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: https://youtu.be/BSkLh0Bsens

 

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

 

7. Here is a lovely version, composed and beautifully sung by Katie Smith:

 

8. This version is from Vlad Panov. He and his friend, Matt Adshead create music together. Vlad sings and plays all the instruments on this song:

9. Jane Foote is an RN at the Mayo Clinic. This is her Soundcloud version of the song she composed using my poem as inspiration. She has another version at CDBaby…any money earned will go to buy masks for healthcare workers and/or be donated to the Red Cross.

 

10.  Peter Mostert is a senior film editor who worked beautifully with pacing on this filmed version of the poem. I especially like the fast cuts showing the great suffering we have caused our earth and leading to the glorious shots of her possible healing.

I’m happy for him that this gave his amazing creativity an outlet…I really do try to encourage people who come to me for that, but it’s been tricky, as many haven’t asked first, and then want to enter joint copyrights and etc., which isn’t possible…but here’s Peter’s work. He did ask, and isn’t looking to make money…just art.

 

11. Voleo, a musical group in Barcelona, featuring this very talented couple, Neus and Jose, composed this song version. I LOVE the hope and joy that sings out from their music!

 

12. An extremely talented composer and pianist, Peta Williams, from the gorgeous Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia, composed this piece, using the poem…all the musicians were in isolation, so the creation of anything using technology like that both befuddles and amazes me. Just listen to this; I bet you’ll play it more than once. I love how Peta emphasizes that she created this wonder out of, and for, love. Artists like Peta are such a gift to us all, and to our healing.

 

13. The poem has been translated into so many languages, and I love when these are shared. Joana shared this with me, in Lithuanian, using a photo that reminds her of her grandparents’ home:

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14. An astonishing choral interpretation of “In the Time of the Pandemic,” by British composer Clive Whitburn, and sung by The New Network Singers Virtual Choir. Ray Burnside and Stephanie Grainger created the artwork and video. All are in East Sussex, UK. The score for choirs is available for free on Clive’s website:

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.

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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.

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.
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.

Traveling the Circle

“We’re all just walking each other home.”  ~ Ram Dass

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Please, read this. 

Then, turn off the phone, shut down the anxiety-driven frenzy of media and say, “I will die.”

Begin the work now.

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die. 

If that’s hard, I get it. A well-examined life and death are very hard and the meaning we assign them must be continually engaged.

Yes, it’s painful. It requires facing truths, sorting, asking forgiveness, making difficult decisions, changing, and surrender.

With compassion, I invite you to do it, anyway. 

Do this very important work. Now. 

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

Spirit Bird

Healthcare workers are in a hell of death right now, and families are still denying death, demanding their aged, dying loved ones be put through more suffering than they can endure, accusing doctors and nursers and social workers and respiratory therapists of murder, believing a vent, if there were one, would absolutely ensure survival.

News flash: If you need a vent, you’re already closer to death than you’ve likely been.

The dying begins at birth; our bodies are miraculous machines; they also, like cars, begin to depreciate the second they roll out of the factory.

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

The deep denial of this in our culture, also spoon-fed from birth, created a Western medical model that also, still, struggles with this truth. Cardio-pulmonary physicians and surgeons still aren’t adequately trained in allowing the reality of death to flow in congruence with the impetus to heal. They’re engineers; their brains and necessary gifts are focused on fixing. And we should be damn grateful for their gifts and expertise. We enter hospitals desiring to be fixed.

And we should also be educated and challenged to know how to turn from these gifted experts to cradle, accept, and even welcome our dying in peace and comfort when that sacred time has signaled its invitation.

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15 years ago, when I walked the halls of a hospital to listen, to offer comfort where I may, to ease the hard decisions, to help prepare loved ones for loss, or start them on the long road of grief, I was privileged to serve on a new Palliative Care Team struggling for funding and acceptance among all those engineers. Here is how the that team handled a death: 

When specialists noted a patient’s chances for stabilization were falling, we hoped for a consult. Often, the specialists resisted this. Death was failure. The expertise, the god-like power to save and work miracles, the inability to surrender, the lack of living with an acceptance of death was very strong in Western medicine. In some places, it still is.

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

On those graced occasions when our Palliative Care Team was called to consult the families and, if possible, the patient, options were discussed and the topic of death approached, with respect, dignity, and honesty: how it could look; how it might be supported; and, conversely, what the dying could look like if “every attempt” were made to “save” this life. What was the true quality of life desired? Was it possible?

The families listened. Sometimes they heard what we said; often, they didn’t. Shock, grief, fear, and anger were common. We would start again. 

Some families cohered. They had a common orientation regarding how they would offer support to the one they loved; or their beliefs about life and death were shared and directed their decisions; or they’d already had these thoughts and conversations, and knew what path they were on. These were encounters that worked honestly with the reality of death and acknowledged the mystery ushering us all from our first through our last breath. Love and peace were easily accessed and shared by everyone in these experiences. Patients could be transferred to hospice in time to be made comfortable, with pain managed, surrounded by loved ones, and the music, voices, or joyful symbols of their lives and lasting legacies within view.

More often and, again, if we even received the referral from the engineers, we needed to start over, share everything a second or third time, or loop in a family member by phone, or wait for her arrival, usually with a lot more baggage than visible. There would be arguments. Patients would die before family members arrived. Families would break. Or they would all choose to put a dying member, already fragile and with one or more advanced diseases, through invasive surgery, transfer to a nursing home, and, frequently, death by pneumonia, after weeks of pain and suffering.

Because loved ones couldn’t let go. 

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I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

In the ICU, where in-hospital deaths usually occurred, the family was invited to wait outside the room as life support was removed. Rarely could they stay as long as they needed to, or derive much peace in an antiseptic hospital room, though we tried to use attractive quilts, flowers, and dimmed lights to lend some suggestion of the sacred and the dignity owed a human’s leave-taking. We shared consciously ticking time in conversation, prayer, memories, began the forever journey of adjustment, and then they would leave. Our Palliative Care Team and the chaplain staff pushed against this undercurrent of urgency, requested whatever time was necessary, but…Western healthcare. Time is money. ICU rooms need to be available. 

The family, in deep grief, would support each other down the hallways to the front elevators, embrace and weep their partings on some cold and windy gas-stained floor of the parking lot, and drive away.

The body of the departed patient, still a shaming medical failure, an embarrassment, was covered and quietly wheeled to a back elevator and sent to the morgue. The butterfly decal would be removed from the door of patient’s former room: No death here!

How much healthier the deaths at hospice were: Family were present and comforted every step of the way. Patients and family were guided through necessary forgiveness of self and each other. Family and loved ones were witnesses to the pain management and attention given to their loved one; they were helped in setting aside their anxieties and focusing on the one preparing to leave. They were invited to reassure the dying one that he was loved, that it was O.K. to leave whenever he was ready, that his family would love and care for each other and also be “O.K.”

And when he died, a procession of family and friends sang his body down hallways lined with every caregiver in the building who could be present, and out to a hearse, where blessing, prayer, poetry, and song could be offered before another farewell was shared.

Death as life-giving.

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I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

Palliative Care Teams and hospice workers are now better accepted and better funded, and working in greater collaboration with their gifted colleagues. 

And they are all standing in the midst of this crisis, risking their own deaths, nightmarishly under-equipped, sinfully unprotected, struggling without breaks, working against time, trying to infuse an overwhelming crisis with compassion, allocation of resources, adherence to ethics, and respect for patients and families. 

The last thing they need right now is a denial of death on the part of anyone. 

They are sacrificing everything for us.

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We are so loving towards our other animal companions when they are dying. We are so wide awake and so very present to their need to die in peace. Can we offer this strength and support and true love to ourselves and our human loved ones?

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die.

We must make peace with our dying. In a crisis like this, there is not time to deny and demand the impossible. Surrender must be offered with immediacy, with a readiness derived from our own hard work in accepting death. Any moment may snatch our loved ones from us, and we must have that deep well of strength built upon our own philosophies and theologies, that allows us to say Yes. Goodbye. I love you. I will be O.K. Do not suffer. Let go. I accept this. 

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And, then we grieve. We weep and wail; we move through time smeared with tears, and strangeness, and adaptation, naming the voids beside us and yearning for their physical, corporeal return till we can endure to breathe again and see that the void was always filled with memory and spirit and the felt presence of the one who has died. Who has changed worlds. Who bids us reconnect with our lives on this side of the mystery. 

The generosity and compassion of accepting our death and the death of everything we love then freely flows to healthcare workers who are not “rationing,” but heartbreaking their way through every moment of this crisis. 

I will die; you will die; everyone you love will die. Every living thing will die. This is the Lenten journey for Christians; other faiths honor the journey as well. 

Death always gives life, and we must realize this, too. Spring and fertility return. Creation continues. Legacies are passed on; they shape who we become, and we are always becoming. This is called Easter. Humans have always honored the circular rhythms of life. We must find our back to them.

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Saying hello plants the seed of saying farewell. Intimacy ends in separation. Life and death are partners. One feeds the other in a circle both devastating and miraculous.

Look for the green and growing. Nurture it. Seek opportunities to heal and be healed. Be kind. Be present. Forgive. Live with heartbreak. Share gratitude for every breath, for every opportunity to love. And love wildly.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for commercial interest. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors.

Your Assistance Required

Dear Friends,

Two young and gifted women and several of their friends have joined together to create a video using the poem, In the Time of Pandemic as inspiration, and with the goal of using images from all over the world to further comfort and inspire us. I have been so moved by their willingness to collaborate and set aside desire for commercial gain to instead focus on all of us and our welfare.

Each of these women had an idea and each contacted me one day last week, with integrity, to ask if they might pursue their unique visions. One is a native Australian, currently on lockdown in Brooklyn NY, USA; and the other is a native Dubliner at home in Ireland,

I asked if they would be interesting in collaboration, which is at the heart of the poem for me, and–without missing a beat–they agreed, I put them in touch, and they are working gloriously well together. They are like the daughters I never had; I’m soooo proud of them and their incredible hearts.

Here is the thing: We’ve all seen the comments and heard the sentiments that the poem is too cheerful, specious, and shallow. That it offers a utopia that never could be. That we (humanity) will “never change.” And I get it: People are scared, frightened, suffering, and losing loved ones. We ALL are.

But the poem/allegory I wrote (with the Spirit–never forget that) has taken on a life of its own because we know we could do a better job with connection, community, loving, and–so importantly–in caring for the earth. We need to celebrate our gifts, reach out in love, and offer each other hope. We need to take responsibility for our healing, and the healing of our earth.

So, my dear friends, here is a way to help:

Please use this e-mail: julia.ngeow@gmail.com

 

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Please do not put anyone or yourself at risk in forwarding any of these photos to this e-mail. Be safe, but please share in the creative endeavor as you are able. It is not, really, a “Kitty O’Meara” film; it’s all of ours, being midwifed by these lovely artists. And do let them know where you’re from when you send your photos. I’m sure they’ll try to use as many as they are able.

Thank you so much for joining us in this project. Love and blessing to all.

And 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

 

Unpacking Virulence

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There are many confusing posts about me and about my writing, and, while I’m sorry that the spirit of the poem I wrote isn’t enough for some readers, I realize humans are among the most curious of animals. And, hey, I love learning more about authors I enjoy, too. And, let’s face it; it went viral. During a virus. How does that even happen?

I’m disappointed that people are searching for my personal information online, and encountering stories that are published without cited sources, but rather, seem to have been written by people who googled names, copied and pasted, and fabricated stories to capitalize on the fact that my little poem went viral. (Which literally means, it wasn’t through careful strategy or in my control.) No one, after my first friend, asked to “re-post” the poem until the virus was at its peak. (And I am grateful for those sweet souls.) If you look at some of these Kitty O’Meara origin stories, they’re calling me Kathleen, Grace, Whatever; transcribing the poem incorrectly; saying I’m dead, Italian, from New Rochelle, lived during the Black Plague…And these posts are often badly written and poorly edited, which is really irritating.

So, here you go: Everything and more than you could possibly want to know about me but which will serve as a reference I can cite, post, and never, ever, have to write, defend, or explain again:

My baptismal name is Catherine Mary O’Meara; my nickname since birth has been Kitty. I grew up with my lovely family in Wisconsin, then to Ohio, and then back to Wisconsin  again. I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for my first degree.

I am married to a lovely man, my “dear one.” We wanted children very much, and were unable to have them; we instead gave that energy to, and derived joy from, teaching young people. And we have rescued many dogs and cats. We now have 5 of the former and 3 of the latter. We believe each of them has rescued us.

I have degrees in Theater and English. I worked in advertising as a creative director, copywriter, and editor (small firm), went back and earned a degree in Education, and taught middle school writing and literature for many years. My first marriage ended and I married my dear one and moved to another location and school. I stopped teaching to take care of my ill, then dying mother, just as she had, for many years, cared for my ill, then dying father.

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After her death, and in my grief, I went back to school again, for an MA in Servant Leadership, which allowed me to complete a CPE Program and work as a chaplain in hospital units and then with a hospice, which blessed me with the experience of caring for nursing home, cardiac, palliative care, and end-of-life patients. During this time, I also completed a 3-year program in Spiritual Direction and manage that practice from my home.

I have written since I was 6…stories, and poems, and book manuscripts. In 2011, I began this blog to share what I call “lit bits” and my photography. I stopped it a couple years ago because I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases that needed a lot of management, which I accomplished as best as I could.

During that time, my friends and family urged me to write the blog again. I didn’t listen. Last month, seeing the pandemic coming, and the lack of preparation with which it would be met, I began to worry a lot about my family and friends in healthcare and what they would be facing. I felt upset that I couldn’t be with them, helping/doing something. I had a talk with Spirit and said, “C’mon. Show me what I can do!” The Holy always answers, but we don’t always hear it, because we’ve already decided what the answer should be and in which direction we should be looking, and how it will look and sound when it arrives.

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So last Friday, March 13th: We were already 3 weeks into self-quarantine, and I was sitting with my dear one at lunchtime, feeling pouty that the Spirit hadn’t pushed me anywhere clearly and specifically. We watched some anxious news and talked about the pandemic and fretted about loved ones. We also had noticed reports that the earth was healing and the pollution receding while people were in quarantine. I’ve always thought and written a lot about healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and, next to my lovebugs, my passions are the earth, her creatures, the seasons, and my gardens.

I turned to Facebook, scrolled a bit, and then I wrote, “And the people stayed home,” and hit, “post.” I moved through the rest of my day: walking dogs, working out, doing laundry. Life stuff. That night, I tuned into Facebook and a friend said she liked the post and asked if she could re-post it. I typed, “Sure.”

The ensuing week was as unexpected and frenzied as an inland tsunami. Blessings in abundance, a few hurtful attacks, and many blissful gorgeous explosions of collaborative creativity…I would be utterly non compos mentis if I hadn’t discerned the work of the Spirit and her mighty slap-upside-the-head-answer to my prayer, so I humbly started my blog again, and have tried to let go of the madness that accompanies virulence while delighting in the sacred connections. This is how I can offer spiritual care, virtually, through my words. The answer was there, all along, but hearing it took not one virus, but two, and that is how the Spirit worked for me. And that is who I am.

Honor your talents and set aside judgement. Use your gifts. Surrender. Let Go. Heal yourself, then others, then yourself again. Forgive. Ask for guidance. Listen. Listen. Listen. Stay awake. Mind the Spirit’s slaps-upside-the-head. Love without stopping.

Bird Print

 

© 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

That’s O.K.

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It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and I am sitting, unshowered, in yoga pants and the t-shirt
I slept in last night.
That’s O.K.
I lost my temper. I’m scared.
That’s O.K.
There is another basket of laundry to fold, just sitting on the couch.
That’s O.K.
I am eyeing what may be a pool of cat puke on the floor.
That’s O.K.
I am not picking it up immediately, like I always have.
That’s O.K.
I don’t know what’s coming. At. All.
That’s O.K.
Nothing is like it was, always. Everything has changed, forever.
That’s O.K.
There are little voices many of us carry around, all the time.
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The Judge: This character is always with us, cutting down our looks, actions, attempts to learn, be, and do all we can. It can keep us from stepping into new ideas,  behaviors, patterns and forms of thought and expression. You can’t do THAT! What are you THINKING? You’ll FAIL!

The Drill Sargeant: Did you make a list? Did you check it? You’re not following your routine! Everything is out of order. You should…you always…that’s not…BE AFRAID.

They often harmonize and sing duets throughout our days.

Sometimes, we know where the voices originated; sometimes they’re a distillation of many we’ve known; sometimes we create our own sabotage masters.

Most of us manage to carry on, tell them to be still, accomplish goals in spite of them, and become approximations of who we’d like to be. 

We stay so very busy that the voices slip back into silence.
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But now, many of us have been robbed of our busyness, and the voices are trying to take control. Storm-trooping through our psyches and dumping loads of stress at the beginning and end of every thought.

You should! You can’t! Never! Always! What’s happening? Be afraid! You’re not in charge! Do this! That! WHAT IS HAPPENING? Loud inarticulate shriek!

Now is the time to go gently and offer yourself forgiveness for mistakes and loving kindness for all the feelings that are flowing through, faster than you can name them. Routines can be set aside for a while. Rest can happen whenever you’re tired, even a moment of deep-breathing and closed eyes can quiet the voices. 

Notice the hidden invitations, turn the voices around and mother them into peace.

Banish the word “normal” and take life in very small bites for a while. Let yourself find your footing. You can do it.

The bedding can go a week without changing. 

WHAT???!!! 

Wait, there’s an invitation! See how you do that? You catch the voice and turn it back as an invitation to be kind to yourself. 

Beds aren’t changed?

That’s O.K.

Are we O.K.?

Yes. We’re O.K.
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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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

One Thing We Can Do

So many choices lie before each of us in the time of pandemic: practical, challenging, and agonizing choices. Our medical professionals are already overtaxed. Let’s be responsible and take what burdens we can from their shoulders.
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Vents and beds are in less than short supply; many of us who have lived long lives can make a choice not to have efforts expended on our behalf, if they are efforts that will waste time and ultimately fail. But truly, the virus can jeopardize all lives, young and old. Of course we’d like to keep living; life is grand, holy, and wonderful for most of us. Who wouldn’t want more? However, I invite us all to meet this new reality, prepare for events we’d rather avoid, and then stay inside and take care of ourselves and those we love.
Let’s be wise and let’s be selfless while we’re able.
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If we, or our loved ones, have not completed our Advance Directives for medical care, let’s take the time to do it, now. Write it; print it; have it accessible. It can be a task to cross off our list, or it can be a profound emotional and spiritual exercise we can use to once again sift through our beliefs and desires as we contemplate what life and death really mean to us, and to seek ways to make peace with our dying. Either way (and no “right” way), let’s do it.
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Our bodies are temporary; our legacies are not. We’re all in hospice, now.
This is the acceptable time to offer forgiveness, jettison grudges, see and let go of the myriad ways we judge ourselves and others, celebrate our joys, and be damned sure everyone we love knows it. Feel the gratitude we owe this gift of life. Love the courage within us and all around us. Shine light.
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Note: these are your medical directives and no one else’s. There is no judgement, just clarity.
 
Here is one link; there many available online. Be well; be merry, and 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

Love Has No Boundaries

Today we walked in a local state park that was once home to a large settlement of people who were part of the Mississippi Culture (10th to 13th centuries). Ceremonial spaces, mounds believed to have been constructed for religious and political use, and fort boundaries have been reconstructed and informative stations line the paths.

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The earth hasn’t thawed yet; no scent of geosmin is yet being released by the earth’s microorganisms, but the promise was present in the sunshine and breeze.

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There are many trails in this park, and all of today’s visitors were respectful of space. A woman and her little daughter went to the right; we went left; and a man and his dog went straight ahead. We honored the boundaries we’re required to keep.

We were too far apart to converse, but I felt a tender, sweet human concern among us all. It looked a bit like a science fiction film (The People Who Could Not Connect), all of us veering away from one another, but the energy was gentle and somewhat sad. Grief becomes part of the atmosphere breathed in a time of such suffering.

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I felt a tangible love for us all of us in the newness and the tentative choices, the fear, the anxiety, and the wonderful courage, we see in so many people, but specifically, my heart went out to this holy little group of travelers, walking ancient paths into a new world.

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Solvitur ambulando, said St. Augustine; it is solved by walking, and for me, that has so often been true. This time, though, we’re walking into mystery, and I think the only solutions involve surrender, forgiveness, and loving all those we walk among as the tender, flawed, and fleeting miracles we are.

 

© 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

Time for Transformation

The recommendation from our government, during this time of quarantine, is to stay inside; the deeper invitation, as always, is to actually go inside.
At some point in our childhoods, we strap on a backpack we never remove. Instead, we stuff it full, every day, with all the feelings we don’t want to feel, because we haven’t time; we’re too frightened; they threaten our ego; we’re not worthy of our own love. All the feelings of shame, hurt, anger, resentment, regret, loss, grief…the backpack gets heavier and heavier and we wrap it in denial, and our spirits bend lower. “Someday,” is really the mantra for most of us.
Now, many of us have been given the great gift of time our spirits yearn for all our lives. We can continue to avoid the call of our hearts by overfeeding on the nonstop anxiety offered by our phones, televisions, and computers…or we can allow ourselves the grace to empty the backpack and begin to sort through and “feel” the feelings it’s held for so long.
Just sit with them, offer gentle welcome, listen, forgive, befriend, let go. And it’s OK if we’re not ready; we can keep opening space for them to emerge when they are ready.

In a time when we must endure a virus that brings death, we can choose to become more alive than ever. Let’s not squander this gift to heal and emerge from our cocoons transformed. 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

In the Time of Pandemic

And the people stayed home.

And they listened, and read books, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.

And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

 

© 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 Catherine O’Meara’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.

 

Note Well:  Please don’t write to me on this, or any other post, requesting to use this poem as a slogan, a theme song, or any other part of a commercial venture designed to sell things we don’t need.

I reserve all rights to the material for the time being. Using the poem to sell anything is also antithetical to its theme; I wrote it to inspire the creative artist and giver in all of us, not to prop up a corporate structure I believe has contributed to the destruction of humankind, the earth, and all living things.