Love and Prayer

Prayer and Blessing

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ear Miracles,
We have all experienced them. Those days. Those crappy days where almost as soon as you wake up you know, you just know, that it’s going to be a rough one. You stub your toe on the way to the bathroom. The bowl of cheerios tips over — after you had added in the milk of course. You open your inbox to a cruel client complaint. The bank account is not where it should be, coffee scorches your freshly pressed white shirt, your cell phone is low on batteries, you are low on batteries, and your supervisor springs a last minute mandatory after work meeting and so you have to call your mom and ask her to pick up the kids from school…again.

Yup. Those days where nothing goes right and the only law that seems to hold is Murphy’s. Or maybe it is more subtle. Maybe sales this month haven’t been where they should be and you are feeling…pinched, pale, listless, desperate, and cheap all at the same time And you catch yourself in the mirror, stepping into the shower, walking in the front door thinking…why me? Why now? Why can’t it be easier? Why the crappy luck/day/week/year/life?

There is a magic formula to make moments like this disappear in the proverbial poof! I am going to give it to you…are you ready?

Stand In Love and Start with Prayer.

Make this your priority.  When we stand in love we stop the blame game. When we stand in love we press pause on the inner conflict of the hour. When we stand in love we stop asking what can I GET and we start considering what we can GIVE. Standing in love allows us to possess, for a moment, the aerial bird’s eye view. In this way of seeing our problems are not insignificant but they are put into their proper context — and they almost always appear much smaller than what we initially thought.

And then there is prayer. Five minutes. Thirty minutes. Om Shanti Om. The Shema. Lord hear our prayer. We all come from the Goddess. Silence. Or one of my personal faves — told to me by a doctor whose good friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer…Dear God, what the hell? Don’t wait until it is the right time/vibe/moment because if you do you will wait forever. Most mornings at my house involve a cup of coffee on the swing, keeping one eye on the kiddo and one eye on the sky as I sing out my prayers and praise — it doesn’t look “spiritual” but that does not matter. I can tell you with 100% assurance that the days I pray are better, brighter, and flow with more grace than the days I don’t. Is everything perfect on those days? Hardly. Does it make a difference? Oh yes.

Prayer is an offering. You lay yourself out, warts and all, before your understanding/vision of the divine. You step into time out of time, into a numinous space where wholeness and holiness become one.

Prayer is a habit. You have to do it repeatedly, just like a sitting meditation. Some days you will feel it move through you enlightening and enlivening your being and other days it will feel like rote words falling from your lips. Get up the next day and do it again. Praying gives you a discreet opportunity to whisper or heap blessings onto those you love, those you are related to, your friends, and yes, even perfect strangers. Blessings sent equal blessings received. Prayer inspires generosity. It takes us out of our ego selves for a moment and reminds us that we are connected, dependent, divine, so very small, and so very full of life. It re-acquaints us with all that we do have, possess, can do and points out that others would give anything to walk in our shoes. It encourages us to be generous with others, and you know what happens then? We are generous with ourselves and those around us, those we love. Art helps! There are many beautiful images that you can focus on to help yourself get into a prayerful state of mind. The orthodox understanding of an icon is a sacred image which can create a window or a doorway to the divine — so allow yourself to consider what images do that for you.

Don’t know how to start? Sit quietly. Sway to your own heart beat, or stand and dance before the Lord like King David. Circle with three friends or let your cat sleep on your lap while you stroke her head. Pray out loud, quietly, or sit in silence. There is no wrong way to pray.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Scars are Sacred

Foundations

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dore_donkey4
This is an illustration by Gustave Dore for the fairy tale Donkeyskin — a wonderful tale about the sacredness of scars.

ear Miracles: I was talking with a dear one this weekend about issues — you know, mom issues, dad issues, high school issues, personality issues — all of the difficulties that the self-help industry encourages us to address, all of the problems we carry around while promising ourselves that we are going to deal with them and heal at some vague point in the future.

And then a thought occurred to me, as it would anyone who cares to look into it. What if we are really okay, just as we are? Perfect in our imperfections, and beautiful in whatever brokenness we carry?

I know it might sound too easy.  There’s likely a bumper sticker somewhere that says something to this effect.  I don’t mean that we don’t, all of us, have things to work on — of course we do. But what I do mean is that the standards of measurement for what is and is not normal or acceptable might be missing the mark. What are the origins of those standards? Are they not, for the most part, developed by clinicians and in clinical settings, and then adapted for easy consumption by mass markets?

Anyone who has spent some quality time in a clinic can tell you that the conditions there – and the systems developed under these conditions – do not fit with and account for our actual experience in every day life, not to mention our inner worlds.  Not by a long shot. There are indeed certain solutions or treatments that can and should help remedy certain serious psychological ailments. Yet for the rest of us – we should wonder why we accept their derivative products ‘hook, line and sinker’ as the ‘go-to’ solution to our general life problems.

I see that many of us carry around a sense of all the things we are not, can’t do, or have not accomplished — our cultural thinking has reached a point where too many of us feel irredeemable and would not know where to look for redemption or reconciliation even if they were concepts we accepted. Even though a lot of lip-service is paid to it, we do not really focus on what our unique talents, abilities, dreams, pleasures, and joys really are.  Instead we engage in the never-ending cycle of self improvement and self-depredation.

Now, I definitely possess a can-do attitude, and I am a problem solver by nature and affinity.  I don’t think that there is enlightenment to be found in chosen or created suffering.  In short I do not advocate anyone staying in a place of victim-hood or reveling in the wounds that we all of us have experienced. But I also suggest we be honest and kinder to ourselves. We are all flawed, all scarred.

Flaws are interesting. They are salt in the proverbial stew.  They create breadth and depth where before there was narrow shallowness.   Scars –  those points of maximum vulnerability in body and memory –   become the toughest most essential and irreducible parts of ourselves.  They can become ornaments that express the energy of who we are, or where we have been. This is why it seems to me that scars are sacred – they point to or signify our essential nature, mark us out as one, unique and whole being.

What would happen to us if we stopped trying to find a quick fix and improve ourselves according to the artificial categories and plans set forth by clinicians and their derivative practitioners in the consumer industry?  We shall always aspire and strive to become better and live more whole and more meaningful lives. But what would that look like without ten step plans? Would we actually start playing more? Stepping off the track, would we start enjoying life right now a little more, just as it is?

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Stepping Into Divinity-Reconciliation in love & life

Right Relationship

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ear Miracles: In one of the traditions that forms my personal practice, the term reconciliation refers to a wide body of ritual lore and ceremonial observances aimed at reconciling lovers, friends, or family members who have parted ways–usually in anger, pain, and almost always deep miscommunication. Reconciliation work is the most commonly requested service I am called upon to provide by far. More than the desire to attract a beloved, more than the blessing of children & families, and more than any kind of abundance work you can think of, folks look to ritual when their hearts are broken and hurting.

Often when I first speak to clients about their desire to reconcile they see it in a very narrow light. We fought, we broke up, I am hoping to make up, so the story goes. And this is fine, it is true in so far as it goes but what I have found in my years of practice is that it does not go deep enough–not by a long shot. So today I want to talk about the spiritual component of reconciliation.

Theologically reconciliation deals with one aspect of salvation: the re-uniting of the soul with the Divine, the Source of All. In the Catholic church the act of Confession is sometimes called the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. This is because, as I understand it, confession is a ritual cleansing, and it allows us to make peace, to reconcile with ourselves FIRST and then with God. Now some people see God/Goddess/Spirit in Christ on the cross, or in Our Lady of Guadalupe, or in Cerridwen, or in the Green Man, or in Yaweh, or in Yemayah, or Buddha, or Krishna, or in the stones, plants, animals, and living soil on which they live. Most religious traditions agree that as it is above, so it is below-that we, each of us, have a share in the divine, in the Godhead, in the Source of All. That means that when we seek to reconcile with our own sense of the Divine we must first reconcile with ourselves. I don’t think its an accident that many mystical traditions such as Gnostic Christianity and Sufism to name a couple, view God as the ultimate lover & beloved, for when we seek out the Divine we do so from an impulse to know and love more deeply and truly.

This is why spiritually speaking personal reconciliation work is so difficult to achieve, not because people fuss and fight or because broken up relationships are beyond repair, but because, as Confucius says-we must look within first and address our shortcomings before commenting on someone else’s. We must look within and see clearly-warts and all our own illusions, shortcomings, fears, mis-placed prides–we must look truly and deeply. Once we see it clearly we can acknowledge and address the scars, the blocks, and illusions. We can apply a healing balm to those parts of ourselves that have been wounded, cut up, and isolated, we can summon a bit of breath and brightness to our hidden places, we can reconcile in, of, and with ourselves and in so doing acknowledge our own blessed divinity. Reconciliation is not for all times and places. It is specific work applied at particular moments in a day, a week, a month, a life. But if you are feeling the “fracking F’s” as I call them: fragmented, fractured, fearful, and frazzled, then it might be time to consider reconciling with the greatest lover of all–your own soul and your understanding of what is most Divine and Holy. It is also noteworthy to remember that “holy” springs from the old English halig and literally means to make whole, this of course is the ultimate goal of all kinds of reconciliation.

May there be blessed wholeness and holy-making for us all.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.