Every morning, before my feet even hit the floor, I routinely start my day with prayer. No matter what's going on in my life and no matter how busy my day is, I do not get out of bed until my prayers have been said and conscious contact has been made between me and the Divine.
I usually start of with a couple of familiar ones from my Catholic childhood, the good ole' Lord's Prayer and a little Hail Mary (although I admit to changing the line "pray for us sinners" to "pray for us children" because it just sounds, I don't know, so much nicer - than being called a big, fat sinner first thing in the morning.
I always recite the prayer of St. Francis (a beautiful invocation from one of my favorite saints that I also use for daily Passage Meditation) and throw in another another sweet one that I learned years ago from Marianne Williamson that helps me turn myself over to the Beloved and turn down the volume of my critical ego-mind. Then, I chant a little Ganesha Mantra (Ganesh is my main man and the remover of obstacles and God knows I need as much help as possible getting out of my own way!)
I also call upon my Spiritual Team and I've got to say, it's a pretty bad-ass team comprised of humans, animals, Gods/Goddesses, saints/sages and angels from a bunch of different faith traditions. First thing I do is offer up some gratitude for their presence in my life and give thanks for all the gifts I've been given. I learned a long time ago that things that don't seem like a gift in the present moment, often turn out to be - so I make sure to also say thank you, for any current challenges I'm experiencing and any button pushers that happen to be showing up.
Then, I ask my Team to bless and keep all of my brothers and sisters everywhere - which also includes all the animals - and pray that we find our way from the darkness to the Light, from ignorance to Truth, from the unreal to the Real and that our hearts and minds be returned to Love. I ask that we all may learn to live and create in what I call, FEARLESS FLOW.
I also take a few minutes to reflect on my daily lesson from A Course In Miracles and then wrap it up with two more ACIM prayers that basically ask God/Love to be in charge of my thoughts, words and actions - so that I can do my best to be truly helpful in world, rather than walking around doing a bunch of stupid stuff or saying a bunch of sarcastic things. (Now grant it, this isn't always easy because sarcasm is a skill set that kids from Lawrence master into an art form at a pretty young age - plus, old habits die hard - but with God on my side, all things are possible.)
I do all this kind of stuff everyday because I know for a fact that:
A) Just like I need do some physical movement each day to keep my body strong and flexible, stable and mobile, steady and at ease - I also need to do the same for my mental, emotional and spiritual body.
B) Life is going to throw me some curveballs once in a while and if I align myself with Spirit first thing in the morning, I'm setting myself up for a day that is grounded in Faith, Devotion and Love.
C) When I consistently do this work, it significantly lessens the likelihood of me acting like a total colossal asshole.
D) In the unlikely event I do start to act like a TCA, I am now conditioned to come correct and get myself back on the Love Train pretty quickly.
I've seen proof positive how maintaining an unwavering, daily prayer practice has helped me to build my spiritual muscles, so instead of reacting to people and things like a crazy person, I can choose how I respond to the world around me.
Case in point, when we lost our power on Thanksgiving Eve and the top of a massive pine tree snapped off and to took a header onto and INTO our house and it not only made two holes in our roof but also crushed our chimney cap so we couldn't use our propane fireplace for heat and our generator wouldn't start for two days and I couldn't send out my Thanksgiving Newsletter to all of you and the lovely folks at PSNH kept giving me false hope and wrong restoration times and we ultimately lost our ability to shower and flush toilets for 5 days and to add insult to injury on the 4th day the whole street except us and another neighbor, got their electricity back - and despite all this, I was still positive and hopeful and polite (except for that one tiny instance when I sarcastically told the guy at PSNH, "Dude, you guys are killing me right now with this shit.") But other than that, I was cool. I was even genuinely happy for our neighbors when they got their power back a whole 24 hours before us and thought "good for them" - rather than wanting to walk up the street and huck rocks through their happy, lit up windows. :)
I'm telling you, if you show up, if you do this work with sustained willingness and enthusiasm, you will experience more joy, more freedom from suffering and more liberation from the tyranny of your own fearful mind! Prayer helps you to take all that spiritual knowledge that floats around in your smarty-pants head and draws it down into your sweet, loving heart where it can be transformed through Divine Alchemy and be used by you to serve the world in brilliant, creative ways.
So, as we move into the New Year, maybe you'll consider taking up your own daily devotional practices. Perhaps it will involve yoga, pranayama exercises, prayer, chanting mantras, meditation, reading sacred texts, writing in your journal, doing the rosary or other beautiful ways of connecting more deeply to your Divine Source and Spiritual Team.
I can't tell you which practices you should do (I mean I could but you don't really need me - just simply get quiet, go within and ask Spirit for guidance) - but I can tell you that with a sustained practice of discipline, dedication, determination and devotion - you'll gather some powerful tools that will help you to navigate your life with more love, grace, compassion, forgiveness and a sense of humor. Try it for yourself and let me know how it all unfolds!!
Thank you for another wonderful year. It's a true honor and delight to share this journey with all of you. xoxo