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You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Please Send Me an Angel a Poem by Mark Schmitz

Please Send Me an Angel

I need an angel.
One to watch over me.

All hope seems to have run out.

I need an angel.

My life is a mess,
And it feels as though
no one’s left.

I just need an angel;

Soft wings of protection
to hold me when I’m scared.
Strong arms to comfort me

As now it seems no one really cares.

I need an angel.
To chase away
these nightmares;
To make things better,

To protect me;

Show me how to make life right.
Please send me an angel.

By Mark Schmitz

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Solitude

 

“Lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God” – Book of Common Prayer

Sometimes, it’s as though I’m in the center of a bustling city, and then decide to leave. As I travel toward the more peaceful suburbs, there are fewer and fewer people. Finally, the city is behind me, and I’m alone. And since I can’t live in two places at once, I enjoy the pleasure of solitude by visiting the suburbs and pay the price of loneliness.

It’s the same when I leave behind the noise of my own thoughts and travel inward. By traveling inward, I’m referring to meditation and times when I just listen to myself; to listen to what my inner voice may be telling me. It takes courage to face solitude, a courage which the Universe gives to me only when I want to find what I can’t find when I’m surrounded by people or even just with my partner. Peace, inspiration, rejuvenation, nurturing, enlightenment, and strength – these are just a few of the gifts of solitude.

Beyond the loneliness, and the longing for others, I find the satisfaction of my company and the company of the Universe. I need these as much as I need the company of other people, and so I always seem to receive what I need to take the risks of solitude. You will too. There is nothing to fear in solitude. We may feel alone, but we never are.

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Prayer and the Spiritual Journey

Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.”                   — Abraham Heshel

Prayer can mean to some, “a conscious contact with God as we understood him,” which is important in one’s recovery or quest toward personal growth.  There are many ways to pray and each of us has a style that uniquely expresses our spirituality.  Meditation or even the singing of a hymn are examples of any number of ways in which people pray.  Once we open ourselves to the Universe and the concept of something out there larger than ourselves, we can get comfortable with our own way of praying.  It may mean leaving past ways behind.  Maybe we’ve been used to prayer that relied only on words.  Perhaps we used to pray for what we wanted, making sure we told God precisely what was best for us and everybody else.  Or maybe we didn’t pray at all because we didn’t know how to, or were afraid.

I remember growing up in the Lutheran church, Missouri synod and having to attend confirmation class every Saturday morning, grades 6 through 8.  I still remember our pastor teaching us “how to pray.”  According to this pastor, we first had to tell God how sorry we were for all of our sins, original (sin that comes along with every human) and those we knew we had committed. Then we were to humbly ask for God’s forgiveness.  Next we had to praise God; tell him how wonderful we knew him to be and how much we loved him.  Finally, we could ask for what we needed, with the understanding that only God knows what is truly best for us.  Lastly, we were to thank God for all he has done for us and that which we hope for him to do in the future.

No other song, no other prayer, no other piece of liturgy is so well-known and loved in my Unitarian Universalism church home as “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade.  In six short lines “Spirit of Life” touches so much that is central one’s need to communicate with our Higher Power: compassion, justice, community, freedom, reverence for nature, and the mystery of life. It finds the common ground held by humanists and theists, pagans and Christians, Buddhists and Jews, gay and straight among us.

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.

Thankfully, we don’t need to worry about how to pray; the Universe shows us how.  We must however, be willing to move from the everyday world to a place where it is just the Universe and us. It is an exciting part of one’s spiritual journey to develop new ways to pray, trusting our relationship with the Universe to deepen the experience.  What matters most is that we give ourselves to it.  When our prayers are from the heart, we know it, and are at peace.

Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts?

 

“Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” – English proverb.

When I am in pain, I know where it hurts. Other people may be ready with suggestions and advice, but I am the only one who eventually can know what the matter is.

We are each a unique expression of humanity and we are the only ones who can live our lives. When we are stricken with addiction to compulsive behaviors, we know where it hurts and how much. While we may have to bear a lot of pain, we can name where it hurts and begin to do something about it. When this happens, it’s possible for others to come to our aid later on.

This is true whether in the program or on a path of personal growth. We know where the hurt is and we take that first baby step. In doing so, we turn to others who help us bear the pain and walk by our side on the open road to personal growth.


People always come into your life for a reason…

People always come into your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do. When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to help you through a difficulty, or to give you guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend to you, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they just walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our wish fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. When people come into your life for a Season, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season. And like spring turns to summer and summer to fall, the season eventually ends.

Lifetime relationships teach you a lifetime of lessons; those things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and the people regardless and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant. Thank you for being part of my life…

-Author Unknown-


The Scary Thing About Making a Decision

“In the important decisions, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.”             – Sigmund Freud

We all make decisions all the time, and each one of them, large or small, creates change within us.  Since change is frightening, making a decision is frightening too.  The process can become easier by asking ourselves the right questions: “Do I really want to do this?” or, “Will it benefit my life?” or “Is it realistic?”  These questions help us know our true feelings, which are the most important part of any decision we must make.

Wrong decisions are often made by focusing on external data: “If I do this, it will please my partner.” or, “I’m doing this for the thrill and fascination.”  “I’m doing it for the money.” or, “I want the power and position.”  “I may be running away from something I can’t or don’t want to face now, but so what?”

It is important to avoid impulsivity and “all-or-nothing” thinking.  If we can just slow down, take our time, talk our feelings through with friends or a support group, we begin to see the bigger picture.  If we’re still unsure of the right thing to do, we can ask for the Universe’s help, decide, and then trust the outcome.  The only wrong decision is one made for the wrong reasons!


A Simple Prayer ~ The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, let me sow pardon.

Where there is doubt, let me sow faith.

Where there is despair, let me sow hope.

Where there is sadness, let me sow joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

– St. Francis of Assisi

It is such a simple prayer, but sometimes the most simple goes unnoticed. Diluted by time and recitations made by rote. I reconnected with this prayer on a trip to Sedona, Arizona in 1995 and since then, this prayer has become a staple in my life. It is without a doubt my favorite prayer.

In 1995, my partner at the time and I decided during a vacation in Sedona that we would try one of the Spiritual Jeep Tours advertised as “led by a Spiritual Guide”. We were both bringing more spirituality back into our lives and thought this sounded like a good experience.

The jeep tour was in fact led by one of the most spirit filled individuals I have ever had the opportunity to meet. The pace was not hurried at all. Our small group visited all of the sites in Sedona with high vortex energy and was introduced that day to many Native American forms of spirituality, meditation, The Runes, Tarot, I-Ch’ing and much more. It is nearly impossible to convey to the reader how much each of gained during that 3 ½ hours with our spirit guide.

During our introduction to the reading of the ancient Viking Runes, was when our guide first had us meditate on this simple prayer. I had recited this prayer so many times during my childhood in both the Lutheran and Catholic churches, but as a Unitarian Universalist, had drifted away from the prayer. Our guide suggested reading the prayer each time before we were to do a Rune reading for ourselves or anyone else. That time spent in prayer focuses the mind on the course of right action, which is only one use for the Runes; to determine one’s course of right action for the day, or in a time of great strife or urgency.

The Runes have for me become a very significant guide when making decisions. The Runes don’t spell out a definitive “yes” or “no”, but the text for each Rune leads to greater thought and clarity of mind. Never have I been disappointed in the advice from the Runes. I believe that I will have to blog sometime soon about the Runes. I’ve shared in a previous blog one reading I did for myself on one particular day, but I have considerable knowledge of the Runes, as well as experience with Rune readings that some of you may find interesting. In the meantime, try reconnecting with this beautiful, yet simple prayer – The Prayer of St. Francis Assisi – and I just thought of another blog I would enjoy sharing and many readers may find interesting – on the vortex energy found in abundance in Sedona.

God Loves Me Because I’m Human Not Despite It

Peace

For so it must be, and help me to do my part.”  — A Tibetan Master

It’s been said that God exists only in the present. That means we must live in the present if we are to find God.  In God’s eyes, we are worthy and lovable as we are, today.  ‘God never rejects part of creation.

Can we accept that our God, Higher Power or Universe loved us even we were at our very worst? Can we accept that God loves us if we are struggling, or slipping today?  If this happens, we can pick ourselves up again and make better choices and pray to God for help.

The power of the present makes it possible for God to love each one of us unconditionally because God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, just willing to do our very best.  Only in the present do we have the power to choose our attitudes and actions, and it is this freedom that links us to God’s power.

Getting Away From it All

“We yield, and we realize God has wrought something in us, and that the wings of our souls have learned to beat the upper air.” — Anonymous

Where is your “resting place”, that free space for nurturing and peace? As a child in kindergarten, like all of my classmates, I had a “resting mat.” Each day, for a period of forty-five minutes or so, my classmates and I took a little nap.

As an adult, my resting place is inside myself: a place where I live quietly, engaged in inarticulate creation.  I go to that silent space because I am safe there.  I find what I need to be replenished until I am ready to go into the world again.

For some, their resting places are primarily outside of themselves: the earth, the sea, the desert or the mountains.  It is called “getting away from it all,” but it’s really going to something needed as much as air and food.

We all will find a resting place in anything to which our heart calls us: music, writing in a journal, books on personal growth or spirituality or simply in solitude.  We all need sanctuary; time to be recreated; time to become reconnected to who we truly are.

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