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meditation

Listening for Love

Yesterday morning, watching the rising sun at 6:20 am made me feel loved by God.  Smiling, I wondered why.  Then, I imagined the curved rings of sunshine were His outstretched arms reaching out to give me a tight hug, the kind that says more than words ever could and makes you catch your breath.

It’s funny how when I make more time for God, I hear him better, clearer.  UGH!?!?  Why do I need to re-learn this every day?  I think because it’s harder to be living in the world but not being of the world.  We’re infinite spirits wrapped up with mortal bodies at our spiritual core.  We keep forgetting that the essence of our true selves is our spirit and the spiritual world is reality because the material world is illusive and distracting.

The more I trust God, the more I love God.  It’s a love relationship that can’t go wrong unless you screw it up, and even when you do, you know it’s going to be okay.  What I’m suggesting is that you focus on listening for the love.  Like any love relationship, it takes work and time, but you will not be disappointed.

How do you focus on listening?
·       Try spending time writing in a journal (maybe write letters to God in it and the answers you get from Him)
·       Praying which can either be just talking to God like you do anyone else, reciting a structured prayer, or however you prefer communicating with Him.
·       Meditating on a prayer, poem, or artwork that reminds you of God’s love; or
·       Just be present and listen for God like I was doing yesterday morning looking out  my kitchen window before breakfast. 
Say and do whatever feels right for you.  Remember, the more time you spend communicating in a relationship, the more you get know someone.  The more you get to know God, the more you will love Him, and the more you will see and hear the love.

Finding God inside the Holy Temple of Your Body

My poem below is also a prayer from my autobiographical poetry book, A Rape Survivor's Spiritual Journey: My Poems and Practical Exercises, which will be released soon.  I recommend praying it out loud whenever possible because there's power in the spoken as well as the written word.  Say these  words knowing that God lives inside the holy temple of your body waiting for you to call on Him.

 

The Spirit of God lives and breathes with me.

I breathe with the Spirit.

I AM one with the Spirit.

I AM God’s Spirit.

 

At all times and in all places, the Spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.

I breathe with the Spirit.

I AM one with the Spirit.

I AM God’s Spirit.

 

The Spirit of God empowers me with the strength to

[insert your greatest challenge here].

I breathe with the Spirit.

I AM one with the Spirit.

I AM God’s Spirit

Empower Your Spirit in the God Zone

When athletes perform exceptionally, they talk about being in a zone which I call the “God zone.”  According to a February 19, 2010 article by the American Psychological Association, Dr. Shane Murphy says, “What’s fascinating is that we find that athletes often don’t need to be perfect to succeed.  Being in the “zone” isn’t about perfection as much as it is about staying in the moment, not worrying about failure, and not worrying about what the result might be.  I find every athlete to be unique in their approach to that “zone,” but they use some combination of psychological skills such as visualization, goal-setting, concentration, relaxation or mindfulness, psyching up, positive self-talk and developing a consistent routine in order to get there. Once they’re ready, they focus and let it happen. Their bodies are prepared to succeed – usually it’s the mind that can get in the way – if you let it.”

You’ve probably been in the situation when you were with someone preoccupied with the past or the future.  If you’re trying to love and support them, but they’re not spiritually with you in the present moment, there’s no way they can begin to accept your love and support.  The same holds true of our relationship with God.

I recommend you pray the words below, and I encourage you to add your own petition for a positive change in your life while you focus on being in the present moment with God.

The spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

At all times and in all places, the spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

The spirit of God empowers me with the strength to
[insert your greatest challenge here].
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

I also suggest you try making it a habit.  During a hectic day, I make it a point to pray these lines wherever I am, even in the bathroom after washing my hands which helps me calm down if I’m stressed and focus on the present moment.

The Power of Prayerful Affirmations

We’ve all heard about the wonders of affirmations, so why not turn your spoken words in prayer into affirmations that can help you transform your life.  

When I started making prayerful affirmations, I truly didn’t believe what I was saying.  However, I committed to praying the same words over and over again until I believed them.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it was pretty cool when it finally did happen.  Of course, a lot of therapy preceded my even thinking about doing this.

I prayed “My Lord, and my God, I give you my heart, my mind, my body, and my spirit:  all that I am and all that I can be.  Take away all the darkness.  Take it all away, so I can be with you.  Be one with you and be truly free.”

Try it, but remember, the key is not to give up.  You're definitely worth it!

Beautiful Me


Today, I realized I’m feeling frazzled.  Looking back, I realize that I saw this coming.  I’ve been working too long and hard without checking in with myself.  That’s something I learned during a group therapy session at the YWCA.  
For six or eight weeks, we met and discussed stresses that we experienced in our bodies.  It wasn’t just a bitch session.  We kept going deeper until we found the source.  For example, earlier this evening my heart was racing, and my entire body felt tightened like a rubber band stretched to the max.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what I did to myself.  I’ve been there for everyone else, but I forgot to make time for me.
After you become aware of the stress you’re experiencing and narrow it down to a feeling and reason you’re feeling that way, it’s time to think about an action for you to take to begin healing your body.  For me, after I realized I was overextended, I started taking deep breaths.  Then, I took my hands and ran them from the tips of my toes to the top of my head with outstretched hands as I literally and figuratively gave myself to God and prayed, “My Lord, and my God, I give you my heart, my mind, my body, and my spirit:  all that I am and all that I can be.  Take all my fears, anxieties, and the rest of the darkness.  Take it all away, so I can be with you.  Be one with you, so I can be beautiful me.”

Centering Prayer Helps Me Stay Grounded in the Present Moment


Like I mentioned in an earlier blog about controlling flashbacks, it’s critical for survivors to stay grounded in the present moment.  When I start thinking about the abuse I suffered in the past, I always remind myself that I am safe and in control, so the flashbacks don’t start to control me.  Focusing on taking deep breaths also helps.

Centering Prayer helps me stay grounded in the present moment and develop a deeper relationship with God.  I’ve been practicing it for more than 20 years.  Like any relationship, communication is important which also means learning how to be a better listener.  I am far from perfect about this although I’ve definitely improved over the years. 

You don’t move around like yoga.  You pray either sitting on the floor or in a chair, and you remain sitting wherever you are and focus on your meditation.  Before you start, you need to choose a sacred word.  Your sacred word is the symbol of your intention to allow God’s presence and action in your soul.  It can be love, peace, or your own name for God.  I love the fact that anyone from any faith can practice it!

Once you have your sacred word and you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes to help you relax.  Imagine something like you’re inhaling God’s powerful peace and love.  And, exhaling all the tension and worries in your mind, body and soul.  Visualize God’s powerful, peace and love flowing into your body.  First through your mind and head, down to all your limbs, and then penetrating your soul melting away your anxieties overpowered by God’s awesome peace and love.

When you’re ready, silently introduce your sacred word, be with God, and just listen.  When you become aware of your thoughts, gently return to the sacred word.  Don’t be discouraged.  Be gentle with yourself.  Think of it as if you’re meeting God in a noisy coffee shop like Starbuck’s.  You’re next to a loud table.  There’s nowhere to move, so you’re trying to focus on what he’s telling you.

It’s important not to get upset about all the distractions.  Don’t worry about your thoughts.  You just let them come and go like noisy distractions in Starbuck’s you ignore, and remain focused on your sacred word and your intention and listen.  Then, at the end of your prayer remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes.  It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it.

In case you’re interested in finding out more about Centering Prayer, here’s the website:  http://centeringprayer.com/.  What I love about Centering Prayer is that it emphasizes prayer as your personal relationship with God!  

How Centering Prayer Helps Me Stay Grounded in the Present Moment


Like I mentioned in an earlier blog about controlling flashbacks, it’s critical for survivors to stay grounded in the present moment.  When I start thinking about the abuse I suffered in the past, I always remind myself that I am safe and in control, so the flashbacks don’t start to control me.  Focusing on taking deep breaths also helps.

Centering Prayer helps me stay grounded in the present moment and develop a deeper relationship with God.  I’ve been practicing it for more than 20 years.  Like any relationship, communication is important which also means learning how to be a better listener.  I am far from perfect about this although I’ve definitely improved over the years. 

You don’t move around like yoga.  You pray either sitting on the floor or in a chair, and you remain sitting wherever you are and focus on your meditation.  Before you start, you need to choose a sacred word.  Your sacred word is the symbol of your intention to allow God’s presence and action in your soul.  It can be love, peace, or your own name for God.  I love the fact that anyone from any faith can practice it!

Once you have your sacred word and you’re seated comfortably, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes to help you relax.  Imagine something like you’re inhaling God’s powerful peace and love.  And, exhaling all the tension and worries in your mind, body and soul.  Visualize God’s powerful, peace and love flowing into your body.  First through your mind and head, down to all your limbs, and then penetrating your soul melting away your anxieties overpowered by God’s awesome peace and love.

When you’re ready, silently introduce your sacred word, be with God, and just listen.  When you become aware of your thoughts, gently return to the sacred word.  Don’t be discouraged.  Be gentle with yourself.  Think of it as if you’re meeting God in a noisy coffee shop like Starbuck’s.  You’re next to a loud table.  There’s nowhere to move, so you’re trying to focus on what he’s telling you.

It’s important not to get upset about all the distractions.  Don’t worry about your thoughts.  You just let them come and go like noisy distractions in Starbuck’s you ignore, and remain focused on your sacred word and your intention and listen.  Then, at the end of your prayer remain in silence with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes.  It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it.

In case you’re interested in finding out more about Centering Prayer, here’s the website:  http://centeringprayer.com/.  What I love about Centering Prayer is that it emphasizes prayer as your personal relationship with God!