at the quilt that I had had for about three decades.  It seemed impossible that wear would ever show on something that had been carefully stitched by one of my grandmothers.  She was a corseted, strong woman who had always seemed to be the essence of durability.  Her patterns were as firm as the shapes on the quilt.

More than one hundred clusters of colorful hexagons span across the quilt’s surface. Like many in her generation, my grandmother let nothing go to waste.   She had pieced together a home by patiently and creatively using and re-using whatever was available.   The quilt, which is aptly called Grandmother’s Flower Garden, represents how she turned scraps into a lasting story of quiet love.

The hexagonal form of the quilt pieces is the most efficient use of material. Bees construct their honeycombs with hexagonal shapes, where each side fits together without leaving gaps.   Hexagons are found elsewhere in nature, such as in DNA, snowflakes, and crystals as well as a large cloud formation over the north pole of the planet Saturn.  The heart of two interlocking triangles – one facing upward and one downward – forms a hexagon, symbolically representing eternal, divine love flowing between heaven and earth.

True love seldom, if ever, looks for recognition. It just continues to express itself in different ways throughout our lives.   For the most part, it is masked over by the despair and stress of mortal existences. Yet, there are the bees diligently pollinating plants and making honeycombs, and quilting bees of women sitting around stitching together the front and back of quilts.  Their efforts and work remain mostly anonymous until there is a tear or a decline in their population.  Then we notice that the loving infrastructure is more fragile that we imagined.

For a long while, I had dismissed Sophocles’ words on love.   They seemed to offer easy terminology to respond to the suffering of others.  The simple phrase “frees us” shifted my perspective inward to recognize that at the core of kindness, compassion, and service is a hexagonal garden of love.   To know – and to be – that love is a lifetime of focus and work.  I hope to take one small step each day by noticing a bit more of the lessons within everyday life.  I hope you will join me.



This practice supports your awareness of love.

  • Prepare –
    • Turn your phone and other devices off or to airplane mode.
    • Find a comfortable seated position, either in a chair or on the floor.
      • Sit with enough support under you so that your spine can easily lengthen.
      • If needed, stretch out through your arms, upward, outward, forward, and slightly back.
      • Allow your hands to relax in your lap.
      • Soften your gaze.
    • Take a few smooth easy breaths, perhaps noticing the gentle opening and releasing in your chest.
  • Practice –
    • Imagine yourself surrounded by six luminous orbs, each infused with love.
      • One sphere beneath you, one above you, one around each shoulder, and one around each hip. (This is like a circle of love around you.)
        • With each inhale
          • Invite each orb to slowly grow outward until it slightly overlaps with the adjoining sphere.
        • With each exhale
          • Allow the glow of each orb to be a little brighter and softer.
    • Rest one hand on top of the other over the center of your chest, symbolically your heart-center.  Imagine beneath your hands, there is another glowing ball of love.
      • With each inhale, invite the love from the core of your heart to grow outward until it enfolds all the other circles.
      • With each exhale, allow yourself to be bathed in love.  Every cell, every atom of your being is soaked in love.  For just one moment, allow yourself to let go into this ocean of love.  Be love.
    • Allow your hands to relax back into your lap. Breathe in. Breathe out.
  • Transition Back Into Your Day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.
    • Lightly touch your nose, mouth, eyes, ears, cheeks, and skull.  As you do this, invite the memory of ever-present love to settle into all your senses and your mind.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.


This poem is from Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt, page 73, and published by New World Library.  The translator is Robert Fitzgerald.

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©2018.

Pine Tree

Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence
W.S. Merwin


The sky was a deep blue with a light glow along the horizon.  It was quiet, and the only discernible movements were a hawk soaring along invisible currents and a few butterflies and dragonflies.  As I stood enveloped in this peaceful hillside, the hawk swooped close overhead.  I paused momentarily in fear and then realized the interruption inspired me to sit.   There was a sweet aroma filling the air.  I had settled near a large pine tree.

The tree had a sturdy trunk that disappeared into both the rocky surface and its bundle of needles and cones.  Atop was one small branch reaching into the blueness.  As I sat there, it seemed as though the tree had gathered me into its genus pinus world.   Its ancestors had been growing up to 300 million years ago, far earlier than any of the flowering plant species.  Humans are estimated to have been around for 6 million years.  It is no wonder that I felt an incredible sense of timeless peace and calm in the presence of this tree.

Pines grow throughout the northern hemisphere and are beloved in many Native American and First Nation, Asian, Northern African, and European cultures.  To many they are considered sacred, symbolizing some of the deepest lessons in life.  Pines offer sustenance and protection to many species while keeping a fine-tuned inner balance from their crown to their roots.  Our human pineal gland, which is important to our biorhythms, resembles and is named after the nutritious pine nut.  In eastern traditions, the pineal gland is the seat of pure understanding and light.

The symbolism for the pine is extensive.  Among its more than 100 species, the Pinus longaeva (bristlecone) can live up to 4,000 years.   So, two of the most common symbolic references for the pine are longevity and eternity.   Its pyramidal shape and high flammability link it to the secrets of fire and light. The spiral nature of its cones represents renewal and enlightenment.  The span of the single stem signifies adeptness in all realms and can serve as an antenna for divine grace.   Its stability reminds us of everlasting wisdom, honor, virtue, and strength.  Its many medicinal and functional uses expand its symbolism to humility, generosity, purification, prosperity, and health.  Its peaceful presence offers a release from fear and stress, and a discovery of inner joy.

With such grandeur, the pine encompasses all of life.  Taking in the words from the poem by W.S. Merwin, I maintain that the pine brilliantly synthesizes “all that has ever been spoken,” leaving me with the single syllable of aaah.   As with much of the natural world, pines are so every day that we usually overlook them.  I’m glad that the hawk jarred me enough to inspire me to pause with the pine.  Over the next few weeks, I will spend more time with trees.  I hope you will join me.


This practice invites a sense of inner balance.  It can be done anywhere.

  • Prepare
    • If at home, sit in a quiet place.  Silence any potential distractions, such as your phone.
    • Rotate your wrists in circles, both directions a few times.
    • Curl your fingers softly into toward your palm.  Then, stretch your fingers.
    • Touch the tip of your thumb with tip of each finger.
  • Practice
    • Exhale smoothly, quietly and evenly through the nose.  If your breath is congested or short, purse your lips and breathe out – as though trying to whistle.
      • As you exhale, stretch out through your fingers and palms.
      • With each exhalation, imagine you are releasing your worries and a layer of stress through your fingertips.
    • Inhale smoothly, quietly, and evenly through the nose.
      • As you breath in, slowly fold your thumbs in toward the palm, i.e., right thumb toward right palm and left thumb to left palm.  As you fold the thumbs inward, lightly fold the fingers over the thumb, i.e., right fingers over right thumb and v.v.
        • Imagine that as you gather your fingers, you are drawing in pure light and love into every cell of your body.
          • If you are comfortable with the single syllable sound ‘om,’ you may wish to instead imagine that you are drawing om into every cell.
    • Repeat the opening and closing of your hands along with the imagery and breath 6 to 12 times.
  • Transition Back Into Your Day
    • Sit for as long as you have time and are comfortable.
      • Allow your hands to rest in your lap.
      • Gently close the lids of your eyes, or leave your eyes open in a soft gaze.
      • Relax through your tongue, neck, throat, and the tops of your shoulders.
      • Notice the gentle rhythmic movement associated with your breath as it comes in and goes out.
    • When your feel complete, return to your day.


This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 118, 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©2018


I know nothing, I understand nothing,
I am unaware of myself.
I am in love, but with whom I do not know.
My heart is at the same time
both full and empty of love.


I awoke in the middle of the night to a high-pitched but beautiful sound.  At four years of age, this was the first time I heard this sound. My older sister, Gail, with whom I shared a room, didn’t seem disturbed by the sound, so it seemed safe to just let myself be fascinated and listen.  Almost as soon as it began, the odd refrain faded back into the nighttime silence.

The next morning, I was eager to share my newest encounter.  On the farm, there seemed to be a plethora of nature’s surprises: for example, a fuzzy, caterpillar appearing out of nowhere; a mockingbird adding a new song; or, a baby calf wobbling around soon after birth.  Every new discovery was a delight.

One of my friends was coming to visit that morning, so I waited to share my story.  Rather than the usual shared glee, she began to sob as I mimicked the sound.  In the midst of her tears, she told me that she had just lost her new puppy.  It made me so sad that I began to cry too.  Then, she said it was a coyote, just like the ones that I had heard.   In that moment, I adopted her view of the coyote as dangerous, putting aside the awe that I had had just minutes earlier.

When a coyote recently strode across the road in front of me, I remembered this story.  It isn’t everyday that you see a coyote, but it is becoming more common as they move into cities and neighborhoods.  As I watched the coyote pass across the traffic, I couldn’t help but feel the awe that I had felt as a four year old.  Perhaps I didn’t feel fear or danger because I was observing it from a car, but still I could appreciate the way its entire body moved in unison.  It had its own destination and seemed like a guest from the wild.  In some First Nation cultures, the coyote is know as the Trickster, prompting us see things more clearly.  Otherwise, we fall folly to not trusting our own experiences and relying on that of others.

As the poet Attar reveals, our awareness of the “I” that we truly are arises out of our own experiences.  Most of us have created a sense of who we are and what we hold dear based on a collection of things we have heard or learned from others.  In our interest of fitting in and not causing ripples for others, we often stay within the bounds of our conditioned self.  To reach the state of clarity of Attar and other great poets, prophets and sages, we are given daily nudges – such as seeing the coyote – to see anew.  For the next few weeks, I will slow down and appreciate the natural world.  I hope you will join me.


This practice is a way to connect with nature as part of your daily life.

  • Prepare –
    • Choose one or more hours to be cyber-free.
      • Remove any technology – except that prescribed by your doctor – from your wrists, neck, ears, pockets, or anywhere else where you may carry a device. Also, move away from your computer, television, radio, etc.
    • Take a few moments and sit quietly. Observe your feelings.
  • Practice –
    • For one or more hours, do other daily tasks – cyber free.
      • For example, brush your teeth, shower, grocery shop, garden, etc.
        • Ideally, not the gym or office work.
      • Or, go for a walk or a hike.
    • Whatever you choose, notice the sounds, colors, textures, smells that you encounter.
      • Ideally, those of nature. For example, if brushing your teeth, notice the water; grocery shopping, notice the texture of the tomato or cantaloupe.
  • Transition –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments. Observe your feelings.
    • Return to your day.


This poem is from Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.   The poem appears on page 106 and is translated by C.S. Nott.

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©2018


Self inside self, You are nothing but me.
Self inside self, I am only You.
What are we together
will never die.
The why and how of this?
What does it matter?


It was a partly cloudy day.  The weather prediction was mostly sun with light rain, so I decided to stroll at a nearby beach.  When I arrived, I was delighted to see that the waves were calm and the receding tide had left a wide area of sand that was perfect for walking.  As I meandered along the water’s edge, a drop fell in front of my face. Instinctively, I looked up, partly expecting to see a gull overhead.  A few more drops fell on my upturned face.  A passing cloud was releasing rain.

A group of adults, including me, retreated from the shore and sought the protection of large tree.  The children stayed and played in the ocean.  I watched as one girl begin to imitate the raindrops landing on and disappearing into the ocean.  Repeatedly, she would enthusiastically plop full-belly onto the water, dive underneath, and then pop back up giggling and holding her hands up to the sky.  A couple others were making their own rain.  They gathered water in their palms, threw it overhead, and laughed as it fell back over them.

Raindrops signify all aspects of life – its cycles, emotions, interconnectedness, and the gift of life itself.  In some arid parts of the world, a single raindrop offers hope for replenishment and new growth.  In areas that are prone to floods, it prompts fear of destruction and loss.  Different cultures associate raindrops with devotion, love, rebirth, compassion and calmness as well as sorrow and difficulties.  The drops also represent us, our sense of separateness, and our longing to connect with other drops.

The children at the shore embraced the rain as a welcomed playmate. They beautifully played with the multi-realm symbolism of rain.  By being in the ocean, they were immersed in the source of all – the all-pervasive, divine self.   Their play linked together the beginning and end of rain, e.g., moisture rising upward from the earth to form clouds, which in turn discharge rain.

As I read the poem by the 14th c. poet Lalla, I remember the delight of the children. Everything was seamlessly together. There was no wondering how or why – it was pure joy.   Lalla inspires me to remember that the ocean of divine love is ever present even as life’s rain clouds pass by.   I hope you will jump into the ocean with me.


This short practice invites awareness of joy.

  • Preparation –
    • Remove your shoes. Place your electronic devices out of sight and hearing.
    • Sit quietly on a cushion on the floor, or in a chair. If you are in a chair, allow your feet to rest on the floor.
    • Invite your breath to be effortlessly smooth and easy.
  • Practice –
    • Standing or seated.
      • Give yourself a hug (holding your upper arms with the opposite hand).
        • Squeeze your arms and wiggle a little back and forth.   Maybe even let yourself giggle.
      • Reach your arms and hands upward in a V-shape and look up.
        • Imagine only the purest, sincere happiness is raining down on you. Let yourself get drenched in joy.
        • (This can be one second or as long as comfortable for you.)
    • If seated, come to standing.
      • Walk around as though you were splashing through puddles of joy. Smile
        • (Again, this can be a few moments or longer). It is only your and your sweet, true self.)
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Seated. Sit quietly. Relax across your face, hands, and feet.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.


This poem is from Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 89, 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©2018


I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens,
I’ve been knocking from the inside!


A small object bobbed on the surface of the waves.   Its movement had captured my attention. Instead of moving rhythmically in and away from the shore, it would sporadically disappear. Intrigued, I decided to end my walk along the bluff and watch.   Just in that moment, the object reappeared. It was the head of a sea turtle.

Smiling, I was glad that I had noticed this ancient messenger signaling me to slow down and tune into the deeper currents of existence. This was an ocean-going turtle called a leatherback that actually travels the currents through long distances. Yet it is one of many hundreds of species of turtles with an innate affinity to be at home in the wild.

It is not surprising that most world cultures embrace the turtle as symbolic of wise, caring persistence. Turtles are some of the oldest living species, with fossils dating back 200 million years. Land turtles are known for their grace of patience with their steady, consistent, and focused pace. They embody easeful timelessness where everything still gets accomplished with minimal disturbance along the way.

Perhaps its most celebrated symbol is representing both the path to and the realization of truth. For those turtles with shells, the top is the earth’s topography. The body represents the fluidity of the waters of the earth. And, the base offers a horizon for the sun and moon to appear and disappear. Some parts are said to be a map of heaven and stars. The seven ridges on the leatherback turtle are likened to the strings on a lute carrying all the music of the world.

Turtles model the pathway to lasting truth as gradual and barely visible.  Rather than rushing or chasing after distractions, the turtle moves with calm persistence, one step at a time.   Wherever they are, they are always home.

The poem by the 13th century poet Rumi echoes the messages within the turtle symbolism.   Pursuing commercial desires and unhealthy cravings create a hungry mind.   With an agitated inner state, we look for meaning and lose our ability to read the natural signposts back to tranquility. We may intermittently slow down and be open to the truth, but then we become lost again in diversions. Yet, when we slow down with sincere persistence, we regain the understanding that the treasure we seek has been with us all along.  Along the way, we realize our responsibility toward ourselves and all of life.

In appreciation of the turtles, I will continue to minimize my use of plastic, which causes  harm to the leatherback turtles.  I hope you will join me.


This practice invites an awareness of our four limbs.

  • Preparation –
    • Remove your shoes. Place your electronic devices out of sight and hearing.
    • Sit quietly on a cushion on the floor, or in a chair. If you are in a chair, allow your feet to rest on the floor.
    • With your eyes gently closed, or open with a soft gaze, let yourself savor this moment of calmness.
    • Invite your breath to be effortlessly smooth and easy.
  • Practice –
    • Begin standing or seated.
    • Notice your hands and your feet. Appreciate their shape, structure, and how they help you navigate through life.
    • Slowly explore the movement of your wrists, fingers, and hands.
      • For example, you might rotate your wrists around or wiggle your fingers.
    • Slowly explore the movement of your ankles, toes, and feet.
      • For example, your might rotate your ankles around, stretch the toes apart and squeeze them together.
    • Standing, explore moving all four limbs freely.
      • For example, you might lightly shake out one limb at a time, or imagine as though you were swimming through air.
    • Notice the space and surface beneath you. Then, move gently along that surface and through the space.
      • Imagine as though you are able to talk and listen through your limbs to your environment.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Seated. Sit quietly. Relax across your face, hands, and feet.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.


This poem is translated by Coleman Barks, appearing on page 75, Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, 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©2018



Know the true nature of your Beloved.
In His loving eyes
your every thought, word, and movement
is always, always


In spite of the craziness in the world, I treasure the experience of beauty. Usually, it is when I am out in nature and become enraptured with the sweet fragrance of a blossom or the quietness of new moon night.   But it also can be in those moments of folding the laundry or sweeping away the leaves after a windstorm.

Beauty seems ever-present in those everyday occurrences, such as the graceful appearance of the sun above the horizon.   Even on a cloudy or foggy morning, the light announces the arrival of a new day.   Whether I notice or not, there is this ceaseless flow of beauty holding all of life.

For years, I associated beauty with the classical model of symmetry and harmony in which aesthetically pleasing meant being proportional in shape, limbs and face. Because I come from a family with short, round statures, it seemed beauty was an abstract ideal far removed from my sphere of life. It was something I saw and appreciated in museums or on magazine covers, or even in my own artistic creations of drawings and photographs.

Poets, such as Hafiz, kindled a broader and older appreciation of beauty. Rather than being about form, it is the formless. It is the subtle, radiant essence flowing through all that we do and say. Beauty seamlessly unites the finite and infinite, bringing a sense of endless joy and delight. True beauty awakens our awareness of the expansive presence of the divine and the realization that our intrinsic nature is beauty.

In the coming weeks, I will take intentional pauses throughout the day to sit in awe of the supreme beauty that simultaneously embraces and transcends all.   I hope you will join me.



This practice supports focus and calmness

  • Preparation –
    • Sit with an upright pelvis and straight spine on a firm cushion, or in a chair.
      • Let your shoulders release town in a relaxed way.
      • Let your hands relax on the thighs, palms upward.
      • Allow the breath to be an even, slow, flowing, and gentle.
    • Slowly, allow the thumb to slide back and forth across the tips of the other fingers.   Then pause. Allow the finger and thumb to relax.
  • Practice –
    • Allow your eyes to quickly move from left to right, up and down, and then from upper right to lower left and v.v. Pause with the lids lightly closed
    • Eyes open or closed, imagine as though you could look toward the center your skull. It is as though you are look at the pituitary gland. This is a soft gaze.
      • Allow your breath to be slow, rhythmic, flowing, and fine.
      • Stay for a few minutes.
  • Transition Back to Your Day –
    • Bring your palms and fingertips together in front of your heart. Allow your inner gaze to move downward as though you are looking at the center of your heart. Your eyes can be closed or softly open.
    • Acknowledge the beauty that you are and the beauty in all things.
    • Take a few deeper, longer breaths.
    • Relax your hands into your lap. Pause.
    • When you are ready return to your day.


This poem appears on page 58 in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt, published by New World Library. HEARTH is written and posted by Kate Vogt each new and full moon as part of “living wisdom . . . every day.”  To learn more, please visit    KateVogt©2018.