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Candle Light — Prayer Part IV May 27, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 6:13 am
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A few years ago I attended a writer’s workshop on a Pacific Coast island, not far from my home.  Our leader talked about creating our own space to write.  She gave us some helpful tools indicating we don’t need a room of our own to write in, we can create that space where ever we go.

And just now, as I sit to write this at 11 o’ clock at night I am reminded of how I can make this crowded, cluttered office space in our basement, my own space, a room of my own.  And it is with the same tool I use to pray…a candle.

It’s been cold and raining a lot the last few days even though the Lilac tree has bloomed and gone and school will be out in a few weeks. So I did what I do a lot of in the winter, lit candles.  The aroma warms me and the light calms me filling me with quiet joy.

When a friend calls to say she needs prayers or I read about something in the newspaper that disturbs me, I don’t confuse the issue with words, nor do I fall to my knees with my hands open to the sky.  I just light a candle.  The light of the candle reminds me others are hurting and need light.  And then frankly, I forget about it. I thought of my friend’s need when I lit the candle and now the rest will play out as intended.

Tonight, I wanted to write, I wasn’t feeling like I was done with this Prayer Series, but I also am reading a couple of good books and wanted to get to bed and read one of them.  To bless my writing time, honor it as my sacred my space, I brought the sweet smelling candle lit in the kitchen down to the basement.  I didn’t need a perfectly clean office to be present to the light of the candle.  The flame was enough to carry me to the space of filling the blank page. 

We don’t need to be perfect to come to prayer all we need to do is light the match, the rest will happen as intended.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Less is More – Prayer Part III May 24, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 9:04 pm
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To me thinking of prayer as a something that can only happen with eyes closed, hands clasped, done in  a church, at night, by myself with a wish list in hand is completely missing the point.

Beating ourselves up for not praying is also ridiculous.  I am striving to live my life as a prayer – engaged, open, aware, leaving the controlling thoughts out of it and just showing up, being present.  Be it in the shower shaving my legs, driving kids to swim practice, in the kitchen stirring the soup pot.  It doesn’t matter where, when, or even what I am wearing or who I am with.

For me it is about being attentive in the stillness and keeping my mouth shut and my mind turned off.  A challenge of course but I keep trying.

By J.G. McGlothern

 

In Time – Prayer Part II May 18, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 9:36 pm
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At the age of eight I prayed to the crucifix above my bed to make my mentally ill daddy better. I believed that together God and I could fix him.

Thirty four years later with my dad finally well, floating in the after world, dead from this world for almost eight years, I taught my now eight year old daughter a completely different type of prayer.

She had been having horrible nightmares, waking us in tears, during the night.  Would you like me to say a prayer with you? I asked her one night.  Yeah, let’s pray for my bad dreams to go away.  So lying on her bed together I had her repeat my words.  Good and Gracious God, thank you for blessing me with a peaceful night sleep and for protecting me from bad dreams…Amen.

Not pleading, not wordy just grateful words filled with faith.

In the morning she came busting into our bedroom.  Mama, mama the prayer worked. That night she wanted me to “say the prayer” with her again.  Part of me worried about the bad dreams returning and the other part of me was so grateful she was no longer afraid to go to sleep.

My dad lived most of his life in darkness. He prayed for hours on end, read the Bible, and died at the age of 75 in peace but still depressed. His last six months of life when I would visit him in the nursing home he would ask me to pray with him and ask me to ask God to take him from this world, soon.  I felt funny at first, but all I wanted for my dad was to be at peace and it was clear it wasn’t going to happen in this world.  So after my words he would say, Amen, and thank me with a hug or a tight hand squeeze.

When the nursing home called one summer morning to tell me dad died peacefully in his sleep, I felt like my prayers, the prayers I started when I was eight years old, were answered.

We don’t know how, we don’t know when, but if we are consistent we will notice God is consistent too, just on a time schedule completely out of our hands but oh, so much wiser than our own.

by J.G. McGlothern

 

Up In Flames — Prayer Part I May 17, 2010

Filed under: From The Heart,Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 5:54 am
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I experienced a new form of prayer last weekend.  While attending an all day yoga retreat for moms I received the gift of letting go.  And isn’t that what prayer is all about?  Letting go.  Getting out of our heads and surrendering.

Twenty eight women, all strangers to me except one, gathered in a circle around a simple fire wataching our prayers burn up and float to the sky.

I signed up with a dear long time friend to attend Motherasana, a Mother’s Day Yoga Retreat, at The Bainbridge Yoga House. (www.bainbridgeyogahouse.com)

After a morning of hot yoga and guided meditation we were invited to write down on a beautiful piece of paper something we wanted to “create” in our lives and on the other half something we wanted to “release”.

You could see with no hesitation in the room – all heads bent down, writing their hearts on paper.  I knew immediately what I wanted to create, so I scribbled my words down making them permanent, as if writing my vision in blood.  Writing down what I wanted to release came just as easily to my mind but writing it down, making it permanent involved some hesitation.

My friend, writing vigorously next to me, came up for air, I wrote a list, she declared, beaming brightly. 

We tore our papers in half, “creation” in one hand and our “letting go” in the other as we walked to the big grass yard where a small fire was burning.

We circled the fire.  Our meditation leader, a lovely strong soul, Halin (www.zindellacupuncture.com), passed out a sprig of sage to each of us and taught us a simple chant, inspired from a Michael Franti song she heard on the radio.

Standing in the bright sun, sweaty from yoga, awakened to possibility we took turns tossing the sprig of sage along with both our creative inspirations and the things we want to be rid of, and let them go into the flickering flames. Some tucked their slips of paper safely between flames so that their paper wouldn’t float away.  I placed mine purposefully on top of the open flame.  The hot fire licked up the paper immediately sending my words, my desires, my intentions…my prayers, all now ash, up in the air.  I waved goodbye to my prayers for that was it, they were out of my hands floating up into possibility into a sky of hope.

Later throughout the week I was tempted to take back the things I had released, for that’s how we respond sometimes don’t we? We let go of something then we don’t know what else to do so we want to take it all back.  But it was too late.  My prayers, now ashes, were gone in the blink of an eye.  Now all I have to do is work and watch and wait and be.  And that’s really all prayer has to be… a letting go.

by J.G. McGlothern