Posted in faith, inner peace, Life, meditation, Musings, People, spirituality

Redefining Holy

Holy

Holy: adjective; Exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness or righteousness.

When I think of the word holy, I can’t help but think of churches. Churches and bibles and the feeling of a big, scary God that I neither long for nor understand. A punishing God with rules I can’t reconcile, who speaks in a language that must be explained to me by someone deemed more worthy. The book they say he left for us is one of the only ones I have picked up countless times, only to put it right back down again. The God I think of when I first hear the word “holy” is a God that leaves me empty and cold. This is a God made by men, in their image, a God of religion, control, fear, money. A God corrupt.

There is another God for me, and he has been with me all my life. I say “he” only because that is how I’ve always thought to call him, but it’s meaningless. The God I know is neither female nor male, he has no face that I have ever seen. This God has filled me with comfort in moments of great despair. He carried me through the battles I fought against myself for all those years. He never left me, never turned his back. If ever he was out of reach, it was because I was closed off, because I had pulled away.

Most of September and some of October were hard for me. Looking back, I see that it was me who caused the shift. I stopped my morning ritual of prayer, I stopped meditating. I got caught up in other things- new relationships, vanity, concentrating on the way things look and not the way things feel. I held steady for a while, coasting on the fumes of all the months of work that I’d put in before. But soon enough, I was empty. Nothing left to give, aimless and unhappy.

I’ve come back down to earth again. Sat on my cushion, day after day, lighting the candles and saying my prayers until the words stopped sounding forced, until I felt like I was being heard again. Eventually, the conversation seemed to flow both ways, although it was only I who spoke. My God speaks directly to my spirit. I may not hear him, but the message gets through, loud and clear. Meditation stopped feeling like a task to be accomplished and became, once more, a slow fall into peace. I often sit long after the bell sounds, reluctant to let go of the soft ebb and flow of my breath.

And just like that, all the things began to fall into place. The pace of my world slowed, leaving time to linger over sunsets, time to gaze at the sky and the moon. Just like that, peace returned and I felt like myself again.

I think I will change what I think of as holy. There is nothing more holy to me than the sacred hours before sunrise, as I light my candles and sit on my cushion, in communion with the God I know. The God who loves me just as I am, no matter who that might be today. The God who reminds me that it is not he who must forgive me, but I who must forgive myself. My God does not recognize sin, does not judge my mistakes, does not leave anyone out. The God I know asks me to be gentle with myself when I have been hard on others, helps me to soften my edges, reminds me who I am- no worse and no better than anyone else.

When I think of what is holy now, I will think of the orange sky and the blazing yellow sun as it sinks into the blue-black sea. I will think of the cold, salty air on my skin and the sight of my daughter picking her way across the rocks back to me. I will think of leaving the sunset behind me and turning a bend in the road to find an impossibly perfect moon hanging before me in the sky. Holy is the warm light of the lamp in my dark living room, the scent of incense, the alter on my shelf of stones and feathers, sage and shells. Above all else, holy is the depth of the peace in my heart as I write this, the certainty that I have returned to myself.

Posted in fun, humor, Learning, Life, love, Musings, People, random

Careful What You Ask For…

BeCareful-1024x256

Warning: I am going to mention prayer in this blog, so if that makes you feel: Angry, Anxious, Uncomfortable, Defiant, Disgusted or otherwise poorly, you may want to skip this one.

It’s not big news that I believe in God. Not so much the punishing God of some religions, though. I don’t really believe in sin, or hell, or a big man in the sky with infinite eyes, one for each of us, who waits and watches for us to fuck up so that he can whack us one. Nah, that kind of God doesn’t exist for me. What I do believe is that God will listen if we are talking to Him directly, and that He does have a sense of humor.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine last week- both of us, at different times, have prayed for patience. What the result of that prayer was- the answer, I guess,- was that we each found our lives full to the limit of trying, barely tolerable, situations and people. It sure seemed like God was over zealously giving us ample opportunities to exercise some patience that we must already have…

“I prayed for patience a long time ago.” My friend said. “It was horrible. I haven’t asked for anything specific since then- just “Hey man, your will be done in my life, thanks.”

Now, I don’t pray as much as I think I should. For those of you weirded out by this (I told you what was coming, but you didn’t listen, so don’t get all freaked out now) I wish I could explain to you how comfortable I am with my spiritual practices, however meager they are. I feel a real connection to whatever is out there- if you want to call it God, or The Universe, or whatever- when I pray. It helps my meditation practice. It helps me prioritize what matters to me. Prayer is something I can do for other people when there is nothing else. I really believe that something happens when we pray- for those of you who need some kind of proof, I suggest you look up the studies they have done involving prayer over surgical instruments, prayer for sick people who didn’t even know they were being prayed for. Google that shit. It’s real.

I also believe we must be careful what we pray for. Kind of like those stories about the Genie in the bottle who gives you your wish so literally that it winds up totally sucking? Yeah, that.

Yesterday, I sent up a rather desperate prayer to God, asking for help with this out of control nicotine addiction of mine. I have gone back and forth so many times, I feel like a slightly manic yo-yo. “God,” I asked, “Please help me with this! I just need some willingness. I need you to take this craving away from me. Please, oh please, oh pleasy-please?” I whined. I should have known better than to get all whiny and desperate, I guess.

I would like to mention that, at the moment of this prayer, I was feeling the picture of health and vitality. Yet somehow, by noon yesterday, I swallowed and thought “Oh, no. I think I’m getting sick.” By six o’clock last night, I was pretty sure I had a fever. By eight last night, I was straight up SICK- in my bed, fever, chills, pretty sure I was a goner. Guess how much I wanted to smoke, though?

“Hahaha!” I muttered, between chills, towards the ceiling- you know, just in case HE really is UP somewhere.

“Who are you talking to, mama?” My four year old asked me, concerned for my mental well being, even at her tender age.

“No one, honey. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, mom. I’m sure going to miss you.” WTF? Yeah, she really said that. Unless it was a fever induced hallucination. Anyway, between that creepy statement and my fever, chills, sore throat and sweating…I didn’t get a great nights sleep. I also could give a fuck less about smoking. Was my prayer answered?

I guess I’ll let you decide that for yourself. I think I’m going to find some tylenol and go back to bed.