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