Saturday, September 30, 2006

Two Prayers to Use with Anglican Prayer Beads

Before I share the two prayers that I've used thus far I'd like to clarify a comment I made about "good" prayers. I don't believe in "bad" prayers because that would constitute a curse and hence it wouldn't be a prayer...but I diverge...what I really meant to say was that I'd like to share the prayers that speak to me at this moment in time, and that maybe y'all will share the prayers that speak to you.

"A Celtic Prayer"
Cross In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitatory Bead O God make speed to save me.
O God make haste to help me
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the begininning is now,
and will be forever. Amen.
Cruciform Beads Be the eye of God dwelling with me,
The foot of Christ in guidance with me,
The shower of the Spirit pouring on me,
Richly and generously.
The Weeks I bow before the Father who made me,
(Pray each I bow before the Son who saved me,
phrase on I bow before the Spirit pouring on me,
a separate in love and adoration.
bead) I praise the Name of the one on high.
I bow and adore thee Sacred Three,
The Ever One, the Trinity.
(Last time through)
Invitatory Bead The Lord's Prayer
Cross I bless the Lord, Thanks be to God.
"Prayer of Julian of Norwich"
Cross In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitatory Bead O God make speed to save me.
O God make haste to help me
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the begininning is now,
and will be forever. Amen.

Cruciform Beads God of your goodness, give me yourself,
for you are enough to me.
And I can ask for nothing less that is to your glory.
And if I ask for anything less, I shall still be in want,
for only in you have I all.
The Weeks All shall be well, and all shall be well,
And all manner of thing shall be well.
In His love He has done His works, and in
His love He has made all things beneficial to us.
(Last time through)
Invitatory Beads The Lord's Prayer
Cross I bless the Lord, Thanks be to God.
The other two prayers included in the pamphlet I received are: "A Little Office," and "Trisagion and the Jesus Prayer."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Anglican Prayer Beads

I've been exploring different ways to pray and part of that exploration led me to Anglican Prayer Beads. Since I don't own any Prayer Beads, I went in search of them.

I ordered my prayer beads from the Solitaries of DeKoven ( They are a religious order of hermits within the Episcopal church. What appealed to me was that these prayer beads are crafted by hermits who are associated with the Episcopal church and who live in Texas. Also, they use the money from crafting the prayer beads as a form of support for their community and as a vehicle to intercessory prayer.

The prayer beads arrived yesterday and they are beautiful, and for me I feel blessed that the core member prayed for me while making the prayer beads. They also included with the prayer beads four different prayers to use to "pray around" the prayer beads, which I found immensely helpful.

There's something soothing in the "tactileness" of the beads, and once I can get one of the prayers memorized I imagine this for me can be another form of meditative prayer. I was also thinking of using the prayer beads to focus on one "snippet" of Bible verse and repeat this snippet around the prayer beads and once finished then to meditate in the silence, and then to be still in contemplation - sort of a Lectio Devina with prayer beads.

One can never have too many good prayers at one's fingertips, and if anyone has a prayer they use often with their prayer beads I hope you will share. There are two out of the four that came with my prayer beads that I'd like to share, but I don't have my BCP with me (that's where I placed the pamphlet containing the prayers) hence I can't post them here today. But I will post them either this weekend or on Monday.

Monday, September 25, 2006

One of those days

You ever have a really great day go down the drain, and you're watching it go down the drain thinking - hey - wait a minute, how's this happening, what just happened? And the whole time you're in the midst of it thinking if I just blink one more time it'll all be a bad dream. Only it's not, and then when the freight train finally rolls to a stop you sort of stumble out, and you'd like nothing better than to cry or run away but you can't. So you stand there and you're thinking what now? What now.

That was yesterday - today - today - today...I guess I just have to laugh, find my equalibrium again, and get back on the train.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Change of Seasons

The end of Summer and the beginning of Fall - transitions. One of the things I miss about "Up North" is the obvious change of seasons, the visible signs of change. For me, there is something comforting in seeing visible signs of change, that not having to discern anything, because the change is right there in front of you. Visible signs of change take me outside of myself, ground me to the Now, it helps me stay present and loosen my focus on what the future may bring, and puts healing distance to the past.

As I get older I find that my past holds more fondness then anger, more love than hurt, less pin-points of pain. I find that the older me survived and flourished and that the world though messed up and confused holds much more love and joy. More often I feel like I have arrived and have fewer places to get to. I'm less worried about "getting there", because where I'm at is where I want to be and need to be. The future isn't scary anymore but something to anticipate. In my youth the future was a place I couldn't get to fast enough, now the future is something I want to savor.

I still have my dreams and hopes but I've come to realize that my future goals are things that will come but not if I rush to it - it's like if I rush to get there I'll miss it because I was going too fast. Does that make sense? I'm also beginning to realise that dreams and hopes are things to be handled with great care, and that they aren't to be taken for granted.

I often have to remind myself of these things, because I don't like to wait. I like action, I like figuring things out, and making it happen. But now all the things I want to happen require being present - being in the Now, because if I'm not they can't happen. Like watching my children grow, part of me relishes seeing them grow and become more independent, but part of me is sad because they can't stay little - they're rushing towards the future as I guess all children do. But if they're to have "good" lives filled with love, hope, dreams, and endless possibilities I will always need to remain grounded so that they have a "rock, an anchor" in their lives, a past that is a solid foundation, which can guide their present and give them the courage to forge their own futures.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day in San Antonio: big white clouds, clear blue skies, and cool morning temperatures. I'm fast approaching my favorite time of year here in Alamo country. It reminds me of home (in the Mid-West) when you didn't want to quit wearing your shorts so you'd throw a sweatshirt on to keep you comfortable. And as it gets closer to November, there's mornings when you're pretty sure it's going to rain by the smell in the air, but the smell is the smell of snow if I lived further north.

I have two favorite outdoor smells, and for me they are universal: the one I mentioned above and this one - the smell at the very tail end of a summer day, the mixture of hot, dry, dust and grass.

These two smells take me back to places I've been: Upstate New York in the Adirondacks in the middle of winter, Yosemite in the summer, Southern Michigan, Alaska in the fall, the Grand Canyon, Wyoming, Montana, Peru, Panama, I need only close my eyes and back there I am.

I love days like today where all I want to do is bust outta these work clothes, throw on a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt and frolic like a kid again.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Brokenness and Spirituality

Things that have been running through my mind of late...

In Sunday School class we were continuing our discussion of Nuowen's book the "Life of the Beloved" and a question came up, "If we're suppossed to be the Beloved, why do so many of us keep choosing self-rejection?" The class paused for a minute and some people responded - but their answers for me didn't stick. But my response was, because "it's easy, it's safe, it's familiar. You know exactly what you're getting and what you'll feel when you choose self-rejection - that that was as Nuowen said, "the great trap"and that choosing to believe I am Beloved was much harder because it was unknown territory, that until you kept choosing to believe and embrace that you are Beloved you wouldn't feel safe". Sometimes I think it's alot harder to love oneself then it is to say you aren't good enough.

In the same book Nuowen talks about our "brokenness" and that our brokenness is as unique as we each are just as is our chosenness. That we have to claim our brokenness, befriend it and put it under blessing. By doing this we enable ourselves to heal, that our brokenness when befriended and blessed can turn into a source of hope. It gives meaing to all that pain - instead of dismissing it as worthless.

It has taken along time to choose self-love, to believe in myself, to feel Beloved more often then broken - to accept that I am ok. I've begun to acknowledge that self-rejection is selfish - it's like this anti-acknowledgement of ourselves and our worth.

I'd like to tie this idea of Belovedness in with The Rule of Benedict (I highly recommend "The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy Series) by Joan Chittister) and in with another book, "Broken Body, Healing Spirit: Lectio Divina and Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. But I'm not sure exactly how to do this - so bare with me.

Today's reading from The Rule of Benedict talks about loving God with your whole heart, and loving your neighbor as yourself. To find the holy in the human, to not only see Christ in others but to treat others as Christ. Earle's book (which I've just begun) talks so far about claiming one's illness - owning it, so that you can then honor it.

What do all three have in common thus far, at least in my mind: Own your struggles, Love God, Love yourself, then go one step further. The other common thread is prayer. I always thought prayer was suppossed to long. But, what I've begun to discover is that "quality" is better. I've begun to separate my "verbal prayers" from my "quiet praying". By internally verbalizing what I want to talk about with God I find clears my mind for two-way conversation - I get out of God's way - if that makes sense. I'm learning to be "one with the silence", to be still. In the silence and the stillness I can then begin to hear and to heal.

I don't know about you, but for me sitting still is hard! I'm constantly either physically moving or mentally "moving". Silence for me is hard too, but I'm learning to get comfortable in the quiet spaces and places. I think it's easy to miss what's going on around you if you can't stop for a minute and become aware.

My inner self at this moment is worried about being too something - too preachy, too too something - the flip side is "shhh, be quiet, it's ok, just share". I wasn't sure I'd even be able to "blog" because it requires opening up and sharing and being ok with that - it requires vulnerability.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. I don't even know if this entry makes sense or is just one big jumble of something. And if you've made it this far in the entry, thank you for your time, thank you for listening.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You Are Beloved

This is the excerpt I used as the opening prayer for my devotional:

Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: “I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse…yes, even your child…wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen
Life of the Beloved
Excerpt from page 36-37
Henri J.M. Nouwen's book "Life of the Beloved" is the topic of my Sunday School class for the next 5 weeks. In doing the initial reading I felt like I was on this emotional roller coaster, here was this man speaking about how he felt about himself and the negative barrage we receive from the the world everyday and how to cope. He talks about how when we begin to believe the negative voices from within and without that this is the "great trap" the "great trap of self-rejection". Self-rejection, he says, contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved".
I at times have an aweful inner dialog with myself, and it's usually when I'm venturing into something new, or I won't even continue the pursuit, because I'll dismiss myself before I even start. Other times, I find myself comparing myself to someone else and invariably I come up short in my own mind.
I've begun remedying some of this awful inner dialog by "forcing" myself to "do it anyways" so what if it's not a masterpiece, or not this or that, what's important was the intention - did I learn something, did I enjoy the experience, did I walk away with something I could share with others. The more afraid something makes me feel, the more I've begun to choose to confront that fear, so that it stops having so much power over my life. And I've found that most times things turn out pretty darn well, and that I should stop underestimating myself, you know - I feel good when I conquer the fear.
My other remedy is to remember things my Grandma would tell me, or even justing thinkng about her and how much she loved me is enough to put things back into perspective. I am immensily grateful for her, and the gifts she gave me as a child that still sustain me to this day - she always made me feel Beloved.
Another remedy for me has been meditation, scripture reading, and daily prayer. Quieting myself down, shutting down the constant inner dialogues, sitting in silence, becoming intamitely familiar with the silence that speaks volumes now that my ears are open to hear.
Last but not least is that I've begun recognizing the gifts and beauty of my life. To move more outside of my inner self and to let more of my inner self out (I share me much better than I ever have before).
We each of us is Beloved, you are Beloved, I am Beloved, but it is only the first step, the next step requires becoming who we are called to be.

Last Evening's Devotional

I had the closing devotional for my Community of Hope training last night, and I had fretted for a week about what I would do for the devotional, but it went very let me backtrack in time...

A few weeks ago a friend had loaned me her CD of Deepak Chopra's "The Soul of Healing Meditations" and the two that really held me and were the "Heart Meditation" and the "Heart Sutra Meditation". The "Heart Meditation" is about forgiving and letting go of grievances and instead choosing miracles, but two things pulsated for me here and that is that my heart can't feel loved(d) if I'm holding onto all this emotional caca so acknowledge it, let it go, and recognize the beauty instead. The other thing was the beauty of the words themselves and the singing (in a language I don't know), and the words that would plant a tiny seed within were "forgive us our trespasses".

Around this same time I was roaming the CD towers looking for something I hadn't listened to in awhile and decided upon Natalie Merchant's "Ophelia". It'd been a long time since I'd listened to it, but when I listened to the whole thing, it was like Wow this is so incredibly spirtual. Why hadn't I acknowledged that before? Hmmm, anyways, track 3 is "Kind & Generous" and I must of played it 4 times in a row chanting "Thank You Thank You...Thank You Thank You".

So what does this all have to do with Evening Devotionals, well "Heart Meditation" and "Kind & Generous" became the central theme if you will. But I had no opening prayer nor an ending prayer. I didn't have my opening prayer until Sunday during Sunday School class which was an excerpt form Henri J.M. Nouwen's book "Life of the Beloved" I want to save the excerpt I used for my next post; otherwise, this post will become much longer and even more jumbled. My closing prayer was decided upon Monday morning - talk about cutting it close - but it was the prayer "For Wise Use of Talents" from the Occassional Services, Augsburg, 1982, p.148.

...Last night...I was really worried about whether or not the group would like the Evening Devotional that I had the hardest time sitting still. I kept getting agrivated with myself because I was aggitated for all the wrong reasons: will they like it, will they like me, will they notice how great I am, ugh. All that worrying and for nothing, because it wouldn't have matter, because what was and is important is that we're together learning and sharing and growing with one another.

I think another reason I was worried is because I do appreciate the people in my group and I wanted to give something special to them as my way of saying without saying "Hey, you know what guys, I think each and everyone one of you is special and I care a great deal about each of you, and I hope y'all can see it (well hear it) through what I've put together for the Evening Devotional."


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

That Introductory First Post

Hmmm, where to start? I ended up creating a blog at the quiet insistance of a friend of mine. This is my first foray into the world of blogging as a blog space holder and not a visitor of other peoples thoughts and opinions.

The title for the blog comes from a lifelong journey of changing while remaining the same - if you know what I mean? The more inward I look the more I grow and change but the "who" of who I am has remained constant and true.

The idea of flow and flux and journeys resonate deeply within me - like the chanting of Om, the sounding of a Tibetan singing bowl.

I haven't figured out what I want to do (notice not be) when I grow up but I have begun to again explore the things that I always return to whenever I allow myself enough time to self-examine. So I carry my aspirations with me in what I've dubbed my "Aspirations Pack" and for awhile it was a joy to take with me wheerever I went, but somewhere along the way it became an unbareable weight. When that happened I got quite scared and afraid, and for awhile I wasn't sure what to do. In the end, I've removed items with the promise to myself that these things would not be forgotten and told myself it was okay to let it go for awhile.

I narrowed my focus to what was calling me to spend time with it. So what was removed and what remained you ask? I removed the art books, the pencils, the drawing pad. I kept the journal, the photography lessons, the Book of Common Prayer, the Windsor Report, the response to the Windsor Report, my Community of Hope material, my Sunday School material, my ill-used pocket calendar, my pens, and my Bible is going back in.

This doesn't sound light does it :-) Though it's still heavy the weight isn't the same. I find my biggest challenge at this point in my life is time. I often joke that I wish I knew how to step outside of time long enough to do the things that require thought and quiet moments. I also joke that I "steal moments" those few minutes when no ones looking, I claim these for myself hoping that when collected together will be enough to sustain me.

My other struggle ties into time and that's finding balance. But I think this is a topic I'll have to think more about, I'm not sure how to express this struggle as separate from time, because for me the two are intimately linked.

I'll end with this: I haven't any idea where I'll go with this blog - so here's to the journey.