I had been thinking about prayer, about stillness. How, in everyday life, we need the power that comes from finding this quality.
O Beloved, how do you wish me to be? What is the attitude needed, at this moment?
Often, my sense is to be quiet. To listen. To hold the precious light that is given to us, and that lives in us. And when we turn our attention to the Sacred with love, this includes the earth.
Once I gave a workshop in Southern California, and it included a brief silent meditation of the heart. Afterwards, a woman raised her hand to speak. She was surprised that she had seen the earth in her heart.
This made me think of how we can hold something in our heart. And how in the holding, we can help someone – help life – in a deeper way. And we can let go of what we don’t need to carry.
Another time, Nancy, one of DreamWeather’s co-facilitators for our homeless program, led the women’s group one day when I wasn’t able to be there. One of the women, Gabi, shared what she had experienced that day:
“I was talking about all the pain in my heart. And then Nancy put a stone in my hand and said, ‘There, put your pain into this stone.’ I thought that I needed a larger stone, that all this pain wouldn’t fit in such a small stone. But I put all the pain in my heart into this stone. And it fit.”
This poem speaks of the power of holding amidst a storm:
Little heart stone – how quiet you are in prayer and praising – for being so long in the shade of this coconut palm
We look out at the sea – some tranquility roots us still – when hurricanes rage this coast
When the lady comes to sit with us – she sings her song – Lo Ka Ree.
This poem, to me, speaks of the sacred feminine.
Even though there are difficulties and challenging situations in life, there is this place to return to, to hold and to be held by. At times we need this power. For out of it comes the strength to stand up in this world. To stand up as a woman. And this has to do with a true dignity.
Four years ago I fell and ended up with a fracture in my leg. I wanted to understand why this had happened. There was something below the threshold of consciousness that I needed to know.
A few days later, resting on my bed, I inwardly asked for understanding. I must have fallen asleep for as I was awakening, I heard these words with such clarity that I knew I could accept their truth. This is what I heard: When will you stand up for yourself?
And since then, it has been a continuing learning to understand how one does this, as a woman.
How easy it is to follow old attitudes, our shoulds and oughts, and how instead, there is this other way. It means we honor the sacred within. And then we touch life with eyes that see from a deeper place, through the tenderness of connection. To hold our heart stone, as in the poem, in prayer and in praise.
Poem by Alicia Otis