Category Archives: Prayer

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.

Day of Rest

I just finished reading Anne Lamott’s new book, Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers. Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers, one of the best teachers, someone I adore because she shows up, as she is, and tells the truth. Honestly, I don’t always like what she has to say. It can make me uncomfortable and sad, but I know it’s the truth. She doesn’t try to make it pretty, she’s not attempting to craft a fussy literary moment, she’s not showing off, but simply is telling you how it is. This is the kind of writer, the kind of person I aspire to be.

In the section about “Thanks,” she says:

I admit, sometimes this position of gratitude can be a bit of a stretch. So many bad things happen in each of our lives. Who knew? When my son, Sam, was seven and discovered that he and I would probably not die at exactly the same moment, he began to weep and said, “If I had known that, I wouldn’t have agreed to be born.” This one truth, that the few people you adore will die, is plenty difficult to absorb…We are hurt beyond any reasonable chance of healing. We are haunted by our failures and mortality. And yet the world keeps on spinning, and in our grief, rage, and fear a few people keep on loving us and showing up. It’s all motion and stasis, change and stagnation. Awful stuff happens and beautiful stuff happens, and it’s all part the big picture.

In the face of everything, we slowly come through. We manage to make new constructs and baskets to hold what remains, and what has newly appeared. We come to know–to reconnect with–something rich and okay about ourselves. And at some point, we cast our eyes to the beautiful skies, above all the crap we’re wallowing in, and we whisper, “Thank you.”

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Day of Rest

These past few days, I have felt worried, anxious, and overwhelmed. In an effort to get myself to relax, to show myself how ridiculous the demands I’m making on my time and my heart-mind really are, I made a list of everything I want to do, everything that has to get done, all the shoulds and have tos, all the someday dreams and potential regrets. It was insane. I was writing and writing, and had to turn the page to finish the list, and stopped before I was really done. Looking at the language of overwhelm, written in my own loopy hand, my pen both pressed hard into the page and moving as fast as it could, I saw the full measure of my confusion.

I took a deep breath and wrote myself a new list.

Instead of trying, give up.
Instead of struggling, surrender.
Instead of doing and working, rest.
Instead of judgement, offer love.
Instead of worrying, be gentle.
Instead of hoping, be present.
Instead of fear, relax.
Instead of resisting, be open.
Instead of attachment, let go.
Instead of being sure, live in the question.
Instead of anger, tenderness.
Instead of overwhelm, joy.
Instead of becoming, be.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. The flower bed in front of the building where I work is in full bloom.

2. A good night’s sleep. After a week of not sleeping well, and the full on insomnia the night before, sleeping well last night was so nice.

3. I forgot my lunch again. But, the good news is that means I get to have lunch with a good friend, two times in one week!

4. Lots of rain in the forecast this weekend. Okay, when I say “lots” I mean Colorado lots, not Pacific Northwest lots. This is good for my yard, but also means I will be getting extra rest this weekend and the temperatures will be cooler.

5. Dexter wagging his tail again. I mentioned yesterday that he’s suffering a bought of Cold Water Tail, Broken Tail, Dead Tail, Broken Wag, or “broken butt toy” as a friend calls it. But it’s getting better, and seeing him wag his tail this morning was one of the best things all week.

dexter and i, much much younger

6. A Prayer for Moving Forward from Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching. I left a comment for Sandi explaining that I think I’ve been praying this, wordlessly, formlessly, for a long time, but she gave me words, so here goes:

Are you there God [the one whose real name I do not know]? It’s me Jill.

I’ve had it, I’m done, I surrender.
I hereby give up my need to do it my way, and I’m asking for help.
Help me be clear, and of service.
Help me show up and share my gifts.

And please. . .

Help me get out of my own way.
I want to shine so bright that even you God, have got to wear shades.
I know what I’m here to do.
Help me do it.

Amen. And thank you, Sandi.

7. Speaking of amazing women… Two things were announced this week that are going to be so fantastic wicked awesome, I can’t hardly stand it.

Susan Piver announced her new Open Heart Project “Practioner” option, a year long paid subscription to so much good stuff I almost can’t bear to think about it, I get too excited, breathing becomes difficult, my chest gets tight, and I tear up. She will continue with her Open Heart Project “Basic,” so if you are interested in starting or maintaining a meditation practice, you should sign up. Since the new project doesn’t start until June, once you get on the mailing list, you will hear all about the “practitioner” option, if you are interested. For me, it’s such a perfect fit, such good timing, it feels like something Susan is doing just for me.

And, if that weren’t enough, I’m on the Roots of She mailing list, and this week Jenn Gibson announced the guides for the upcoming session of her Self-Love Warriors ecourse (hang on to your hat, tighten your seatbelt!):

Body: Hannah Marcotti, business and life coach and creator of Joy UP [soft and tender hearted warrior mamma whose presence is like an embodied lullaby]
Mind: Susan Piver, writer, teacher and New York Times best-selling author [amazing being of light and wisdom, fearless, brave and open hearted warrior]
Heart: Susannah Conway, photographer, author, retreat leader and creator of Unravelling [creative visionary, giggle instigator, maker and sharer of beauty & encouragement]
Soul: Jennifer Louden, bestselling author and the leader of the Savor & Serve movement [the queen of everything, who will show you how to be queen of your everything]

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that these are four of my very favorite women and self-love is one of my very favorite topics, so I can’t wait for this course!

Bonus Joy: Mother’s Day is this weekend. I have a mom, she’s great and she loves me, and I love her, and I get to remind her tomorrow. “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body,” (Elizabeth Stone). I’m so glad she was willing to make me, to care for me, to love me, and to let me “go walking around” outside her body.