Not a poem. Just a thought.

Writing poetry has required I develop a philosophy and think deeply on the meaning of existence. For some people, religion serves that purpose. For others, schools of thought. For me, it has been a salad bar.

If I had to declare a religion, I guess it would be Unitarian. But it’s really a mixture of Buddhism, humanism and the universal language of caring deeply.

Underlying Beliefs (in no particular order)

  • Matter is neither created nor destroyed. It simply changes. Therefore, we are all everlasting beings, and while we have no memory of past existences, we have extensive histories in the universe.
  • The veil between the living and the dead is thin and semipermeable. That’s why we have spiritual experiences and the dead never really “leave.”
  • Living things are sacred energy and connected. Therefore, we must treat people and living things with dignity and love. We must be mindful and responsible in how we treat living things.
  • We create our own worlds and, in some way, after we die, we come back to the world we have created (and I suspect we have a choice in how we return). Therefore, we must leave a positive footprint, not just for ourselves, but for everyone (see above on interconnectedness).  
  • The petty worlds we build, the superficial, the fake infrastructure, the societies, the political games – these are not permanent or even “real” compared to the larger existence and histories of the energies that power the universe. However, since we are timeless energy experiencing these physical forms and these moments, we must do good within this infrastructure, understanding we will come back to what we have created as a species.
  • Religion is an attempt to grapple with the underlying truth of existence. Every religion holds part of the truth, just like every person does. But the structure of religion (like other institutions) is more a convenience than anything else. It grounds people and makes them feel better that there are strict rules and doctrines rather than a vast existential sky too easy to be lost in.

    And there you have it. My personal Bible.

    Feel free to print it out and put it in hotel desk drawers. Copyright, the universe.

    Katherine Gotthardt

    Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, hails from the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area. She considers herself a writer by nature and by trade, having begun writing for fun as soon as her mother helped teach her to read. An active part of the literary community, Katherine is current co-president and a founding member of Write by the Rails (WbtR), the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Katherine has been a Prince William County Poet Laureate nominee and was the winner of Inside Nova’s 2019 and 2020 Best of Prince William award in the category of author. Her poetry and prose book Get Happy, Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motivated in an Often-Unhappy World received a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. Katherine's children’s book, A Crane Named Steve, hit number one in its category on Amazon in 2019. Katherine then took first place in the free verse category of Loudoun County Library Foundation’s 2020 Rhyme On poetry contest for her piece "Discussion Topic." The Prince William Arts Council and Poet Laureate Circle awarded her the 2020 Outstanding Poetry Project Award for her leadership in Write by the Rails' Poems Around Town poetry installation. In 2021 Katherine earned second place for "Aftermath" in a Poetry Society of Virginia national contest and the regional Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence in the category of Individual Artist. She won first place in the Virginia Writers Club statewide Golden Nib contest in the poetry category for her poem "Kayak." Katherine was recognized as a PW Perspective 2021 DMV Best Business award winner in the category of author. While Katherine is well-known for her poetry, she also has established a solid reputation for writing articles, columns and short fiction. She is a full-time writer for a government contracting company and is published in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has authored 11 books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water, Bury Me Under a Lilac, Late April, A Crane Named Steve, Get Happy, Dammit, D.C. Ekphrastic: Crisis of Faith, Thirty Years of Cardinals Calling and Get Happier, Dammit. She uses proceeds from her books to support giving back initiatives.
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