Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Miracle of Love

We want so badly to share our innermost experience with our loved ones, but often, like the mermaid, we forget that not everyone can go where we go. Indeed, we all share this mysterious fact--that no one else can go into our depth completely. We must travel there alone....The living terrain of relationship actually exists in the overlap of our inmost natures.    Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening. 
The mermaid and the swimming boy found each other, but neither can exist in each other’s element no matter how much they love each other. As I’ve lived with parents, family, friends, husband, children, understanding each other only goes so far, often seemingly not far enough. It never before occurred to me in just this way that none of us can go into each other’s depths completely and that I must treasure and even be amazed, when we occasionally live in the overlap. 
Baruch ata adonai I love it when first thing in the morning I learn something new or maybe it’s that I understand what I know in a new way. Help me to use this new recognition when I feel hurt by others and understand others may feel hurt when I can’t enter their depths either. Amen

Monday, July 30, 2012

We're All There All the Time

The paradox is that in true interior ways, the only path to deep safety, that sea of inner peace, is through the shifting sands of risk. Risk opens safety. It doesn’t shut it down. Only through the risk to open can we inhabit and receive the strength and fullness of what is whole. 
Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
Last week at Silver Lake was a glorious peaceful one: sunny lush weather, friends to share meals and kayak paddles,  strong enough knees and body for hiking at that high elevation. Lurking in paradise raising their hands for attention were bits of myself I’ve worked to understand, calm and care for, bits I’ve tried to make brave over the years, tender doubts and insecurities that have been with me for a long time. Wherever I go, all of me goes along all the time. 
Baruch ata adonai be with me, help me to be willing to deal with blocks in my closeness with others, to widen my heart, to understand the difficulty that is mine and theirs. How can I open the way? Amen

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Power of Laying Out Requests

"Reading from Norman Vincent Peale's the Power of Positive Thinking, I was struck by a thought I need--that big prayers are required for big results. I have neglected to act upon this fact. To humbly, confidently lay out all my requests, to pray about and for them, has a power that I have been neglecting to use."    
          Phyllis Theroux, The Journal Keeper

I've had the experience recently of losing several things, and after searching seemingly high and low and buying replacements, I found them near the places I thought they were. Where was my mind when I was looking? Did I not really expect to find them? Was it that as soon as I saw the real thing, or got a better picture of it by ordering it online, I could find it? It was only arnica gel and a computer cord, but this morning I'm wondering if prayers don't work on the same principle?

Baruch ata adonai...OK, of course, I should have known. Thanks. Amen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saying Good Morning to Your Well Known Self

“I think the real heroic moment is the gray morning, long after that first leap of faith, when you wake up feeling discouraged and alone, thinking about bills and politics, and you want to pull the covers up over your head and hide from the world. But, instead, you say a kind and patient good morning to your fears, get out of bed and get back to life--this business of trying to live a truthful, soulful life. To me that takes real courage.”
Ann E. O’Shughnessy, from A Pause for Beauty#31
Each stage of life has built in requirements for leaps of faith: marrying that man I barely knew, trying for three years before getting pregnant and later remembering I didn’t even like to babysit, teenagers, empty nest, now what, and the facts of later years that define the trite saying “old age isn’t for sissies.” This is where I’m planted now. Each day in each stage I hope I’ll handle it better, and then I say good morning to my well known self. 
Baruch ata adonai some days courage is elusive. Help me remember to be patient and more loving. Amen

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Prayer and Intention

“To love one’s life, to treat one’s life as the gift it is, is surprisingly difficult. A thousand trivial pursuits--a thousand distractions, a thousand injustices, a thousand desires, work, television, rush hour traffic, the ignoramus or two who wants your vote--all attempt to obstruct the way. Let’s resolve not to let them. Today, let’s resolve together to live our lives in recognition of the gift it is, of the beauty around us, of the joy and harmony and balance that is possible.” 
Roderick MacIver, from A Pause for Beauty
Today, after a much better night’s rest than the night before, seeing the day ahead as a gift is surprisingly easy. I feel like a great weight has been lifted and I know several things I did yesterday contributed to it. One was sitting two times for about ten minutes in a restful position just listening: not meditating, not listening to the endless chatter of my mind, but what I call heart listening. It’s what I do when I say I’m praying. When I went to bed, I didn’t feel my mind chatter was vying for my attention. My challenge is to do it again today without the expectation of the same result.
Baruch ata adonai, I want to report how grateful I am to myself for staying with myself yesterday and doing what I need to do to sleep better. Today I am starting off feeling balanced. I didn’t know if it would help of not, but it did. Thank you for holding my hand. Amen

Monday, July 16, 2012

Praying for What I Want

When our hearts are open, magic happens. Intuitive wisdom comes calling, creativity flows, our presence becomes a force for healing, and the very air in the room becomes charged with possibility.
                      Belleruth Naparstak

Twice I've started today's prayer by writing about sleep that doesn't come easily. Not a good way to start the day. For today I'll focus on keeping my heart open. Starting now.

Baruch ata adonai, may I have more peaceful and restful nights. May I have dreams my unconscious can ride to release its tension. Tonight when I go to sleep let me count at least one or two ways  my heart was open today and I noticed the very particles of the air charged with possibilities. Amen

Friday, July 13, 2012

Boldness Has Genius Power and Magic

What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius power and magic in it.
     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This year I began two blogs, an art class in Mexico and a drawing class in Port Townsend. This year I read a recent book by an writer I first admired years ago and in September will go to a writing seminar she's teaching. I'm good at beginnings. Dangerous time coming up. Middles. It's then I wonder how long I can keep on, wonder if I'm trite, stale, unsure if I'm indulging in sustained chutzpah or if I'm growing something. For today I believe in middles as a bold time when beginnings gain power to continue to inspire.

Baruch ata adonai..., self doubt is an indulgence, a dream snatcher, a defeating old con I don't want to allow back into my life. Help me to sustain confidence, to have friends who support me when I'm indulging in examining too closely what needs time to grow and mature. Plants grow whether watched or not. May I stop watching. Help me to keep confident, to believe in magic, to dream and begin each day renewed. Amen

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Help Me to Fall Asleep Easily

Baruch ata adonai..., help me to fall asleep easily. Night turns into early morning before the previous day is over. I find no consolation in this. I wake up groggy and the early morning I so love eludes me too. Help me to find my way to sleep, to rest, to forgetfulness, to dreams. Tonight please spread a blanket over me, tuck me in and whisper a blessing in my ear. Amen

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Accept What Comes From Silence

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet....

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air....

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
             Wendell Berry, How To Be a Poet

Last night, out of a new book randomly opened, I found a reference to this poem. At six in the morning, its rhythm and hushed softness is any day's perfect beginning. Yesterday was a trial for patience. I returned from the mountains needing to have an xray of right knee, realized I'd left my wallet at the cabin, and the garage door wouldn't open and then wouldn't close. Before dinner the doctor called to report the probability of tissue damage and nothing more. Aside from imagining having a cortisone shot and perhaps surgery deferred to October, I didn't get ahead of myself. I accepted what might come of all of this and made the best of it.

Baruch ata adonai...though my prayers to you are often prayed while typing on the computer first thing in the morning, something I feel is not quite right, these last few years of praying to you have created a peaceful pacing inside me. Something like patience. Well, you know. I just wanted to say I recognize it too. Amen

Monday, July 9, 2012


When I am in the mountains, my prayer practice is one constant WOW. Before I talk to anyone, especially to myself,  I hike through the woods to a lake overlook. The water is calm. The air is still. I'm there before the smells of breakfast enter the bouquet of morning. I'm there before fishermen roil the water and air powering to where they think the fish might be. I imagine the earth is waking up, stretching, breathing deeply in and out once again. I count all the things I see, then I close my eyes and listen to the sounds of moving air, whispering aspen leaves, animals scurrying, birds calling, cars and trucks powering up the mountain grade. I breathe in the smells of summer and imagine a pioneer woman sitting next to me, a woman from a century and a half ago who had certainly seen the same view I'm looking at, a woman who had overcome enormous hardship on her trip west and didn't know what would happen to her now that her westward struggle was nearly over. We sit silently together and contemplate what comes next.

Today I need a prayer for returning to my daily city life. I could sit outside first thing, but I don't. I come to my desk and read texts that inspire and make me think. I'm out of practice for this kind of prayer: prayer that deals more with yearning and healing, introspection and interfacing with everyday concerns. Today I need a prayer for changing gears.

Baruch ata adonai thank you for my life of infinite possibilities. Help me to maintain my mountain calm. Help me to know my life is seamless. Help me to remember there are all kinds of prayer. Help me to be thankful for all that exists in my life. Help me to remember to bless myself too. Thank you. Amen