Monday Meditation ~ Waiting in Faith

My yoga practice is much like my faith practice.  There are days that I can flow through with grace and ease.  The path seems lit with promise and I know the way.   Movement through breath and asana (poses) is a lovely dance that stirs up joy.  Then there are days that are hazy,  what seemed clear yesterday is distant across the far horizon of a day.  I stand at the edge and choose to wait and see.

I step to my mat, thankful to God for the day and my breath.  Practice becomes waiting.  No flowing here with ease but holding on to each movement as the breath moves me deeper.  As each movement of body, stretch with breath, release begins.  The haze begins to clear and as muscle and bone remember how far they can stretch so too my heart and mind recall that the promise of yesterday is still the promise of today and tomorrow.  Looking at the horizon while grounded on this far shore becomes an act of faith.  What will happen there is unknown to me but known by the One who is my guide, who goes behind and before me.

Here I wait, not frozen but flowing I dip my toes into the day and wade into the promises of Love.  May your day be blessed as you wait.

Monday Meditation – Tell Your Story

What are your stories?  During our recent trip to Oklahoma my husband and I were driving on our wedding anniversary.  We were determined to make it home to New York on that day, not because of our special day but because the check engine light was on in the truck.  We had some great advice from a mechanic and the prayers of many friends that we would not get stuck somewhere along the way.

We chatted a bit, turned on the radio and saw a sign.  A literal sign “Rough Road Ahead, Slow Down”   So the road was rough but the travel was a blessing.  And that’s how our lives have been at times, so far.  As we got bored of the same news story for three days and repetitive music stations we began to tell our stories to each other. It was amazing that after 38 years we still had some things to tell.   It began with a simple question and ended with a wonderful truth.

As each of us spoke taking turns in remembering childhood and adolescent experiences, God’s presence at the time and in the telling became obvious.  Though joy and trial of growing up those times seemingly most difficult held the image of God’s Grace.  And we know that does not end, it’s a lifelong journey that we still travel toward maturity in love. WE began to remember our life together, family, work and children. Such a full and wonderful life.   Mistakes are made, wrong turns confuse and engine lights warn us of impending trouble but God is here, now, loving us.  Loving all of us.

There is an old children’s hymn “Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear.  Things I would ask him to tell me if he were here”. written by William H. Parker,  specifically for Sunday School.  Jesus loved to tell stories.  Parables that weave simple and complicated truths about God, ourselves and relationships with both.  I believe he still does.  Because I believe that word ‘IF’ is a mistake.  He is still here, loving us, and if we take the time to tell them, living in our stories.  If you are uncertain about God’s love, tell your story, write it down, tell someone else.  I pray you see God’s love in your life through the joy and the sorrow.  Because He loves all of us.  And that is the truth.

Blessings,

Sue

Monday Meditation- Signs and Signals

Living in the present moment with awareness of others, surroundings and self creates direction for this journey of life.  Not always with certainty but there are practices that provide help to be present and centered.  Prayer, meditation, Gestalt work and Yoga have been guides to quiet my mind and heart to focus on the here and now and decide which steps to take on the path.  But sometimes I need more.  I need a physical symbol,  a wake up call to know I have wandered off the path.

The most obvious are signals of neglect.  When life becomes too busy and I stray off my course my plants begin to wither.  I have a schedule of watering my houseplants, they are important to me and the health and aesthetics  of my home but it seems they are the first to suffer from my negligence.

Others are less obvious and only creep into my awareness when missing.  When I am attuned to my spiritual life with God, when I am focused on prayer and meditation, attending worship and studying scripture I generally wake up with a song of praise in my mind and on my tongue.  On these days other signs and signals are glaringly obvious.  Awakening to God’s presence of love opens my heart, mind and eyes to so much more of life.

Years ago I came to the conclusion that if I believe in a creator God who made the heavens and the earth, and if I believe that God is a love so great that my guilt and shame were erased through that love in Jesus, then I needed to spend more time getting to know Him.  On a Monday, because that is when you start new things, I read from the Bible and meditated on the reading.  I thanked God for this leading and guiding and then went for a walk.  I discovered that my conversation with God, listening to the creation sounds of birds and leaves applauding in the wind, continued with the taking in of so much beauty. Love seemed to wrap around me, joy filled my heart and peace settled into my whole being.  It had not rained in several days,  there was not a cloud in the sky and a soft breeze blew.  I turned the corner and right above me was the largest rainbow I had ever seen, it seemed I could touch it if I wanted to. I felt light and I heard a whisper “thank you” .  It wasn’t my word, the Divine Love touched me in that moment as I decided to love back.  To love the creator is to love the creation, the earth, all people, myself.

Much has happened since that time and I continue to learn and grow, I forget and stumble, my plants can suffer and I can wake up without that song in my heart, but I know God loves, not only me but all of creation.  God speaks to us, in dreams, in nature, in music, and all we need do is open our hearts, our eyes and our ears.

I wish you awareness to see signs of love.

 

 

Monday Meditation – Friday

I saw a bumper sticker years ago that said, “I do yoga for savasana”   It struck me as funny because it is mostly true, for me anyway.  I step onto my mat for my body and about halfway through practice I am ready to lay down and meditate. It seems that Friday, for most is that savasana we can’t wait to get to.  It is the end of a workweek and a the beginning of a weekend filled with promise.  By Wednesday, now termed “hump day” those of us starting work on Monday are already rushing to Friday.  During the weekend there is time to rest and relax, spend time with family, go to parties or have one for friends.  Time to sleep in or time to catch up on the chores we let slip during our busy week.  So we begin many Monday’s just looking forward to Friday.  Sometimes when there are longer term goals in mind even the weekend is difficult to rest in.  My savasana is sometimes restless with anticipation of what is to come.

My work week is no longer Monday through Friday but I still hold some of the old habits of rushing through anything to get to my purposed goal.  I love that God reminds me (knowing I need constant reminding) that life’s journey is not about the middle or the end, it’s about the beginning.  When we set an intention or goal for our work, when it has purpose above collecting a paycheck, the week is full of growth and grace.  This week I am working at camp.  It’s an easy place to discover God’s work.  The beauty of the place aside, it is Holy Ground to me.  Stepping on my mat this morning I enjoyed each movement and what it could teach me.  My tightness about work that needs to be done today settles in my shoulders and jaw, I breathe and let it go.  A wonderful Gestalt phrase is “What is happening now”.   I set a new intention of momentous awareness.

In this week filled with promise I promise to look beyond each whole day to see the present.  I seek to find rest in each day even for a short time so that I need not glare into the future.  To look in instead of looking out or past.  I intend on loving and living in each moment and rely on God’s grace of reminders to live fully and appreciate instead of anticipate.

Thank you to Meg who is teaching at the Library and the studio this week.  Enjoy her practice and teaching.

May you be blessed this Monday and each day of this week.

Sue

Monday Meditation – Summer Intentions

I remember a school assignment to write a paper about “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”.  There would be a lot of excitement and anxiety about sharing this in front of the class as each student would think about what to share.  Some I think would struggle with truth telling.  As a child I knew others would have stories of grand vacations, some to other countries and some to great parks where they would camp out in tents and have amazing adventures.  At the time I would be a bit envious of these kids who had great stories to tell.

My memory banks have stashed away in an unknown space which stories I shared with my peers, but they also hold some of the best stories that grew me into who I am now.  I know that these would probably not be the tales I shared at the time but as an adult they hold the glow of fun and adventure, they are worthy of remembering.

I remember walking through a rushing creek on slippery rocks with my cousins, then catching minnows in the calmer pools of water to use for bait to fish.  For a girl whose backyard was a parking lot, this was an amazing adventure!  I had summers with family in Vermont and Connecticut where endless green hills and deep pine woods called me to explore.  I swam in an icy lake whose true depth is still a mystery.  There were battles with mosquitoes and leeches and bike rides up hills so high my legs ached for days afterward.  There were times alone in the woods that I heard a silence that completely overwhelmed me.  The beginning of summer was marked by a “sugaring off party” when Grandma pulled saved snow from the freezer, boiled the new spring maple syrup from my uncles farm and poured the golden hot sweetness over the snow.  Sisters and cousins drooled with anticipation sitting around the table with forks to roll up the candy out of long tin pans.  The bonus were the home made donuts and pickles that Grandma made to balance the mouth watering sweetness.

Summer begins this week and so I think about the intentions I have for this time.  As an adult I can choose.  So I choose to find adventure in teaching yoga, battle mosquitoes at camp, hike a few hills and look everywhere for the sweetness of relationships with family and friends.  I will spend time with grandchildren enjoying catching fireflies, looking at stars and playing chase in the grass.  I will reflect on past and present as I take in every moment.   Growth is born of our reflections and intentions.

May your summer be blessed with the adventures of the everyday.

Sue

Monday Meditation – Just That

I find at times that deep meditation is difficult for me.  There are others as well who are revved up by life or just their metabolism who find it a struggle to quiet the mind.  It begins just fine.  I breathe in and out slowly and set a mantra or focus point for return when distracted.  Then the thoughts begin.  Ideas and things to do begin dancing around as I struggle to maintain quietness of mind.  Some days it’s just a no go and I let go.  Meditation is just that.  Letting go of my grip on trying and just being.  So what if all these images and words fly into my time of supposed peace.  Like dreaming I think these things say something to me, so in the moment I resist pondering and just observe.

I return to the breath and the image of sitting on the shoreline watching.  It is here, when I release  judgement on the thoughts jumping in, truth presents itself as  guide.  Minutes dissolve as awareness becomes.  Birds chirping outside the window, the clock ticking, the cool air brushing past my arm are all in this present moment of bliss.  My awareness tunes in to God and the presence within me of Holy Spirit is filled to the top with peace, love, joy.  Perhaps it is just a moment but that is all that is needed.  Just that, a moment of being, silence, presence.

Have a blessed week of presence,

Sue

Monday Meditation – Wondering Momentous

How many times we say or have heard, “If I could only go back in time but knowing what I know now”?  It’s crossed my mind and my lips on many occasions and opens the door to wonder.   How would it look or feel to actually do that, to go back in time and not rush through life as a series of tasks?   How would it make a difference in who I am now and how would those in my family, especially my children be changed?  I remember being a child and looking into the night sky wondering how many stars there were.  It would fill me with awe and a tinge of fear.  My newly forming ego didn’t want any questions left unanswered.  Wonder would continue but for a while was overshadowed by fear.

Now this fear was not like running away from a hungry bear or any real threat of danger.  This fear was one created by the culture I lived and grew up in.  A slow creeping kind of fear that I might not measure up, I might fail was the first I am aware of.  Being a student in a school where perfection seemed required was one perception I held.  As I grew and struggled just a bit in school, the culture of consumerism also jumped on board.  My family did not have what others did and so hand-me-downs were the norm.  One new outfit a school year was exciting until I realized I couldn’t wear it every day.  I began to want things I didn’t have.  And I grew.  To college student, new nurse, wife, mother and friend, all of these mini-identities held a special ongoing competition for my attention to control and perfectionism hence creating fears of their own.

It wasn’t all bad or all fear, if it had been I would have succumbed and been lost.  All along the way there was faith.  Faith in a creator God who was good, who created good things, kept my head just above the water until I chose to dive deep.  “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child;”  1 Cor. 13:11a    As I grew, through life experiences of love, sorrow, trials and joys, a longing was bubbling up through the wondering that continued.  The wondering turned to questioning and study.  The study became filled with conversations between God and myself in prayer.  Slowly a wonderful crack in my perceptions of fear and finality let in some light to shine on the mysteries of life.

Being a Grandmother is teaching  me some new and wonderful lessons, not the least of which is to just love every moment and enjoy the mysteries.  It’s easier now to just love and not worry.  Looking into those sweet faces, so similar to my own children’s  is like looking at the stars in a mirror.  There are so many amazing possibilities for their lives.  They are beautiful and sweet, funny and loving.  There is the answer and no need to wonder.  It is Love.   Just Love.  I did a lot of that when my children were young.  There are so many memories of sweet baby kisses and sticky hands hugs that fill me with joy.   And so I would not want to go back, I don’t have to go back.  God was there all along helping us all grow.  He was loving me through sweet times of growing and some sticky situations.

I am happy for my now grown children and who they have become.  They are making their own way now and will most likely repeat some of my mistakes but that’s how they learn.  I let go of fear and swim in the beautiful night sky of wonder.  I let go of the worldly ideas of how life should be and enjoy each moment as it is.  Every life change and event is momentous and filled with wonder.  I love to wonder momentous.

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.  Psalm 147:4