Realms of the Soul, February 2019

In January of 2002 my wife began radiation therapy for the treatment of her first encounter with breast cancer.

A month later, in mid- February – between the scheduled invasions of the invisible rays – we went to the beach for several days. It was a warm February enabling us to take – before the period of her tiredness began – two walks.

On the second walk, just before Valentine’s Day, I found this rock in the foam lace on the edge of the ocean. It appeared to have been engraved with a series of hearts and then embedded with tiny stones by some process engineered by the Universe. It seemed at the time, a message; a message of encouragement in a period of enormous doubt and fear and has served too, as a symbol of our four children.

I’ve kept the stone in my night stand to remind me of the potential power of love and hope.

When we present those objects which have significant meaning to us in places of honor within our homes, their power to inspire us, to ground our intentions, and to encourage our gratitude become amplified above the noises of the everyday. Among the Diné people (pronounced din-EH – the name by which the Navajo Indians originally referred to themselves) there is a common wish that is uttered: “May you walk in beauty.” The phrase relates to the encouragement of moving through our lives in a sacred state of grace, resilience, and harmony in regard to all living things.

I thought of this wish when I decided to place the stone in the company of a branch from a pine tree. Having grown for years in a pot on our deck, the pine tree is the only ‘thing’ left of a troubling business venture I journeyed into some years ago. Despite my original dislike of the tree because of what it represented the pine itself has flourished Not only has the tree flourished, but it has come to bring joy into my life with its contorted beauty, resilient nature, and the gentle outreach of its needles which frequently brush against my skin as I pass. Pine trees have, since antiquity, been symbols of wisdom and longevity. The branch, reaching out across the stone, feels like an invitation to continue to not only hope but to remain open to seeing the challenges and shadows of life in ever changing ways.

Find an object in your life that represents a time, event, or moment and place it off center on a rectangular flat plate, or board you have stained, or a piece of slate found readily in a tile store. Elevate your presentation ‘board’ about 3/4″ with a couple small pieces of wood. This elevation will give your spiritual invocation a sense of having been set free from the surface on which it stands, much like the object itself in its power to set your spirit free from the constraints of the ‘everyday.’

We found this particular dish at a discount import store years ago and liked its feel of flying on upswept wings. When not in the temporary service of honoring sacred objects, the plate more frequently serves as setting for a round of brie and a sleeve of crackers. Our winged plate once stood duty as a business card location during an art show.

Set your imagination free and your prayers and intentions will follow. The cheeses and crackers can have their day some other time.