I feel like a Mamma Bear in the middle of the great hibernation. I have no desire to stir out of my warm cave. I have no desire to get up, go out, do anything at all. I just want to stay curled up where it’s nice and warm and be cozy.
Much of the country may be under snow right now. Thank God Florida isn’t. But that still doesn’t change the fact that it is freezing cold – by Floridian standards. We have had heavier frost the last two nights than we have had all winter. I almost can’t believe I’m referring to winter, freezing temperatures, and Florida all in the same paragraph. But for whatever reason, we are experiencing a true winter season in the sunny south this year.
I could make it all about me and say that perhaps I need yet another lesson in gratitude; gratitude that we don’t get this kind of weather every year. Or perhaps I needed to learn once again not to take things for granted. Humility would be attached to that one. But, because it’s NOT all about me, I guess we’re just having an abnormally cold winter.
The reason this is such a big deal for me is because it affects my whole temperament. I plain don’t like the cold. It makes me grumpy and keeps me locked inside. Not that I don’t go out; I get my errands done and meet all my commitments. There’s just no joy to it, and if I can stay home, I do.
It’s most definitely put a crimp in my outdoors style. Haven’t been able to get outside to do much gardening, and the bad weather has affected the garden big time this year. On those odd few days that it has been warm enough to get out there, I have hacked away a lot of frost-burned plants and trees. Damage control has been the main name of the game.
The other major area that has been impacted is my writing. I really don’t like to sit in front of the computer for any length of time indoors. Even if it is cold outside that somehow doesn’t make it enjoyable to be writing indoors. So I have done very little writing and that is an irritation in and of itself. And what has frustrated me even more is that some days the sun has been shining, the sky is blue, and it has all the makings of a “come hither” look outside, but the thermometer has hovered in the low fifties:-(.
But this morning, four of my readings really got into my heart. Two were on the topic of “now"/the present moment”, and two were about “commitment” – my commitment to life and God, and God’s commitment to me. One of the “now” readings was headed by a quotation from Buddha:
”There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.”
Only Buddha could have said that! The short reflections following the quotation said: “Even with our eyes open, we sometimes go through our days as if we were sleepwalking. these are the only days we have; we need to be aware of them.” (From the Daily Book Of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone.)
Both the quotation and the reflection really tugged at my heart, and I realized that even though it is good to have “down days”, days when I am not busy doing, it is probably not good to have too many of them in row. And that is what I have been doing in my great hibernation. I have enjoyed some great books, I have caught up on some Tivo, but I have also been “sleepwalking” through a lot of my days.
I have done a little writing but it’s been my “other writing”, the stuff I hope to turn into a book. But I have been thinking that there is no reason that I shouldn’t share some of that here in this forum. Each short chapter is a self-contained story unto itself and can stand alone. So keep your eyes open for articles under a new topic: Oases. See you on the pages!!
For the trillionth time in the past few years I heard someone say, “Oh my God, time is just flying by”. And I mentally concurred as I noted the date on the calendar. It’s November 2009, almost Thanksgiving with Christmas knocking on the door. And, as usual, I found myself internally asking, “Where does the time go?”
Well, it goes by doesn’t it? I mean it doesn’t go for a walk, or to the movies, nor does it go to bed or on vacation!! It simply goes by, tick-tocking the seconds one by one. It never stops, nor does it go back on itself. It keeps on marching and no one can stop it or change it.
Sometimes when I think about the inexorable passing of time I get in a bit of a panic. I suspect that’s the very human part of me that recognizes underneath it all that with the passing of time my life span gets shorter by the second. However, there are other moments when I feel quite OK with the passage of time and I’m sure that’s when I’m more spiritually fit, when I’m more God-centered rather then me-centered.
I actually have a personal theory as to why time seems to be flying by. I’m very sure that the closer my soul feels to home, the more it seemingly accelerates time. It wants to get there, no delay!! I am of course speaking from a Christian perspective. I do believe in an after-life and I think that the closer I get to my transition date from this earth, then my soul is just in a hurry to get there.
Then I find myself thinking about heaven and what that might be like. When I was younger I used to imagine thousands of us, all glowing white and gold, surrounded by angels with long golden trumpets, just kind of bobbing around in this shiny nebulous place – rather like bobbers on a fishing line all massed together and smiling beatifically at each other.
Today my idea of heaven is greatly changed. Seeing as it’s my goal to get there I’ve given it quite a lot of thought. I’m very sure there will be activity rather than just sitting or standing around “bobbing” and beaming at the other souls. I really imagine some of it will allow me to sit on a seashore or a riverbank with Jesus and Buddha, Gandhi and Gibran, Richard Bach and Og Mandino, Marianne Williamson and Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Princess Di and Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II and Wayne Dyer.
There will be time to talk with them, collectively and individually. Unlimited time to ask them questions and have long discussions with them. I am sure I will meet the spiritual beings that were my family members and friends and that we will be able to connect in ways that were impossible here on earth because of the lessons we were learning, or teaching, here.
Most importantly there will be love, complete and unconditional love which will be the true source of happiness and joy. Practicing compassion will be the norm. There will be a beauty that transcends any earthly concept of beauty. And there will be no pain and no hatred. Now that’s what I call heaven.
Over time I have been asked to write prayers for different occasions. I would like to share three prayers with you today. The first is an “Artist’s Prayer”. At the time of writing I was following the book the Artist’s Way written by Julia Cameron.
This is quite an amazing book which sets out a twelve week course. The sub-title of the book is A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I have actually been through this book twice: the first time alone, the second time (about three years later) with a group of four other women. I grew immensely both times around.
At the end of each chapter there are a series of “tasks” to be completed before the next week. The following prayer was one of those tasks.
Heavenly Father, Artist Supreme,
You are the Divine Creator of this awesome universe. I humbly, yet courageously, ask You to allow me to be a co-creator with You.
I open my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body so that Your creative energy may flow through my being, that I may experience Your divine talent. Bless the products of my hands, my eyes, and my mind and let them reflect some measure of your majestic beauty.
Allow me to find and work with others who also seek Your divine guidance, Your artist’s touch, as they work to produce their own creations. Let me grow in light and love as I allow Your divine energy to flow through me.
Amen. ( May 1999)
In March of 2005 I organized a Women’s Day event in my home. March 8th is International Day of the Woman and while I lived in Italy I held about three of these events. They were always very well received, so once I had established a grand circle of women friends in Florida I decided to go ahead and plan one here. There were about thirty women present and this was the opening prayer that I wrote.
ABBA, help me to be humble enough and wise enough to recognize that all people do not call You by the same name, nor do they reach You by the same path.
You are known as God, Allah, Great White Spirit, Kali, Jesus, Grandfather Sky, Buddha, Jehovah, Messiah, LAKSHMI, Shivha, Holy Spirit, Ganisha, Grandmother Earth, Kwan Yin, just to mention a few of Your names.
Today we embrace You in the way best known to each of us personally. We ask that You be present here and bless us with Your love, Your light, Your energy, Your peace, Your joy, and Your grace.
We ask for Your guidance and Your wisdom that You may help us to reach our full potential as women so that we may accomplish our mission on this earth to the very best of our ability.
We ask this in Your name and for Your honor and glory.
Amen. (March 2005)
The last prayer that I would like to share with you is one that I wrote for an evening of fellowship with the women of CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) at my church.
Abba, Father, we yearn to grow abundantly in Your grace, just like the carefully tended vine that produces a bountiful harvest. We ask that You prune us when it is necessary, helping us to be rid of negative attitudes and defects of character. Nourish us with Your care, Your compassion, and Your love. Pour the refreshing waters of the Holy Spirit upon us, that we may grow more and more each day in Your likeness and then minister to others as Your disciples.
These things we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. (September 2006)
I love using the creative word to honor the God of my understanding. I also enjoy being as inclusive as possible when I am working with a wider group of people than just my church group. Prayer is a perfect way to honor God, to give Him praise, to thank Him, and to get closer to Him. And we are all capable of creating spontaneous prayers, words that come straight from the heart to our Creator.