The Power of Prayer

Jan 24, 2014 – Today’s Horoscope for Sagittarius

Presented by Horoscope.com

Inspiration drawn from recent religious or spiritual occurrences could have you writing down accounts of your experiences, Sagittarius, perhaps with the idea of someday publishing them. Your concentration could well be intense, as writing for you today may not be only creative but therapeutic as well. It will also help to attend classes or workshops or simply to discuss the subject with a friend. Knowledge is essential.

 I rarely read my horoscope, but today for some reason I did. I found it very interesting and quite timely. As a good friend said when I shared it with her, “There’s more to it than coincidence”. I will share with you why this is so: 

So the other day I found myself at Barnes & Noble, shopping for a book I need for my Sociology class and while looking at different books, I came across an audio book by Caroline Myss. Now, if you have never heard of her, I highly recommend her books, specifically “Anatomy of the Spirit” and “Sacred Contracts”. Those two books had an incredibly positive impact on how I viewed my life, my role in the Universe and many other deeply personal issues and questioning certain beliefs that no longer served me. At any rate, to say I like her books would be akin to saying that I like to breathe; both have given me life and continue to enable me to live and to learn. So, back to Barnes & Noble; the title of the audiobook was “The Power of Prayer” and there it was – one lonely audiobook on the top shelf, all by itself, calling to me. The fact that it had a 40% off sticker also grabbed my attention. As I usually do when shopping, I carried it around the store, along with my book for school and a few other books I’d picked up. By the time I was done browsing, I had only the book for school & Caroline Myss’ audiobook. I took it home, excited to hear what she had to say about prayer, as my memory of her previously mentioned books didn’t necessarily address prayer. Well, let me tell you something – hearing Caroline (Ms. Myss just sounds too odd) speak was like a lightning bolt to my brain. The woman is not one of those people blindly following the doctrine that is religion (sheep, as is often the description given by people not so into organized religion); she is passionate about prayer and at some points, becomes rather irate when the topic of meditation/relaxation/beads/music/incense and what she calls “Prayer Bling” come into the picture. I won’t give it all away, but let’s just say that what I heard was not what I had expected; it was so much better.

Growing up Catholic, I was instructed on how to pray, what to say, to whom my prayers should be directed and how I should address such entity/saint/Father/God/Mary/Jesus. It was very structured and seemed to me to be very ceremonial and not very spontaneous or with any real connection. I didn’t know that prayers could be as general as “God please help me. I cannot do this without you” or simple “Please stay with me”. That seemed too informal, almost disrespectful to me as a child, but as an adult, it seems more natural. The big thing about prayer (for me) was that I always waited until there was an emergency (as I defined it) or a great NEED. Not a need for grace, humility or compassion; usually a need for some cute guy to ask me out or my boobs to magically grow or don’t let me get caught stealing, lying or otherwise being a “bad girl”.  That is not prayer; that is a childish demand made to serve the selfish, egotistical Self. Prayer is so much more than that. It is so much more than saying a bunch of words that you haven’t really consciously thought of their meaning in months, years or even decades. Saying those words doesn’t mean you are not praying, but if you are saying the words and thinking of that back-stabbing bitch at the office and how you’re going to make her sorry she ever messed with you, you are again serving the needs of the Self, the Ego.

Prayer isn’t exclusive only to organized religion; you don’t have to have membership to a certain faith or church in order to pray. Prayer is not a logical, factual practice; it’s based on faith, that indescribable something that enables us to carry on when we feel like giving up, gives us reason to believe that we are not alone, fills our hearts with hope when things get dark and a belief that what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell is not all there is. There is beauty all around us, if we only look for it; there is compassion in the world, but you won’t see it if you lock yourself away and close your heart off to anything other than what you know. Prayer to me is a way of connecting with that which is not visible to the human eye, but is everywhere, always and forever. I can understand those who choose not to pray, for it is a very personal experience and not everyone has had positive experiences in their church, with their birth parents’ faith or even the contrast between what is taught at church and what is lived at home.

 

I have lost my faith only to realize how lost I am without faith. So, today I will pray, quietly and with reverence, not to have more (money, boobs, adoration, fame, etc.) but more compassion, more empathy, and more willingness to forgive and forget. I will pray for wisdom to ask for help, the humility to accept without blame or anger, the things that are uncomfortable, unfair or that I simply don’t like. I will pray that humankind will someday be able to live in peace and not in pieces.  I’ll pray that someday prayer will not be such a novelty and will someday replace gossip, slander and bullying. Hey – if you’re going to dream, dream big, right?

 

 

To Should or Not To Should

Well, it certainly has been some time since I’ve put words to pages and posted anything. I just went back and re-read a lot of my early posts and it has helped me to realize just how far off course I have gotten. Much like a ship with no captain, my journey has been halted and I’ve once again found myself solidly back in my “Comfort Zone” which doesn’t sound terrible, but I have come to understand that when I’m in that zone, I am not doing what I need to do to stay focused on my recovery and to grow. I’ve heard the term “growing pains” but I always thought it was a temporary thing that happened only as an individual approached puberty or was going through a growth spurt. It does apply to those situations, but not exclusively. To make a change, to speak the hard truth, to cut ties with those who you consider a good friend but who is no longer good for you; to walk away from a lifestyle that is very comfortable and walk into a world of the unknown. “How will I celebrate the holidays without drinking? How will I be able to get through the hard times without Mr. X or Ms. Y? How do I walk alone when I’ve never been alone? How can I love myself when I don’t even know who I am?”  We have all had our challenges, our breakups and our heart breaks, but we (hopefully) learn from those experiences. So, yeah, this one guy broke my heart; that doesn’t mean that I should quit believing in love or recognizing it when it appears right before my eyes. Just because one friend didn’t last a lifetime doesn’t mean that I am not worthy of having a lifetime friend, nor does it mean that I hate that person or wish them ill. It just means that for whatever reason, I had to move away from that person. Maybe they wanted to keep walking the path we had always walked, but I was tired of that path and wanted a new journey, which didn’t appeal that person. It seems cruel (even to me) to have to disassociate with someone that’s a friend, but life isn’t always butterfly kisses and unconditional love and adoration. Oftentimes, what worked in our past no longer seems to work in this time; people who you connected with in your college days may not be people you would even talk to at the bus stop. Things change, people change, needs change and the world itself is ever-changing. The willow tree survives the strong wind because it bends, it recognizes the power of the wind and rather than fight it and die, it bends to the wind, allowing it to flow over it, and then rights itself once the wind has passed. I have to remind myself that if I refuse to bend, I will break. I am a Child of the Universe, not a god or mythical being. I am human, flawed and fragile; my heart breaks for those who suffer and my soul reaches out to those who so desperately need to have someone just tell them they are worthy of love just as they are. No need to wait to become someone worthy of love; you are beautiful and worthy of love. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to live up to whatever expectation you may think others have of you. You don’t have to sacrifice your morality to be “cool”; you are cool already. You are special, you are one of a kind, you are not your dress size, you are not your GPA, you are not your zip code, you are not the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the music you play. You are a wonderful, ever-changing miracle of science and mystery, of humanity and spirituality; you are a child of the Universe, an unsteady toddler, learning to walk with grace and humility through uncharted territories. Every day, things and people and images push and pull at us, telling us how we SHOULD dress, how we SHOULD act, how we SHOULD be a friend, a wife, a mother, a son, a human being and attach all these insanely rigid lines that we SHOULD stay in, lest we fail at what we SHOULD be doing.

A very wise person once told me – “You should never SHOULD on yourself”. One of the best pieces of advice I have received thus far.

However, if you absolutely must SHOULD on yourself, here are some suggestions I have:

You SHOULD feel your feelings; don’t let anyone tell you how you SHOULD feel. Feel how you feel and know that no one can take those feelings away from you. They are yours and yours alone. You SHOULD believe that you are awesome, just as you are; you SHOULD believe in miracles, second chances and in love. You SHOULD believe that you are worthy of love, that you are already loved and the most important person to love you SHOULD be you.