Gratitude Soup

“That’s the third time this morning you’ve complained about having to make soup from leftovers. Don’t do it if it’s that much work.”

Ouch. Phillip was right. It was only 6:30 and I hadn’t begun the day with a very positive attitude. I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful for having it pointed out to me, either.

Frustrating, too, because I’ve always been “Soup Girl.” My family used to tease me when we went out to eat and, scanning the many options from a varied menu, I’d inevitably choose soup. I have three cookbooks dedicated solely to soup recipes…so why was I complaining? I love making soup!

One of the many benefits Phillip and I sought when we decided to consciously live a “slow life” was to bring our energy into better balance; there were aspects of our daily round that received too little energy and others that demanded too much. And it’s been working well; our nights and weekends are much more relaxed and the 4-leggeds are enjoying greater attention and presence.

The holidays, though, present a challenge to balanced energy, fueled as they are by the excitement of anticipation, the rush of the actual celebrations, and the aftershocks of exhaustion and a kind of body-mind-spirit deflation. It all passes so quickly, and our precious time with loved ones is over for another year.

The word “holiday” is derived from “holy day,” and “holy” is etymologically grounded in “health” and “wholeness.” We humans have always intuited the fundamental sacredness of life and created ways to celebrate this, but it seems we’re increasingly losing our connection with the sacred and replacing it with an ever greater need to consume: food, goods, time, relationships, money, and the environment at an accelerated pace. Imbalanced energy is often a sign of addiction, and addictions are indicative of spiritual distress, illness, or disconnection.

Observe the choices made without reflection and the results yielded by a people with diseased and neglected spirits: 60-hour (or more) work-weeks, credit card debt, broken families, obesity, diabetic and cardio-compromised bodies, homes filled with plastic, and the earth stuffed with ecologically-disastrous landfills. And still we pursue mind-numbing consumption—pepper spray in hand—because it makes us less anxious than being still and present with our feelings and creating the style, pace, and choices of a uniquely-lived and designed life rather than one mass-produced by marketing gurus and underpaid Chinese workers.  

So we tried to sustain our focus on balance this Thanksgiving, and on the sacred connections and relationships in our lives. The meals were healthy, and our time with family included long walks and deep conversations. (Walking together seems to elicit more authentic and heart-driven sharing, I’ve noticed.) The days leading up to Thanksgiving and our time together felt peaceful, lacking past spikes and dips in our energy.

After our guests had left on Sunday, though, I felt the predictable fatigue and sadness that our time together had passed.  It’s natural to feel these things, and I honored those feelings and tended my spirit. But this morning, faced with the extremely anticlimactic residual “leftovers” from Thanksgiving, I complained. I didn’t want to accept that the time I’d so happily anticipated had passed, and I resisted the drudgery of dealing with its remnants.

Not living from the spirit level, and not characteristic of Soup Girl.

After a strenuous session of Ashtanga body-knots and then meditation, I decided to create “Gratitude Soup.”

I was thinking about the wonderful story of Stone Soup (naturally one of Soup Girl’s childhood favorites), and how the stranger/outsider initiates relationship and collaboration by cajoling a village community to contribute what they can and so create a delicious meal all can share. It inspired me to stop complaining about leftovers and instead celebrate gratitude for the family Thanksgiving we were able to enjoy this year and the people we love who made it so wonderful.

As I chopped vegetables, added spices, and combined ingredients, I reflected on my time with family and recalled our conversations. I savored the memories and felt my emotional responses. I pondered how our time together revealed what our goals and gifts and spirits are now, and what they are becoming. I thought about phone conversations that put us in touch with friends and family who weren’t here with us this Thanksgiving. I offered blessings for our paths and prayers for our peace and joy in the coming year.

The leftovers were transformed into a soup of sweet memories and again made holy through gratitude for the people I love.

For me, making “Gratitude Soup” created a new and lovely form of meditation, a way to extend the joy of Thanksgiving and to steady my energy so I can head into the Christmas season balanced and peaceful.

The “slow life” we’ve chosen isn’t always easy, but it permits a deeper integration of experience, creation of meaning, and present-focused spiritual poise than our former lifestyle allowed us. Every day is a holy day; I’m grateful we have the time and energy to celebrate them together.

Soup Girl is back!


© 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.

Lessons From Trees

November brings greater austerity to the trail, revealing deeper truths than October, with its showy colors and garments of leaves. Now the leaves have been shed and blown away, trampled, soaked by days and nights of rain and dried to a silky, papery brown. The trees appear stark; nature’s bones are revealed at this time of year. 

The sandhill cranes and Canada geese are leaving us in large flocks, calling to each other, gathering incoming members, gaining altitude, and heading south. This morning, we watched 4 more flocks of sandhill cranes whirlipping and flapping in long-necked V’s to their sun-warmed southern destination. I felt a pull in the heart, a sense of abandonment, that severance of presence and connection so vital to relationship, the energetic downturn felt at every parting.

Riley, Clancy, and I paused on our walk to mark this wild calling, this meeting and leave-taking that excluded us entirely. We are foreign to this migration, yet connected by our call to witness, and moved to bless the journey of tribes not our own. We silently raised our eyes to watch the crane exodus. The strenuous exertion of their 6-foot wingspans beat the air in choreographed and ancient rhythms, carrying them away from us.

I raised my arm. Be safe; be well; see you in the spring…

They reached the horizon’s vanishing point and all three of us took a collective breath.

They are gone. We remain. The grief of parting and the agony of separation are the way of the world, says a Japanese proverb.

 So we stood on the bridge, left alone to face winter’s black and white world, its and icy blue sparks and amethyst shadows …and then we headed down the trail in silence. 

Our faithful companions, the wooded community of trees, border our path and arch overhead, forming the ribbed vault of our sanctuary. They stand naked and beautiful by mid-November, exuding their grounded grace and humility, just as they wear their spring, summer, and autumn colors—their annual parade of lacy, lush, and dramatic wardrobes—with that same sense of acceptance.

Their reliable presence is comforting. I know their shapes and places, and have learned the names of many of those we pass each day. (Trees do speak if we’re still enough to listen and hear.) And so we walked along, and exchanged our breaths with the trees, and they taught me again what it means to be authentic, to flow with the changes and losses life presents rather than oppose nature or resist change.

Our world and everything in it is transitory, elusive, and impermanent. We will lose the companions, places, and things we love. We will die. Every moment, things change.

Tolstoy, troubled by suffering and loss, pondered the proper response. “What then must we do?” I studied the trees. The one we call mother has died. She used to have three arms crooked out at right angles from her trunk and lifted up towards the sky. She has one breast, marking her as one who suffered, survived, and endured. Passing seasons have left her trunk cleaved fore and aft, right down her center, her third eye now allowing daylight to blaze through, her one remaining arm yet raised, and her ghostly presence still imposing, harboring the spirit of these woods. Even when I’m deep in thought, her voice calls to me and signals our connection. She reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s wisdom that, “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”

The Japanese proverb doesn’t encompass the whole story. There is more to the way of the world than the grief of parting and agony of separation. There is renewal; there is constant co-creation; there is reconnection; there is the mystery and miracle of this moment. Where parting has occurred, there is hope of reunion. And always, there can be gratitude.

How we respond to life is our choice and it is powerful in the way it affects us and everyone with whom we connect. Trees always appear to be raising their limbs in praise of what is. They appear grateful; they catch and release their blessings lightly. Clothed in the promise of spring or the bareness of winter, they remain unwavering in their peaceful acceptance of now. Here is a practice I can imitate when I feel weighed by resistance to change and loss, tied to my grief rather than my healing, burdened by the invitation to grow: I can raise my spirit in gratitude for what is.

And so I will joyfully welcome home those I love this Thanksgiving, be a witness to their stories, grateful for their lives, and present to our time together, rather than grieve that it must pass. And if they glance back when they leave, they’ll see my arm raised in blessing. Like my friends, the trees, I’ll praise what is, celebrate gratitude, and catch and release my blessings lightly.

Be safe; be well. Merry meet, merry part, with an ever-grateful heart; may we merry meet again.

Joy to your Thanksgiving.


Rooted Being

 The tree exists in joy,

In quiet fullness, fully here.

The seed scarified, fire-born sapling

Down-bowing to the gift of now;

Refuting reason’s bright summation

Stating why it should not be.

There are storms, we know,

That sever seed from root,

And rot, disease, and pests,

That winnow life’s possibilities.

And yet this tree is.

It lives. It grows.

It bends, weighted by guests who have

Come, weary-winged and


It is.

A harbor, humbly homeward-leaning,

Called by its life-light,

Reaching for Love’s elsewhere-music,

Dancing, improvised and graceful,

To measures not its own:

Gaining, straining, losing,




Branches rising, turning, reaching—

Life falls back to earth again.

Wild winds, small rain, fierce light, dry limbs,


Yet, see! Greening, newly-dew-drenched,

Praise-sap climbs

From faithful roots,

To branches raised in Yes and

O, see, it is




For in all our winters, Love

Whispers 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.

Slow-Life, St. Vinnie’s, and Glorious Views

From the beginning of our relationship, Phillip and I agreed with Socrates’ belief that the unexamined life is not worth living. Accruing wealth has never been our goal. We chose careers that combined our perceived gifts and interests with an aim to contribute something of value to our society. We didn’t earn advanced degrees, again and again, to “make more money,” but to contribute deeply and effectively to the common good.

Teaching, and then, for me, chaplaincy, allowed us to pay bills, own a home, and manage a comfortable life, but not without foregoing material goods we’re told are “necessary” for modern life. We’ve never driven new or nearly-new cars; most of our clothes and a lot of our home decor have come from St. Vincent de Paul, rummage sales, and antique stores. We grow a lot of our food and support local farmers. We still haven’t made it to Europe. We don’t have state-of-the art anything.

I don’t put this forth as a morally superior lifestyle (although I do endorse a consciously encountered and morally-driven life); this is the life we have chosen, but also one I believe other people have chosen and may increasingly choose as well, contrary to life-as-depicted by our media. We all know people who love their careers and contentedly work away from home long hours to pursue them, but I have known more people who resent the long hours and overbooked calendars today’s employers demand.

To be fair, when Phillip and I learned we could not have the children we dearly wanted, we were also able to live without the financial worries of raising a family (although, over the years, we’ve invited many 4-legged companions into our lives, and their comfort, health and medical care can be rather pricey at times). So, we’ve always managed to “get by” financially, again, like most people in our country.

Our recent decision to halve our income so I could stay home to write, coupled with the current Depression (whatever the happy, false, “spin-name” for it might be) however, has made life a bit more dicey and precarious, especially since the remaining steady wage-earner in our family is a Wisconsin public-school teacher. Healthcare and pensions will only become increasingly conspicuous concerns as we age.

So, we sift through the repercussions and inherent sacrifices of this choice and monitor our purchasing and planning frequently. How can we cut our expenses a bit more and throw a few more dollars into savings? Will anybody appreciate my writing enough to pay for it? Should Phillip take another remodeling job this winter and how could I best help him complete it? What would indicate it’s time for me to return to working for a steady income? Should we downsize and sell Full Moon? If so, where should we move?

I have a feeling a lot of people are living with similar questions these days.

What we’ve learned, so far, is that living a “slow life” is challenging but possible for us, and deepens our experience of life and each other considerably, given our definition of “life’s meaning,” which is to consciously nurture and value our relationship with each other, family, friends, our 4-legged companions, and our land.

Certainly, the 4-leggeds have greater companionship and a better quality of life. Phillip now comes home to…well, a home, instead of another workplace where tasks have mounted during long workdays and work weeks spent earning income to pay for a lifestyle we never, really, experience. The shopping’s done, the house is clean (enough), the laundry’s finished, a welcoming meal has been prepared and the dogs are walked and sitting near me instead of in their kennels from 7 AM till one of us gets home at night. We can all relax, sit together, share our day’s stories, and enjoy our nighttime hours without tedious distractions and the interruptions of necessary chores.

The benefits for me are rich. I take daily walks on the trail, write, cook, breathe with the 4-leggeds, and do all of this in the silence my spirit needs to listen and create. I sit with the sunrise and watch the hawks hunt; life isn’t something that will happen some day; I’m “in it” now. I don’t mind housework; it facilitates my meditation and helps me work through writing blocks and tricky plots.

We’re edging along a tenuous and precarious tightrope, but the view is glorious.

Slow-living is not for everyone, but I can only emphasize that—even if available only for a time—its rewards are deeply healing and wonderful for the spirit. It makes me observe more critically our society’s mad consumerism, which creates ever-increasing demands on our time and the pace with which we move through it.

Life presents constant choices and those choices circle around and become the architecture of our life. I’m here to say it’s possible to pause, to say no, to retreat, to do with less, to cut back on hours given to accruing money and to give them back to yourself and those you love.

It’s possible to breathe with the sunrise instead of hurtling away from it, battling your way down a highway to a job that devours more of your spirit than it feeds.

See ya at St. Vinnie’s.


© 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.



Recall and Kitchen Wisdom: Creating a Table Where all are Welcome

The one area of domestic creativity that has intrigued me from an early age has been anything connected to cooking and baking. My mother was very capable in the kitchen, but didn’t enjoy her time there; I speculate this was largely because producing family meals day in and day out without much of a break became a dull routine. I recall her deep pleasure in my father’s midlife interest in gourmet cooking, and the way it freed up her weekends so she could relax and enjoy time away from the kitchen.

One glorious Christmas, Santa brought me an Easy-Bake Oven, with its miniature stove, pans, utensils, and boxed mixes. It conjured little layer cakes, muffins, and quick breads through the magical heat of a light bulb. It entertained me and kept my brothers content for a few minutes after the Lilliputian cakes were frosted, but I soon tired of putzing around on such a small scale: I wanted to enter the arena of the real kitchen and manipulate the enchantment of chemistry on a grander and more sophisticated stage.

My mother was only too happy to encourage this, and I am eternally grateful for the trust and freedom she granted me as she left the room with her own pile of books and a sigh of contentment.

Her list of rules was brief. She expected me to clean up whatever mess I created, which I thought a fair exchange for the pleasure provided, for creation—both the birth and death necessary for it to occur—is a messy affair indeed. She also asked that I share my results with my brothers, which taught me that while indulging one’s creativity is vital, the sharing of one’s creation, art, and self is the purpose.

I’ve been pondering these lessons lately, as I return to the kitchen with the great excitement of holiday baking adventures, new recipes, and family gatherings tantalizing my imagination. I love all the seasons, but there is none better for me than that grand culinary and guest-welcoming stretch of the calendar year between October and January. Friends, family, food and its accompaniments: what’s better? Imagining how this or that creation will please someone we love is a lovely impetus for our artistic endeavors.

And so, in the kitchen, I still create wildly and clean the mess as I go along, and I still—mostly—share what I create. I’ve been wondering lately, though, if I apply these rules as wisely to the rest of my pursuits in the grander and more sophisticated arena of life outside of my kitchen.

It is no secret that Wisconsin, the state where I have lived most of my life, is experiencing a political crisis and that divisive laws, choices, and use of power have been more in evidence this past year. We are living through an intensely concentrated and tempestuous version of the larger international and national socio-political chaos that is the hallmark of our time, and there are days I can enter the fray with energy and clear vision, and others, when I desire silence, peace, and a Canadian refuge. Life and choices are not black and white, as they were when I was younger; they are rather a formless gray and we are invited, especially in a representative democracy (if we truly are that anymore), to co-create our society’s shapes and patterns, institutions and laws, taxes and their use…and we are expected to participate fully in the operation and integrity of these systems, ensuring that our creation is fashioned to include and honor everyone justly.

I am filled with doubt when asked to support an “us/them” mentality, and yet the divisions between the opposing political worldviews seem more and more distinct, and I am increasingly unable to perceive enough common ground where I may stand and hold hands with those on either side of the arguments. I am concerned that all of us are creating messes without attending to them and have no well-formulated plan for how our new creations will be shared among all the state’s, or country’s, or world’s residents, including the non-human.

I fear we may act without forethought, fueled by anger and reactive impulses rather than reason and compassion. How will we reconstitute the relationships we are dissolving and repair the connections we have destroyed? How will those we oppose be invited to contribute their gifts if we become the party in power? How are we living into the change we desire?

It seems the earth is straining more violently these days, and the hope flickering at my core is that these are birth pangs as well as death cries, and that the spirit of love is present, working earnestly to help us midwife a time of greater peace and equity among all earth-dwellers. I can’t go on without such hope, despite the preponderant evidence that we never, really, learn how to accept and love the stranger.

Hate is a dangerous fuel, energizing and strengthening a journey of division. It can change the faces of power without altering the balance. Discord is not a reliable or sustainable diet. And I cannot be fooled into believing myself, and therefore my pursuits and methods, any less selfish and partisan than those with whom I disagree. Listening, reflection, and circumspection are more important practices than ever.

I’m trying a new recipe today and as excited as ever about creating something new and sharing it with those I love.

Tomorrow I will sign a petition that seeks to recall our current governor.

May we proceed cautiously and with mindfulness regarding the energetic sources that inspire and motivate us; may we take time to tend to our messes as we go along; and may we finally create a life-giving system for governance served at a table where all are welcome and all are fed.


© 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.


True to Our Nature

We are an odd couple, Phillip and I.

While “odd” is an adjective relative in its gradations, here I mean we are odd like Felix and Oscar: I, being bound by a dedicated zeal to a neat and orderly home, and Phillip better able to relax and feel grounded in an earthy “whatever/is-ness” regarding the placement and arrangement of items.

Funny how life throws us into relationships that challenge our core beliefs about the meaning of life and the methods and paths for pursuing these; “funny” being another word offering broad interpretation, and here I mean not raucously amusing or the paragon of wit, but damnably frustrating and crazy-making. I’ve often wondered if we could have made it as a tribal couple, confined to a tipi. Dances with Vacuum meets Maker of Messes.

Rings are a lovely symbol for honoring the eternal bond created by weddings and commitment ceremonies, but I’ve often thought such rituals should end with the celebrant tossing a set of juggling balls at the two parties with the invitation that they “get to it.”

The thing about these partnerships is that they are never just between the two most apparent participants, but include legions of voices, directors, and choreographers it takes years to untangle and identify. And even if the sources of our predilections, habits, and worldviews are known, change is unlikely; we are who we are. Generations and genetics have made us so. The patterns are deeply embedded and the gears finely interlocked. Right? Am I right? Yes! I’m right, and that means, I win.

The trick to master in life, it seems, is to surrender the ego’s comfort with its seat at the center of one’s universe. Throughout my educational and career journeys, I’ve repeatedly encountered the developmental frameworks designed to gauge our growth in various domains, including the cognitive, emotional, moral, and spiritual dimensions of the self. (Read Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, and Fowler for more on these ideas.)

All of these models view ego transcendence as the highest goal and “energetic wavelength” we humans may achieve, and while they each define attributes and actions that signify one may have shed her egoic perspective, no one has figured out an exact prescription that fits all of us for reaching this level of enlightenment, but this much we know: Living from the ego, we miss the message that is the essence of all the spiritually evolved: Don’t live from the ego; live from and within the Spirit of Love.

The spiritual journey brings one into the egoic struggle daily, front-and-center. The constant invitation is to notice what we notice and listen to our inner tracks and judgments, even as we focus as well on the feelings and peace of those around us. Love, our Source, it seems, both challenges and blesses us with this bidding. It does become easier, with practice, to set down one’s views and pick up another’s, but I am nowhere near as facile with this ability to humbly and respectfully try on another’s worldview as I hope to be. Luckily, more opportunities to practice are incoming, every moment.

The Judge is the archetypal voice I struggle with more than others, and I suspect others of my species do as well. We learn so early about “right” and “wrong,” and can so easily be shamed into conforming to beliefs and patterns of behavior without an opportunity to explore other ways of thinking, acting, and being, that we project our fears of being “different” onto others who deviate from our own rigid box construction. Or the boxes that were handed to us.

We “should” all over ourselves until we can slow down, listen, laugh at ourselves, generously love ourselves, and then get over (transcend) ourselves and begin to enjoy and love the wonder of others. We learn to accommodate our ego and the egos of our communities, even as we challenge each other to grow beyond our limitations and reset the boundaries of love’s definition and territory.

The spiritual journey invites us to see through and beyond the right/wrong, winning/losing dualistic view that is the stuff of life for the ego. It offers us a chance to consider who we might become, and then teaches us to co-create ourselves anew, with Love, as it manifests through and around us.

I learn from Phillip’s ability to relax and settle into his surroundings; he learns from my established housecleaning routine; we both learn that a loving partnership is an adventure in mutual evolution and acceptance. He helps me accept, protect and grow beyond my inner Adrian Monk, and I do the same for his inner Pig Pen. We befriend each other’s shadow, and thus more generously welcome our own. And so we soften and extend the boundary of Love. Human nature is more than ego-fulfillment and a need to win; it is also a willingness to step outside and grow beyond the ego that divides us and enter the spirit that unites 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.

Love and Healing on 24 Legs

I’ve been recovering from eye surgery this past week, which–so far–seems to have replaced double vision with single vision and welcome clarity.

The physical pain has been minimal, despite my resemblance to Oedipus (after the truth is known), Mr. Rochester (after the fire), and Suzanne Pleshette (after the birds). Despite their terrifying appearance, though, my eyes really don’t hurt a lot from the surgery itself, but become sore from exposure to light and from trying to focus on anything too intently for longer than a few minutes.

The wounding-to-be-healed that is the essence of surgery requires long hours of being still, resting, and, for me, lying in a darkened room for the desired healing to actually occur. The radio has been a comforting distraction and the length and frequency of my meditation time has been invited to grow, but the hours tick by slowly and enforced disengagement from activities that offer pleasure and invite me into the daily round is difficult to sustain with equanimity.

Phillip, hesitantly gauging my relative coherence and mobility as functional, returned to school with my blessing the day after my surgery. I had a burst of “well, this isn’t so bad” energy, and, quite overjoyed with my restored sight (slightly blurred by antibiotic ointment), darted around the house cleaning, answering e-mail, starting a load of laundry, bumping into walls, and predictably falling into bed about 9:00 that morning, thoroughly exhausted.

Whatever residual general anesthetic had borne me aloft with such energy and enthusiasm had exited my bloodstream completely, and I crashed into my pillow, leaking pink tears and feeling quite defeated and pathetic.

I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, trying to center my runaway thoughts and connect with my unsettled spirit. Gradually, but perceptibly, I felt an energy shift within and around me. The 4-leggeds had slowly crept into my room, one by one, and in silent communion, began to offer their comforting presence and peace. Clancy, the sweet gentle boy who normally follows my every step around the house, positioned himself beside me and near my heart, while his sister Riley kept her vigil by the window, always watchful in her natural role as the family guardian. The cats, Finnegan, Murphy, Mulligan, and Fiona, jumped up and nestled around me, joining Clancy and Riley, and enclosing me within their circle of love.

It felt as though I surrendered my otherness and separateness; my energy merged with theirs, and we rested in stillness together for hours that day, and have shared more “circles of love” throughout the week. Their selfless, peaceful presence has allowed me to relax deeply, and has revealed connections more profound than the limiting imagery of words allows me to corral and convey. This is a different experience from that of a “shared nap” with my animals; it has felt more like a deep knowing, alive and actively present, is passing between us. Sharing loving energy with them this way has been one of the most healing experiences of my life, both surprising and humbling in its renewal of my spirit.

Gratitude has been my dominant feeling in response to the restoration of my vision; I am thankful for the surgeon, certainly, and even more grateful for the healing presence and care provided by Phillip, who has patiently tended to my pain, clumsiness, and craving for chocolate chip cookies. Family and friends have called, and sent notes, and e-mailed love and encouragement, reminding me of their individual and collective dearness in my life.

But it is the holy tending of the 4-leggeds that has most unexpectedly gifted my heart with healing this past week. Their deep sense of authentic presence has brought me to a stillness that is new and lovely. However transitory this level of stillness and awareness may prove to be, my animal companions have contributed to my lasting healing and spiritual growth; that is certain. I have learned that there are burdens we are able to release under the influence and presence of 4-legged companions that language cannot touch and physicians cannot prescribe.

It is good to be reminded of our dependency and individual frailty, at times. It is so easy to believe we are, as we imagine, the single-minded, autonomous architects of our lives. The ego drives the engine so effortlessly, until our genuine vulnerability reveals our inherent need for connection and care. I feel blessed to once again clarify my place within creation’s web of giving and receiving, with an emphasis, for now, on receiving.

It is frightening but necessary for us humans to fall, over and over, and be caught by Love. And it is always surprising what shape Love will assume. An infant, a friend, a husband, a teacher, a garden, a work of art…or this time, for me, two dogs and four cats in a darkened room made light by our shared and holy energy.


© 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.