Let Us Look to the Living

Before we speak of the unborn,
let us look to the living,
to the web we have savaged,
to the imperative mending we must tend,
to the land, erupting in pain, heated by our greed,
starved by our poison, burning itself to extinction.

Before we speak of the unborn,
let us look to the living,
to the rivers and oceans
clouded and cluttered with our debris,
to our need to devour and discard,
to our companions on this limited spinning sphere:
the none-and-many-footed, gilled, winged, and leafed,
struggling to breathe, to thrive,
to find their home and know it as their own.

Before we speak of the unborn,
let us look to the living,
the two we have made of our one,
the hatred we offer our impulse to love,
the mockery of Source we use to excuse
the idolatry of self, the negation of any
right to any life
that impedes our insatiable desire.

Before we speak of the unborn,
let us look to the living,
to the blood on our hands, to the lies we speak,
the promises we break, how we strangle peace
and murder joy; let us cry our mea maxima culpa;
let us finally speak the truth:

we are those who desire, seize, and deceive;
we are those who do not welcome but destroy,
who turn from healing, who choose decay.

Before we speak of the unborn,
let us look to the living,
how everything breathing and beautiful
flees from our presence and brokenness,
the scorn we have tendered relationship
the ruin we have made of gifted bliss.

Dear Friends,

I am angry, sad, determined, and slowly regaining my hope for the restoration of democracy that the events and revelations of this past week have done everything to destroy. Not every poem is written from a perspective of hope; sometimes, we need to voice our anger and despair, verbally slap our human race upside the head and invite ourselves to wake up.

Every living thing has a potential right to life; human rights must be negotiated with that in mind, and they are not, currently or obviously, so considered or negotiated. Women’s rights are not now protected; minorities’ rights are not ensured; LBGTQ rights are imperiled; immigrants’ rights and, certainly, the rights of our wild spaces and wildlife are not safely and thoroughly encoded into our laws, while the rights of corporations, dark donors to politicians, and the owners of semi-automatic guns are. We need to change these things and quickly. Our democracy is threatened and our planet is careening towards destruction at our hands.

Vote and encourage others to vote. ALL life depends upon it.

My new book, The Rare, Tiny Flower, debuts this Tuesday, June 28th. It’s been a long, strange trip for her, but I trust the divine timing of her arrival, and hope she will be met with love and granted the power to encourage and inspire, maybe even open and change a few minds. The already heralded illustrations by Quim Torres are stunning, as has been the work and support of the entire team at Tra Publishing.

Another great gift in my life has recently and finally been realized! In December, 2020, I was contacted by composer Andrea Clearfield about creating an orchestral and chorale setting for my poem, Triage. (Visit Andrea’s site to learn more about her brilliant music, collaborations, and the way you can listen to her monthly live world music Salon/Zalon, now on summer break but beginning again with its 36th year celebration on September 18th. I cannot tell you how much Phillip and I have enjoyed zooming these amazing evenings of music!)

Andrea’s stunning setting for Triage, Singing Into Presence (scored for soprano soloist, chorus and orchestra), was commissioned and premiered by the University of New Mexico Chorus and Orchestra, May 5, 2022, following Andrea’s workshops with their gifted student musicians and chorus, under the brilliant direction of Matthew Forte.

I so wanted to be there. Since that wasn’t possible, Andrea graciously asked me to make a video of introduction, shared prior to the piece making its premiere.

I cannot tell you you how much I love this setting. It blew me away, made me cry, filled me with joy, and certainly inspired gratitude for the stunning collaboration of Andrea, Matthew, and every student involved.

You can view and hear this performance at 16:09 on the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je6xNrXspyE .

I hope you enjoy it as thoroughly as I have (many times)!

The motto of my state is Forward; today, it gives me energy and direction.

Great and gentle peace to you.

Instagram: kittyomeara

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Our Finest Energy

I’m happily home again after spending 10 days in peaceful solitude. I’ve been on many long retreats in my life, silent and active, but all have been with other retreatants, an available spiritual director to meet with, and voluntary sessions of group meditation, or yoga, or prayer.

This retreat was different in that I was alone in my cabin and, since there were no current programs at the retreat center, I was fairly alone on the entire 250-acre property. Because the main building was receiving a new roof, even the day staff chose this week for vacation days, it seemed. There was an outdoor housekeeper for all the cabins, and I met her a few times, which were pleasant encounters, but really, I saw and “moved” with no other humans for those 10 days.

We’re each a pulsing body of physical, mental, and spiritual energy, and when we mix and adjust to the energy of others–even when we’re physically still and silent–there’s a kind of comfort and, usually, a willingness to flow together through the time we share. But we can lose our boundaries and fail to accurately distinguish our energy, our sense of self, and the clarity of our purpose and direction when we are constantly surrounded by others.

Some people drain our energy with neediness; others can be energy hogs who move into a space and greedily demand the energy of all; others depend upon our care and attention nearly all the time because of their physical illness, which is what leads to caregiver burnout. The ways we use our energy are often unconscious, unless we probe and bring them to our awareness, and while most of our energy dispersal is necessary, we need to pay attention to how our energy is exchanged, scattered, used/depleted, and restored, or we risk losing our balance, And right now, the world needs our finest energy. I think this is what all great teachers and world religions are asking of us: Use your limited energy wisely and compassionately: for yourself and then, always, for others.

But first, clarify your own and control how it’s used to honor your gifts and commitments. Unmonitored, our energy can become entangled with others’ and leave us feeling aimless.

And so I took this time to draw deeply within my own energy, and then I’d expand it out again, to test its boundaries. My awareness of its limits and flow became clarified and pristine. A few days in, I realized, I’d become more sensitive to the energy of the trees around me, the sounds and smells and touch of rain and breezes, of dawn and dusk. Encountering deer became a religious experience, breathing together and sharing our energy, then softly parting. (The etymology of “religion” describes being linked, joined, bound.)

I observed how I channeled my energy throughout the course of a day. Some unique combination of age, hormones, and autoimmune issues keeps me from sleeping for lovely long stretches, most nights. It was interesting to discern what I needed when I was awake, in ways I can’t “hear” when I’m at home and need to be sensitive to others’ sleep. Sometimes, I went out for a midnight–or later–walk. (Thankful for the full moon during my stay!) Or I got up to read, write, or focused on sending love to dear ones and to the world beyond, or I played Solitaire and let my mind drift. One night, I did an hour or more of yoga. One lovely aspect of such a long retreat in solitude is that there’s no schedule to keep. At all. Everything settles and choices can be made that feel natural, regardless of the time of day.

The rhythm of such a retreat is all yours to design for those precious days. I was able to unlearn some of the restrictions I’ve naturally set and followed because I live with 8 other mammals, 7 of them dependent on Phillip and me for food and care. I have gardens to tend, and housekeeping to co-manage, all the activities of daily living. It is good to set such regimens down, to unbraid your schedule and open yourself to none at all. Vacations aren’t quite the same in that they’re frequently filled with zipping around among activities with others, again creating that mingling of energies, with little time to tune solely into your own. And balance and health, I believe, do require that we dialogue deeply and richly with our own spirits, just listening to ourselves, observing our inner voices and how they respond and react, listening to the messages they send our minds, bodies, and souls throughout the day. At home, I walk, meditate, do my yoga, and garden, and try to listen deeply through these choices, but to have 10 days of such uninterrupted listening is a great gift.

I’ll tell you how clear my energy became. Because of some eye problems that have been restricting my driving, Phillip drove me to the retreat center and returned to pick me up. We really enjoyed this time together, as the pandemic has kept us so close to home, and I’m very thankful for his willingness to make a 6-hour round trip, a very fine birthday treat.

The day he picked me up, I was packed and ready to go early, so I moved through some yoga and meditation and then began to read and got lost in the book for a few hours. All of a sudden, I felt my energy shift; it was as though another source of energy waved through me, a kind of merging…and I knew it was Phillip, with that deep soul-knowing that sometimes blesses us. I looked out the window and he wasn’t there. What could it mean? And then he called. From the highway, he’d passed the turnoff to the road that led to my cabin and needed to be redirected. It was illuminating to realize that we can still our energy to such a degree of clarity and sensitivity.

And so began the days of readjustment, my double-dutch re-merging with all the energies I love surrounding me once more, the return of schedules and interruptions and needs not my own. I’m almost back in the necessary swing of these habits and rituals, and life shines all the more brightly because I was given and used my time alone. I’m trying to grant myself several “mini-solitude” breaks during the day, and I know that won’t always happen, but I allow myself the grace to be merry with the flow, whatever it brings, something I wasn’t feeling before my break. I’m grateful for the hours to write, for the many lessons, and especially for the renewed and clearer energy I was able to nourish on this retreat. May you each find the time and practices that best nourish your spirits, too! The world needs our finest energy as never before.

Gentle Peace.

Instagram: kittyomeara

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Reclaiming Our Peace

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.  

~ Etty Hillesum, “29 September”, in An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943 and Letters from Westerbork, p. 218.

I’ve always loved Hillesum’s idea that becoming as intentionally and wholly peace-filled as we are able is our moral imperative as humans, and that the point is to flash that peace back into the world while we can. It signifies to me that words like peace, hope, and love, are more necessarily active verbs than they are abstract nouns. Their life, growth, and communal sharing are both our choice and the reason we’re here at all. Humans, apparently, need to be invited and encouraged to consider this over and over. I do, anyway.

Long treasured friends and I were texting during Thursday night’s January 6 committee hearing. Prior to the opening statements, one friend wrote, regarding shifts in the political climate that might result from the hearings, she was, “…interested but not hopeful…so many fearful and willfully ignorant people.”

This friend has always had more artistic gifts in any given eyelash than most of us have in a lifetime of study, practice, and achievement. She can write, paint, draw, sculpt, sing, and act, and has done all of these professionally, at levels of skill and artistry that leave me stunned. Light literally emanates from her. That she admitted she was not hopeful wounded my heart. Hope and peace are intertwined, and destroyed by the chaos, lies, overwhelm, confusion, and violence so many have armed themselves with in our world. And their victims are too often people like my friend, sensitive and gifted creatives who require healthy doses of peace and hope to change the world. And we need their joy more than ever.

I know what she meant; I’ve had moments of doubt about the state of the country and world as well; I’ve felt anxious and hopeless in the moment, but I’ve always rejected permanent hopelessness as an acceptable and fixed state of being because I continually see so many more alternatives that are possible for us to design and live into as a species. We know there are people choosing those healthier and more compassionate alternatives, following where they lead, and achieving promising degrees of success. There are environmental groups, charities, political action committees, rescue organizations, gun safety proponents, globally-connected scientists, art colonies: communities of people consciously spending their days doing life differently and better so that all of us can look forward to times of greater peace and love. They’re everywhere, but our media rarely feature stories of hope in action, or tuck them at the end of “news” about our dismal world like a bit of dessert after a rugged meal, not so much to promote viable societal alternatives as to leave us with a folksy chuckle and brief smile rather than the massive stroke the preceding news has encouraged.

Consider what the promotion of hopelessness presents as truth, and the damage it’s done to our children. When our leaders can’t abandon their greed and enslavement to billionaires and arms dealers, our children are left with–useless and emotionally damaging–active shooter drills and the lesson that nowhere on Earth is safe, ever. No hope, no peace. Unless you’re a politician, billionaire, arms dealer, or AR-15-wielding “patriot.”

When despots can indiscriminately invade, pillage, and murder innocent people in other countries, our children learn there is no place of refuge. No hope, no peace. Unless you’re a heartless despot, enamored only of power and your own self-image. 

When politicians commit crimes, lie, and cheat, and they demonize those who look, sound, and think differently, when they burn books, condemn intellectual pursuits, deny both mystery and science, reduce the world to little boxes and either/or, and ascribe all these behaviors to their puny righteous beliefs, what are children learning about the human spirit, morality, creativity, community, and the concept of the Sacred? What are they learning about truth, listening, leadership, and compassion? 

No hope, no peace. Better to be cynical; better to be close-minded; better to be on the “right” side of power and wealth, blaming the weak, the poor, and the “other” for all the world’s misery.

To rob our children of peace and hope, to destroy anyone’s peace and hope, is evil. It stunts our unique gifts and inhibits our growth, ensuring the world will not be healed as deeply, justly, and thoroughly as it might.

These are some of the thoughts that inspire why and what I write, and especially why I write for children. The Rare, Tiny Flower came from the days following the January 6th attack on our country’s heart and the resulting lack of peaceful dialogue, consequences, and change. I was horrified by the sound and news bytes, the continued lies and degrading language on display for our children to witness and absorb. And during the months the book was in production and then suffering shipping delays, we’ve endured more Covid losses, the monstrous war in Ukraine, the ghastly murders of our children, teachers, and elderly, in public places where they should be safe and thriving. No hope, no peace; no love; many lies and empty promises. 

We can do better. Many are. Look for them. Share the ways you keep your own hope, peace, and love kindled and active in the world. Choose more. Kindle a friend’s. These are our moral duties, the only choices and actions that matter.

It looks like The Rare, Tiny Flower may finally make her debut on Tuesday, June 28. I’m so very happy to share that Quim Torres’s illustrations for our book have been longlisted for the 2022 World Illustration Awards. Hooray for Quim and our publisher, Tra! (Check out their other wonderful books!)

This weekend, I’m off for a 10-day stay at a hermitage to write and write and write, a birthday gift from my beloved. I’ll miss my lovebugs, but am so very grateful for this gift of quiet time in solitude. I’m seeking to reclaim more and more spaces of peace within myself to flash back at the world, and look forward to encountering my spirit in the silence of a little room beneath a full moon.

As always, gentle peace to all my readers. Be safe and well.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Weaving Lessons

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You thought for years the weaving of your life
was best kept shrouded: no public viewing,
thank you all the same, you said; I’ll pass.
Too many crooked rows, those ancient choices
that tore the fabric, that shamed and made the tapestry
ghastly; those old betrayals, sorrows, and doubts: how they ripped
and rent the possible beauty, how the years of falling, groundless,
stunted your design, the loosened threads hanging, aimless and chaotic.

And the failures to evolve, the times you turned from love,
from praise, from flight into the airy possibility of different days:
you consider how the weaving could have astonished—
a whole life in a whole life, if only you’d listened, if only, if only
you’d followed directions issued from other mouths, studied
their patterns, followed their lead, if you’d changed course, paused
long enough, perceived wisdom’s path just there, in front of you.
The missed remarkable: your weaving, your life.

If you’d finally healed the wounds given and received…

And then, one morning, the dazzledance of always light
pierces cleanly through: your omphalosic moment,
your every eye is opened: it was always true—
the weaving’s purely you and only you, embodied now
and always eternal, pursuing Love’s single sweet command:
to travel your own heart’s geography, to weave the wild weaving
within the weaving freely, the jagged, angled, broken, and curved.
And the tensions in the warp and weft? They are what they are,
integral and blessed—lessons, all the lessons every choice invites.
Such grace, the torn and tangled, knotted and abrupt…see how
the severed stitching here is reunited there; finally, you embrace
this once and stunning gift: a self-created life, your own, none other’s.

And so begins the final task: you decorate the torn discordant
holes with threads of fiery gold, with spangles and sea glass
edging your wounds and failures with light: Here is my life,
you say, opened wide; I have been an earnest, faltering pilgrim;
this is my journey and these are my lessons. Then you kneel, awed
before its holy brokenness, its shameless joy, its mystery and miracles.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Propitiation

Peace to our Innocents, oh gentle
peace to these sacrificial lambs we offer
once again to the monied and mighty,
who send in return their thoughts and prayers
and speak of prices that must be paid, their hands
held out for more and more. The cost of freedom,
they say.

Light has fled the garden,
like the laughter of shining children
running to their next wide day.
Flowers should not meet their winter in spring.

The sin is ours; we consent again and always
to these savage partings, surrendering our tender buds
to the hollow gods we bow before, another payment to endure
before we settle and sigh once more, indolent and monstrous,
draped in the silence of our darker world, waiting,
hoping for better days.

Peace to the people of Uvalde, TX. We must change. We must do better.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Now Is Always My Favorite

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Years ago, I came across a newspaper comic strip named Mutts, by the artist Patrick McDonnell. (That entire sentence makes me feel ancient.) One Sunday (10-15-2011), the comic resonated so much with my heart that I cut it out and framed it. A man walks his scruffy little dog, Earl, and gestures at the beautiful scene around them, saying, “Now is my favorite time of year.” In the second panel, Earl looks out at the reader and replies. “‘Now’ is always my favorite.”

I’m with Earl.

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And if any chosen time-and-energy immersion underscores my feeling that “now” is always my favorite, it’s gardening. Co-creating with the Earth and her endless surprises within the (somewhat) reliable cycle of seasons has always been my favorite state of being.

In addition to the 3-dimensional and 4-season design invitations and challenges, decades of gardening also creates a sweet living scrapbook of memories. I have a peony my students gave me over 20 years ago, when I left teaching for writing. That time turned instead into caregiving for my mother, and there are memories everywhere of her last years and leave-taking. And when I returned to school for further studies and the work of spiritual care, I came home one summer day to discover the beautiful arbors Phillip had made and erected. There are the rocks we lugged home from many of the local farmers’ fields and used to ring our first gardens, and the lilac my brother and sister-in-law shared with us, along with treasured plants and cuttings from friends, and from charming nurseries no longer in business (and mourned).

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Building the season’s second nest.

For me, a day in the garden is a journey through the tapestry of my 25 years here at Full Moon Cottage. All the seasons and visitors and births and deaths a gardener can travel with in her small life on a small plot of land are reflected and concentrated in her garden. But there is more and it is magical: there is rebirth and renewal, that same healing and transformation I’ve seen in myself and in people I’ve been blessed to know.

And there is continual learning about the interrelationships among my plants, the soil content and microbes, the insects, and birds…so much about relationships accounts for the quality of one’s life, doesn’t it?

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There are endless teachers and lessons for my heart here in the garden. Everything extrapolates; everything deepens; all is hallowed. It is the finest university anywhere. And, when the gardener learns to listen and see, there is poetry, music, dance, drama, and glorious visual art in the garden. There is mystery and eventually the acceptance, even anticipation and then love, of mystery. Better still, there is a quality of peace so pervasive that the heart returns to her deep true knowing: all shall be well.

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Over the years, the garden and I have been through fierce heat spells, ice storms, flood, drought, heartbreaking loss, and joyful renewal. I have grown old loving these lives and tending their needs so they may tend the birds and bees and all other visitors to this land and beneath it. And still I rise with the sun and weave my day within and around these gardens for hours before the day ends. Time in the garden, like time with any enduring love, leaves me full of gratitude. And then I stand back and look at our co-creation and think, “Now is always my favorite.”

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

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The Rare, Tiny Flower by Kitty O’Meara and illustrated by Quim Torres, now publishing on June 28, 2022.

Adaptation

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Like so many of our friends around the world, we’ve had weekly climate shifts this spring that defy reason, as with our political and pandemic shifts. It is the Age of Unreason, in humans and seasons, perhaps.

Last week, the days and nights were chilly enough that we used the fireplace. Our solar panels were being hooked up and an electric panel needed updating to manage that, but the electrician missed replacing the circuit breaker we needed to restart our geo-thermal heat, so the fire was a great boon through an icy night with temperatures in the 30’s (-0°C).

We’d begun to wonder if spring would ever arrive. Buds were tightly closed on trees; tulips and daffodils were barely up; nothing bloomed.

Today, the heat index will be in the mid-90’s (35°C).

So, I guess this past weekend was spring, 2022. The air temperature was mild and the world smelled new; all our old friends returned: the orioles, grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and scarlet tanagers. The poor hummingbirds buzzed in, searching in vain for blossoms to restore their bodies and spirits. We rushed to get their feeders out and they quickly crowded around and regained a bit of energy.

Spring flowers were coaxed towards opening, tentatively. We took our new e-bikes bikes for a ride on the trail, to London and back. (A very small town 9 miles to the west; to the east is Rome. Sounds impressive when we’re talking about our bike rides, right?) Afterwards, we worked in the garden together; the plants are barely peeking through the earth, but the weeds, of course, have been thriving.

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Bike trip to London and back.

So, one perfect spring weekend. And today, we’re in t-shirts, overheated, and watching our spring flowers droop. The tulips opened and their tender cups were quickly steamed and curling into back-bends. The tree leaves are unfurling, like us, into sweltering summer days. Next week may be cooler, we’re told.

I hope so.

These are rugged times: Like many, I’m still wary of catching Covid, since our numbers locally are rising again. It still shocks me when I realize I haven’t traveled anywhere for over 2 years. The pandemic continues to change the patterns of our lives, our economy, and many of our choices about the future. Climate change is–obviously–causing dramatic shifts in our weather that aren’t always predictable. Putin’s war with a country innocent of any provocation has added to the world’s chaos and further damaged supply chains and fuel prices. Our democracy is teetering and civil discourse has become a lost art.

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Willow dancing in our increasingly wild winds.

Humanity’s response to this collision of urgencies often seems agonizingly childish. We have faced pandemics, political turmoil, and war, and survived them all, but adding climate change and its unknown rolling and torn-web effects makes the future precarious and our present actions imbecilic at best. We’re scrambling, stumbling, and failing at coherence.

Rather than adapt to challenges, we pretend they don’t exist.

We pretend the pandemic is past. We pretend the Earth’s jet streams will return to a “normal” that’s vanished forever; we pretend the continued destruction of the rainforest and natural habitats isn’t happening, and that tons of plastic microbeads in the oceans don’t matter, really. We notice the bird migrations are changing, and bird flus are rising; we observe that the acres and acres of ash trees have all died, and that so many species of plants, animals, and insects are rapidly going extinct, but we pretend none of this is connected to our daily actions and inability to stop living how we like, at the pace and rate of consumption we prefer.

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Possibly, we’re overwhelmed by the amount of changes taking place, but I believe we can adjust and adapt more creatively and peacefully if we see the great adventures before us and meet them with our gifts rather than our despair, anger, and sense of scarcity. Frankly, there’s a lot we accept about the way we live in the world that’s utterly boring, completely uncreative, and devastatingly cruel. We can do better.

Traveling with ill and terminal patients taught me that changes rarely allow us to go back to “the way things were.” It’s comforting to imagine so, but that’s a form of pretending, too, since life was never perfect and never will be, and adaptation isn’t without its own comfort and joy; really, we just don’t like change and are inclined to view it as a threat to our stability and the safe circumference of what is known and what we control, however well or ineptly.

And change doesn’t come without grief; there’s always a farewell-forever entangled within the journey any change presents, along with anxiety, anticipation, and a variety of other feelings. Often, we can see that a transition’s joy outweighs its sadness, so we acclimate easily, but sometimes, as with the loss of a loved one, or a long-held right, or the extinction of species, habitats, and known weather patterns, the benefits of a given change aren’t apparent or seem nonexistent, so we resist, deny, turn away, become angry, and reject what is.

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My sweet Bridie, after Brigid, goddess of wisdom, poetry, and healing.

I was unhappy with my recent knee surgery and mourned what I perceived to be the loss of many activities and freedoms I enjoyed. But I located a physical therapy that worked surprisingly well, and we used the pandemic’s years of “vacation” funds to purchase e-bikes. I resisted at first, thinking they made us look old. Then I realized how silly that sounded and accepted the chance to get out on the bike trail again. I adapted to the change in my mobility and am happier than I’ve been in months. And knowing the motor can be used if I tire from pedaling gives me a great sense of security.

We’ve adapted to the presence of a highly infectious virus not by denying it’s real, but by staying home, waiting for vaccines, wearing masks in stores and crowds (still), and following experts’ advice to avoid illness.

We’re adapting to these climate shifts in our gardens by adding more and more plants and planting methods that feed birds, provide safe habitats, conform to swings in temperature and moisture, and still please our creative impulses. Because that’s one of the best things about adapting: the ways it challenges our creativity and the deep pleasure derived from meeting those challenges with answers that are new and co-created.

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I think Ukraine has adapted creatively to the horrors Putin and his army have used in seeking to force submission and surrender. Ukraine has been strategically clever, strong, intelligent and unyielding in their resistance, and despite agonizing losses and Putin’s inhumane war crimes, Ukraine continues to amaze the world with their success. I believe they will not be defeated and Putin will be held accountable. He clearly cannot adapt to present reality, lost in past and imagined national glories as he is.

And in my country, I think we have to resist the urge to become enmeshed in violence, anger, and demonization of the other, and “do hope” instead, because hope is not a feeling; it’s an accrual of actions we choose and build upon, creating solutions where none were apparent before we applied and combined our gifts. Adaptation requires our willingness to do hope. And when we immerse ourselves in creating adaptive solutions, we have no time for hatred and fear. If we want balance, peace, joy, and community, we must be those qualities in the world. If we believe we come from Love and it travels with us, always, then adaptation is a method to co-create the ways we are always traveling from known to unimagined blessing.

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Teagan and Gracie, adapting to shorter walks on HOT days.

Gentle Peace.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

So You Will Recognize Life As It Happens

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First, there’s lots of what-ness,
then an inundating who-ness,
many years of why-ness, how-ness,
with a sprinkling of where-ness,
then long and quiet moments
recollecting all the when-ness,
and yearning for past who-ness,
while releasing why-ness, how-ness,
and forgetting most of what-ness,
just a you-ness in an all-ness.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

On the Proper Courtship of the Land

Long before the garden is born and thriving,
you must in earnest court the land;
nothing grows well or strong without relationship;
therefore, you must meet and honor all her relations:
sun, wind, water, shade, trees, terrain, and insect;
observe their exchange in every season,
for all is reciprocal.
Who are her neighbors?
Learn their substance and character.
You must understand all her hidden moods,
her acid and alkaline tendencies,
her microbial and annelid content,
but also her appetite and yearning for enrichment,
her thirst, her limits, the answers she may give to your questions,
the ways she has suffered, her maladies,
and how she may be healed. Reveal yourself
wholly and humbly; tell the stories
that have led to this wild, desired, and essential intimacy.
Unshroud your soul, damaged, mending, and like hers,
bending to light; say you are an artist seeking transformation
in alliance with her rounded dance
of eruption, reduction, return, and mystery.
Speak your promise to nurture and tend;
speak not of yields but of mutual growth,
and offerings of joyful sustenance,
one to the other.
All this, all this, before you kneel,
before you gently touch
and ready her for seed,
before you imagine flowers and fruit,
before
you enter fertile years
of shared abundance and love.

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Murphy says one way to court the land is to jump inside its arms and nap.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

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Our beautiful book, The Rare, Tiny Flower, with my text and illustrations by Quim Torres, has had its publication delayed once more, due to shipping delays. We’re being told it will now arrive on June 14, 2022. Ever hopeful.

Out of Time

It went like this: the Earth invited; we waved our decline,
and generous Earth invited again. We began to believe
that it always would. What we desecrated today could be
salvaged tomorrow. Perhaps. We had looked in mirrors
and never once seen the beautiful everything, how it
interflowed: us, air, earth, and fire; the green vines growing
from our hearts, the moss covering our feet, the pulsing stars
shooting from our eyes, our eyes crying wild seas; our hands
sparking the minutiae of minerals, microbes, cells; our mouths
howling the wail of wolves, humming the river’s night music,
trilling birdsong through breeze; our ears’ recognition that every
sound echoed the cry of our hearts; our hearts’ joyful impulse
to unite, to eat and to feed, to transform together, creating now. We
could have spent life wrapped in awe, entering the intricate mystery
of webs, of self twined with other selves, breathing a universe.
Too late have we come to know the indwelling one is the outward
One, and that how we have loved the Earth is how we have loved
ourselves, the beautiful everything. We were misers, lost in darkness,
grasping for light, blind to the dazzling gold of everywhere wholeness.

A charming muskrat living in the river.
Canada Geese
Migrating Cormorants
A Turkey Vulture, blissfully riding a thermal.
Beautiful Moss: Bryology (Sigh!)
The first Bloodroot spotted along the trail.
From afar, Gracie witnesses the reluctantly accepted “Adoration of Micky” proferred by Teagan and Dooley. Micky is still coming around to the idea that we are all one.

A blessed Earth Day, every day.

If you have not heard or read the words of Robin Wall Kimmerer, I highly, highly recommend you do. Here is an essay from 4/20/22, published in Emergence Magazine, another source of wisdom I heartily recommend. https://emergencemagazine.org/essay/ancient-green/

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Holy Week

Here we are again,
on that dusty road lined with dazzling mirrors.

Let us seek our reflections and find ourselves
amidst all the characters we’ve played
a thousand times, taking our chosen places
as we enter the new story, the sacred story,
the human story, the heart of it, right now.
Stay awake.

What is truth?

And who are we this time?

The Priest? The one who feels his power eclipsed and slipping,
so lost in the service of two masters that he cannot
find his way back to his diminished heart?

The Friends, whose fear and fatigue leave their companion
desolate and abandoned? Oh, how we’ll dance through laughter and lies
before dancing away in dark denial.
.
Or perhaps we are The Traitor, whose greed barters
infinite peace for the cool slide of silver in his palm.
Someone has to do it, we tell ourselves.

The Judge? So rigid with archaic law he cannot bend
to suit the case before him? Too small to see the breadth
and meaning of the moment? Too bound by the past
to midwife justice in the present? Dead before death?

Stay awake.

Are we among The Silent who stand and watch,
hungry for violence that will excuse our inaction
and fill our emptiness?

Too afraid? Are we The Cowards who cannot act
against injustices we see, condemned every moment
to open the door and never enter? What chances
we’ve lost to change the world. What gifts we have wasted.

What is truth?

Are we once again The Follower?
Eager to be ordered,
free of the burden to think.
Rank given, actions commanded,
conscience drowned by unexamined fealty,
ever ready to pound nails and pierce flesh.
As directed.

And if we’re The Consigned, compelled
to carry the burden behind the accused who falters
in his steps, can we meet the act with grace, while
jeered at and spat upon?

Maybe this time we’re The Lovers,
walking the road,
witnessing the pain,
feeling the loss,
grieving,
staying.

Are we at last The Immanent One?
Pure and transparent, the treasure sought,
the light beyond darkness, steeped in dread and Yes,
the suffering sin-eater descending into rotting evil
to rise, blossoming forever in Love?

Perhaps we’re The Attendants,
rolling away the massive rock
unsealing death, awaiting The Seeker.

Or just this once, we are The Seeker,
encountering the blinding truth
of soaring news and empty tombs,
sharing the message of resurrected life,
so joyful it is music that must be sung.

Whatever your spirituality, I hope your week will be blessed; of course, I believe they’re all holy, but for me, this one holds such lovely invitations to explore, listen, and grow. If you celebrate Easter, may it be joyful, and I hope that spring and peace will blossom fully for all of us.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

The Rare, Tiny Flower: The Need for Silent Reflection

~ from: The Rare, Tiny Flower, (Tra Publishing); by Kitty O’Meara; illustrated by Quim Torres. (Pub. Date: June 14, 2022) Available for pre-order here.

How could this be?
What could it mean?
What had she noticed
that they hadn’t seen?
She lifted the vase,
and slowly rotated,
as all of the people
grew still, then elated…

For as the girl turned,
the colors changed places,
flashing a rainbow
across startled faces.
The people took time
for silent reflection,
considering matters
with deep introspection.

~ from: The Rare, Tiny Flower, (Tra Publishing); by Kitty O’Meara; illustrated by Quim Torres. (Pub. Date: June 14, 2022) Available for pre-order here.

“Maybe there are
other colors to see;
what’s lovely to you
could be lovely to me.”
“What we now understand
to be utterly true
is how much depends
on expanding our view.”

“It could be helpful
to breathe and be still,
calmly deciding
what won’t work and will.”
“Enjoying each color
and welcoming all,
creating a party
instead of a brawl.”

The artist Quim Torres created many stunning illustrations for our new book, The Rare, Tiny Flower (releasing June 14). I love the joy and drama in many of them, but my favorite depicts most of the characters sharing silent reflection time alone/together. They had been on the brink of war when a child in their midst encouraged them to consider their choices. She shows them how examining a given problem again, in new ways, allows their hearts–and options for action–to expand. And having expanded their views, their focus alters.

They understand that what they “narrowly” wanted when they first seized and sought possession of something beautiful, is actually a profound and multi-layered treasure meant to bless them all. In fact, its existence is dependent upon its gifts being shared. In essence, the characters move from the confines of negative egoic needs (my needs and desires are more important than yours) to those that are mature, healthy, and life-giving (satisfying our needs and wants, together, creates peace and greater beauty than than “I” imagined.)

I love how Quim illustrated these characters in their various poses, contemplating in silence, as the text describes their various thoughts about the benefits of stillness, breath, reflection, and how those practices open their hearts to the concept of “welcoming” differences that so recently had brought them to the brink of violence. I especially like that most them share a circle of contemplation, but that one of the crowned leaders is off, thinking through the problem while leaning against a tree.

I’ve been watching the televised images of all the leaders in the U.N., of President Zalenskyy, President Biden, President Putin, and, off in the shadows, President Xi Jingping.

By its nature, leadership can be lonely. When one’s leadership is conferred by those led, though, it would seem less onerous and more communal, as the majority of people have already freely given their support through voting, and there is the welcomed advice and expertise from valued others in the government.

When leadership is seized and authoritarian, however, options for co-creating the way through problems are diminished. There is a defacto absence of trust among the dictator and others vying for power who surround the “crown,” and those led are at the mercy of one person’s ego and one person’s version of the truth (and all the tightly-controlled propaganda that supports it). There is no widening circle of contemplation, no new invitations or revisioning to consider.

I’m happy our book’s ruler is sitting with hands folded and head down, suggesting this leader is deeply considering the next and best course of action and that we see the happy results of this person’s “silent reflection” and stillness in later illustrations.

At no other time in history have we more needed mature leaders who, together, focus on the good of all. I pray we can come together and support those who, because they’ve taken time to breathe, look inward, and reflect on invitations and options, will guide our beautiful Earth and her people forward with wisdom, compassion, justice, and right action. I hope we, too, can model the importance of taking time to give our choices silent reflection, of choosing stillness to seek the ways our solutions can welcome and celebrate human and planetary diversity, in peace.

Our children are watching. Our words matter profoundly. Our actions matter more.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Hospitality

Walking in an April snowfall, I think:
I’ve learned all the lessons that winter
can teach; I’m ready for spring; this winter
has lingered too long. And then I recall
the guest who long ago came for a week
and stayed for two, repeating the story
we’d heard for years, always unable
to mine the meaning. It didn’t matter
how closely we listened, what questions
we asked, the telling never varied and
yielded no treasures. Every morning,
our guest, in robe and slippers, gripping
his mug of coffee, would shuffle into our day
and eventually recite again, the old, old tale
of suffering unhealed; he’d sit at the site
of the wound, poking, prodding, turning over
all the pain and guilt, the wrong turns and regret;
the words never changed. Life had been unfair.
Perhaps we stopped listening; I know I sometimes
rolled my eyes at my husband when The Story began
again; everything we spoke of somehow provided
our guest a way back into the circling labyrinth
of repeated injury, with nothing at the center
but darkness. And then one morning, in a pause
between the words I’d heard so many times
that I could say the next, our guest stared, looking
beyond the moment to memory, and sighed. And
in that sigh I recognized the bitter song of robins
trapped in a winter that should have been spring.
And the door of my heart opened; as though I was
hearing his story for the first time, the yearning,
the sorrow, the joy that had slipped and fallen
through his life just when he’d felt it was finally his.

Maybe true hospitality only begins when guests have
stayed too long, when patterns long repeated shift
to mystery, and we open our guarded hearts wide
to the pause between words, consenting in love
to pursue winter’s lessons all the way to spring.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

The Rare, Tiny Flower can be pre-ordered here. New publication date: June 14.

The Things We Come To Know

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Grandma Johanna on her wedding day, November 5, 1924

In late winter, I sift through cupboards and closets for items to give away, and tackle indoor projects I can finish before the garden calls (and doesn’t end the call till September). This past month, I completed a project I’d put off, both because of its immensity and because of the hours of exercise and rest I was forced to give my healing knee. I know, too, that I’d delayed facing this task because of the emotional journey it would invite, the memories I’d encounter, and the long hours of reflection such experiences deserve. These weren’t sad or painful memories, but when we travel to the past we never who will be there waiting …the older I get, the more the winnowing projects that entangle my emotions become a gathering of ghosts, and our time together is bittersweet. I miss the lived presence of these people in my life. It’s easier at times, to avoid the journey.

I don’t mean that going through my clothes or household items is challenging or drama-laden, but when it comes to sorting through family bits and pieces–in this case, boxes of my childhood dolls and the finely-crafted clothing my Grandma Hannah made for them (and a few dresses she made for me)–the winnowing accrues layers and layers of meaning. Considering beginning such jobs is sometimes too much of a muchness. So I postpone and focus on simple chores that I can cross off the endless list.

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But my younger brother has a new granddaughter, and girls are rare in our family. I knew it was time to pass on these lovely pieces of our family heritage, to gather them, clean and press and mend them, and to likewise gather photos and write their stories down for my sweet grand-niece to one day (I hope) know and cherish.

I was able to locate photos of dresses Grandma Hannah had made for my mother and her sister: the wedding dress they shared, the maid and matron-of-honor dresses they wore for each other’s weddings and in the wedding party of their elder brother…and then I took photos showing how all those fabrics had been used in later years to create these beautiful doll dresses, too.

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This doll is wearing a dress made from the soft green silk dresses Hannah made for Mama and her sister to wear in their older brother’s wedding.
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Grandma Hannah made these beautiful doll dresses from the velvet dress and wedding gown she made for her daughters years before. Mama looks so darling in her velvet dress!

When I was about 8, I also received a handmade quilt from Grandma, who used the pattern called Sunbonnet Girl, and it features so many other fabrics I recall seeing in Grandma’s creations over the years that studying it is like walking through a hall of memories. My mother wisely stored the quilt till I was grown, and now it decorates our guest bed. I sent its story on to baby Abigail Joyce and her parents, too, but–for now–I’m keeping the quilt with me. Just for now.

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And my original Raggedy Ann is also staying with me. Grandma and sweet Pa Louie gave her to me when I was a newborn, and that was the day Hannah suggested my parents call me Kitty. My mother had to give Raggedy so many new faces and yarn-hair makeovers over the years that there’s not too much left of the original doll, but the “I Love You” stamped over her heart. My favorite dress for Raggedy Ann was too faded and worn to send on to Abigail, but I patched the tears, and dressed Raggedy in it once again (with the original matching pantaloons), and my first darling will stay with me. No more facelifts; she’s perfect just as she is. We’ll both be 67 in a couple of months, so I think we’ll accept our faces for what they are and be glad that our hearts still share mutual love for each other. We share one story; how could we ever part?

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So, off went the boxes of carefully wrapped dolls and dresses, and my handmade clothes with all their stories. I felt like I was dropping my childhood off at the Post Office. But I also felt relieved that the job was completed and that Grandma’s Hannah’s artistry and story are safely in the hands of those who I know will cherish and protect them.

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Me, in all my bald brilliance, with my Raggedy Ann, and in one of the dresses I sent to Abigail.

What I did not expect to derive from this project was such a deep resonance of the love Hannah must have felt for me. Now that I’m older than my grandmother was when she created these works of art, I’m stunned to realize how amazingly beautiful and detailed they are. The stitching, embroidery, trim, puffed sleeves, smocking, crocheted lace for edging hems and pantaloons, tiny buttons and snaps…it really left me in awe of the time and care she put into these. And then I found photos of the dresses she made for me, too. My goodness, they were beautiful; the photos don’t do them justice.

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This looking back with new eyes is a gift of aging. Of course, I objectively knew I was loved by my grandparents and I appreciated their gifts, but what a revelation to witness the talent and expertise Hannah evidenced in making all of these doll clothes, to imagine her delight at my own joy in receiving them, and to recall the years I played with them developing my own creativity and imagination. This longer view gave me such deep pleasure and summoned a far greater gratitude than I likely offered her as a child. What does a child know of hours sacrificed in love? How can a child perceive the value of handmade treasures?

I felt my grandmother’s love so profoundly during the days I worked to restore her handiwork and get all of my childhood dolls ready to share. I felt her presence with every piece I mended and pressed. And, in preparing these gifts for Hannah’s great-great-granddaughter, I felt the ties that bind me to my mother, my grandmother, and further back, through all the creative, loving women I follow in my time, and how my life leads to Abigail’s, and beyond. A procession of women trailing their gifts and love through time.

A chore that seemed daunting became a lesson about the things we come to know as we age and sift through memories in the company of ghosts. When we come to know again, and with greater understanding and wisdom, how deeply we’ve been loved by others, it reignites that love’s power and light for us, no matter how old we are. And then we know our one important task is to pass it on.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace

When Things I’ve Missed Return

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The sandhill cranes returned this week,
in graceful formations that cut through the fog
and gray skies. Surprised, I heard their muted
trumpet calls and turned to welcome them,
not too long gone, now all seasons are crimped
by heat and drought, and struggle to live as fully
as they once did. Still, the sandhill cranes returned,
and robins, rain, and willow green, too, and like
one who waits for the sight of a soldier descending
the hill towards home, when things I’ve missed
return again, the sharp pain of yearning releases
and a thousand blossoms of something like hope
bloom in the world I imagine still possible: peace,
perhaps–families sure of their footing, and safe.
And if men will yet make time to strafe their hate, to burn to ash what breathes, what they say proves us better,
I bow to our Earth, that still takes time to renew
love’s promises, delivering old friends, flying back
like memories of better days, sounding good news
to hold in my heart against the coming storms.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

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The Rare, Tiny Flower, by Kitty O’Meara, with illustrations by Quim Torres, arriving (we hope) June 14

The Beautiful and True

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Traveling a weary week to Poland,
backpacks stuffed with the necessary
and absurd. (Logic is too much to expect
when the world has gone mad.) Homes
destroyed, the roads gone, too, and the
neighbors? Who can say? “I don’t know
where I live anymore,” wept one old man
trudging through debris to nothing he wanted,
or knows, or chose; still, plodding on and away,
through the freezing night, into dark mystery.

Mothers and children, crammed in bright
stations, on benches and floors; looking
back towards yesterday, their holy ground,
and forward to questions without answers,
looking to their phones, staring into nothing,
looking to bear what they cannot bear to see.
Yet holding her child close to her heart, a woman says,
“I’m uncertain what is next, but I know we will return.”

Here were communities, watered and thriving, now
uprooted, connections left to desiccate, unearthed,
drying in the heat of depravity’s flames. Husbands,
fathers, brothers, sons. Men who owned their lives
and wore them comfortably, as students, engineers,
teachers, doctors, farmers, (only just preparing spring’s
planting), have stayed behind to fight for that which
they are, and will not yield, the beautiful and true.

A boy in soldier’s clothes comforts a child,
then bandages a woman’s head. He fumbles,
embarrassed by a camera sharing his clumsiness
5000 miles away, but he takes such gentle care in this
moment and the next. On Valentine’s Day, a month and
a lifetime past, he walked to classes and wondered if
the one he loved might love him, too. Today, an AK-47
hangs from his shoulder and he wears a helmet too large
for his adolescent head. How do the beautiful and true survive?

A tiny grandmother, babushkaed and bold, safe in Krakow,
smiled into the camera, “The bombs were everywhere;
the enemy shooting from behind every tree. But I am here!
I am alive! And that is good! Yes, that is very good!”

Where do these people find such strength,
the courage to leave; to part; to stay? People who
hug, and grieve, and stand to face the enemy,
unarmed except with brave defiance and wit; who
are these people of such fierce fire, too strong
to surrender their hope or joy? Too wise to believe
any despoiler could own their beauty and truth?

“He may destroy our homes;” one said,
“he may steal our land and believe
himself rich, but he would be deluded.
He will never possess our hearts or our
spirits. His evil only makes them stronger.
They will endure; they will remain and rise,
green and wild, beautiful and true;
they will grow and live forever.”

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Dedicated, with all my love, to the people of Ukraine.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

We, the People

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Where I was two years ago.

Looking at the world today, it seems clear that choosing the co-creative and healing path feeds life; choosing to ignore these invitations, to live from one’s shadow and to deny what impedes our ability to connect and love, leads to destruction and death.

I’ve been encouraged by, and am grateful for, the many people who agreed with the choices and actions I suggested as paths we could follow during our time of isolation, and have used their pandemic years (!) to dig deeper, evolve, and create. We, the people, are the miracle the Earth needs; ours is the love that can save it.

Gentle Peace to the world and to your hearts. May our leaders listen; may they be wise, calm, co-creative, and constructive. May they think differently and lead us to peace.

May we heal.

May we heal.

May we heal.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

The Power to Witness

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In times of crisis and loss, when some humans behave as monsters and most humans are powerless to effect change, it is natural, comforting, and–for many reasons–imperative that we return to our ancient stories of love and transformation. The Lenten Journey, the path from the soul’s winter to its utterly opposite flowering in spring, is one such story; it is the Christian story many of us have been steeped in since our childhoods, but other belief systems teach from similar journeys of the spiritual cycle flowing from death to new life.

The tragedy facing Ukrainians and Russians confronts each of us with questions we have to answer before we may pass through the door to transformation: Who are we to each other? Why are we here? What do we do when evil challenges our better natures? How do we respond to suffering? Does love have boundaries?

The answers may differ; there is never only one course of action with which to respond, but we know in our bones that to regress to our first impulse of returning violence, to answer murder with murder, to initiate vengeance upon the perpetrators of such horror is not the choice that alters the course of history for the better, or that corresponds to our hearts’ commitment to healing and the evolution of our spirits.

When times are peaceful, it’s easy to say, “Love is the answer,” but it’s quite a different pronouncement when we witness suffering at this level and feel powerless to help.

I think of the Lenten story, of the absolute innocence and peace-filled heart of the hero, and how his light challenged the dark hearts of those in power. “Oh, no,” they must have thought, “if everyone accepted that all are equal and all are welcomed, the entire hierarchical empire would collapse!” The Prophet shook their lies into the open air; he called forth the truth of their greed and cruelty into the collective consciousness, exposing them for the charlatans and unmitigated oppressors they really were. He pulled aside the curtains and revealed how their silken splendor cloaked the brittle pillowed thrones of puny thugs.

He had to be killed not because he was evil, but because he was pure goodness. And because he spoke the brilliant, simple truth, upsetting the shoddy scaffolding of ornamented lies that supported the power of men dedicated to their own egos’ desires and nothing else.

Ukraine poses such a threat to Putin’s tiny, dark heart, and he cannot see for the light these people shine in his eyes, which is often the case for one who has chosen to live his life in darkness.

And us? What can we do in this time of such magnificent technology that we’re all instantly and continuously brought to the foot of this cross?

In the Lenten Story, the Innocent Victim’s beloveds were powerless to stop his suffering. Some fled from the scene or betrayed their friendship, which means their love. (Friend is derived from the Old English word meaning to love, to favor. Despots are friendless. Bowing sycophants are not friends.)

But those who allowed Love to lead them beyond their urges to flee, deny, hate, or despair, stood; they just stood and witnessed the suffering, loved the victim through his dying, watched the violence and cruelty done to his body, heard his cries of pain, remained through his final out-breath, carried and entombed his tortured body, and went home, broken in spirit, to grieve.

That is not the story’s ending, but it is where we are now, standing in the Suffering, witnessing the expanse of misery that hate-filled humans can cause. Indeed, in our time, one unloved, unchecked human can destroy the planet with his hatred.

And I, with my love-filled life, feel powerless, powerless to alter this.

And then I consider the spiraling path from Advent to Easter, from birth through death to wider rebirth, and am mindful that this road will always, always take us through suffering on our way to transformation, if we seek the wisdom every part of the journey offers.

The word witness comes from the idea that to observe a thing and understand it deeply allows us to “testify” to its existence and substance. We saw this; we were there; we remained present and learned again what humans steeped in hatred can do to other humans. And how love resists.

We don’t like this part of the journey. We often reject it and so add to our shadow’s burden. Advent requires such intolerable patience and Lent forces our soul to confront itself. “Ummm, no,” we think. “Please, let’s just jump to presents, to flowers and feasts and chocolate.”

Christmas and Easter are fun and delicious, filled with light and delight. But their real gifts have to be earned. Our flaws and destructive habits can be named and detached from our egos. We can sacrifice desire on behalf of our own and others’ well-being. “Look at yourself,” is Lent’s rugged–and deepening–invitation. “Look again.” First, we change; then we see that Christmas and Easter are always here. Transformation allows deeper and clearer vision; it lifts veils of delusion.

To evolve, we need to be awake through every lesson, every moment of the cycle, and develop the powers that guide us through those times that are dark and frightening, those times that bring the mirror too close. We must bear self-scrutiny; we must witness our weaknesses as well as our strengths. How will we heal if we can’t identify our wounds?

In this moment, there is the need for us to summon our power to witness the reality of hate, which exists in each of us and can only be healed through our choice to surrender it to the greater power of love, or there will be no Easter, no transformation, no rebirth.

The entire Lenten Story would lose such depth without those few who stayed beside the Transforming One and witnessed.

We can choose to be present and witness the evil; witness the suffering, the courage, the strength of those in the path of Putin’s dark storm of self-hatred. Witness those who do not surrender to this hatred and fear; witness those leaders whose clarity and resolve withstand the urge to lash out and instead guide the world through this time of dark suffering and back to balance. Stand and witness; suffer beside the victims in spirit; offer love and any possible aid; offer support to our leaders; offer the loving-kindness and the balance of our own spirit, but witness and do not turn away.

We’re told that Love works together in all things for our good, if we love fully. And that means that when we are powerless to stop others from suffering, our power is to remain present in love, to witness and remember what we have seen, and to testify, sharing all the ways love brought us through to a new and fragile Easter.

Take great and gentle care of yourselves. Feed your spirits. Create. Never surrender your hope. Be kind. Witness. Love.

Ways to help Ukraine.

Also, we can help those in our community who cannot withstand rising energy costs: Ride-share. Bike. Walk. Work from home. Donate to food banks and resale shops. Volunteer. Contact lawmakers to renew green energy commitments and funding rather than rush to more fracking and drilling: NOW is the time to transform how we treat the Earth as well as each other. Fight for better public transportation. Convert to solar power. Advocate for affordable electric vehicles. Reduce consumption of energy. Reduce consumption of anything mindlessly purchased to fill holes that can only be filled by love-in-action. Wear a damn sweater. (Jimmy Carter was right. About most things.) Be safe and well. 💕🌸💕

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Love Became Our Country

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And how did it end?

Suffering stormed the air and sorrow seiged our hearts.
For too long, fear had kept us broken and alone,
weakened by the variants of grief. Charlatans
and bullies, bloated men with indigent hearts,
hollow men who fed on greed and lies, stirred
the weak to anger, and then to oppress,
and then to destroy.

We hid and seemed tamed. Silent. 

But all the while, we were healing.
All the while, reaching through the dark,
dreaming ourselves to strength, planting
wild possibilities, creating, creating. 
Creating with fire, we blazed a trail 
back to fierce hope; we united.

And those who could not love
were consumed by its light,
shamed and forgotten,
fair justice from a world
too blessed for their curses,
too free for their fences,
too healed for their disease.

Love transforms when we choose its embrace.
We meet the world with our gifts or lose it.
We learned this and said Yes.
We will love.
End? There was no ending.
There never is with love…
Love is always a beginning.

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I am heartsick for the people of Ukraine. For the conscripted Russian youths. For the world.

I retain my fierce hope that love will win, and believe that, while peace may not return on this side of my life, it will return and flourish. I guard against hatred and wish instead that full awareness and empathy will permeate the hearts and minds of those who have inflicted such suffering. May they feel the pain they’ve created, understand its depths, realize the consequence of their choices, understand other choices were available, and seek forgiveness.

There are many charities and helpers listed on social media and online news sites. Here is where I’m donating today.


© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.