One thing that never stops, whether I am in a writing hiatus or not, is the continuous collection of words of wisdom spoken and written by others. I seem to have a mountain of them on my desk or collected in my computer. I have noticed that there is one modern day spiritual writer who seems to speak much to my heart. His name is Paul Ferrini and he has been involved in spiritual work for more than 35 years. He is a prolific writer with many books to his name and one day I hope to attend one of his retreats. You can learn more about Paul at his web site www.paulferrini.com. In the meantime here are just a few of his spiritual insights.
“When you don’t want to do something, say "no" clearly.
A simple "no" said clearly from the heart can prevent the drama of self-abuse.
When we no longer betray ourselves by saying "yes" when we want to say "no", we will no longer attract people into our life who will disrespect our boundaries.”
“Some people complain about the boat.
Others try to escape it. Neither choice is helpful.
Until you accept the boat for what it is, it cannot take you to the other side.”
“You are the judge and the savior
No one else can condemn you for your mistake or release you from your guilt.
You must come to terms with what you have done.
You must acknowledge your error and atone for it.
The forgiveness of others is nice to have, but it means nothing if you cannot forgive yourself.”
Your compassion arises
when your ability to love
no longer depends
on how others treat you.”
God doesn’t ask you to pretend to be someone or something you are not.
God wants you to be who you are with all your contradictions and dichotomies.
If you have to deny any aspect of who you are to be spiritual, then you are creating an inauthentic spirituality.
True spirituality should be an instrument of revelation, not a tool for denial.”
I hope I have peaked your interest enough that you will go running to Paul’s website. I find him to be a magnetic yet gentle spirit even before I have met him in person. Blessings on your journey.
It seems as though Spirit is nudging me along this prayer path. I think I pray quite a lot. However, in preparation for this upcoming “instructional weekend” in the Audire program that I am participating in, I was asked to prepare a “prayer history”. One of the questions that we were offered to use for reflective journaling on this activity asked, “How do you pray now? When? Where? What posture? Why?”
As I gave some serious thought to this, I came to the conclusion that maybe I didn’t pray as much as I thought. Initially I said I prayed on and off all day, that I hold a running conversation with God as I go about my daily business –which I do. However, what I really do is invite God along in my day and then I give Him a running commentary on things as they unfold. (As if He didn’t know already!!)
Sometimes, if I am dealing with some difficult stuff, I lay it all out before Him and then ask for support, comfort, courage, or maybe a solution. Other times I may have enjoyed a couple of hours with some girlfriends, and so I thank Him for the gift of friends and for the enjoyable time spent with them. Part of my volunteer work is to help in the Ministry of Consolation at my church,so frequently I am interceding on behalf of the family which is dealing with grief. And I realize that all of this is prayer of a sort, but it’s kind of “muddied up” in the middle of all my daily busyness.
I do carve out about an hour and a half in the morning when I get up and this I spend in quiet time with my Creator. On the odd occasion that I choose to rush into my day without spending time with God first, my day usually spirals downward until I slow down and catch up with Him. Then there are those times when I bring myself to a screeching halt in a mad chaotic day and I find somewhere quiet and private (sometimes that’s the bathroom!), and I say a formal prayer like the Our Father or the Serenity Prayer or the Prayer of St. Francis. Just focusing on the old familiar words, rather like a ritual, slows me down and helps me feel closer to my God and, consequently, calmer.
So here I am preparing for this weekend, the theme for which is Pray Always, Pray All Ways, and I find myself thinking deeply about how I pray, which is good because sometimes we have to shake things up a little, change things, or else it all becomes too routine. So here I share with you a prayer that we were asked to write. It is a berakah, which comes from the Judaic tradition. It means a “blessing prayer” and is based on this format: Who (are you praying to); Do (what has He done for you); You (what do you need from Him right now); Through (Jesus Christ).
Abba, Creator and Spirit of Love, who gave me the greatest gift of Your Son, Jesus, I am full of gratitude for all the blessings You have given me. You saved me from self destruction and led me back to You, filling my life with joy. Please continue to bless, protect, and grow me and lead me on the path You wish me to tread. I ask the same for my family, especially Melissa. All this I dare to ask through Your love, that is Jesus Christ. Amen!
As we are coming up to Thanksgiving, I would also like to offer you this beautiful prayer that I came across the other day.
Oh God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.
Samuel F. Pugh
Blessings to you all.
What joy it was to get out to the beach at St. Augustine today. Of course, we made our usual stop at Zhanra’s for a scrummy breakfast. If you haven’t yet tried their Sunday Brunch it’s time to treat yourself. An incredible buffet of cooked-to-order omelet anyway you want it, quiche, scrambled eggs (plain or dressed up), apple wood smoked sausages and bacon, chorizo soup or gumbo or cheese grits. (I don’t like grits, but these are to die for!!) Then there are fresh biscuits and sausage gravy, and home-made fries. And that’s just the cooked section. Turn the corner of the counter and there’s a whole array of bagels, Danish pastries, fresh fruit, muffins and fresh garden green salad.
Your waiter takes your drink order and also asks if you would like pancakes or French Toast to order. I highly recommend the French Toast. I’m sure the pancakes are wonderful too but I so enjoy their French Toast that I just can’t not have it. This has to be the best Sunday Brunch in town and it’s a deal at $9.99 plus your drink.
So with satisfied stomachs we headed to the beach. It had rained some while we were at breakfast but by the time we headed out it had cleared up and was just a perfect mix of cloud cover and sun. At the beach it was also wonderfully breezy and my soul sang out as the seagulls screamed. Lorelei was already there busily drawing a labyrinth in the sand. After hugs all around I readied my stick and, carefully following Lorelei’s paper design, I drew another labyrinth next to hers.
There is such a focused feeling of peace as I draw a labyrinth. Perhaps it is because I start the design with the central cross section and lay down my words of intention immediately. Today’s words were Hope, Love, Balance and Harmony. Then the gentle circles unwind as I walk and draw the design. As soon as I had completed it, I walked my first meditation. Some people walk the labyrinth quickly. I prefer a slow measured step.
As I walk, I think of what or/and who I want to take into the center and pray about/for. As these thoughts form, other words of intention surface and I stop and inscribe them inside the pathways I have created. Today some of those words were, Delight, Laughter, Compassion, Spirit, Creator, Live, Serenity, Light, Energy, and Enchanted. As I stepped into the center the word Joy came to mind and so, alongside a heart design, I inscribed that word. To complete the center I inscribed the names of those I wanted to enfold within the blessings of the labyrinth.
Shortly after this we noticed an unusual sun-dog form in the sky. Normally sun-dogs carry tinges of rose and yellow. This one was a very luminescent blue-green, and the clouds were swirled around it almost in circles. There were lots of people on the beach today and many of them joined us to walk the labyrinths. Lorelei was very creative today and drew a total of five, which with mine made six. There was a special energy in the labyrinths today as many children danced and ran their way around the circles, some of them asking accompanying parents what the words said as they passed them on their way.
All too soon it was time to head home. We embraced Lorelei and thanked her for her time and energy. Part of me wanted to remain on the beach, that same part that sometimes wants to hop on a plane and just leave. So within my heart I said a centering prayer and returned to the reality of the present moment. I thanked God for my time at the ocean and for good friends and headed home.