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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

My current class that I am taking is on Therapeutic Prayer. Which is a fascinating subject to me. What is wonderful about this class is that it is not on religion based prayer, but simply about prayer itself. When I was a child, I had learned that when I went to mass I should do all my asking before mass even started. And then I should give prayers of thanks and gratitude when I prayed after receiving communion. I cannot remember how or when I learned this. So as my spirituality broadened, so to did my concepts of prayers – and so have my questions on and about prayers.

In my studies I read A Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier, and was deeply moved by his words and the way in which he prayed. This has given me much to ponder, and I wish to share this with you.

I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn to obey.

I asked for health that I might do great things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for,
but everything that I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I have an inclination that I will be writing more on this subject. I  have many stories I could tell, and many questions I could ask. I welcome your comments, thoughts, and beliefs on prayer.

Wishing you peace and love.

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The holiday season is upon us. Thankfully, I am back in the mood to celebrate this year. I am trying to be more sensitive to those who are not looking forward to the holidays.

I’ve seen the stickers that remind us of the ‘reason for the season’. I know they mean the birth of Christ. However, I believe in today’s world, the ‘season’ has a much broader meaning. We are living in a more diverse society than ever.  In my parent’s generation, not only did my father’s parents want him to marry a good Catholic girl, but an Italian too. I think as the heritages become more diverse, our religions and spirituality becomes more rounded and inclusive too.

For me the reason for the season is about family. My family has been spread out across the country for many, many years. But the day gives us pause so that we can spend a little time with each other, even if that is by way of a phone call. We all know that time waits for no one. So for me, Christmas is the one day that, while it can be hectic leading up to, does slow down to allow me the time to celebrate traditions and be with my family.

I love saying to people “Happy Holidays” just as much as “Merry Christmas”. I don’t feel that I am disrespecting Christmas by broadening my greeting. I feel I am being more inclusive, and more accepting of other people’s customs, spirituality, and religions.

I sincerely wish you a very Blessed and Happy Holidays.

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I recently read an article about a slightly different observance to Lent.  The true intention of Lent is of a preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  This preparation is to help wean people from sin. It is most common today to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Some people take this a step further and give up something else, like eating sweets, or giving up getting a manicure during lent (all things I’ve heard); however, the article I read suggests thinking outside of the box. To give serious contemplation to what you wish to give up for Lent.

By giving up some mundane object for the 40-days, which really ends up being more of an inconvenience, dig deep into something you really want to give up. Some possible ideas the author suggested was to give up gossiping, aggressive driving, or speaking rudely to others. I really liked this, and I even thought of giving up ridiculing ourselves, or giving away of ourselves.  Idea’s like these show us how we could be more observant to the true meaning of spirit of Lent.

In this spring time of renewal, I wish you a renewed sense of energy, peace, and love within yourself on your journey.

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As I’ve already said, grieving is such an individual process. And a process it is. I am astonished at how much I’m still working through. I always knew when my mother passed that it would be exceptionally hard on me. I’ve never had someone so close to me die. So I’ve never grieved to this degree. Don’t laugh, but when my lovebird, Peaches, died that had been the hardest loss I had experienced. So I’m lucky, in that regard.

I really expected some sort of contact with her. After all, look at the path I’ve taken this life. But there has been nothing. Just complete emptiness. So terrible is the void that I even question my beliefs. My grief counselor at Hospice has referred me to a local minister to speak about my confusion and feelings now. How can I be a minister and now doubt everything?

Today I practiced what I preach – I sat and meditated. I never meditate the same way, I always let the method unfold as I go. Today I played a favorite cd (music) and sat in quietness. Despite Winnie’s attempts at getting me to play, or pet her, or her barking at imagined threats, I was able to quickly go to a nice space.

I quickly said a prayer for Julie, as she had to put her beloved pet down today. I asked God to wrap her and her family in comforted love, as well as her dog.  I could “see” this happening, yet when I then asked God to wrap me in comfort and love, I felt isolated and alone. I have never believed in a punitive God, so I don’t think this is God’s way of shunning me because of my questioning my spirituality.

I just don’t know. and I’m very tired. Tired of not knowing things. Tired of being confused about what to do with myself/life now. I’ve made decisions that I am honoring, yet that is not where my heart is. I figure that it’s best not to make any decisions while I’m still so muttled in my mind.

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What a start to this year! And the Sparkle for the Cure, what a great way to wind up the first month. Not only was it a lot of fun, but we all helped and contributed to such a great cause. I came away from the Sparkle for the Cure feeling so connected to everyone and to my community. I grew up moving on average about every three years, but having lived in southern Maryland for the last 13 years has really providing me with a sense of being rooted. I actually know a lot of people around here. That may sound funny to you, but seriously it’s something I’ve never experienced before. I’d get to know a couple of people, and before any serious friendships could be built, I’d be moving. And this was all during the non-electronic age. No emails, Facebook, and cell phones – in fact, no free long-distance calling!

Reflecting on that feeling of connectedness lead me to think about my connectedness to God. Now, my entire life I have felt very connected to Divine. I grew up in a Catholic family, going to mass. I automatically developed my way of connecting and communicating with Jesus that simply and naturally came to me. It was not anything I learned from the church, on the contrary, I just automatically started doing this. And I have always had a sincere and personal relationship with Jesus; and later in adulthood, with other Divine Beings.

My most favorite meditation to do, which I include in most of my Reiki sessions, has us join and merge with the Earth to feel supported and rooted, and then expand up and outward connecting to All That Is. Meditation also is very good at having us re-connect with ourselves! Where you can actually feel your own energy – in your hands, in your heart, in the very essence that is you.

Early in my ‘learning’ path, I was just so eager to know everything, to know anything. I wanted to be knowledgeable; I wanted to be like my mentors. There is this whole world of experience that I wanted to possess.  I felt so lacking of, and (in retrospect) alone. Through my years of reading and learning, of getting to know myself – connecting with myself, I’ve come to where I am today. I am blessed to be so established in my community and to have so many friends!

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Today I received a package in the mail, totally by surprise. Inside is An Open Chair (www.anopenchair.com). It is a lovely little purple box with a small white chair inside. Written on the chair is “Be still and know”.

A couple of years ago, one day I was working at the store in Solomons when a woman came in with her family. She and I struck up a conversation, and instantly felt a comfort with each other –  kindred souls. She shared her dream with me, and I still remember the light that shined in her eyes as she talked about the details of this idea. I was quite moved by the concept to the point of having goose bumps on my arms.

As time passed by Allison came into the store again, this time with a prototype of her idea. This time we met, she was excited about the logistics of making her vision a reality. I know how those feelings transforms. When I first started thinking about opening the store was quite different from the feelings felt while making a business plan, reading and filling out legal forms, and the research that goes into making your desire into a reality that you can see, feel, touch, and hold. The whole process is exciting, not to mention educating. And to see this new friend of mine go through her journey of creating her dream was very endearing. But it does not compare to how proud of her I felt when she emailed me with she debut her new website.

Well, this Chair has been inspiring many people for a couple of years now. Seeing the finished product is… well just beautiful. The whole story is very inspirational, humbling, and thought-provoking. I hope you visit her sight to read about An Open Chair, and see what a dream can become.

As for my Chair, I know exactly where I’ll put it. A sacred little area that I’ve created, so I have someplace to go to that is special. Where I go to for prayer, meditation, and solace. My Chair will right at home there. Thank you Allison! (www.anopenchair.com)

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Life gives us a lot of opportunities, and recently I’ve been given the opportunity to “practice what I preach”. I’ve been studying metaphysical and holistic techniques for dealing with stress as well as various therapy concepts using color, sound, among other practices for many years now. At the end of September my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a true “hardship”. As with many adversities it is far-reaching, multi-layered, and and quite invasive to our whole life.  I cried for days, especially as different realizations became apparent. Going to different agencies and institutions for various reasons including help, made me tell my story repeatedly. I didn’t think it would be possible to ever talk about it without different emotions overtaking me. Besides the pain and fear I obviously felt, stress became a prominent force in my body.

Digressing for a moment if I may, to tell my of my journey to where I am now. Around the time my son was born, 24 years ago, I discovered a book by Shirley MacLaine called Out on a Limb that opened my mind. For many years I read on various concepts, ideals, religions, etc. and I even met people along the way that would share their knowledge and wisdom with me and opened my mind even more. But it wasn’t until the very beginning of 2000 that I became physically sick that propelled me to actively seek out ways to truly improve my well-being – not just my physical health, but all of me. During the time I was sick I suffered from anxiety attacks and major stress. Unknowingly, in regaining my sense of self and in taking back control of my own power, I eliminated the anxiety and pretty much all of the stress at that time.

So recently, when I found myself in a situation that I felt I had no control in, along with facing all the problems, those old feeling of anxiety and panic returned. The key difference this time that made the difference between ending up in the hospital in the middle of the night as I had repeatedly done before and totally stopping it, was that I recognized it quickly. I don’t care if you call it recognition, awareness, being in the moment, or anything else, what it amounts to is facing up to the stress. I know all the things stress does to my body, and stress knows all my “weak” areas to instantly go to. But this time, I didn’t allow it. I didn’t allow stress to take over, I didn’t allow myself to become helpless to it. How did I do that? By breathing. I have taught people the key is in breath awareness, and I’ve never been more sure of that then now.

In child-birthing preparation, you’re taught various breathing techniques for the different stages of delivery.  Why then, don’t we use breathing techniques to get through other times of difficulty or pain? It does work. As soon as I realized my chest had gotten tight, my neck and back knotting up, the deep worry, I stopped and took slow deep breaths. I made sure to be more conscious of my breathing to keep it deeper and more relaxed, and then I incorporated my spiritual beliefs and practices.  I intentionally interrupted the physical reactions of stress by deliberately making my body be in a relaxed state by way of breath. Than I gained strength and support through my beliefs. I reached out to friends, to the Universe and God, and rooted myself back into the very things that have meaning and value to me. There are always many things to be grateful for, you are going to see what you choose to see.  I guess I could say I also put the whole picture in perspective.

Yes, the problem is still there. Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done on all that. I will take one step at a time. I will rest and breath when I need to. I will deal with this from a sense of support and trust from All, and not from fear anymore. And I will still be very appreciative for my many blessings.

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