You probably have grasped by now that for me, our art is our work-in-the-world; our work is our art.

And, while we’re using our gifts to create our art(s) in the world, there are invitations everywhere to support others in their own creation, and a million ways to do it. Subscribing to blogs is one. (Thank you!)

Engaging with people regarding their work-in-the-world is another: expressing gratitude, offering ideas and helpful critiques, sharing stories, purchasing goods…These things affirm for us that the paths and means we use to express and share gift–whether through media, or classrooms, or hospitals, or stages, or the offices and workshops we’ve chosen for our creativity to gestate and be born–are producing goodness that touches others positively. And, as I’ve said before: all of us are artists, using our gifts for our own welfare and the higher calling to serve our communities.

Or not.

Our choice.

And, in the current iteration of our world, the exchange of our gifts is also valued with the exchange of capital to support us and others in our basic necessities and the means to continue our work in the world. Paychecks are given in exchange for our energy, our gift.

We have always paid for what we value; now, we use “money” in the form of cash, paychecks, honorariums, grants, fundraisers, pledges, donations…Other people in other times bartered with goods, or provided shelter and food for traveling artists, or benefactors provided income to support them. Wherever two are gathered, there is quid pro quo because, at the root of it, that’s how both love and justice work, the give and take of gift, trust, community, and relationship. (The ways the values of our offerings can be skewed and thrown out of balance are apparent everywhere and the subject of books and wisdom not my own.)

It’s hard to ask for money. It is not hard at all to ask for support. The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet has become a metaphor for me of all artists in the world, which is to say, for how we are all artists in the world.

For over 15 years, this band has united in creating their vision of music that speaks to a variety of populations and listeners all over the world. They’ve struggled financially, like so many artists, to remain committed to their vision, co-create their art, and viably support their families while doing so. They annually, prior to Covid-19’s restrictions, took interested fans on a cultural trip to Peru to immerse them in the people, food, arts, orientations to mystery/beliefs, history, and indigenous depths of the country and the Afro-Peruvian roots that color all of these gifts.

How many artists take such time and make such effort to unite their community of fans with the origins and meaning of their art? I think it’s remarkable and, because of this, and my own co-creation with these talented artists, I support them willingly and have frequently mentioned them as worthy of your consideration for support as well. They are not only joyfully gifted musicians; they share their gifts in every community where they perform, often spending several days working at schools with young musicians developing their art, freely creating a legacy of gift with their energy.

The band has just held a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds in order to produce their new album, Social Distancing, and have a new 48-hour only “stretch goal” which, among other treats, will feature contributors in their first-ever music video.

If you’re able to donate $30.00, you’ll be asked to create a selfie-video reciting my poem, “In the Time of Pandemic/And the People Stayed Home” (Please use the version linked, as there are others still incorrectly circulating.)

You’ll also receive 2 tickets to the band’s virtual concert (January 29) marking the album’s release, and be invited to an after-concert Zoom session to meet and chat with the musicians. Phillip and I attended a concert this past weekend and I can’t tell you how much fun it was: fantastic musicians performing in our living room, while we had a glass (or two) of wine, the dogs and cats by our sides, a fire burning…amazing. I may have danced a bit; happily, the cameras are not two-way.

It’s a LOT of a value for $30.00, if it’s something you can manage. I will look forward to seeing others’ videos reading/reciting my poem and how they’re integrated with the music video!

Thank you for all the ways you respond to the invitations to offer, co-create, and support gift/art/our work-in-the-world. We need it more than ever. It’s how we make light to see in the dark.

Here’s another link to the Kickstarter stretch goal. Have fun; be safe and well.

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

Peace, Love, and Joy


And so we come to the season of the year that honors the light we’ve been called to be in darkness. We pause to reach for that light, call it holy (it is) and touch just enough to scatter it about, while music, feasts, gathering, and giving shake up our patterns just enough for the world to glow both more brightly and softly.

From a distance, the planet shines, spinning in this co-created light, before it dims once more and we turn back to our easy forgetting, unrelenting fear, and ready hostility. Why can’t our seasonal charity (love manifested in its highest and broadest form) remain the focus and fuel in our relationships with ourselves and others?

Why do we so readily allow the confusion between giving presents and giving ourselves–our presence–to direct our energy? Buying gifts, wrapping them in pretty paper and exchanging them is skimming the surface of the spiritual invitations the season offers. All the magic of lasting conversion is here and possible, but so is our fear of true transformation and the belief we cling to above all others: we’re not worthy.


The inner scolder reminds us: the holidays are lovely, yes, but we can’t go on giving ourselves time to watch it snow, share delight, sit with loved ones, connect with our spirits, sing, laugh, wish merriment to perfect strangers, recognize our feelings, be at peace…We have to get back to work.

We can’t live in a world where it’s always Christmas, certainly not now. We can’t just choose to relax. We can’t just peace, love and joy our life away. Wrap it up, pack it away; we have to get back to work.

What is wrong with a species capable of creating, experiencing, and spreading peace, love, and joy, and then deciding we don’t deserve to do so all the time, every moment? Even in the midst of our winter celebrations, we cheapen these treasures by consigning them to the perimeter of our festivities and supplanting them with things, with overindulgence of our appetites, with running hard and fast from what “work” has made of us and our finite precious lives, and with excessively indulging our capacity for greed and offering miserly regard for our spiritual and emotional needs.


We deserve lives saturated in peace, love, and joy, and our real work is making it so.

Let’s slow down and look at the world we’ve created by denying the true blessings of the season a real and deep presence in our every season, our every moment. We certainly haven’t used our gifts to their capacity if this is the best we can do.

We joke about people putting up their holiday decorations (I’m one of them, this year) before Thanksgiving, or we might attribute it, as I saw a home decorator write last week, to poor lighting in our homes which only becomes apparent when the daylight shortens. But let’s look more deeply; shake our hearts instead of our heads and look again: What do the lights strewn everywhere really signal?


I think we start Christmas and other celebrations of light earlier and earlier–especially in a year of such darkness–because our hearts are yearning, unrelentingly yearning for peace, love, and joy to arrive. And to stay. Perhaps lighting a tree will conjure them.

And then, by those very lights, we might see the truth: Peace, love, and joy are within us, always. We just have to accept we’re worthy and choose these ways of being.

This whirlwind of viral time we’ve been given to witness and withstand can only be stilled by the counter forces we summon and let loose in the world, and they are ancient, and have always been our power.


Peace. Love. Joy. All the words we wish each other in the dark of winter are the real bringers of light, the human magic that we must hurl at the storm to break it, and then calm it, and then wait as it dissipates, allowing the settling to reveal our path.

Every single one of us has the capacity to be what we most wish to see in the world, now, in this moment, by listening to our heart for the wisdom we’ve earned and are here to manifest: Compassionate regard for the well-being of all. Everything. Finding and animating these powers in ourselves, benefiting from their warmth, and giving the warmth away.


Peace. The peace of our own breath, slowing and deepening. The moments of turning from the storm, withdrawing, retreating to breathe mindfully, reorient, and balance. Connecting with our heartbeat and noticing the blessings, everywhere, falling like snowflakes. Stillness. We can give ourselves this peace and offer it to others.

Love. Oh, my, does the storm weaken and scatter when it meets love. We can choose kindness before we respond to a stranger, a friend, our beloveds. We can consider others through the filter of love and we can love ourselves. We can listen to our self-talk and all the ways we are cruel to ourselves We can deepen our self-companionship.

Joy. The blessed lightening of deep joy! The happy letting go; the merry surrender of our stress and worry. Joy invites others to join us in memories of sweeter times, opening our hearts to all the happy possibilities to come. Levity is a profound power. May you always find reasons to laugh deeply and share joy.


We know these qualities are ours from birth, but they come with the sacrifice and effort they require to be sustained. That change we feel in the air this time of year is the activation of our inherent power to generate peace, love, and joy in ourselves and others, throughout the Earth.

We don’t have to wait; we don’t have to limit or budget or pack away the light on January 2. We don’t have to pray for peace, love, and joy; we are these qualities, and the better prayer this year might be that we finally recognize it and live into the lives that this awareness creates. We deserve it. We are worthy. We are capable. And I think we’re more than ready. This storm will pass, and we will heal even more deeply if we just be who we are to our core: people of peace, of love, and of joy.

All blessings of the season to you, in you, and to everyone you love.

© 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.


Babies in Snow

In my journal, I note the day’s cadence
and realize that this year–staying home,

still, waiting, counting breaths, staring, losing count: I’m
not marching anymore.

For years, I marched in uniforms and haste;
I marched, chasing perfection and more, hoping
for attention and praise,
nods and small paychecks rewarding my marching.

I marched to the tunes of a tier of bosses stretching to the
tops of buildings, to rooms I never saw, an authority
of men; I pursued their goals,
agreeing they were mine: I withered;

I mean, my spirit dried like an ancient apple

and my gifts broke
from the weight of meetings, record-keeping, hours at screens,
group meetings, staff meetings, meetings to evaluate
meetings, over and over; had I really learned the protocol
for handling blood-borne pathogens? (Yes, years ago; it

never changed). But we acquiesced; we marched; we agreed to agree
that coffee mugs stamped with, “Win

win; make it happen” made our time
and overtime and all the marching

and rather than enter the wild joy of co-creation, we’d march to
performance reviews, team-building activities, time clocks, measured
breaks to intake food and to release, marching faster,

as though we–

unique in our mystery and gift, here only to be
stars mixing and offering our shining shards of joy
before flickering, then falling in night’s dark skies

–were feral beings, best disciplined, success-
fully managed through repetitive busy-work,
bureaucracy’s mazes,
and marching.

The body corporate: a communal dimming of light.

Spirits silenced, gifts shattered (march, march)
by the love-starved minds that ordered
our marching, directed its rhythms: I used to wonder:

Is this what we all wanted
for ourselves when we grew up; we, hopscotching, jump-roping, hula-hooping, skating,
swimming, daydreaming, playing through our never-marching childhood?

And what of those who created and commanded the endless
tasks, charting, paperwork, meetings, the marching

that devoured

our time, our holy only lives? Did they ever stare through their larger-office windows at the peregrine nesting on the sill (it made news, every year), and weep?

How did they

sleep at night, knowing the misery they purveyed?
Did they march in their dreams? Following orders and
climbing ladders?

And what is their cadence now, decommissioned, staying at home?

My days are filled

with dancing.


© 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.

Walking in the Dark

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Phillip and I have both learned a lot about dog training over the years, through raising our own pups and fostering many others, but we’ve never mastered the trick of helping our dogs adjust to Daylight Savings Time. We barely adjust to this annual folly ourselves. Trying to edge sleeptime forward by just a few minutes and then more hasn’t worked worth a tinker’s damn in the almost-30 years we’ve been walking dogs morning and night. They know when it’s time for walks and bed and meals, and if these times don’t match our schedule and the clock for half of the year, too bad for Mom and Dad.

Being retired and in lockdown, it really doesn’t matter when we do what, but it’s always tricky adjusting to rising in the dark for our first walk and taking the day’s final stroll in shadow as well. If the full moon blesses us with brightness, our walks can be magical, but the new moon is perilous. We’ve learned that slowly is the wisest way to proceed and it’s a pace that suits the pups’ desire for maximum sniff time.

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And, even in the dark, I can perceive the analogy between our darkened dog-walks and the gloomy path we’ve all been traveling for almost a year. Many of us have been cautious and willing to sacrifice speed for the safer progress made by taking our time as we step forward through our days, but sadly, not enough of us. And so, the company of more than 250,000 of our family and friends will be absent from our future gatherings and tables. This is heartbreak at a level our country and our world have rarely suffered. And the tragedy compiles when we consider that much of these losses could have been prevented.

I don’t understand people who have chosen to repeatedly enter the world and mingle with others unmasked and without respecting distances, when we’ve been told for more than 9 months to do these things, along with washing our hands and staying strictly within a “bubble” of family members following the same safety procedures. These practices ensure greater safety for those who must go out into the world to help the rest of us survive.


Don’t share air in closed or close spaces with people we haven’t been confined with all these months: It’s not that hard, but it seems impossible for many; and so, we find ourselves at a crisis point of infection and dying as we enter the holiday weeks.

I read that 40% of our population plans to gather with family and friends over Thanksgiving weekend, offering no consideration whatsoever to healthcare workers who are grotesquely overworked and excessively stressed in hospitals with no beds available to patients. And many of these patients are people who couldn’t be bothered to take a deadly disease seriously and now ask for our prayers, still without regard for those trying to keep them alive, who certainly deserve our prayers as well. This rampant rush through the dark to the arms of a deadly virus is without regard for our teachers, postal workers, EMT’s, grocery and other essential store staff, etc. And of course we will pray for these patients; we have been praying for them all along, praying they would avoid these choices, and now praying they survive them without harming others.

I don’t understand people who are so driven by fear and anger that it occludes their power to love beyond a small, known circle, if that. Truly, I’ve given long hours to opening my heart and trying to understand their denial, but I don’t, in the utterly real face of such virulence and death.

I have appreciated the frequent news program appearances by Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., a Professor and the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. His fact-based wisdom and advice center me and give me information I need to hear. He’s often quite blunt, sticking to sharing the pertinent science and data, but this morning he shared how he aches to be with his grandchildren; he’d love more than anything to gather with his family next week, but, “I love them more than that ache; we’ll gather virtually this year so we can all be together and well next year.”


And it struck me again that this is the way we walk through the dark together: loving more than we ache, loving ourselves through and beyond the aches and losses of this hard, hard time to the peaceful days and celebrations yet to come. We can do this, and must. We’re all suffering together; let’s not choose actions that make us–and others–suffer more.

Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.” This stretch of the walk is dark; let’s navigate it with love and travel safely to the brighter days ahead. We’re nearly there.



In other news: our Full Moon Cottage Family is joyful, joyful, as we learned after an excruciating week of waiting for lab results, that Malarky’s tumor is benign. We’ve decided to postpone surgery and see if it might heal on its own, and are so very grateful for the prayers and happy energy that have been shared. Thank you. Thanksgiving will be very merry this year.

My friends, the lovely people and gifted artists who form The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, are nearing the end of their Kickstarter campaign to fund the final production of their 7th album, Social Distancing. I didn’t know this about Kickstarter before, but if the end date is reached and the goal isn’t met, the funds already pledged are all returned to the donors, and the artists, or whomever, receive nothing, so if anyone out there can help out with a few dollars here and there, they may just make it. I don’t want my money back; I want their music to be heard. 🙂

And, finally, our beautiful book is moving out into the world, and I hope it’s blessing those who hold and read her words. I just learned that, in the next few weeks, the Australian, New Zealand, and German editions will be offered for sale!

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Gentle peace; be well and safe.

Carol for the Wild Heart

Carol for the Wild Heart


Let what is wild
in us remain so,
and in the world, too;
taming mutes instinct
and gift, subdues
the agrestal impulse, rejects
and rots the medicine
we came to be and share,
we, aflame with wild hearts
smother them, dousing
our wild fires, darting to
cages on wheels,
cages of glass,
of hallways
and rooms
where we pace
and plot,
we scheme
and devour,
we survive
through the fitness
of messages crafted
in sighs selling
lies, conforming
our wild desires, our wild lives
to dreary patterns, controlled;
we have made ourselves
tamed, trapped, and dying;
how strange, an animal choosing
its cages and searing itself with
brands, moving
from cage
to dulling cage
each fashioned,
by the very creature
bolting the door, who
every year, in the time
of dark and ice, lights
fires and listens to
its yearning heart
howling at the moon
howling through
stars and time
in songs and voices
finally its own,
the uncaged
wild inclinations
to heal
to grow
to love
to resist

© 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 Stories We Came to Write


We’re facing a week at Full Moon Cottage that invites consciously traveling with stories that settle and unsettle; this is how life flows. We find our way through; we choose our responses and live into them, looking for grace and open to blessing. We ask for help; we offer help to others; we celebrate and grieve in community, even in isolation. We are here to lift each other up and when we can’t, we stay with those who are broken and we help each other mend. And all the while, we sit beside the fire in our hearts and we tell ourselves stories; we carry the stories of our ancestors, the blessings and burdens; we rewrite stories from different perspectives; we begin and never finish stories; we play many roles; we are characters in other stories, many unknown and never shared. We are short stories and epics; we are every genre, flowing in and out, intersecting, accommodating our stories to Mystery’s co-authorship, seeking satisfactory denouements. And here is our power: we are able, continually, to decide if the stories we’re writing are the ones we came to write. If not, we can begin a new story, make better choices, adhere more faithfully to themes we honor, become the heroines and heroes of our lives.

Here is a story from my life: Phillip and I adopted two sibling puppies, Riley and Clancy, who sparked the light in our hearts, as had our darling Idgi pup and the cats Sally and Tess before them, as have all our 4-leggeds.

Riley and Clancy were crazy and fun, half Border Collie and half Black Lab. For more than 13 years, we shared our days and breaths and energies, and then their sweet holy bodies failed, and within months of each other, they changed worlds, leaving our hearts as heavily empty and dark as such losses do.

One day, I saw a little puppy’s photo in a Humane Society ad and immediately drove to Madison to meet him. When the volunteer pushed him through the door of the room where I waited, and he bounced across the floor and into my arms, in that puppy-clumsy dance of exuberance, my heart began to lighten. I knew Riley and Clancy had chosen and sent Larky, all the way from Mississippi to my heart. And he healed it. The first night he nestled between us, I cried, holding his little clinging body and knowing we’d survived and been given a chance to love once more; we’d been mended enough to say yes to being torn again, because love is always worth it. We saved Malarky’s life and he saved ours, which means we all set out on the road again together, which is what families do: they travel together and keep each other’s hearts alive.

And as we’ve traveled, like the Bremen Town Musicians, we’ve gathered more members into our most lively-hearted family. We’ve survived more partings, grieved, and traveled on, sharing love that accrues deeper colors and blesses our family story with layers of memory and meaning.

Last Thursday, we discovered a small tumor on Malarky’s inner eye. Our vet diagnosed a “usually” benign form of skin cancer, and we were able to schedule an appointment with an oncologist early–very early–this Wednesday morning. It’s been hard to focus, with the excitement of the book coming out tomorrow, the rising Coronavirus cases in our state and the world, and the continued political challenges, but now we have a very clear focus, and that is our darling boy, the safety of his vision and health, and the need to travel with him through whatever news we receive on Wednesday. I ask for your prayers and healing energy, and thank you in advance for being part of our story, too.


Tomorrow, the picture book, And the People Stayed Home, will be sent out into the world, culminating an adventure for our family and circle of friends that has been a great comfort and creative happiness through long months of pandemic lockdown. The creative people of Tra Publishing, led by the stunning spirit of Ilona Oppenheim, have been a complete joy for me. They and their partners offer us enlightenment, deepening, and wonder through the art they co-create and set free in the world. I’m over-the-moon happy with this book and deeply grateful for the ways I have been invited to participate in its creation.


Stories change us, and so, change the world; our past, present, and future hinge on our stories. Who are we? What do we believe? What are our gifts for the world, and how are we sharing them? How have we been hurt and can we forgive and heal? Can we find our way to the deepest doors of the heart, those rusted and closed by long-ago tears…and open to love again?

And, maybe most importantly, how can our stories serve others?

Through friends, I’ve also learned about CARAVAN, a nonprofit that’s perfectly matched to the challenges faced by our world. They describe their mission and identity this way: “…an international peacebuilding non-profit / NGO, CARAVAN is recognized as a global leader in using the arts to build sustainable peace around the world.”

Here’s a link to a film festival honoring short films (5 minutes and less) that explore ways we can globally create a world that embraces gift and variety, addresses need, and serves all. Two friends of mine from Ireland entered their film, “Loving Distance,” and it was selected as one of 30 finalists out of 3,031 submissions.

I love everything about this: so many artists focusing on the ways our humanity, our talents, and our stories can bless each other and the world; identifying people and places that need our energy and help; and using art to illuminate our hearts and call us to action…I also applaud CARAVAN’S generosity in sharing their top 30 short films here:

I hope you’ll be able to spare some time to engage with these films and all the ways they feed our spirits and invite us to do better as a species and to move forward in hope, co-creating the world we envision, writing the story we are here to write.

Gentle Peace

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

The Childlike Path

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In a time of waiting, we were asked to engage with patience more deeply, and have at last received our answer. 

And if it has arrived without everything we wanted and hoped for, it’s nonetheless accompanied by the invitations to heal, accept, and continue to choose mature and loving responses to the one life we’ve been gifted to travel in communion with others.

I’ve been reflecting on the ways so much of our culture encourages and rewards indulgence and refuge in petulant childish rejection of the other rather than delighted childlike engagement with the world. One path is selfish, the other welcomes shared wonder and joy. One demands instant gratification and satisfied demands, regardless of coherence; the other is willing to sacrifice and walk with mystery, relying on wisdom and waiting for prudent answers to emerge. One grabs and grasps; the other reaches and extends. One screams and closes doors; the other listens with an open mind and heart. One nurses grudges; the other commits to forgiveness. The childish will do anything to have desires met; the childlike are sated by the pure miracle and possibilities of truth. To the childish heart, justice has no meaning; to the childlike, it is beloved. The childish are never satisfied; the childlike are always grateful. The childish deny loss; the childlike grieve and heal. Most dangerously, when faced with challenges, one chooses the comfort of regression and the other explores the co-creation of answers that will benefit all to the greatest degree possible.

Each of us chooses our path moment by moment; a great gift we have as humans is the gift to transform. I hope we’ll do so more consciously. Healing waits to embrace us with no time to lose, and offers us solace and peace we desperately need and can’t ignore.

The weariness of this profoundly troubling time has been greatly exacerbated by the willfully childish and the noisy distractions of the immature. Let’s hope and pray that our way forward will be led by those gifted with both maturity and the mindful retention of wonder that leads to new ways of being. And, as our gifts and time allow, may each of us work to confront and set aside childish impulses and choose the deeper eruption of joy allowed when we balance childlike innocence with mature wisdom.

Gentle, gentle peace.


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