return to the most human

Return to the Most Human by May Sarton
Return to the most human,
nothing less will nourish the torn spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the angry mind:
and from the ultimate duress,
pierced with the breath of anguish,
speak of love.

Return, return to the deep sources,
nothing less will teach the stiff hands a new way to serve,
to carve into our lives the forms of tenderness
and still that ancient necessary pain preserve.

Return to the most human,
nothing less will teach the angry spirit,
the bewildered heart;
the torn mind,
to accept the whole of its duress,
and pierced with anguish…
at last, act for love.

Winter and Spring,

Lent and Easter,

the Hero’s and Heroine’s Journeys,

the Bodhisattvas, who, once enlightened, choose to stay on earth to accompany us,

the under- and over-world travel of shamans and goddesses throughout time…

This paradox of season and cycle, of rhythmic journey has meaning.

We are again and again invited
to return to the most human—
both in our deep-diving
and in our high-flying.

We go down, we go in, we go through.

We stay. We keep vigil. We are held.

We are shown the way—sometimes
only one step at a time.

The way of being human includes all of this.

Darkness. The torn spirit. The bewildered heart. The angry mind.

Light. The rejoicing spirit. The grateful heart. The blissful mind.

The Unknown-ness. The Mystery. The I-don’t-know-how-ness.

For only in this most human place,

lovingly abiding with our darkness,

can the body be a chalice
connecting earth and heaven,
so that we can at last arise and act for love.

Savoring Dave, Chocolate & Summer!

something different: a little, rhyming summer poem for you!



Even though we rarely eat sweets,

Dave’s 60th needed a




Something summery, simple, and


to follow salmon, salad, memories, and stories.


The family in the garden all gathered together,

sipping and supping with laughter and



The chocolate pots cooled to luscious perfection,

We savored each spoonful of blissful confection!



To taste these Chocolate Potstry the recipe AND


Join me at Healthy High Tea in the Garden, August 20th!



How are you savoring these precious days of Summer?

Free Heart

May a woman’s heart be a vast open field upon which wild horses can run.
~ Tibetan Buddhist saying


My New Year’s theme for 2017 is Free Heart.


While i knew clearly that this was my path for 2017, i needed time to understand more and to live into it before writing about it. In collaging this theme and then journalling, i have discovered some gems:

I am the One whose heart smiles and can meet and hold and include all things.

I am the One whose body dissolves into ease and bliss, and whose mind opens to accept and know all truths–even those different from mine.

I am the One whose smile breaks into blossom with the freedom in her heart.

I am the One whose life is a blessing.

I am the One who flies above all heartbreak knowing there is always deeper truth than suffering.

I am the One who sings and sings and sings for the tremendous beauty and truth and preciousness of life.

I the One whose unruly and wild heart serves the truth in all beings.

As we are practicing presence this week in my free 5-Day Online Practice Presence for Life Journey, i am reminded that the only way any of this is possible is when i am present.

My heart does not smile or feel wild and free, or able to to feel and also rise above heartbreak when i am not present.

This past weekend, i got to attend The Holy Ideas Workshop with Russ Hudson here in Minnesota. While the material is breathtaking and Russ’s teaching is exquisite, i had a hard time because of a difficult situation i’ve been managing for the past year or so.

Let yourself breathe and trust.
It is only by a courageous letting go that the heart becomes free.
This is called the wisdom of insecurity.
~ Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, p. 160


I was able to be there and practice by breathing and trusting.

As i breathed and held myself in compassion for the hard time i was having, i also consciously felt the support of the floor, the chair, my body, the teachings, the whole community gathered together. This helped me to also trust and to free my heart from time to time to be touched by these wonderful teachings.

My path this last year is really inviting me into the wisdom of insecurity, as a place from which to be free instead of a place to fear.

It’s hard. My body, heart, and mind all want to grab on, to find secure ground–to know what will happen, when, and how…

And yet, when i am able to return to the groundlessness and re-member my wild and free heart, i am home.


There’s still time to join us through Friday:


And join my Spring Women’s Mini-Retreat Saturday, May 6th:



Practice: Haiku-like Mindfulness Verses


One way to nourish yourself in your life, whether you are carrying something difficult with you or just wanting to connect more deeply with yourself, is this practice I learned from Sara Avant Stover on SHE Retreat last year, which we also enjoyed a few weeks ago on this year’s retreat.


Writing in short, Haiku-like verses can catch the moment
with fresh eyes, and give perspective
about your life in the moment.


You can practice Haiku-like verses any time, but it’s especially helpful when you are processing, working with, or integrating something. I found when my brother passed away unexpectedly in August, that it was extremely helpful to put my feelings into these short verses. It gave them form and beauty, and revealed deeper meaning. It helped me express myself to myself succinctly, hearing and receiving myself with mindfulness.

This past SHE Retreat, I found myself writing them more in the flavor of capturing moments during the silent retreat. You can read those on my blogpost Retreat Practicing.

In this practice, we are not counting syllables like traditional Japanese Haiku verses, so don’t worry about making them 5-7-5! If it pleases you, you might want to make the 1st and 3rd verses shorter than the middle verse, but it’s more important that you follow your own flow. You can read a lot online about writing Haiku—we’re doing something simpler and more intuitive here.


Try this on:

  • Pause and sense into your body and feel into your heart.
  • What’s here in the moment? It could be something outside you or inside you or a combination of both. Often Haiku verses combine something from nature with some internal state, capturing feeling and image.
  • Write one short, pithy phrase.
  • Write the 2nd, perhaps juxtaposing it to the first.
  • Write the 3rd, perhaps showing their relationship in some way.

Here’s one for you that arose as I wrote this practice:
Writing, thinking, clarifying
The trees turning a delicious yellow outside my window
They need no thought to ripen.

Enjoy!! I’d LOVE to read some of your haiku explorations if you’d like to share.


Looking for more practices?
Sign up for 10 Simple Ways to Welcome the Sacred into Your Daily Life!


The Coming of Light

Snow and Light

The Coming of Light by Mark Strand
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.

The New Year is almost here—it’s almost unbelievable how quickly 2015 has passed…

Even this late it happens…

  • even when my attention is firmly fixed on closing up 2015
  • even when I am relaxing and enjoying the holy-days with friends and family
  • even when I am reviewing and thinking and envisioning how I want to live in 2016
  • even when friendships fall away unexpectedly
  • even this late…

 the coming of love, the coming of light…
Keep Reading!

hollowing out

Some of you I will hollow out.
I will make you a cave.
I will carve you so deep the stars will shine in your darkness.
You will be a bowl.
You will be the cup in the rock collecting rain.
Read more.

Hollowing out. Becoming a cave.

Being carved deeply. Into a bowl. Into a cup.

Able to collect, to gather, to hold.

This poem, which I posted a few weeks back, keeps arising in my bodysoul.

  • My mind wonders: What does it mean to be hollowed out?
  • My heart feels a bit scared of the carving.
  • My body simply senses—the stripping, the filling…
  • And my bodysoul?

She knows. She has experienced this over and over again. She understands that this is the lawful unfolding of life. Filling up, overflowing, hollowing out, and filling again…

hollowing out-crpd

Keep Reading

Saying Yes to Love—Part II

This is Part II of a 2-Part Series on Love for the month of February. Part I explores how essential it is to say Yes to Love in relationship. This second post focuses on practicing Love. Although originally written for dear friends whose wedding I officiated, and, thus, about the personal Love relationship between two people, everything here applies to Love in any relationship—with yourself, with your friends, with your family, with an animal friend, with a partner, with the Beloved. Read the poem that inspired this exploration.

Practice Loving Kindness
Practice Loving Kindness

Saying Yes to Love also implies unconditionality.

I practice Love which is not dependent on whether or not…

  • Dave remembers to put the toilet seat down,
  • Or brings out the garbage,
  • Or pulls the sheets off of me to his side of the bed in the middle of the night.

It’s not an “if” you do this kind of proposition!

Even if he hasn’t done something I had hoped for, I still look at him and say “I choose you.” I still say Yes to Love.

Because saying Yes to Love is choosing to live a life that is worth living.

When I say Yes to Love, I open myself to something greater than my limited understanding—

  • To the possibility of both of our growth and transformation,
  • To the mystery of the depth and breadth of the heart,
  • To this moment of limitless possibility.

In order to do this, we have to be willing to feel and allow everything—

  • The old wounds that will get retriggered by our partner,
  • The shame of doing the same unskillful behavior over and over again as we try to learn a new one,
  • The pain of not being able to open our hearts in the moment,
  • The suffering of being stuck and unable to see our way through,
  • As well as the amazing joy, gratitude, and bliss of Love.

For feeling is the language of the heart. And sharing these feelings with our partner is the language of intimacy. It is Love saying Yes. It is saying Yes to Love.

So, I encourage you to say Yes to Love every day, every moment, every chance you get. As Gregory Orr encourages us in his beautiful poem:

Later for “but,”
Later for “if.”

Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

Yes. May we always choose to practice Love.

What are some concrete ways you practice Love?
With yourself? With others?
How could you deepen your practice?

Read Part I of Saying Yes to Love.

Saying Yes to Love—Part I

This is Part I of a 2-Part Series on Love for the month of February.
This first post explores how essential it is to say Yes to Love
in relationship. The second focuses on practicing Love.
Although originally written for dear friends whose wedding I officiated,
and, thus, about the personal Love relationship between two people, everything here applies to Love in any relationship—with yourself, with your friends, with your family, with an animal friend, with a partner, with the Beloved.

 VDay card for Dave 2014
By Gregory Orr

If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for “but,”
Later for “if.”

Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

Yes. Unequivocally, Yes.

Conscious relationship, for me, is about learning to say Yes, over and over again, to Love.

Love can open in us as a gift, as a grace, but for the most part, Love is pretty hard work!

I find that Love is a practice of choosing to say Yes to the needs of the relationship, to being and acting as Love in each moment.

  • Even when I’m tired and just want to fall back into the comfortable slumber of “my way,”
  • Even when I feel disconnected and would rather lick my wounds,
  • Even when it would feel better to pretend everything is OK when it’s not,
  • Even when I’m not feeling very loving…

Because Love is bigger than a feeling. Love is a choice.

  • Love chooses connection.
  • Love chooses trying to understand.
  • Love chooses generosity.
  • Love chooses hope.
  • Love chooses to accept my partner’s reality, even when it’s not only different from mine, but might seem downright crazy or misguided.
  • Love says Yes.

For a long time, practicing Love, I would find myself saying Yes, but…

  • But what?
  • But you don’t see the whole picture…
  • But that’s not really what I meant…
  • But I would do it this way…
  • But…

Dave called me on it—many times—and he still may have to from time to time. It is a pretty engrained habit!

  • He let me know that when I say “Yes…but,” he only hears the “but.”
  • He no longer feels heard or acknowledged.
  • It’s like that “but” negates everything else I’ve said.

I have come to understand that the “but” is a turning away from Love, a choosing to separate a part of myself from the Yes of Love. The togetherness of Love. The generosity of Love.

I’m not saying we have to agree about everything—we don’t!

  • If I have a different idea, I share it.
  • But I try not to before acknowledging the Yes.
  • Yes, I see and hear you.
  • Yes, you are right in your truth.
  • Yes, I value and respect you and your expression.
  • AND here is my truth…

This is practicing Love. I won’t always get it right, but I will continue to practice.

How do you say Yes to Love? With yourself? With others?

Note: Part II of this Valentine’s Day blogpost came out at the end of February, so we can remember to keep practicing, even when the romance of Valentine’s Day, or falling in love, or a candlelight dinner is over….

Fall Equinox: Letting Go

One of the ways I am simplifying and letting go this season is by not posting a long Seasonal Blogpost at the Solstice and Equinox. I hope you enjoy this simpler, seasonally inspired reflection.

Bidden or Not

This collage feels appropriate as we walk through the doorway into another season. What will Fall bring to us? To walk with the earth into this turning into Fall, we can be mindful of the themes of simplifying and letting go. Summer coming to an end, the school year starting, harvest being gathered and stored, leaves falling, the days getting shorter…

What is our harvest? What can we strip away to focus on the bare essentials most necessary to our lives right now? As one of my teachers, Sara Avant Stover, asks in her book, How gracefully can you let go? How much can you give into the way things are? How well can you honor yourself and that which is passing?”

I recently posted about Vivian, my inner teenager self—collaging her and giving her a voice is part of my practice of letting go. Including her in my life allows me to let go of the ways I have unconsciously acted out her feelings and needs.

Today, as I finish this, in the middle of a trip to New York State and Vermont, I am letting go of over-productivity and focusing on the bare essentials—in this minimalist blogpost, in resting a lot to heal (a head cold is trying to re-establish itself), in doing only the minimum necessary so I can focus on connections with dear friends (not keeping up with all my emails or facebook, not visiting too many friends or places)…

How can you re-orient with the Fall season and practice letting go, holding on only to that which truly feels necessary and nourishing in your life?

An Autumn poem to close by Joseph Stroud, from Of This World: New and Selected Poems:

Home. Autumn. The Signatures.
Let the day begin with its light.
For once, let the mothers and fathers sleep late.
Let the chickens in the mud
scratch their own inscrutable chicken poetry.
Let the clothes hang from the line
in the rain.
Allow the crickets under the woodpile
one more day of their small music.
Soon everything will be clean
and bare, a fine inner blazing as the leaves
drop, and the air is tinged with oak
burning across the fields.
Let the skeletons of cornstalks
scrape in the wind
and sunflowers droop heavy heads
spilling their crowns of seeds.
Let the dew on the webs
gleam a thousand pearls
as the sun hazes its light
around everything we must lose.
Let the night build its darkness,
and earth close once more
and, at last, become quiet.

Seasons Blessings of Letting Go Gracefully, Katy

p.s. If you would like some support in the lifelong process of consciously letting go, I’d be honored to meet with you for a free Nourishing Wholeness Discovery Session.