As a child, I was taught to say prayers in the morning to dedicate my day to God. As a young woman, I joined in Morning Prayers with others in my household. Then, I’d always had the suspicion that Morning Prayers would feel so much more “alive” if I’d been able to have my coffee BEFORE the prayers, rather than after! These days, when my questions about the mystery we call God are more numerous than my certainties, I open my days with my intentions to be open, compassionate, and to live with integrity. About 20 years ago I wrote these out, and have developed the habit of going over them thoughtfully just after I awaken, before getting out of bed — and even before coffee! Some of the words have changed over the years as I’ve learned more about life, but they still “hold”, overall. They do express how I hope to live my life:
“Radically open to Mystery, and trusting myself, I live a conscious, centered, compassionate life based on integrity and respect. I see deeply into many worlds, and radiate joy and hope. I make conscious my radical interdependence with all of reality, and where there is suffering or oppression, I re-member, with love, to make justice, and to bear witness with compassion. I do these each day, including for myself, in every way that I exercise choice and freedom.”
Those of you who are more traditionally religious could ask why I do not ask for assistance from God for these ideals, or why I don’t pray for others here. I acknowledge that this isn’t by any means an ordinary morning prayer. I wanted to be able to set my days in a direction that would be authentic for me even on my “worst” mornings, even on days when any “faith” feels non-existent. I also want to set my intention based only on what is in my control. I still have great compassion for others and want them to be eased in whatever ways are needed, but I want to focus on my “circle of influence” while remembering my “circle of concern”, to use Stephen Covey’s terminology. In my next post I will unpack each of the lines, as they are almost code words for wider and deeper thoughts.
And how do YOU greet your mornings?
OH Becky! So good to hear from you. I can just see you doing the qi gong! I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately, wondering how you’re doing. Are you feeling strong? Glad you’re out with the dog (and of course, Sarah). This whole “affirming possibilities” is so important; it’s kind of like “hope” when you don’t feel it. I’m doing well, looking forward to a summer break from lessons with L., helping him take next steps to independence (which, like teaching a child to do a chore, actually takes more time than just doing it yourself. . . ). Needing a lot of quiet time. Much love, Cat
Most morning I do Qi Gong (after coffee). Throughout my movements there are several intentional (and repeated) thoughts which accompany. Across the years these have changed to reflect my physical and spiritual health journey. Currently, as I am healing from lymphatic cancer, they include: “I am in the universe. The universe is in my body. The universe and I are connected.” “I embrace my health and banish dis-ease. I take in nourishment and let go of toxins. I receive loving nurturance and protect from harm. I take in what I need and let go of what I need not. In, out and flow.” In the seven steps, which draw energy through spots on the meridians: “Energy flow. Love flow. Strength flow. Song (and lymph) flow. Inspiration flow. Insight and perception flow. Grace and wisdom flow.” At closing, in a sun-greeting posture: “I greet the day with love, joy, peace and hope.”
The other morning greeting each day is as my sister and I walk our dog in the pasture behind her property, we sing “The Morning Song” which she wrote. We have experienced that even if a day hasn’t yet seemed quite beautiful(because of health or windy cold rain or…) , that it affirms the possibility and reminds us of beautiful days — and that helps. I enclose the URL if others might want to listen to it.