Daily Archives: August 18, 2013

Day of Rest

My friend Kat sent me the sweetest little book, The Prayer Tree by Micheal Leunig. In the intro, the author says,

Might not prayer then be our most accessible means to inner reconciliation; a natural healing function in response to the pain of the divided self and the divided world? Might not prayerfulness be part of our survival instinct belonging more to the wilderness than to the church?

One of my favorite books is Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. In it, she describes prayer this way,

Let’s just say prayer is communication from our hearts to the great mystery, or Goodness, or Howard; to the animating energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in; to something unimaginably big, and not us… Prayer can be motion and stillness and energy — all at the same time. It begins with stopping in our tracks, or with our backs against the wall, or when we are going under the waves, or when we are just so sick and tired of being psychically sick and tired that we surrender, or at least we finally stop running away and at long last walk or lurch or crawl toward something. Or maybe, miraculously, we just release our grip slightly.

Which leads me directly to Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, in which she says,

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

May all beings be safe.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings live with ease.
Including you, kind and gentle reader.
Including me.
So be it. Yes. Amen.

#augustbreak2013 Day 18

Looking Down

Eric and Sam went hiking without me today. I had planned to go with them, but this morning decided I shouldn’t. My right quadriceps muscle has been tender and irritable the past few weeks, getting tight and sore when I don’t pay attention, work it too hard. The last time I ignored an issue like that in my knee, kept hiking and running and pushing it anyway, I ended up with an injury that took almost a full year to rehab. I don’t want to do that again.

Now that I’m older, I have to give my body a different kind of attention. I can’t ignore the aches and pains like I used to, can’t insist that we keep moving in spite of them because any small thing can turn into a big thing, something chronic if I’m not careful. It sucks. I wanted to go hiking this morning so bad. I don’t want to be limited or held back, resist accepting this reality, the experience of an aging body.

Baring illness or accident, the women in my family live a long time. I can reasonably expect to make it to my early 90s if I continue to take care of myself. That’s great news, (and yet at 45, I am at the peak of my life, a literal middle age, half way there already). I’m looking forward to the wisdom, the ease that comes with time, even if I do have to take a lot more naps.