Crisis Point

I am so angry, I am beyond furious. I am a volcano of rage. 

Ineptitude. Stupidity. Ignorance. Deceit. Greed: They’re not just winning; they’ve won, I think. The losses, the drowning, the panic, the fear, the flood of tears…so many deaths due to a lack of foresight and a rejection of plans that had been in place. Such great willingness on the part of what passes, absurdly, for leadership to sacrifice the innocent for political gain.

I think: We cannot turn away. We cannot abandon those in the hospitals and those responding to calls for help, those meeting the hurricane of suffering, tending this one, the next, the overflowing, unending need of fellow humans, each distinct, each with a story ending. Now. Gasping for air, suffocating on their own fluids.

I must watch the reports, listen to the stories, stand with these heroes, suffering beside them, feeling all the fear, the chaos, the pain, the infinite demand of their energy as they seek, beyond human endurance, to stay focused on the one person before them, while their companions falter, drop, and die. I must share their helplessness. I must take responsibility for the inability to stem the tide of horror. I must not turn away. What right have I to rest when they cannot?

I do not know what to do with this rage and sadness…

And I am so ready to hate and to desire the obliteration of those whose ignorance has led us to this lack of preparation and ill-use of our intelligence, potential, and gifts. What we feared for years has happened, and there is no vindication.

And then I remember my mother, my darling Mama, sitting beside me, dying from the strain of heart failure and dialysis, after years of caring for my father following his own massive stroke. He had only recently died, and we hoped that now, in his release to peace, Mama would find some years of respite and joy, time to live without worry, to travel, visit friends and family, relax. But the years of stress had taken their toll on her health, as these things do, and now she faced her own death. 

And so, we sat together one afternoon after dialysis had left her exhausted, and I upended and over-spilled. I railed and wept and told her how outraged I felt at the unfairness of this outcome. She didn’t deserve this. 

And she turned to me, with such palpable kindness and love, and she assured me that my life would proceed and I would be O.K. Her faith, her set of beliefs, her long-lived years of sacrifice and loving had deepened her capacity to withstand and enter mystery. They had prepared her for dying with acceptance and peace. 

She said–and I’ve never forgotten this–that I had no idea what events and circumstances awaited those of us who would survive her loss. We could not know what suffering, what terrors, what evil might sweep across our lives, or the world, or how they would require our endurance, our strength, our love, and our gifts. She said it would be necessary to heal and to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits to meet the challenges in our own lives with the best we could offer rather than face challenges weakened by unhealed grief or the anger we could summon regarding life’s inherently perceived unfairness.

And here we all are. At the crisis point of our lives. 

And I hear the echo of Mama’s words and think: I have to sacrifice my rage. I have to transform its energy into love and realize, once again, I’m being asked to stand by in the face of extraordinary suffering. I’m asked, again, to witness and support the hell faced by others: those in the hospitals and those at work in the world, while I remain in quarantine. 

I have to let go of the hatred I feel for those who have allowed this horror to widen and deepen and accelerate beyond what might have happened. I have to remain in isolation, guard my health, turn off the words that incite unrelieved anger and grief, and prepare. I have to turn from the televised terror and re-balance. They also serve who only stand and wait, said Milton. Can I find the gift in my impotence?

I am not a doctor, or a nurse, or a scientist, or a respiratory therapist. Those with these gifts are following the unselfish consequences of choosing to honor the calls they came to share.

I have other gifts. My job is to see where they can lead, and to be willing to use them when they are needed, however I can help, at whatever cost. My job today is to witness, to love, to wait, to stay healthy, to shine light, to acknowledge loss and suffering, to grieve, to rage and to let go of rage and see how life will endure. 

My job is to see that spring has come, that birds are singing, that green is returning, that light still shines, and to flash that back to the world and re-balance, even a little, the sorrow that could rob us of hope.

Many of us are at home, feeling powerless, but we’re not. We’re not. We can truly be “working from home.” We can hold in our hearts the memories of the greatness we’re witnessing all around the world. We can treasure and protect the promise of what we can become when the deep work of healing begins. We can consciously gestate the better creations we will offer the world when we are able to meet again and embrace, and the gifts we’ve fed are needed for nourishment.

We can begin learning how to surrender, how to transform hatred, grief, and anger into love. 

And this is our work, and this is why we are here, and this is what we offer the world at its crisis point, and when the crisis passes.

 

© 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.

 

Sonnet 19: When I consider how my light is spent

By: John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

 

 

Metamorphosis

You,
in the cocoon of quarantine,
have you felt it yet?
 
The command to slow down?
The old heart stopping?
The old parts melting?
The new you finding its way
to rebirth?
 
The instructions came with you (they were there all the time),
imaginal discs waiting for this Now,
this necessary moment:
this time to transfigure.
 
You,
in the tomb of transformation,
don’t emerge too soon, unformed
ill-prepared for the world that awaits you.
 
Die, again, to all the ways you are not you.
Evolve, becoming everything you came to be,
rising on wings (they were there all the time),
then kissing a flower
and carrying love across the garden
to the next
and the next,
forever.
 
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Gifts

Dear Friends,

I have received such lovely versions of artistic collaboration with my poem, In the Time of Pandemic, and wanted to share some of this remarkable creativity and artistry with you. I so love the way artists have been inspired to augment and enhance my words with their creativity, and all for the good of us all.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

  1. This is the amazing work of the musical improvisation group, Epiphany, from the UK:

(Here is a link to their work: https://youtube.com/epiphanymusic)

 

2. This is the gifted work of a young man in Italy, Joe Natta:

 

3. And here is a link to a beautiful reading by my friend, Prakath P. Gopinath, from Trivandrum, India, who also known as Trivandrum’s Bicycle Mayor.

 

4. And here is one by Bo Lundvang, in Sweden, with exquisite music by Philip Daniel Zach:

 

5. Here is a version from Amos Bracewell:

 

6.  Here is song composed by Roberto Zamora that is so beautiful our 5 dogs sing along with it:

 

7. And this lovely video was created by Kes Cardoso, and is remarkable in its simplicity and beauty:

Many people have taken the time and effort to translate the poem into their own beautiful languages, and I am so grateful for that. Forgive me if I have neglected to share a creative endeavor that was offered to me; please share it in the comments!

I thank everyone who has shared their art with me and others; it is so wonderful that we can meet and co-create, and support, and heal each other all the way through this…and by “this,” I mean our lives. Bless you all. Stay safe, be well, and gentle peace.

Joy to you, gratitude, and great, great love.

Hospitality

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Several words are tangled in the etymology  of the word, “hospitality.” It is derived from the Latin hospes, giving us the words host, hospice, hospital, hostel, and hotel, and is therefore connected to the specific metonymies of guest, stranger, and welcome, and to images of lodging and respite where one’s needs are met with attentive compassion.

When our bodies serve as disease vectors harboring bacteria, parasites, and viruses capable of killing us, we are scientifically termed “hosts,” despite our inclination to close the door to these specific visitors. Sometimes, closing the door is the intelligent choice.

But, beyond the physical, we offer shelter to the thoughts and feelings that storm or gently cross the threshold of our hearts and spirits. We are the gatekeepers of our response to each encounter, and we must be mindful of our choices, always.

It is human, healthy, proper, and perfectly acceptable to feel fear, anger, sorrow, and despair. It is important to feel the full and sacred spectrum of what it means to be human. We must honor our abilities to recognize loss, our capacity for empathy, our yearning for community. We must mourn our losses, and they are staggering. It is our responsibility to listen to these feelings, to comfort, and to heal them. Over and over.

And it is also our deeply human responsibility to fashion and live out responses that honor our uniquely human capacity for hope, love, and creativity.

This current virus has already begun its horrifying march of destruction through the earth’s people; we do not have to also grant it the power to destroy our humanity, our courage, our impulse to love, our need to connect with and support each other. Rather, let us widen the doors of our hearts to hold this suffering, to look for ways to offer blessing, and to seek the opportunities to create love that meet us every moment, always. Our human longing to offer and receive hospitality bids us to open the door.

My husband and I have a front door that’s always open to guests. Our commitment to our eight 4-leggeds comes with the sacrifice of frequent journeys far from home to vacation and connect with loved ones. Thankfully, friends and family drop in, stop over, and come by with a frequency that hallows our home and keeps the energy merry. We mourn the loss of these other voices, these kindred spirits, these life-giving companions on our journey. As with all of us these days, no one is knocking at the door, no bells are announcing imminent embrace.

The absence of these visitors and its dreadful source are deeply saddening and fearful. We become frozen in moments robbed of hope.

And then, we go for a walk and see the signs of spring, everywhere, telling us the world can heal. We can practice the earth’s hospitality of welcoming life, of nurturing hope, of becoming the safe harbor of love. 

This week, a pair of finches has built its nest over the light that welcomes guests to our front door. Already, 5 delicate eggs, each a miracle, are warmed by their mother. Life wins, dear friends. Life always wins. Welcome it. Celebrate its renewal. We must never, ever, close the door of our heart to the possibility of guests–human, winged, feathered, scaled, many or few-legged, dreamt, or imagined–who will entertain us, like angels, with blessing.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song. ~ Pope John Paul II

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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 Light That Matters

 

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Living the hours, when bodies are confined
and spirits reaching…

Begin:
Wake to the morning light.
Welcome the earth’s rhythms.
Join her ancient dance.
Improvise in delight.

Then:
Silence the voices, panicked and chaotic,
crashing in on elsewhere waves.
Open sacred space to stillness.
Inquire within.
Breathe.

Finally:
Recall that seeds are planted
in the welcome womb of earth,
and in her darkened dwelling
birth their roots.
And, when the daylight fades,
sit in the holy darkness.
Tell stories.
Listen.

Turn to the stars, the Love from which we came:
Welcome the delicate tremble, the flickering wave,
the long goodbyes
sent eons ago,
reminding us, in this moment:
We are the light that matters.

Enlight162

 

© 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 Work of Our Lives

squirrel buddy

We hear you.
We see right through you.

It isn’t about our peace, safety, or welfare.
It never was.

Lives bled of the sacred;
our labor, our time, our energy
line your pockets and homes with gold.

You don’t panic on our behalf.
You’re not desperate for our lives,
for our children,
for our earth.

Hush.
Stop.
Find your way back to humanity.

We will wait.
Safe.
Together.
This is the work of our lives:
Growing beyond the walls you offer.
Compassionate.
Healing.
Creating.

Will you join us?

Choose wisely.

Baby Fox

 

 

© 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.

 

Via Dolorosa

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Some days, there are no words.
There is only weeping.
And that is also prayer.
And that is also healing.

Death-to-resurrection,
the circle tightens
but never ends.
Today, we travel the arc of grief.

May our tears water the earth.
Soft rains creating new life,
uprising, green, and nurtured
by our sorrow.

Oh, sweet bird,
sing your song of spring;
lift our hearts on your wings;
carry us to peace.

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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.