I'm sorry your invitation is late my friends, things have been crazy and yesterday our furnace died. . . when it was -12 degrees. I still have not posted another Tarot Card Tuesdays. I'm going to have to do this soon or accept losing all credibility!
Today's invitation to pray is simple, but I'll admit it took me awhile to call what I do prayer. I was raised secular and for some reason it got into my mind that prayer was something only people who identified as religious did. I identified as spiritual, so I didn't know my talks with spirit were prayers, I just called them thoughts and affirmations.
Many years ago I was working at a bank and stressed out in a major way. I was tired of the job, tired of my co-workers and in fact was being harassed by a male co-worker who was eventually suspended and transferred to another city. It was during this time when I noticed that I kept falling. I fell in the grocery store, on the street, in the parking lot, in my kitchen and even getting out of the car.
It was odd because it wasn't slippery and I always fell the same way and always landed on my knees. It is if my legs buckled underneath me and dropped me down to the ground.
One morning I fell as I was walking in a crowded area on State Street in Madison, WI. If you're familiar with Madison's State Street, you know this was in front of a lot of people. I was mortified, but for some reason, even though I wasn't injured, I couldn't get up.
It was as if I was glued by my knees to the ground. For most people, falling can be embarrassing, but for me, walking alone, being heavy and stuck kneeling there on the sidewalk was a nightmare from hell (or so I thought).
I panicked when I remembered that I hadn't done my toes, so if paramedics came and for some reason they had to take my shoes off, the whole entire world would see my chipped polish and basically, my life would be over!
I expected and dreaded the people who might come running over to help me, but no one did. In fact, they walked by me as if they didn't even see me, which made me feel at once relieved and angry. I remember having the thought, "Well, I'm down on my knees again." And, while this is not funny I started laughing because I had a reputation as slut when I was in grammar school and there were jokes made about me always being down on my knees. It isn't funny and in fact was hurtful, but at that moment is just struck me as hilarious.
Now, I really felt like a crazy person. . . on my knees, unable to get up and laughing! The whole thing was ridiculous and since most people who read this blog know me, you can imagine how insane I felt!!! Still, no one seemed to notice a laughing woman kneeling on the ground.
Then a line from the Christmas carol Holy NIght popped into my head.
"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices." Holy Night is one of my favorite winter songs despite the fact I'm not Christian.
I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I knew that in order to get up, I was going to have to pray. Whew, now I felt really weird, but my legs were not moving. So, I did. Tentatively at first.
I don't remember what I said or if I addressed anyone in particular, but I do remember feeling an incredible sense of peace. The more peaceful I became, the less self-conscious I became. It was just a matter of minutes before I clasped my hands and bowed my head.
Suddenly I felt "done" and the awareness that I could get up. I did and walked somewhere for tea. I was calm and felt peaceful. . . for the first time in months.
I realized I'd been given a gift many would say was a religious experience, but for me it wasn't about God or even a Goddess. It was more like tapping into an energetic river of tranquility that flows through the world I'd never felt before.
I began to experiment with prayer. Sometimes I just talked and poured my heart out, sometimes I addressed God or a Goddess (Kwan Yin, Mary or Isis) and sometimes I recited formal prayers I found or made up.
To me, praying is like meditating and I connect to the earth as well as spirit. I feel and hear sounds from all over the world. I hear chanting, singing, the Muslim call to prayer, bells, things in languages I don't understand and even hear the the earth breathe.
I invite you to take a few minutes to ask yourself what prayer is to you. Prayer forces me to be still and while I don't always drop to my knees, I do pause whatever I am doing. I have a close friend who prays while she runs and another who prays every night while he eats his meal. There is no right or wrong and it isn't a mandate of connection. . . you don't have to pray to be spiritually connected, but for some reason I must.
I want to share this prayer I wrote years ago. It is to a mother goddess. I wrote it as part of an Artist's Way exercise and while it may not win awards, it comforts me and perhaps it will strike a chord within you too.
Our Mother, in whose womb we are carried…
Whose breast feeds the world.
Give us this day, our daily bread
And forgive us our judgments,
For we know not your master plan.
Our Mother, who shines her light on our shadows…
Whose love dissolves our fears.
Give us the courage to lead with our hearts
And forgive us when we stumble,
For we are becoming conscious of your master plan.
Our Mother, whose guidance we have accepted…
Whose wisdom we now know is our own.
Give us the opportunity to be present for others
And forgive us if we show impatience,
For once, it was we who did not know your master plan.
Amen/Aho/So be it
Forests and oceans feel like my church and temple. Imagine my absolute delight when I spotted the rock pictured above!
I wish I could show you...
when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.