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365 Days of Prayer – Day 56

I am quiet inside tonight, thinking of my beloved dead and those who have touched my life not only with love, but with challenge and chaos. Winter seems like a good time to honor these dear ones, because winter is a time when I slow down and keep the fires lit.

The Norns came to me in 2013, and Hela soon after that. My father passed in 2005, and my mother had preceded him in 1998. They were good Christian people. My sister had estranged herself from me over issues in settling my father’s estate. She passed two years ago on Christmas Eve and I only learned of it through the family grapevine. My ex-husband had stayed in touch with my ex-brother-in-law.

I keep an Ancestor Altar now. Like others who are touched by the Norse gods and practice healing work, I find this practice a good way to honor my dead and work out the differences that we could not overcome in life. It offers opportunity for forgiveness and release. Along the way I have received understanding of family drama and just how situations were the way they were.

Dear Hela, thank you for looking after my beloved dead and helping me to create bridges of understanding.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 55

For a couple of years now, I have studied with Wind Shaman Renee Baribeau. Her work has guided my recapitulation of life experience in such ways that I have been able to integrate aspects of myself that were forlorn and flying in the breeze, like a flag on a flagpole in a wind, but it could not take off like a bird in flight.

Now that I have mixed my metaphors and hopefully gotten my point across, I want to note that there is something about the organization of human consciousness – that although we look at our life as a straight sequence of events, our memories do not work that way. A memory can be a fresh as yesterday even though it was many, many years ago.

Memories in this way form kind of a tapestry. My mind associates memories with emotions, so that they are strung together like beads on a string. My nephew got in touch with me at the holiday season. We do not know each other well. My sister and I were not close, but she is gone these past two Christmases now, and so is the rest of the family. I picked up the contact thinking that maybe as we are the only two left from that home environment, connection could be good for both of us. Only time will tell.

But time, although it is measured linearly, is a more interesting thing than that. Time tables, schedules, and calendars are things of the day to day ordering of life, but not of the heart. My memory remembers the child – a shy blonde boy with large, expressive eyes. Memory adds the time I gave my nephew some riding time, hoping to engage his passion, but I could not reach that part of him. Then there were family troubles that further separated my sister and I. My nephew and I lost touch. There is certainly a lot of bridging to do, and perhaps family healing along the way, and a link has been made.

Creator, I do not know where these times of change will lead me. What I ask for today is the grace to enlarge my heart to accept the small changes and the simple bridges that can lead to paths only now guessed at. Amen.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 54

I am proud. I am humble. I am closed and concrete. I am open and vulnerable. I am strong, I am weak. I am happy and sad, early and delinquent. I am this and I am that, I am the world’s greatest warrior and the world’s greatest foe. I am all. I am nothing. I am thin, I am fat. I am smart, I am stupid, I am intelligent or not so much. I host a thousand ideas, I host none at all. Whatever I might think to say about myself would be true one moment and not the next.

The moment is always fleeing. A thing comes and a thing goes. One day is beautifully sunny, and the next day drizzling with rain showers. I hope and I am fulfilled, or I hope and I am disappointed.

I can lie to myself, or I can be honest with myself. In any given moment, a action leads to an equal and opposite reaction. Consequence follows upon its heels, like a dog after a good scent. I have the capacity to learn from my experiences. Sometimes I try new things and they don’t always work out as expected. Sometimes I am more flexible than others.

Dear Creator, today is a day I have needed stillness. I notice that I need days of stillness after days of intense creativity, and I hope this will not be taken as laziness. It is a time to recoup and reflect. Let my thoughts and my heart turn toward you so that I might be refreshed in your divine grace.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 53

I keep a little quote by my desk that reads: You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Today I was caught up in old moods and I have felt very vulnerable. During these moods, I dive into the pain as I was taught by Life Coach Brigid Hopkins, and try to expand into it until it pops and I come out the other side. When I do this, I stop trying to protect myself from remembered pain. I stop needing to defend my ego. I come to awareness of the thoughts behind the feelings, and I put the Byron Katie method to work.

At sixty-one, I finally have realized just how often learned patterns of behavior that I created to protect myself from emotional pain have interfered with work that was meaningful to me. I resolve not to let those patterns stop me any more. I had to identify them. Sometimes I had to have help – psychotherapy, Soul Coaching, or even just friends catching me and making me aware.

I do feel vulnerable. I am more aware. Just for today, I will walk forward into the mood and see what happens.

Dear Creator, when I am feeling vulnerable is when I seek you the most. Make me comfortable with vulnerability, because my intention is to always seek you. Amen.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 52

A topic that often comes up for me during meditation is the realization that for me to have a spiritual life, I need my body.

This idea contradicts the Christian upbringing I received that said the body is polluted and that to enjoy the qualities of my senses I must renounce pleasure. How Puritan, right?

As a healer, my body is an energy conduit that allows me to channel the vibrations of the angels and other helping spirits into the work I am called to do.

As I age, my joints have stiffened, and I have learned that a flexible and easy workout routine helps me to lessen that pain. Likewise, a good workout routine helps me to keep my metabolism in a state to burn blood sugar; an antidote to type two diabetes.

But perhaps the best gift my body offers, is that when I am moving, I have a stillness of the restless mind that often plagues me when I am seated. Movement of my body also offers me rest from stress and emotional pain. Walking, the natural movement for a human being, is a terrific way to recoup my thoughts, my feelings, and start fresh, renewed, without counting the entire day as going south.

Creator, today I am grateful for my body and its capacity for movement as it allows me to recoup my energies toward a positive feeling. Thank you.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 51 Two personal favorites

“Just for today,” the words of Michao Usui, founder of Reiki.

And another of my personal favorites, that prayer of St. Francis of Assissi:

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, let me sow pardon. Where there is doubt, let me sow faith. Where there is despair, let me sow hope. Where there is darkness, let me sow light. Where there is sadness, let me sow joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

365 Days of Prayer – Day 50

When my son the Marine was about the enter THE CRUCIBLE, I told him how much I admired his commitment and that he inspires me. Even though I cannot train that hard physically, I do have the determination to consider myself a “Prayer Warrior.” That was when I started this blog series.

I am fighting through many things right now. There is grief at being an empty nester. There is working all the hours I can grab to climb that slippery road out of owing too many bills. There are issues that arise with people close to me. Sometimes there is too much silence and loneliness and I just want to be heard.

Consequently I am kinda busy right now to maintain the 365 days of posting in a sequential way.

But I forgive myself and keep on keeping on. Isn’t it really about simply doing the best I can? And aren’t each of us doing the best we can?

Creator, when my inner perfectionist arises and tells me things aren’t good enough, I want to yell “Things are good enough just as they are!” Please let me remember that!

365 Days of Prayer – Day 49 When things really suck

I have a co-worker who is often annoyed by my determined cheerfulness. We have reached the point where we can tease each other. Thankfully, we each have a slightly warped sense of humor. For example, I will come into the office and greet everyone else “Good morning!” I greet my co-worker with a rough-voiced, “Morning!” I am a person who wishes good things for others, but I am aware too that just because I wish it does not make it so. On the days I am unable to muster the usual enthusiasm, and say to him, “Things suck!” he will sagely nod his head, and comment, “Now you’re talking.”

We’re each of us here in this Earth Walk solitary spirits in our own bodies. And yet I feel a larger force animating me, the winds, the trees, the waters, the fire of the sun in my heart, and the ground upon which I stand. There is a need in me to share, to be social, and yet an equally strong need to seek the quiet places and spaces where the noise of other people’s negative emotions is not so loudly felt. Both states of experience are good to me.

Yet I feel further a need to be mindful that a good emotion is not so easily achieved by those who experience the state of depression. As I write this, I am thinking of two people who have been close to me in my life, both coincidentally born on the same day (May 2) and whom experienced debilitating depression of the mind chemistry type. And I am further mindful that there is nothing I could offer either one, except to show up where they were and just listen, and accept who they are.  There is no blame to them. My sibling, who was one of these people, passed away two years ago on Christmas Eve, of causes caused by her extreme smoking, a slow suicide.

Depression is so little understood by people who, like me, find it relatively easy to be happy. One of these two people, a Reiki Master, said that another alternative healer had once told her that she should be able to beat this thing on her own. So my friend struggled through six months in bed without medication incapacitated by  her illness. Once she went back on the medication, she had a relatively normal life again. As I said, people do not understand that medical depression cannot be overcome by will alone. I would like to see more folks being patient with other people undergoing conditions we do not understand. After all, if each of us made this a mindfulness practice, wouldn’t it be a better world?

Creator, for all of our differences, there are areas where human beings are still very much the same. We are happy, sad, ecstatic, depressed, healthy, ill, on the fence or off it. We love, we hate, we are peacekeepers or warriors. Allow my heart to expand to allow others their own emotional range, yet when I can make someone’s day a little better by cheerfulness or simply listening, I thank you for those opportunities too. Amen Aho

365 Days of Prayer – Day 48

I am sitting inside on a rainy day after a day of satisfying writing, looking out the window as night falls. It happens so slowly at first, with the trees darkening their silhouettes against the light fading from the sky, and then the many colors of sky dissolve into the black blue gray of night. This is a thing of beauty and it makes my mental color palette itch to get my hand on those colors and start a new painting… But for the fact that I have chosen to write instead of hold a paintbrush today. And now night has completely fallen, and my light reflects my own image back at me from the window instead of me being able to see through to the landscape outside.

Outer image to inner image. There must be a metaphor here. My body houses my spirit and provides the channels for me to perceive things of beauty through my five senses. How I judge and interpret those perceptions is largely a matter of my personal beliefs and feelings about a thing. It is as easy to see ugliness as it is beauty. Truly the thing lies in the eye of the beholder, or the mind behind the eye.

A meditation from a book I cannot remember the title of: An image is an idea that I have created. The book is no longer on my book shelf, so I cannot check the title, but what a great image for creativity, or the reminder that on a higher level we are Co-Creators with God.

Creator, I marvel at how many levels I can be reminded of the grace and goodness and beauty within Nature, within my own perception, and consequently the opportunity for ALL of us to participate in this amazing co-creation called LIFE.

365 Days of Prayer – Day 47

On the day that my son announced he had joined the Marine Corps, my heart quailed. I admired his courage, his honor, and the fact that he loved his family and country enough to take on this commitment. I also knew that for the next few years I will have to live without regular communication from him. I will have to live with the fact that he can be sent into grave danger at any time and I would have not any control over that.

I am accustomed to a comfortable life. I am accustomed to heat in my home, bathrooms and accessible plumbing, regular meals on the table. I exercise simply to stay healthy, and not like my child, because my very survival depends upon the edge of my capacity for extreme physical action.

I grew up through the years when the country as a whole was condemning the government for the Vietnam War. To me the draft was a horror, that a government power could conscript youth against their will for a war not of their own making. And yet it was a Vietnam vet who helped me best to understand my son’s motivations for becoming a warrior. Thank you, Bruce.

To all the Peacekeepers and the Warriors out there: I honor your nobility and your sacrifices. To the Peacekeepers for taking a stand to advocate for the betterment of others. To the Warriors who put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms citizens take for granted. Your jobs are different, yet necessary. Peacekeepers give voice to what Warriors face so that humanity can evolve beyond the need to inflict pain and suffering on others in order to gain for ourselves. Warriors face what they face to protect their people and their homeland against pain and suffering from outside of the homeland.

Creator, thank you for those who take up hard causes for the betterment of all of us. Comfort them in the midst of their conflicts and keep them safe. Bring our military people home safely to their families and loved ones. Give them help for any emotional, mental, and/or physical suffering they endure. Allow our prayers and love to bring them peace of mind. Amen – Aho