Rita Patel. Untitled response to the Anna Akhmatova print.


I wrote this poem in response to the print of Anna Akhmatova I received in the mail from Pea River Journal. Seeing an image of someone’s face and looking for traces of the person and realizing that the traces – the markings of one’s living – are everywhere.

Originally posted on pea river journal:

Your face
a luminous clay vessel

drawn into
another realm

expressing edges
from your cosmos

of what has been
of what was seen
of what was experienced
of what is felt
of what only you can know
…and not know
…and lost?

and I must wonder
should I, as you
maybe at this moment
“In full forgetfulness, seek for my former trace.”

—last line from To the Artist (1924) translated by Yevgeny Bonver


View original

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Do you see the rabbit_6 Do you see the rabbit_21Do you see the rabbit? is a series of collages and poems I did inspired by the rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll as well as the general fantastical and dreamlike mood of the story.

The white rabbit enters in the beginning of the story and is muttering “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” Lewis Carroll meant him to be a foil to Alice’s character. Struck by our relationship with time and how that affects how each of us can really be and flourish, I wonder can you see the rabbit? Meaning – do you feel the rushing around to get things done like the rabbit or do you enter into the space of just being and unfolding as happens when you create your life? I was feeling my skimming through life and working on these collages I entered the space of depth and being which expanded my time elsewhere. My hope is when you view and engage with this particular series it brings some joy, beauty and depth of the moment. (and there is a rabbit in one of the collages…)

Time is now,

later, then,

yesterday, before,


and nowhere, not now

In every moment.

to be aware

but not focused




of these times

is the eternal 


both endless

and momentary

deeply un-capturable

all the past, present, future


all the universes of

all our lives

before, now, after

at the same time


By being in this moment.

Do you see the rabbit_9

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lovely flowers

“Flowers speak to us when we know how to listen.” – The Mother

Flowers at Meadow Store New York

I, like so many, love flowers and the magnificent beauty and variety. Here are some photos of ones around me this past summer that I hope you enjoy…Flowers

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I don’t have time.

“I don’t have time to…”

What does that mean?

I hear that often  – in almost every conversation. And I find I say/think it often as well. I’ve been thinking about this statement  – “I don’t have time.” – more lately because it is the one thing that comes up in every health assessment that I do with others. Maybe it is because we are stuck in the linear measurement of time. The measurement of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years – because that is how we mark our days. Yesterday, I felt I did not have time to do what I wanted to do – I was focused on the number of hours I had and the dates when things were due.  The anxiety and stress I began feeling ensured that I did not get to do much of anything. I experienced time differently because of what I was feeling. It made me think that when we say “I do not have time to…” that maybe we are referring to our experience of time – how we feel and not the actual 24 hour cycle…because if we think about it not all hours are the same to us in a 24 hour cycle. We feel different at different times because of different things.

The gods confound the man who first found out

How to distinguish hours – confound him, too,

Who in this place setup a sun-dial,

To cut and hack my days so wretchedly

Into small pieces —-Plautus

Speed and flow. When the speed – the tempo – increases we feel stress and when the flow is interrupted we feel stress. When we feel stress we increase the speed of how we experience time and interrupt the flow more often. I think we are all looking for uninterrupted flow that matches our own speed. This past summer, I decided to figure out what my speed really was because I thought maybe the “right” way and time to do things was not really right for me.  I did this because the rhythm of each day did not feel good  – I felt I was trying to catch up or was off the groove.  How could I experience my life more fully in the present and not feel stressed and anxious? I know how we live and experience our lives has a direct impact on our sense of wellbeing. So what is beyond productivity and efficiency? How do I experience more joy, beauty…and fun? So like most things in life – it has been a process and I am learning something all the time about time and our approach and why it is the way it is. One thing I realized while paying attention to my own rhythm  was that there was more than speed and flow to my experience of time. There was also the energy I brought to my work, play, relationships, etc. Those were categories where I either I operated from fear or stress OR from passion, joy and love. So I realized that my rhythm plus how I felt about something affected my experience. For example, if I saw something as work – there was no way I could feel anything fun or positive about it and that time. Even if I actually liked what I was doing for work. Categorizing it that way changed me and what I brought to it. So I began looking at my attitude and seeing what I could shift…and for the things that I could not reminded myself that it was not permanent. It is not easy and is a constant process but it has helped me see.

…..”In such a world, experience was always lit by spirit; the mind was not a closed compartment ‘processing’ its own private impressions, the mind always had at least one window facing the eternal. Through this window wonder and beauty could shine in on a life and illuminate the quiet corners where mystery might be glimpsed. A person’s nature was revealed in experience; it was also the place where gifts arrived from the divine. Naturally, experience was one’s own and not the experiences of someone else. However, it was understood as much more than the private product and property of an individual. Expressed in another way, there was a sense that the individual life was deeply woven in the the lives of others and the life of nature. The individual was not an isolated labourer desperately striving to garner a quota of significance from the world.” – John O’Donohue, Beauty

And ultimately that is what it is all about – our connections, our relationships with everyone (including ourselves) and everything is what ultimately affects our health and wellbeing more than anything else. By looking at my speed, flow, energy – even if  I cannot change anything I have started seeing more about my life and time. (“Your time is your life”-Marie Forleo) and when the speed, flow and energy were more my own, more natural I felt connected…and I felt better. Not just my mood but also physically – things inside my body worked better.

“There is such a constant whirr of movement that you never know where you are. You have no time to give yourself the present experience. When you accumulate experiences at such a tempo, everything becomes thin. Consequently, you become ever more absent from your life and this fosters emptiness that haunts the heart.” John O’Donohue, Beauty

gerber daisy petals falling from the sky in a sunlit stream

gerber daisy petals falling from the sky in a sunlit stream

I paint and it is about movement and change. When I engage with my own painting – looking into it the flow of the colors moving I experience going deeper and slower as opposed feeling like I am skimming…skipping past – as happens to me with moving digital images. I can’t catch up. But I try to. And that is when I lose my own rhythm. So when I say “I don’t have time to…” it is now a cue for me to see whether or not I am off my speed.

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Realizing life is good

I was in yoga class yesterday morning and a thought came to me – I have a good life.

I took a moment and realized that I do have a good life – meaning I am happy. It’s not that before that moment I thought my life was not good but I don’t think I operated in that framework. My whole mindset consisted of what I was feeling or experiencing at any specific time. And our human minds have a tendency to focus on the negative – a survival mechanism. So, of course being human, those feelings would become my focus. Even if I felt, in general, happy and someone asked me how things were going, I would respond “Good, but…”. Almost feeling obligated to share and emphasize that thing that was bothering me. It felt that if I did not then I was somehow being dishonest. It became a  habit and living in this way made me forget or at least push into the back – way back – that everything was really just fine. And it left me with a real uneasiness that things were not fine. So I started fulfilling that. Being in more of a negative state I think closed me off, causing stress, looking to seek out the “danger” and fix it. The thing is though most of the time there was no danger. So rather than being in an expansive state – relaxed, enjoying and open – I was instead worrying, worrying, and well…worrying – closing me off while I seeked in all sorts of ways to “fix” my situation. This was especially true when it came to my health – so much of these thoughts manifested in my physical body that I tried for years to figure out what was “wrong” with me so I could fix it. Wow. So much time, money energy…and pain. Turns out I am healthy and strong – nothing to fix –but my state of well-being was really off center because of what I focused on for most of my life.

So if I was feeling stress or unhappy that feeling became my center and I lived my life that way by feeding those emotions more and more. Gradually inhabiting another space my mind had created and living in an alternate reality on the edge of but not living the life I had. Here is the thing – right after I realized that my life is good, I then realized yesterday morning that having a good life did not mean that I would not feel stress, be upset or  unhappy, etc. from time to time but rather those were not my steady states – they were feelings. A kind of feedback system – feelings that tell me something. About myself, the situation I am in, and the people I am with… They happen when you live a life. And living I realize more and more each day, is a process – always moving, always changing – the continuous process of unfolding – never the same. And that is the beauty – to be able to look at the same thing but see something different; to experience the same thing but feel a different emotion, to eat the same meal and taste something different. That’s life and it can be exciting and full of discovery – both in “good” and “bad” situations.  That’s living. It  involves adjusting – continuously – to the center – regularly finding balance. The balance is not always the same center point either. It can be different each day – even each moment but it is always there and I think we all know how to find ours.  And that is the adventure. The difficulty and the easy.

I wanted to write this down because it is time when like everyone else I am thinking about intentions for the new year and…I know I will need the reminder that life is good, things are fine and to live joyfully – to en-joy – discovering and seeking balance and harmony rather than seeking to fix a “problem” that is not really real because I want to be well. And maybe the when  I read this again I will see something I did not today. That to me is beautiful.

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slow motion…deep awareness

Beautiful and magical to see the stunning colors of the Holi Festival in India captured at 2,500FPS—bit.ly/JFjeWi. Through the slow motion, the detail become so captivating. I read today that our perception of time is dependent on how aware we are – the slowing down allowed for so much awareness and I found myself feeling it was longer than a few minutes. The memory of it is even longer…and invoking it brings a feeling of wonder and joy.

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Bald Barbie: Beauty and self-worth

“Their beauty and their self-worth is not dependent upon their hair.”


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