As a child, my favorite saint was St. Francis. I think one of the reasons I was so drawn to his story was his profound connection to all of creation: sun, moon, plants, rivers mountains, animals … somehow that way of living and being has always resonated with me. I continue to gain inspiration from Francis of Assisi. This is my own version of the Prayer of St. Francis:
Creator, make me a channel of peace,
Where there is hatred, let me plant love;
When I have hurt, let me seek pardon and
Where there is hurt inside me, let me find forgiveness;
Where there is doubt, let me believe;
When I feel despair, let me seek the light;
When the night seems too long, let me remember the morning
Where there is sadness, cultivate joy.
O Loving Creator,
help me open my heart to others before I ask for help;
seek to know the world around me before I expect to be understood;
love with my whole body, heart and spirit
and in doing so, know that I will be loved
help me remember that it is in giving that we receive
it is in forgiving that we are forgiven
and it is in letting go that I am connected forever
to all of Life.
Luke sleeps and leaps
in his sleep. In his dreams he
can fly, spinning feathers through the air
legs out front the way a hero flies.
Luke sleeps and chases
in his sleep. In his dreams he
snaps at fish that tease and leap and
fly in moonlight, and arc over our bow.
Luke sleeps and watches
in his sleep, in his dreams he
sees a spirit ship floating the crest of a wave
it has come to take him home
I recently finished “Luke’s Dream.” My sister, Kat and her husband, Jerry, commissioned me to make a mixed media painting to remind them of their sweet rottweiler, Luke, and their sailing life. It was lovely to deliver it to my sister in person and to see her reaction to it.
The 48 inch by 30 inch piece is in a mahogany box (made by Tim) and covered with glass (thus the weird horizontal lines reflection of the siding on my mom’s house in the top photo.) I included an old barometer, compass, cleats, and bits of sailboats, maps, cables, sails, a sacrificial-zinc disc. Scribbles and smudges of charcoal, conte and pastel. Layered papers and drawings. Photos of peeling cracked wallpaper blended with an antique planosphere (map of the heavens) and of course, Luke himself sitting on the bow of the Splendid Mane.
Luke developed bone cancer in his leg, and died a few years ago. Fly free, Luke. Sweet dreams! Catch lots of rabbits and flying fish, won’t you?
One of my all time favorite poems is by e.e.cummings, a poem I first read when I was 14 years old, living in Virginia. My dad introduced me to e.e.cummings. Throughout my spiritual journey, from Catholicism to Buddhism, to exploring other Christian faith communities and finally finding my spiritual home in Huichol Shamanism, e.e.cumming’s poet-mystic vision rings true to my heart.
We are all climbing to the top of the same mountain on different trails.
May all Beings be Blessed. May all Beings be Loved.
Here is the poem:
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
– e e cummings