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.


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.

The Park

Tranquil our paths
When your hand rests in mine in joy.
Your voice gives life, like nectar.
To see you, is more than food or drink.


As I sat on a park bench the other day, I appreciated the sound of laughter and conversation from the people around me.  There was a family with three young children playing tag, an elderly couple, and a group of young adults sitting in the grass talking. Eyes were beaming and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoying being together.

Ten years ago, I might not have noticed the jovial atmosphere. Not because I’ve necessarily become more aware over the past decade, but because it would not have been noteworthy to hear and see people happily conversing and interacting. The woman of the elderly couple rested her hand in the palm of the man’s hand. The parents of the young children smiled at the sound of their children’s voices.  Even the trees, grass, and flowers seemed more alive.

While savoring this rare moment, I began to fantasize that somehow this group of humans had discovered an ancient secret to happiness. It seemed that if they had had musical instruments, they would have made music together. Or, with paint brushes, they would have harmoniously created a painting together. I could only fantasize so far; like me, they have shelter, food, and access to a clean public park.   Yet, it was still striking that given their age, gender, and racial diversity, none were using digital devices. All heads were raised, hands free, happily engaged.

Humans have long experimented with and been influenced by our tools – flint arrowheads to earthenware to typewriters and robots.  None have been as overpowering and as luring as our most recent inventions.   It is rapidly becoming more commonplace to see humans interacting with screens and electronic devices than with one another or nature.   The average person is unaware that this shift is radically narrowing – rather than widening – our capacity for true happiness.

Social bonding, compassion, creativity, contentment, and the generally ability to be able to feel and care evolve from interacting with other humans and living beings. Studies of the brain show that it needs dynamic interaction. While our screen world seems to be multi-sensory, the studies show we have the illusion of being more connected but are less aware and more isolated emotionally. We need real physical social interaction, like these people in the park, for well-being and inner tranquility.

The anonymous Egyptian poet from about 1500 B.C.E. summarizes the gifts within everyday touching, listening, and seeing. When we gently hold the hand of a loved one, no words are needed. The love and support is understood. Their voice can bring us ease and a mere glimpse of their face can make us smile from the inside out. The seemingly mundane shapes our ability to trust, accept and explore, and to surrender our cravings and other obstacles that cloud our day-to-day perspective.   I will continue to take intentional cyber-breaks – some short and some long – in honor of those ancient poets and sages who preserved perennial truths about the beauty and joy to be discovered through our innate humanness.  I hope you will join me.


This practice helps renew your awareness of the sense of sight, hearing and touch.

  • Prepare –
    • Sit somewhere where your digital devices are out of reach, sound, and sight.
      • Even if they are in airplane mode, create some distance between you and them.
    • If you are in a chair or bench, place the sole of both feet on the ground. Close your eyes, or have a soft gaze.
    • Give yourself a gentle hug. If you feel fearful about being out of touch digitally, squeeze your upper arms with your hands and quietly reassure yourself that as a human you are much more than your possessions.
  • Practice –
    • Place the palm of one hand over the center of your chest.
      • (The fingertips softly point toward the opposite arm and shoulder.)
      • Allow yourself to explore any sensations or emotions. There is no right or wrong.  Just explore.
        • For example:  Does the skin on the chest – even beneath the clothing – feel differently when your hand is lightly touching the chest, resting there, or moved away?  How about the skin on the fingers and palm?  Does it feel differently in the fingers and palm when you change the weight and position of the hand?  Are there any emotions or feelings, such as comfort?
    • Keeping the hand resting on your chest.  Then, rest the other hand on top.
      • Explore any sensations and feelings that you may have in the hands.
        • Breathe here for a few moments (with one hand on top of the other). Notice any movement in the torso associated with the inhalation and exhalation.
    • Lightly place your palms over your ears.
      • Relax through the shoulders and eyes. Breathe five to six breaths.
        • Notice the sound of the breath and any sensations associated with having the hands over your ears.
    • Lightly place your palms over your eyes.
      • (The fingertips point upward and lightly curling over the top of your scull.)
      • Breathe five to six breaths.
        • Notice any sensations, both while the hands are over the eyes and when you bring the hands away.
  • Transition Back Into Your Day –
    • Rest your palms lightly in your lap.
    • Breathe calmly and peacefully for as long as is comfortable, or feasible, for you.
    • 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 and published by New World Library. It appears on page 26 and is translated by Ezra Pound and Noel Stock. HEARTH is written and shared by Kate Vogt each new and full moon. KateVogt©2018.