Prayer for the Physical Body

DaVinci's Vitruvian Man

DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man

Prayer for the Physical Body

Today, Creator, I promise to make a new agreement with my physical body.
I promise to love my body unconditionally as my body loves me.
I promise to protect and take care of my body.
I will never again reject my body, abuse my body,
or be ashamed of how it looks.

From now on, I will accept my physical body as it is.
I will enjoy my body, and be grateful for all the pleasures of life it gives me.

Forgive me, Creator, for believing all the lies about my physical body.
Forgive me for judging my physical body against a false image of perfection.
Forgive me for everything I haven’t liked about my physical body.

Today, Creator, help me to see my physical body
as a living temple where you live.

Help me to respect my body, to love and honor my body.
I know that to treat my physical body with respect, love and honor
is to respect, love and honor your creation.
Help me, Creator, to give my physical body whatever it needs
to live in perfect health, harmony and happiness with you.

Amen.

~ Don Miguel Ruiz ~

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Letting Yourself Be Loved

While working in hospice, I was fortunate enough to come across a valuable resource by Michael Stillwater and Gary Malkin entitled “Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying.” The book and 2-CD set has become a part of me, its 12 different messages a balm for my spirit. I have already shared my favorite, “Walk On,” and would like to share another beautiful selection.

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Letting Yourself Be Loved
by Lew Epstein

No one has ever prepared us for this experience.
We think it’s the end – no.
It’s another beginning.
It’s knowing that you’re loved, knowing that you’re loved.
It’s not easy, letting yourself be loved —
because we’ve learned to judge ourselves —
we’re always judging ourselves.

But I learned to listen that I was loved.
I was loved!
And then I would forget that I was loved.
Those were the most painful times for me —
forgetting that I was loved.

So you’ve let yourself be loved while you’ve been here.
And you’ve judged yourself.
And you’ve forgotten that you were loved.
And you became alone…but you will always be here.

You are blessed. You are forgiven. You are an angel.

You have to listen that you’re loved and you have to forgive all the time.
Listen that you’re loved and forgive, all the time.
You are love.

Farewell my son.
Farewell my daughter.
Farewell my father.
Farewell my mother.
Farewell my sister.
Farewell my brother.

Thank you for letting me love you.
Thank you for letting yourself be loved.
God bless you.

Lew Epstein, whose loving words live on in the hearts of all who hear them,
made his graceful passage on March 28, 2003.

Dawn

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Befriending My Aging

khan science & health

khan science & health

Befriending My Aging
by Joyce Rupp

Companion of Life, Guardian of Death,
more and more I resemble an old, gnarled tree,
wrinkled bark, gray boughs, thinning leaves.
The ground around my roots is weakening.
My limbs bend and no longer stretch very far.

Grant me the ability to not be afraid,
even in the face of significant physical change.
Be a source of deepening hope
during my internal and external adjustment.
Keep me trusting in the deepest part of myself
where love and vitality are stored.

Teach me about true and everlasting beauty,
to compassionate my body in its growing frailty,
to love my mind and heart even as my life wanes,
to befriend the wrinkles and accept the grayness,
to be unthreatened by the depletion of my energy
and the waning of a memory that was once keenly alert.

Ancient One,
fill my heart with joy in the little gifts of life.
Let me find sources of comfort and serenity
in the midst of my aches and loss.
Be near, ever-vigilant Beloved,
as I experience the creaks and groans of my aging process.
Show me how to embrace this transition time,
as my soul ripens for its final journey home.

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Love is Forever

Love is Forever
by Kate Strasburg

Life is good…
But sometimes…
the sun disappears behind the clouds.
The wind comes up…
and the rain comes down,
and life becomes hard,
and you become sad…
You may be afraid
of losing someone you love.
or you may have lost someone you love…
Or you may be sick yourself
and afraid.
What you need to remember,
then and always
is that love is stronger than everything:
stronger than sickness…
stronger than death…
Once you have been loved,
that love will always be with you.
You will never be alone.

Windows of the Soul

Windows of the Soul
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox ~

Let there be many windows in your soul,
that all the glory of the universe may beautify it.
Not the narrow pane of one poor creed
can catch the radiant rays
that shine from countless sources.
Tear away the blinds of superstition.
Let the light pour through the windows,
broad as truth itself,
and high as heaven…
Tune your ear
to all the wordless music of the stars,
and to the voice of nature;
and your heart shall turn to truth and goodness
as the plant turns to the sun.
A thousand unseen hands reach down
to help you to their peace-crowned heights;
and all the forces of the firmament
shall fortify your strength.
Be not afraid to thrust aside half-truths
 and grasp the whole.

Life

Life

Life is an opportunity – benefit from it.
Life is beauty – admire it.
Life is bliss – taste it.
Life is a dream – realize it.
Life is a challenge – meet it.
Life is a duty – complete it.
Life is a game – play it.
Life is a promise – fulfill it.
Life is sorrow – overcome it.
Life is a song – sing it.
Life is a struggle – accept it.
Life is a tragedy – confront it.
Life is an adventure – dare it.
Life is luck – make it.
Life is too precious – do not destroy it.
Life is life – fight for it.

~ Blessed Mother Teresa ~

Desiderata

Desiderata
by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.

You have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be;
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

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Letting Go of Worry

Letting Go of Worry
~ Melody Beattie ~

What if we knew for certain that everything we’re worried about today will work out fine?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the problem bothering us would be worked out in the most perfect way, and at the best possible time? Furthermore, what if we knew that three years from now we’d be grateful for that problem, and its solution?

What if . . . we knew that even our worst fear would work out for the best?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that everything that’s happening, and has happened, in our life was meant to be, planned just for us, and in our best interest?

What if . . . we had a guarantee that the people we love are experiencing exactly what they need in order to become who they’re intended to become? Further, what if we had a guarantee that others can be responsible for themselves, and we don’t have to control or take responsibility for them?

What if . . . we knew the future was going to be good, and we would have an abundance of resources and guidance to handle whatever comes our way?

What if . . . we knew everything was okay, and we didn’t have to worry about a thing? What would we do then?

We’d be free to let go and enjoy life.

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Today, I will know that I don’t have to worry about anything.
If I do worry, I will do it with the understanding
that I am choosing to worry,
and it is not necessary.

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Variations on the Golden Rule

Hands

One should seek for others the happiness one desires for one’s self. – Buddhist

What you would not wish done to yourself do not do unto others. – Chinese

Do not that to a neighbor which you shall take ill from him. – Greek

The true rule of life is to guard and do by the things of others as they do by their own. – Hindu

Let none of you treat his brother in a way he himself would not like to be treated.
Muslim

Do as you would be done by. – Persian

The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves. – Roman

An Invisible Host

An Invisible Host
by Raymond B. Fosdick (1883-1972)
Past President of the Rockefeller Foundation

An American soldier wounded on a battlefield in the Far East owes his life to the Japanese scientist Kitasato, who isolated the bacillus of tetanus.

A Russian soldier saved by a blood transfusion is indebted to Landsteiner, an Austrian.

A German is shielded from typhoid fever with the help of a Russian, Metchnikoff.

A Dutch Marine in the East Indies is protected from malaria because of the experiments of an Italian, Grassi.

A British aviator in North Africa escapes death from surgical infection because a Frenchman, Pasteur, and a German, Koch, elaborated a new technique.

In peace, as in war, we are beneficiaries of knowledge contributed by every nation in the world.

Our children are guarded from diphtheria by what a Japanese and a German did; they are protected from smallpox by the work of an Englishman; they are saved from rabies because of a Frenchman; they are cured of pellagra from the researches of an Austrian.

From birth to death they are surrounded by an invisible host – the spirits of men who never thought in terms of flags or boundary lines and who never served a lesser loyalty than the welfare of mankind.

Helpfulness

Franklin Institute

Franklin Institute

After Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790) had received a letter
thanking him for having done a kindness, he replied:

“As to the kindness you mention,
I wish I could have been of more service
to you than I have been,
but if I had,
 the only thanks that I should desire
are that you would always be ready to serve
 any other person that might need your assistance,
and so let the good offices go around,
 for mankind are all part of a family.
 As for my own part,
 when I am employed in serving others,
I do not look upon myself
as conferring favors
but paying debts.”

Native American Prayer

Sun Up Till Sun Down

Sun Up Till Sun Down

O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need Your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things You have made.
Make my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
You have taught Your people.
Let me learn the lessons You have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than another,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to You
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to You without shame.

O Spirit of Light

O Spirit of Light
Who art both infinite and eternal,
Illumine our lives
And the lives of those
We love and have loved
With the healing power
Of thy divine radiance.

In this dark night of the soul
Be present with us in our suffering.
Help us to find solace in nature’s constancy.
Help us to learn from our fear.
Help us to seek and rest in thy truth.

May our suffering enable
Our souls to grow
Until we live in the light
At one
And at peace
With all.

~ Kate Strasburg ~

Living in the Light

Transformation begins on an individual level and moves out into the world. The more I’m learning to trust my intuition and act on it, and the more I’m willing to experience and accept all my feelings, the more the energy of the universe can move through me. As it comes through, it heals and transforms me and everyone and everything around me.

This is true for each one of us. The more you are willing to trust and be yourself, the more you will live in the light. Everyone around you will benefit from your energy and being to trust and be more themselves. In turn, they become powerful channels for everyone in their sphere of influence. And so transformation spreads rapidly throughout the world.

~ Shakti Gawain ~

Guardian of My Soul

Guardian of my soul, thank you,
for guiding me in the dark places,
for reaching me through the people of my life,
 for drawing near to love me when I feel unlovable,
for teaching me how to tend my wounds,
for guarding me with words of truth
and moments of empowerment,
for allowing my pain and struggle
so that I can come to greater wholeness.

Guardian of my soul,
you are my Coach in the Cave,
my Voice in the Fog,
my Midwife of Wisdom.
I place my trust in you
as I give myself to the process
of learning from my darkness.

~ Joyce Rupp ~

Forgiveness

Sometimes forgiving can be hard.
Sometimes something simply seems unforgivable.
It might help to remember to forgive is not to condone.
To forgive doesn’t mean to say that was okay.
Think of it this way –
carrying all that anger and resentment around
is a burden on you.
Couldn’t you do something better with all that energy?
Maybe you can start by saying
maybe someday I can forgive.
Try saying that to yourself
once a day for a while.
Create a little space for possibility.
Then someday that someday may come
and you will feel a lot lighter.

~ Kate Strasburg ~

My Very Dear Sarah…

Sullivan Ballou & Family

Sullivan Ballou & Family

The War Between the States (1861-1865), A Civil War Soldier and His Letter of Love

Born March 28, 1829 in Smithfield, R.I., Sullivan Ballou was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Brown University in Providence, R.I. and the National Law School in Ballston, N.Y. He was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1853.

Ballou devoted his brief life to public service. He was elected in 1854 as clerk of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, later serving as its speaker. He married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855, and the following year saw the birth of their first child, Edgar. A second son, William, was born in 1859. Ballou immediately entered the military in 1861 after the war broke out. He became judge advocate of the Rhode Island militia.

He wrote this letter to his wife Sarah 152 years ago today…

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July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

Sullivan

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Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He was 32 at the time of his death.

When he died, his wife was 24. She later moved to New Jersey to live out her life with her son, William, and never re-married. She died at age 80 in 1917. Sullivan and Sarah Ballou are buried next to each other at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI. There are no known living descendants.

Ironically, Sullivan Ballou’s letter was never mailed. Although Sarah would receive other, decidedly more upbeat letters, dated after the now-famous letter from the battlefield, the letter in question would be found among Sullivan Ballou’s effects when Gov. William Sprague of Rhode Island traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of his state’s sons who had fallen in battle.

Fail With Enthusiasm

i am.
you are.
we envision.
there is hope.
possibilities whisper.
in shortfall, there is still abundance.
in one expectation which was not met
there were other presentations of surprise.
let me look you in the eye and say this to you.
i see you.
i recognize in you wonder, enthusiasm and promise.
i smell the fragrance of possible greatness lingering over your shoulder.
i cannot see what you have not done –
however, what you may accomplish shines above you like first light.
such promise to wear upon your head.
let me look you in the eye and ask you,
“what do you long for?”
and
“will you change the world in some way today?”

~ Mary Anne Radmacher

The Portrait of Our Lives

O Beauty ever ancient, ever new!
You are the designer of the portrait of our lives.
Each of us is an original work of art.
We have come from the kiln of your hand –
unique, beautiful and good, yet unfinished.
 Our “unfinishedness” is your way of asking us
 to be partners in our own creation.
In the living of our lives,
 some of the pieces of our mosaic have been marred.
Some are slightly flawed.
This wound in us may have taken place
because of our weakness or it may have happened
because of someone else’s poor vision.

Remind us, dear Mender of Lives,
that even the pieces you want to rip out
and throw away, you accept.
Not only do you accept them,
you cherish them.
 You reveal to us ever so gently
that they are part of the fabric of our lives.
 They have a right to be there.

Help us to look at each person as a work of art.
Be in our seeing that we may gaze upon ourselves
and one another with the eyes of an artist.
 Teach us to behold rather than merely to look at one another.
In our beholding we will begin to understand
that the shadows, the rough places,
the many colors and experiences
are all part of the beauty of the mosaic.

Just as you have not turned away from us,
never let us turn away from the beauty of our lives.

~ Macrina Wiederkehr ~
“Gold in Your Memories”