Thursday, June 28, 2012

We Know More Than We Think We Know

"We know more than we think we know....Perhaps our natural gifts elude us because they are so obvious."
           Sue Bender, Everyday Sacred

Inside me is a strong sense of a book I want to write, a course I want to teach. There is so much I don't know about the process of doing this and after all what do I have to say that hasn't been said. And so I chase my tail this morning. What are my natural gifts? What are my strengths? What is it I want to say? What do I know that everyone doesn't already know? What do I know I don't know I know? And I do think I know more than I think I know.

Baruch ata adonai help me hold these questions lightly so they don't get in the way of what is important today. I will savor the questions for awhile and then remember something I know: savoring this new day is more important than anything else. Amen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Prayer Is Difficult

Yesterday, three different cancer stories from friends. Two heartening. One heartbreaking. This morning I feel restless. Something is going on inside me I'm not yet privy to. Neither inspiration nor prayer seems attainable so far. I feel if I truly tuned into what is going on around me, I'd go back to bed for the day and wait to check in tomorrow.

When I ask myself what it is I'm feeling, my response is, "as long as you aren't sure, how about feeling thankful and make those thoughts of gratitude your mantra for the day. Let them fill the empty spaces where fear and sadness enter."

I'm thankful I'm healthy. I'm thankful I'm drawing again. I'm thankful for the friends I'll be seeing today. I'm thankful for the sunny day, and for my home and husband. I'm thankful I have pushed myself to write this morning. Amen

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remember to Taste Today

I know there are a lot of important things
going on in the world that maybe I should in
some way be attending.
But I was wondering how those pretty spiced
apples, just out of the oven--and in all of their
aromatic glory
will taste for dessert, and then a late night snack.
          A Year with Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky

When I started writing prayers a few years ago, it was for my psychological needs. Later, after that pain was over and before I realized it, I was filling a spiritual vacuum. It is a surprise and joy to me to realize how long I've kept up with this practice and where it has taken me. Gratitude has become an underlying principle in my daily life. When I came across this poem, I thought, but what about savoring. And then Gracie came in with her excited doggy kisses and wanted to share her morning with me.

Baruch ata adonai help me to remember to taste and enjoy this day with great zest.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Being Patient with My Old Self

"All comes your way for a reason. Everything is working the room and making valuable connections."
A Year with Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky

When I unwind my feelings of regret this morning, that I'm not all I want to be and it seems could so easily be, the thought occurs to me that underlying all this is the desire to be perfect. I'm pushing aside gratitude for what I am and enumerating what I'm not. Why am I working this room this morning? Gracie, my dog, has greeted me enthusiastically, the morning is sunny and cool, this day has exquisite possibilities. My temptation is to push my feelings aside. Would I do that to a friend? No, this morning I'll be patient with my old self. She won't be here long.

Baruch ata adonai help me to embrace all parts of myself equally. Amen

Friday, June 22, 2012

Create Joy

"Life will bring you pain all by itself.
  Your responsibility is to create joy."
  Milton Erickson, M.D.

This is hard to remember when I've been up to my hips in alligators. Why did I so often feel I was in that swamp, fighting for my life? So much time was taken up on what wasn't right, how much I had to do, how important it was to do all of it. Yes, life still brings pain, but for the most part, I think I've stopped being the sole proprietor.

Baruch ata adonai thank you for yesterday's joys of friendship and intimacy. And cool weather helps. Thanks for that too. Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Going for It

"One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers, and belongs....By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable....When the search-and-discard impulse seizes you, two crosscurrents are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving, while the new you celebrates and grows strong."
Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

I feel a new exciting extension of what I'm doing with prayer and drawing coming. I've been asked to consider teaching a class on prayer writing. After a long time off, I'm starting to draw every night. Every night a new little lady arrives! I'm looking at my unfinished paintings and thinking, put them away again. One little lady with a zany wild look on her face has one foot in mid air and the other reaching up. She's saying, "I'm going for this whatever it might turn out to be." Yikes.

Baruch ata adonai, I know from my inner excitement just writing about this that something new is coming. What a great way to start this day. Amen

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are You Listening?

This morning many friends are in pain. Grandchildren, brothers. Today some face surgery, painful therapies. Some are healing and wondering if it will ever happen. I was awake six times last night. I'm sitting here groggily waiting for guidance.

"Get over yourself. Just get up, take a shower. Eat or don't eat. Open your eyes. It's a beautiful morning. Despite a few slipped thoughts, a few misplaced words, you are going to get up and move and be fine and make sure not to waste this day either. No. You are not going back to bed. Did you hear yourself? Are you even listening? This morning friends are in pain. Grandchildren, brothers. I'm sitting here waiting for you to listen to me."

Baruch ata adonai, I'm awake. I'm grateful. I'm healthy. I'm grateful. The air is cool and fresh. I breathe deeply. I am grateful. Amen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Gift of Being Alone

"...Gradually the enveloping quiet became a positive element, almost a presence, which settled comfortably and caressingly around me like a soft shawl....I discovered that I felt at home in the silence, which compelled me to enter my interior world and walk around there....Silence itself had become my teacher."
Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase

A gift last week. Three full days alone. Being alone hasn't always been so easy. There have been times my thoughts and feelings knotted around themselves and pulled me into a snarl of resentment, even though being alone was exactly what I craved. This time I was in peace and the days richly textured. I was able to paint and write and love being with myself. I believe years of writing a morning prayer has taught me to think less and be more.

Baruch ata adonai I am grateful I enjoyed being with myself. Amen

Friday, June 15, 2012

Early Morning Paradise

"(Gardening) is not graceful, and it makes one hot; but it is a blessed sort of work, and if Eve had had a spade in Paradise and known what to do with it, we should not have had all that sad business of the apple." Elizabeth, Countess von Arnim (1866-1941)

It's going to be hot again today, but at six in the morning the day is calm and soothing. In my garden  whacking away at bushes overlapping their neighbors' space and deadheading roses, embraced by cool air, I, like Eve, was in paradise with no idea of what might happen to me in a few short verses.

Baruch ata adonai may I enjoy every minute of this lovely day. Amen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blessed Are Our Friends

"Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is. And the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult....In order to achieve escape velocity, we must learn to move silently among doubters, to voice our plans only among our allies, and to name our allies accurately." The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron

Baruch ata adonai thank you for opening my ears and my heart and my confidence. Blessed are my friends who have always taken me more seriously than I did myself, friends steely in their support and determination that I crack my shell of limited expectations. When I said aloud what I wanted to do, when I believed in and admitted my truest goal, when I saw the way clear to it, they supported me all the way. Bless those who have blessed me. Amen

Morning Prayers, a book of my drawings, paintings and prayers is the beautiful result of friendship and can be found on Shutterfly. Contact me and I will email a link to you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Today You Are You. Good Luck.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
                                       --Dr. Seuss
"May I be filled with loving kindness.
  May I be well.
  May I be peaceful and at ease.
  May I be happy."
                                      --The Loving Kindness Meditation

Today I want to take care of myself in every way I can. And I want a son who is in a bad patch just now to be able to take care of himself in every way he can. And probably it's best if I don't call him today to find out if he's doing that or not. I have too many good ideas. So much to share. As all parents know, loving kindness might just be not doing anything at all. 

Baruch ata adonai I pray he will be well. I pray he will be filled with loving kindness toward himself, that he will act in his own best interest. I pray he will know this fork in the road, which may well feel like a fork in his stomach, will lead him eventually to new strength. Be with him. Amen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Start Today with a Smile

"A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It's not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it's true without inquiring. A belief is a thought we've been attaching to often for years." --Byron Katie, "Loving What Is."

"Things to do today: Exhale, inhale, exhale. Ahhhh."
                -- Jack Kornfield, Buddha's Little Instruction Booklet

The night before last passed ensnarled in old stories, judgments, perceptions, and attachments, so not as enjoyably as it could have. Yesterday in a mood to deal with myself, I did begin to read that unread book bought to better myself. I'll work through it a chapter a day. Meanwhile for today, three things to do: exhale, inhale, exhale. It will be a balm to keep today simple!

Baruch ata adonai you must laugh watching me turn myself inside out for no good reason, knowing I'll come to my senses: I'll breathe and listen to this morning's birds chirping and look and enjoy the sun and cool air streaming in my window, and use my hands to create art and feast on good food rather than dry old bones. And I'll keep today simple. Amen

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hauled to the Next Step

"There is reality and then there is the movie your mind projects about that reality."
               --Byron Katie

Late yesterday an ancient nasty thought and I jostled along together. I ran ahead a few steps, and the thought struggled to stay close enough to tap me on the shoulder but couldn't wrap its hairy, slimy, disgusting arm around my neck to take me down. Oh great! A dust up with the bogey man right before bed! As I searched for what the heck I was doing to myself, I found a prayer I wrote two years ago on the same date which began with this quote from Byron Katie's book, "Loving What Is," a book bought with good intentions and still unread. Today's the day to start.

Baruch ata adonai, I've noticed how easily I slip in and out of being in the present moment by meditating on what the next meal will be, or daydreaming about what I'll do for fun in the grim months of winter, or even admiring work I created a year ago. Today instead of savoring wonderful feedback a friend gave me, my mind slipped into an unpleasant thought, fussed with it a bit and made it even more awful. Now instead of praying about staying in the present moment, I'm praying I'll be willing to do the work  clamoring for my attention.  Thank you for the gift of prayer and for leading me to this step. Amen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Changed Memories

"I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray."
     --Stanley Kunitz, The Layers

While working on our cabin last weekend, my younger son and I had a lot of time to talk, and he reminded me of more trips to the ER and gifts of experiences I gave him than I could have recalled on my own. I treasure this time together. It changed the way I remember myself: overwhelmed by so much teenage testosterone. What a lovely gift it is to look at myself through this lens.

I'm feeling quite mellow about myself most of the time these days. There are enough current challenges and more ahead, and the way is clearer without the litter from the past being raked up. I was stronger then than I remember, and knowing that, I know I have the strength to deal with the present too. 

Baruch ata adonai my adult children are gifts that keep on giving. I am so grateful. Amen

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Prayer Muscles are Flabby

"I've been given the gift of life. How do I want to honor this gift? Are the things I'm spending time on, the decisions I'm making, harmonious with those things in life that I find most profound, most inspiring, most beautiful?"  --Rod MacIver

It has been a week since I last sat in the morning and read for my heart and wrote from its longing. Unused, my prayer muscles are flabby.

Some of the days I was missing, I lived and breathed in the forest around Silver Lake where I am in touch with solitude, with not putting words to thoughts, with silence within. It is the answer to a long ago prayer. When I returned home, I found my computer had been invaded by someone with too much time on his hands and only yesterday afternoon was it restored.

So what do we do in life when we come to a detour? Shift down. Start again. Review what's important. Decide what's harmonious. Pray.

Baruch ata adonai here I am and I hear you telling me to quit whining and start over again. That's it? OK. Thank you. Amen