Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When Life Becomes a Living Prayer


I've been writing about some tough issues coming up for me lately, and I have found it to be very healing to look at myself straight on. It isn't always easy, but the freedom on the other side of self honesty—well, the immense joy and freedom on the other side makes it all worth the effort. However, today I would like to take a little break to reflect on something more nurturing.

I grew up the oldest of six kids, with a mom who was ill a lot of the time. Bet you can get the picture. I was a little mom assuming a lot of adult responsibility at a very young age. As I grew older, it became challenging to create time to play and rest.

One Saturday, I actually told myself wasn't going to do anything I felt had to be done. I would only engage in activities I wanted to experience. Once I got passed the "I should be doing" thoughts, it became one of the most enjoyable days of my life. Living for the fun of it was a completely new concept to me. Now I dedicate time every week for fun—no talking about the Foundation, my upcoming book, challenges—just stories, laughter and teasing.

I still do things I need to do, even the tasks I'm not particularly fond of, but somehow over the years I've learned to think about them a little differently. I like to approach those tasks, and when I'm really being conscious—all of my experiences, as prayer. It feels so good to be painting the steps of the porch, weeding the garden or doing the dishes and offering the acts themselves as prayers of thanksgiving for all I get to enjoy in life.

When it is a particularly unpleasant task like cleaning out the toilet or taking out the garbage, it is a wonderful time to remember people who are even more challenged than me, and offer the act as a prayer to reduce the burden of someone else. There are many children around the world who are raising and providing for their younger brothers and sisters with far fewer resources and help than I had. Some of them don't have parents or homes or even regular food to eat. So I turn my chores into acts of prayer for them.

To get up in the morning grateful for my dreams and time to meditate; to step outside from my office to enjoy sensation of sweet, clean air and listen to the birds singing to each other; to know that the work I do each day is of service to someone in greater need than me; to go to bed at night and feel gratitude for our home and my husband snuggled up against me—every moment is worthy of being a prayer. Every moment is a prayer.

From time to time, particularly when I am feeling challenged by what I perceive needs to be done, I remind myself my life is a prayer. And then I ask myself, "So how do I want to live this prayer?" The answer usually comes very quickly. Some quality of love comes to mind like peacefully, happily, joyfully, romantically......all the yummy ways I want to experience life. Then I am able to turn the challenge into an opportunity to be of service, and the service becomes a loving, joyful expression of life—and I experience my life as a living prayer.

To read a prayer about Life As Prayer, visit: http://newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php/board,38.0.html