All Saints Day Devotion & Meditation

Sit in a quiet space. See to it that you feel a great amount of comfort, as guided by your intuition. You can do this meditation on a person you have lost personally or on behalf of somebody you know who is grieving. You do not have to know the person personally to be able to stand in the gap for those who have buried their family or friends. You may also think of a cultural loss – such as all of those lost in this pandemic and their family and friends who mourn them.

Ideas:

  • Mug of hot water
  • Light a candle
  • Favorite perfume or oil
  • Article of clothing that fits loosely, feels soft on the skin
  • Draw the curtains or play with the natural light
  • Place a mirror in a thoughtful position
  • Toss a blanket in the dryer for a bit
  • Dab the lips with vaseline, rub lotion onto the feet or massage the wrists

Once you are situated, have your phone or printed paper with these instructions nearby. Read a section and then sit with it for a moment. When the mind gets restless (which may be right away, that is fine) move on to the next section.

Warm Up

  • Breathe in through the nose and sigh the exhale out of an open mouth
  • In a seated pose, circle the torso forward and then back, curving the spine. Think about “knocking easy tension” off the body as your circle. Let the neck and head be a part of your movement, Get into it.
  • Your meditation while breathing in this manner and moving in this manner: “Be Near, Assurance”
  • Continue circling, breathing with this meditation until you feel a little buzz, you grow weary, you naturally stop. Pause in the stillness and continue with the meditation “Be Near, Assurance” and bring your loved one, family or friend, to mind and notice the sensation in the body.

Pose 1

  • Breathe in through the nose and sigh the exhale out of an open mouth, allowing yourself to be audible in your exhales
  • Stretch the body out on a mat, blanket or in your bed – take a full body stretch.
  • Position a cushion or firm pillow under the knees. Roll a blanket under the ankles. Allow a thin cushion under the neck. If you have an eye cushion, lay it over the eyes.
  • Your meditation while breathing in this manner, in this pose, will be “Assurance, I see you”
  • Rest in this pose for anywhere from 6 – 15 minutes. Feel free to set a timer or simply just rest. Witness the breath and bring to mind any thoughts, memories, smells or nostalgic remnants of your loved one. As you experience this pose, have the words “Assurance, I see you” accompany your feelings and the thoughts or images that arise.

Pose 2

  • Breathe in through the nose, allowing yourself to make a snoring sound. Sometimes it takes a minute to find this! But a classic “waking snore” can relieve a lot of tension and add an element of humor to your practice that burns a little stubborn ego off.
  • Lay on your right side. Position a pillow between the two legs. Ensure the head is supported. Position the body against a firm cushion, a pillow up against a wall or a bolster in order to feel a sense of support at your back. Hands to clasp or in prayer pose is ideal, but go for comfort above all else.
  • Your meditation while snoring in this pose will be, “I assure you”
  • Rest in this pose for anywhere from 6 – 15 minutes. When the snoring naturally subsides or if it becomes “work”, let it go. Notice the freedom possible in repeating “I assure you” on an inhale without having to say “who” is “you” or “what” you are assuring anybody for. Rather, the energy and compassion behind such words are what we are manifesting in the repetition.

Final Rest

  • Allow the breath to come and go as it may in your final rest
  • Lay on your back once again or with the legs up the wall, especially if you have anxiety or have had an anxious day. Support the body similar to in pose 2.
  • Your meditation while resting in this pose will be, “I am here”
  • Rest in this pose, inviting the person you have loved and lost to see you. For the spirit to draw near. For a sense of calm and peace.

I will be praying for all of those taking this practice. I pray regularly for the grieving, for the suffering. If this is you, know you are being held.

Namaste :)

Praying Through Loss and Longing

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It is my hope that if you read this, you will find a way into a new rest, into new peace – in whatever you are going through.

About two years ago, I was introduced “Ardas Bhayee” a prayer in sanskrit comprised of these words:

Ardas Bahee, Amar Das Guru, Amar Das Guru, Ardas Bahee.

Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Sachee Sahee

If you click on the link above and listen to it, you’ll see it is really beautiful.

When I was taught this prayer, I was taught it is the perfect prayer. The meaning behind the words are the collection of mind, body and soul – when you pray these words, your voice threads together the needs of each of aspect of your life and you lift up your exact everything to God.

I think that a lot of times, what holds us up in prayer is the “figuring out” of what to pray for. We end up blocking our own faithfulness with over analyzing if God gives us “this” than that means “that” is likely and we are not sure how we feel about “that”. Or – because we know that what is best will take place – we don’t boldly approach the throne with what is we really long for. And then we may even question what it is we long for and feel like maybe we don’t deserve it, maybe we messed up too much to still qualify for it, or you long for a past chance.

These thoughts compound, the tea kettle sounds, the day starts and the prayer never happened. Because you could never figure out what to pray for.

So, there is a lot of freedom in this mantra and just the opportunity to hear the sounds of the beautiful sanskrit and fumble through singing along until all the sudden your heart has figured it out: you hum some words while sounding the ones you are confident in.

I cherish the freedom in knowing that this silence of mind and this sound of the heart and voice are doing all the work I didn’t have to do in the first place. The work I felt I had to do in master planning my life in order to know what to order from the divine is relieved. Instead, I can just lift it up through these words while I clean my house, brush my teeth, sit still.

This whole thought originally came about two days ago when I was in a moment that involved the remembrance of two very important people in my life: Kristi, who passed maybe 6 years ago now and Spindley, who passed about 3 years ago. Kristi taught me trustworthiness and loyalty. Spindley taught me good humor and friendly motivation.

To say that losing these two people was hard would be an understatement. Even now, my heart twists at the fact that they died. And I think that a lot of times, when we lose people in our physical life that had significance to us emotionally or spiritually, we try to will them back.

We look for signs of them. We want them by our side in moments. We feel their presence and breathe it in and are so thankful for the visit. And we want them to come back again for a visit through a cardinal or a butterfly or ladybug.

And this is awesome.

Equally – what is awesome – is when we take the opportunity to shift this perspective just a little bit. What happens when we feel the inclination to will their spirit and character to our moment and resolve, instead, to dedicate the moment to them.

In their honor, to their spirit – a nod to their legacy – we perform the work, we move forward. Not because they showed up and gave us the chills and gave us what we needed. But because they were here on this planet and taught us, loved us, at one point in time and now we can honor them with strength, courage and action.

In doing this, I believe, we balance our consumption of the supernatural with a generosity of spirit and a commitment to being the person they loved so much, a commitment to the attributes we have that made their eyes twinkle and their smile go wide.

I think that, if you try this in the new year, while we are all so set on a new world – a new culture – a new sense of community, that we can free ourselves from the dependency we have created on our capacities to understand God’s subtleties. As surely, we know not all the ways we are loved. Rather than ask, sit and wait for a sign. What if we, instead, identify the spirit and the underlying prayer in our hearts not (only) as something to know and speak and share but something to feel and fumble through and breathe into? It is my thinking that this will make us bolder and light up our spirit from the inside. We will become stronger people of light.

In Romans 8 there is a verse I love love love love love – (vs. 26) where scripture teaches to breathe. Just groan. Just sigh. Don’t think. Just heave it out. In that connection of your physical body and your breath, the spirit intercedes – the spirit prays – on your behalf.

We don’t need to figure it out, friends. We just don’t. If we get knowledge and gain understanding from that knowledge, what a blessing! But it is not our job to seek “knowing” out in a way that distracts us from the true fluidity of the spiritual nature of our souls. That inner pool where God wants you to just sit.

Rest.

–Let your waters be still.

Know the Lord is with you.

There is a lot of peace in this.

XO, erin

 

The Peace that Meets Longing – My Experience of Divorce’s Heart Ache

This is my ten year old daughter, Ellen, and her biological grandmothers. My mom is on the right in the white. Both the women and the girl in this picture hold such a profound part of my heart that words just simpy don’t work here.

It’s real love.

The realist of the real.

It has been ten years that I have spent loving this child but probably closer to twenty five years that I have spent dreaming about her.

I remember laying in bed as a young girl, imagining being a mother and picturing a room for two daughters. I imagined award ribbons and pictures and momentos tacked to a cork board.

I had such good ideas for how my life would work.

Relationships.

*sigh*

Relationships (of all kinds) are simply put the best and worst part of human living. It’s incredible to love even with the inevitable grief. For in the suffering that comes with human relating we get to experience compassion. And it’s this compassion that is the core of what makes “relationship” so much to be prized: to have love is to have hurt is to have compassion.

In John 14:27, Jesus says “my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you”. He says this to secure the comfort of our hearts. Even when he is gone – beloved teacher, shepherding friend – his peace is present.

Tonight my house filled up with people and love and laughter to celebrate Ellen’s birthday. For the first time in ten years, the dinner was on – house set – candles lit – prior to first guests arriving. Throwing a dinner for twenty gets easier but the following does not..

Hours later the house emptied. Until even my lovely ten year old and her darling sidekick Lucy were buckled into their dad’s car which pulled out of the driveway to go back to the land of Netflix and cocoa puffs, cable and ping pong to complete “dad week”.

I walked back into my colorful home that smelled like the warmth of red sauce with a hint of cinnamon and overall calm. I found the silence and the emptiness both soothing and shattering and allowed the wave of it all to wash over me.

As I sat crying – heavy tears – I thought about all the mothers longing for their babies as I longed deeply for mine. The ones born, the ones to be born, the ones that may never be born, the ones born and passed.

I thought of the marriages and relationships that suffer from demons and closets and skeletons. That suffer from selfishness and fear. That are choked by anxiety and drowned with depression.

I thought of how I wished I knew the root of sin. How I wished I could close in on the little tick of sin that breaks good things and lock it away. This way people don’t have to hurt. This way longing and sadness and loneliness don’t happen.

This way birthday parties last forever.

Then I thought – “Erin, my peace I give to you – my peace I leave with you.” And instantly I allowed my heart to enter the loving compassion of Christ and I cried not needing answers.

Surely we want to understand so much! Surely we want plans and tactics. We think of what we need that may relieve us. We think of how to get to the root and change the course. But really –  perhaps in these moments when our hearts gasp, we are to resist allowing our minds to stir and the urge to try and figure something out.

Maybe, instead, we are to accept an invitation to enter into God’s peace.

It was left for us. We should rest in it.

In Phillipians Paul writes “May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.” (Phil 4:7)

And it’s so true, guys, it’s so true – peace is here for us. We are invited into peace when our hearts are quaking. This peace guards us.

It allows us to cry and drip snot on our floor and not have answers. It is when we enter this without the need to know that we get to experience divine compassion.

And it’s this —

Hmmmmm….

It’s this experience of compassion that I guess really allows us to be free from the world. It’s like when we fell as kids, skinned our knee and freaked out at the blood to then have somebody’s loving warmth and care calm us down. All was made right. We forgot about the trauma.

What we want from people and relationships is valid… our sadness is valid. Our longing is valid.

So feel it —

— in doing so, I have found equal to this is the validity of calm and freedom.

Which we can also so feel. 

Valid is the power of God to be compassionately present and working always and forever in our lives.

Amen. Namaste.

ps: hug your babies if you got em ;) for all the mamas who can’t.