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365 Days of Prayer – Day 46 What do you do when it rains?

When I was a child on rainy days when the entire family was together, we played cards. The preferred games were Kings in the Corner and Hearts. The family is gone now, but I still remember those games. When my son was older, on rainy days or on days where nothing else to do presented itself, we played cards. He liked Kings in the Corner, but not Hearts so much, because I usually won. We moved on to board games. I thought he was a champion when he finally won me at chess, and any puzzle game is a training in logistics.

Families dissolve. Children grow up and follow their own calling. Spouses that divorced remarry, settle into significant other relationships without marriage, or vow upon the remembered pain to stay forever single. The same answer is not right for different people, and the same is true for religion and politics. Wise or peaceful loving people tend to avoid those topics. If you like a good argument, there is the place to start.

Whatever the story, life is about conflict and resolution. Human beings are not a likely species to find peace in every situation; our history of aggression is too strong. Still the imperative of the horror of war is always before us for those who have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the heart to bear the suffering of others.

Dear Creator, sometimes I am full of critical thoughts about what others “should” be doing or how they are behaving. In these moments, open my eyes to see, unblock my hearing, and enlarge my heart to take others within, for their sufferings, their stories, their tribulations are not less or more than my own. Allow me to remember that we are all human together.

 

365 Days of Prayer – Day 45 Small deaths

“I have so much to do, that I will never catch up, therefore I cannot die,” read a quote on my boss’s wall at an old job in 2011. Her clutter was legendary among her employees, and when she retired, her replacement supervisor quickly sorted out, tossed, decluttered, and painted the office and driver’s room area for a clean fresh look. The stuff to do was gone, just like that.

I have faced many small death moments in life wherein things or ideals I had placed great attachment to had to die in order for something new to be born. Most of the time I welcomed the changes, but some of them I am still grieving. It was difficult to know when I was in survival mode what the best outcome of the decisions I made would be, and hard later on to reconcile my conscience with the best choice I could make during those times. The analytical part of my brain often fusses at how things could have been better, yes, but I did not see it then.

Sometimes I have stood in the place where I have been almost too tired to go on, and how attractive death can seem when everything just STOPS. These are the points where I have to fall back, stop forward motion, and get what rest I can out of the faith that things can get better. True, sometimes they don’t, but nothing gained was ever ventured with a lack of trying.

There is a gift that awareness of my eventual death – eventual – brings me. I have seen this with every friendship lost, every death I have had to encounter. I am not celebrating that loss. What I have taken away from each encounter with death is a falling away of what momentarily seems important. Self-importance is a huge one on my list.

Some rich guy dies, he served in government or was important to the culture in some way. He pays a lot of money or arranges for the granting of a lot of money, and he gets his name put on a boulevard, or as a name plate on a huge expensive building, or even a bridge, and his feeling when he dies is that he wants to be remembered forever. Thirty years later another rich guy buys the right to have the boulevard or the building named after him, and who remembers the first guy. Everything he built, everything he accomplished will mean little to those left behind him in the world. He will live on only in the memories of the living while they are still yet alive.

The point is not whether that individual contributed positively or not. The point is what did he leave behind in the memories of the living? Did he treat people well or poorly? Was he thoughtful and kind, or a forceful bully so intent on leaving his mark that he overshadowed less forceful people?

The names that seem to actually live on forever belong to those whose life work made lives better for other people. Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela are among the saints. There are many more whose inspiring achievements in our fields of endeavors have made life better for many people: in the sciences, in the sports, in the arts. We don’t forget their stories.

How well or how little I think of my self, my needs, my wants colors the relationships I have with all the life forms around me, and whether my influence on their lives will have any greater meaning. Therefore, it seems imperative to let that stuff go, again with the hope and the faith that what is essential to my life will be there for me in divine time. As that is another whole topic, I feel quite free to end this topic here and now.

Dear Creator, to be in right relationship to you is to be in right relationship to my kindred, whether they be people or the smaller brothers and sisters of animal kind, plant kind, insect kind, or among the brethren that flies and swims. Let not the noise of self keep me from relationships of this kind. Let me be of use in the world. Amen – Aho

365 Days of Prayer – Day 44

Some days I receive a lot of life inspiration; some days I don’t. These are the days when it is helpful to have bookshelves full of other’s words. Today I opened Ralph Blum’s The Book of Runes which has all kinds of wisdom tucked inside of it (from page 135, third edition).

I no longer try to change outer things. They are simply a reflection. I change my inner perception and the outer reveals the beauty so long obscured by my own attitude. I concentrate on my inner vision and find my outer view transformed. I find myself attuned to the grandeur of life and in unison with the perfect order of the universe.

Today I will allow this inspiration to become the prayer of transformation and the mantra toward a new way of being.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 43 Making the best use of my elder years

Creator, as I age, I ask to remember the best experiences of my life with joy, to know that many experiences are yet ahead of me, and that now I have the maximum powers of mind and heart to forge ahead on my unique life path. My family is grown and my responsibilities to life now are mostly for my own self care and my husband. I ask for health of mind and body to sustain me through the coming years, and to remain of good heart. Amen – Aho

Walking the dog this morning, I noticed she is moving much more slowly than just a few years ago when she was a pup. Neither of us is getting younger, and pondering that I am now in my Crone years, the thought popped into my head that culturally, America does not know the first thing about making proper use of its elder years.

Biblically, there are stories of elders reaching ages of two or three hundred years and up. Methuselah was reputed to have lived almost nine hundred years. During his time at the Sarmoung Brotherhood, Gurdjieff related in Meetings With Remarkable Men that he had met men of that advanced age. He could not contain the knowledge they offered. Some of them were of the Essenes.

Living in a culture of youth, wherein standards of youth are applied to standards of physical beauty, old age and our elders are relegated to a wasteland of nursing homes and retirement homes. Aging people do not always respect themselves and the experiences gleaned of a long life. We forget the beauty of character reflected in the lines and wrinkles of our facial expressiveness. Some aging people go so far as to have these beautiful character lines erased by plastic surgery, stretched out, plumped up, removed. As they age further, their faces take on the features of a mask. We forget that we can be beautiful from the inside out, and that we can still be useful.

In Elder days, it was common for the aged to share stories with the children around the fires of the village and pass on the wisdom teachings to the younger adults. I cherish this vision of living. Life experiences contribute to my character. Failure taught me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and learn from my experiences. Grief and loss taught me to be content with where I am and what I have. Achievements and successes are fleeting accomplishments that do not last, but there is the striving toward the next effort. Children grow up, spread their wings, leave nest-home, and they do not always look back. It is at this point that many of us are challenged to look at the new phases of our life, maybe most especially mothers suffering empty nest syndrome.

So what is left for us past the ages of sixty, seventy, eighty? Do we succumb to the belief that our life is over and we must just await the inevitable decline and final ending? Or do we find our adventures and contribute to our pleasure in doing the things we did not used to have time for?

At twenty-nine, I met the Gurdjieff work through Ann Kelly in Honesdale, PA. My time there was brief as she passed from this world two years later, but I carried forward a practice that has stood me in good stead over and over. Self-remembering begins with self awareness, and expands into self observation and self study. The act itself is a simple collecting of one’s self and one’s forces into present moment awareness, but the action of it, to carry it forward from one moment to the next takes a tremendous effort of recall, as our awareness tends to lose attention and diffuse from one moment into the next. But what the practice builds is the feeling of I AM in any given moment.

Gurdjieff taught his method as a blending of the physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects of a human being. This blending is the result of the practice of self-remembering.

The poignancy of his teaching reaches me more and more as I age. Better care of my body through diet and exercise results in more energy and stamina. Although I cannot attain what I did when I was younger, I still enjoy an active life of hiking, gardening, and working with the beings of Nature. To the best of my ability, I mindfully engage my talents in service to others. What I ask for as I age is a better relationship with the gods, the land, and the clients of my psychic practice. I am content.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 41

This morning things were out of sorts with my partner. I was in a good mood and he was trying to start an argument. I was doing my best not to fall into his mood. Misery loves company, but I don’t love misery. So these things were going on today.

I took my morning Wind Walk, and suddenly a key teaching of Gurdjieff popped into mind and I understood it in a new way. In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, somewhere in the Purgatory chapter, where G. describes the laws of three and seven, he says, “The higher blends with the lower in order to actualize the middle.”

My partner had been trying to lower my mood in order to raise his own. We are all connected, and we do this in groups. I remembered times I had with unconscious motivation done the same to him. So it is important to me to share that I write this without blame. It’s just how people are. We vent, but in venting, there is a sharing of negative emotions that makes no one really feel good, except in that moment where we have group agreement.

So, what to do with this information? How to hang on to my good mood?

It took some work, but finally I remembered that I am always connected to Spirit, drawing the sustenance for my being from Spirit, so I simply turned to Spirit in my prayer.

Creator, I have just now remembered that as I draw my life essence from you, I draw my life breath from you, and my energy from you. Please flow through me to release any negative emotions I encounter today, my own and others, so that in this practice I might bring more of your joy into the world around me today. Amen.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 40

Jesus was 40 days and nights in the desert. Noah and the animals were 40 days and nights on the Ark. Moses spent 40 years in the desert with the Jewish children of Egypt. I’m not sure what is magical about the number 40, but when I turned 40 I knew I’d hit middle age. Well, technically it will be middle age if I make it to the great age of 80… But perhaps I am splitting hairs. I’m having fun being nonsensical. Talking about prayer does not have to be serious and disciplined or aesthetic. It can be a fun act of love. Just showing up to the page today.

Today I am resting. I am calm. I am feeling good.

Creator, thank you for the chance to feel good, to rest, to have time from overwork. Amen.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 39 Symbols that bridge inner and outer knowing

Symbols that bridge our inner knowing and our outer knowing

Recently I posted a Facebook video on making Rune cards using ZenTangle methods learned from books, and the pendulum to indicate special lines, the flow of lines, and to select from my tangle collection.

Here: Rune Card video 1

And here: Rune Card video 2

What is so much fun about such projects is that the Runes have been my daily companions since 2013, and they have shared so much of their energetic meanings with me. When I create art using a method such as ZenTangle, it adds to the depth of the meaning of the Rune whatever is going on in my Subconscious. In this way symbols serve to bridge the waking consciousness of the day to day with the greater and broader depth of the Subconscious.

Reiki symbols do the same thing.

Religious symbols do the same thing.

What symbols are most important to you? For my son, the Marine Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is a symbol of the great accomplishment of The Crucible, and his willing service to America.

Today I let the simple act of art to become the prayer. I sat down to the design and allowed it to inform me of what I needed to release to feel more clear in my relationship with my Creator.

Creator, thank you for creativity. Thank you for inspiration. Thank you for this burning yearning to always feel close to you.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 37

Yesterday was one of those days I had to fight my conditioned self not to react from old patterns of behavior. The method begins with self-observation of many years, studying my self, my habits, learning my emotions, and watching the thoughts that arise in connection with these. Most of these patterns began in very young childhood. Home life was dysfunctional. I don’t say this to blame anyone, not any more, but to explain that I developed a sensitivity to  explosive anger as a survival tool. The result was a superficial effort to placate, to please, so as to avoid the repercussions of anger in my home. Tonight I created a ceremony to heal from these patterns. At the time of the full moon, I braided a cord to wear around my neck to gather into itself all those energies that interfere with speaking my truth. After all, there were those times when it was safer not to speak. But now, I can speak. I am safe. I just need to stand in strength knowing it is safe to speak. Tonight, the night of the dark moon, I burned this cord. I burned this cord and tomorrow I will bury the ashes of that fire in my garden, letting the earth make fertile use of this dead stuff.

I feel liberated. I am free.

Goddesses of the Nitty Gritty. I salute you. I salute the lessons you have brought me to. I ask you now to ground me, root me better in Earth so that Earth may bolster the strength of my spirit.

The Norns and Frau Holle have been tutelary spirits since 2013. They were among the goddesses of my most distant ancestors.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 36

We had an unusually beautiful day today, and we are expecting a few days of extreme winter. This morning I wandered down to the creek, admired the delicate sculpting of ice along her banks. There is a beauty that catches my breath, and creates in me a feeling of belonging to something much larger than myself.

Dearest Creator, I got up today, still vertical, still breathing. Thank you for this life. Thank you for the ups and the downs. Thank you that I belong to You. Amen.