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We are the clay and You are our potter, and we are all the work of your hands.

This image is found in the great psalm, included in Chapter 64:8 of the prophet Isaiah by the unnamed writer from his school; it dates back to the end of Jewish Exile, 537 BCE.

Yet, this image’s roots are much older: from the Yahwistic writer of Genesis 2-7, drawn from 4,000 BCE—Indeed, the dynamic in the Jewish psyche which nonetheless speaks if we listen and obey.  

Such hands still form, rework, and reclaim life as we experience it each moment in the actualization of our birthrights: To pierce setbacks elicits new courage, to unravel wisdom’s intricacies enlarges understanding, and to rejoice in intimacy deepens hope in this invisible Touch that keeps us whole.

To maintain such moistness so as to be malleable, though, requires attentive and gentle discipline. Only with heart-mind-openness to His Touch can this occur.

And how badly this openness is needed in Ukraine’s “special military operation,” now in its third week: Its woundedness dries and cracks apart spirits like broken sherds—both the aggressor and their prey. Terror seeps into psychic pores and hardens spiritual functions. Would that these hostilities lead to global purification.

Only intact clay pots can hold the message of the Potter’s unconditional love and share it with others, a reality consonant with our ancient creation story, found in the book of Genesis.

At 3:30 A. M., I awoke with this affirming dream:

Inside a mirrored practice room, I watch a large number of black girls, ranging in age from two to about thirteen years old, wearing black leotards and tights, and working with their teachers. A gentle spirit pervades the room.

This harmonious glimpse into my psyche affirms present self-care practices as I continue moving through my end time. The mirrored practice room suggests a significant venue for learning, with multiple mirrors reflecting mistakes for correction, as well as mastery of new routines for affirmation. I liken this venue to the feedback I receive from my circle of helpers attentive to my needs as my functioning diminishes, ever so slowly.

The dream’s black girls, symbolic of youthfulness, focus, and commitment speak to my willingness to learn each day’s limits and to participate in whatever evolves, through the practice of the Twelve Steps of Chronic Pain Anonymous. The mastery of new skills, in the face of diminishment, speak to my reliance upon Higher Power, the Master Teacher.  

The influence of the gentle spirit speaks to this Presence, continually at work in my psyche. Too long have I lived in the half-light of Life. With my days limited, I seek new willingness to spirit my steps in accord with cues streaming from my psyche; this requires deep listening and obedience of the heart.

Inhale/exhale: for most of us, breathing is an unconscious process but vital for living. For those with pulmonary issues, though, breathing becomes conscious and maintains intimate contact with reality. Accustomed defense mechanisms cease; in their absence, emotional honesty deepens, and the search for the meaningful increases.

Such has been my experience. My daily dependence upon medicines dispensed through a nebulizer, morning and evening, continue treating my hardening air sacs and teaching me, as well, through listening to the world around me.

This morning, a dear friend shared a significant quote from the fifteenth-century Indian poet and mystic Kabr:  

What is God? the student asked? He is the breath inside the breath.

I was already familiar with the Hebrew word, ruah, signifying God’s breath and or spirit, used in the two Genesis stories and in Pentecost’s gift of tongues, found in the Acts of the Apostles. Decades of meditations on this concept seemed to postulate a God, outside of me who somehow cared and protected me for long years. But Kabr’s experience of God as Breath has revolutionized my sense of Him, and the use of the nebulizer.

Ordinarily an exhausting and boring treatment requiring a minimum of seventy inhalations, each one now begins with awareness of emptied lungs, slowly filling them until unable to take another breath, but taking another, sometimes two, that touches my Essence—admittedly, a different way to meditate but it works.

I suspect this practice of Kabir’s understanding must alleviate the sting of physical death. There’s no record of his own.

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