Posts Tagged ‘water’

A Blue Cup Presence

May 10, 2014

Material objects sometimes represent more to me than their momentary utility. A psychologist would tell you that I project myself into these objects, giving them my personality and attributes, a process called personification.

A shaman would tell you that everything has a spirit living in it, including material objects because those materials were made from earth’s resources, and the earth and its resources are nothing but living spirits. And, just like any other spirit, we cannot own them. They only agree to be borrowed for a time in our lives.

Some years ago, my daughter and son-in-law were struggling with their lives. The details are meaningless to anyone but me and them; the consequences, however, could have been so very costly to the person we care about more than anyone else: their daughter and my granddaughter. All of the responsibility for my granddaughter fell upon my son-in-law. He was a very young soul then, barely past the age of 20, and he had to make the commitment to save his own life first.

My resources were limited to taking care of me. While I could cheer him on and babysit, I could not step into his life and fix it for him. I could not run his race or lift his burden. It was his battle, not mine.

A day came very early into this battle . . . a very hot day, where his struggles brought him to my door while running the numerous errands that were his life at that moment. He asked only for a glass of water, and I gave it to him in a cup exactly like the one shown in the picture. bluecup1 (2) He swallowed the water in what seemed one gulp, so gave him another, but this time filled with ice. He was close to being late for his next appointment with destiny so I told him to take the blue cup with him.

I never saw that blue cup again.

Ten years later, I see my son-in-law and granddaughter all the time, and the blue cup in the picture is the mate to the one I gave away that day. My granddaughter rocks the world with her presence and my son-in-law has discovered grace and gifts within himself that amaze and comfort me.

When I look into my cupboard and see that lone blue cup, I am reminded of that day, what preceded it and what has come after. I don’t long for the presence of its mate. I don’t ever ask my son-in-law about it and I don’t want to know where it is. Instead, I imagine that other blue cup still out there offering a long, cool drink of water to a thirsty world.

©2014 by Barbara L. Kass

Divine Presence

August 28, 2011

All of us came from the same source of souls – that Divine Presence which is all-that-is. We are the invisible energy that permeates every atom of existence. In my struggles to reconcile the violent nature of our existence, I am seeking to connect with the divine in everything: people, animals, plants, insects, air, earth, water, and objects.

There is a divine presence in a tornado, in an earthquake, in a flood. Each of these can steal away our living essence forcing our souls to move into the next iteration of our existence. The earth holds its own divinity. What appear to be weapons to us are tools the earth uses to sweep its air clean, keep its core stable, and refresh the soils that blanket its surface.

There is a divine presence in the grizzly bear who takes down a hiker. To that grizzly bear that person is a threat to cubs as well as nourishment. There is a divine presence in a wasp’s sting and the bite of a spider. There is divine presence in the fresh water springs and salty ocean depths. Without either of these, humans cannot survive.

Objects are created from atoms – the same atoms that are in living beings. A book, for example, is made from a tree and is imprinted with the life force of that tree. This plastic computer I am typing on is connected to the divine by way of its electric energy – energy that comes from wind, from coal, from oil, from natural gas. Even its battery stores the energy of those sources.

I’ll not be having conversations with books, tables, or televisions, though. My point is to recognize that all that exists has a connection to the Divine Presence that is the universe of existence. Nothing is created that comes from outside this universe. Everything that is destroyed continues to exist in another form within this universe. This is a fundamental law of physics.

Any one of us can die as the earth goes about its business. Any of us can die as humans go about their business. All the while, we are part of and within the Divine Presence. My difficulty is remaining consciously connected with my divine presence as I go about my human business. It is even harder to remember to connect with the divine in another person. There is only an infinitesimal margin of ability when I try to connect with a person who has been violent.

The violence I am discussing here is that which makes the Web headlines and front page news — the atrocious violence that harms other living creatures: our wars, our crimes, our retributions. There are subtler forms of violence such as the emotional warfare that a parent plays with a child to coerce the child into behaving and being in a prescribed manner. I don’t even WANT to find the divine presence in another when that person has harmed me or someone I love. All I can look at is their human failings and fret about how they did not meet my expectations, my prescribed way of being in the world.

I suspect that this kind of violence must come from a complete disconnect from divine presence. How can I connect with people who cannot even connect with themselves? I have to trust that the divine presence in me will recognize and connect with the divine presence in others.

It’s a place to start.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of wind

September 4, 2010

I had the good fortune to be on a Shamanic journey the weekend after Magic died where I connected with the spirits of nature: fire, wind, water, earth, bugs, and plants. Connection with nature is available all the time and requires only that I focus my attention to use my senses to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

Fire is probably the only spirit that one might not want to taste in its burning naked essence, but we taste and ingest fire anytime we have eaten a plant or an animal cooked over an open flame. I doubt that I would ever lick an insect or eat dirt, and I remind myself to admire poison ivy from afar and only taste water that I know well.

The wind is an entirely different matter. Wind is air molecules who have caught the energy of the sun and use it to travel the earth. It is with us all the time. Can you taste the wind? Of course we can. We can measure its strength with our bodies, watch its effects with our eyes, smell its fragrance through our nostrils, and hear its journey as it passes through tree branches and lifts the eaves of our homes. Most of us don’t stick our tongues out to taste it as it passes by, but you might try it sometime.

Because it is always available, I have begun to pay attention to wind while walking. The west wind visited me the other day, bringing with it the promise of autumn. I felt its breath of coolness against my skin even though the temperature of the air was well over 90 degrees. As I inhaled, the air tasted and smelled faintly of dusty leaves and earthy soil. It was easy to see and hear the trees ruffling in the breeze, but that was not all I could hear. Beneath the quiet trembling of tree limbs, the wind offered me a whisper of advice: look to be happy.

I’ve been pondering this advice. It is not so much that the wind advised me to be happy. It clearly said “look” to be happy. If I expect happiness, I will seek it – I will look to find it around me. I can expect that if I desire happiness, I will find and experience happiness within myself. Even if there are some present circumstances in my life that I am not totally happy with, I can look within my being and find much to be happy and joyful about. Being happy is a proactive way of life.

When I quiet the monkey chatter in my head and connect to these ever-present spirits of nature, I realize my more complete oneness. The wind is always inside me filling my lungs, providing my cells with precious molecules of oxygen. My contribution is the carbon dioxide I exhale which the wind then carries to all the plants of the earth. They, in turn, sustain me with their nutrients when I ingest them. The wind even captures the molecules of water on my skin when I sweat and lifts them high into the atmosphere where they become clouds of rainwater. Those molecules carry an essence of me to share with the world.

The next time it rains, I am going to imagine I am being showered with happiness.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Universal sorrow

July 12, 2010

There is a picture at the Newseum that haunts me. It was taken in the Sudaan. On a dirt road, a small child crouches, head bent touching the earth in a swoon of evident exhaustion. That the child is starving is obvious. Behind the child, a vulture waits expectantly.

The photo was taken back in 1994, but time and distance do not lessen its impact. I am there at the Newseum with my granddaughter who has never lacked for a day without love, caring, tenderness, shelter, food, water, and nurturing. The contrasting truth strikes home in one easy, swift stroke.

It is not so difficult to care for a child.

But it was impossible for an entire country to care for that one child in the photo. If it were an isolated incident, my heart would not be so wounded, except I know it continues.

We all owe that child and every child we let die of starvation, neglect, or abuse our own lives.

I sit here in my self-imposed luxury of American life and wonder why — if we are indeed the co-creators of our existence — why would we allow such misery to proliferate when there is easily a huge abundance of our basic necessities available?

And it is not so hard to love a child.

But even the photographer of that picture walked away, constricted by the rules of the time and society. Perhaps he thought that the picture would speak in a thousand more languages to save thousands more children than had he intervened to try and save one child.

My mind cannot even grasp the karmic platitudes that people use to rationalize starvation and abandonment in a world that supports 7 billion humans.

It is not so impossible to feed a child.

I know that such images, this knowledge, these truths find me as much as I find them. And I feel the sorrow of the universal consciousness as it nudges me and urges me to do something.

But I don’t know what.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass