Category Archives: Divine

Spiritual Wellness, Prayer, & Meditation

 

Prayer hand over heart

Spiritual wellness is a uniquely personal journey for each of us. As we awaken each day, we get to choose how we will view world events, our country, our local community, and the life experiences we are experiencing in this moment. We get to choose peaceful thoughts or worrying thoughts, loving thoughts or fearful ones. I don’t know about you, but lately, prayer and meditation have been more valuable than ever in sustaining my spiritual wellness. This prompted me to share an excerpt from my Wellness Wisdom book. May you enjoy it with a sense of sacred peace.

Chapter 7: Pray and Meditate

However you choose to pray, you will deepen the communication between you and the Divine. I view praying as a reverent act of deeply communing with or talking to God. The message goes out as if we were talking to someone on the phone. I view meditation as listening to God via a heavenly phone—to recognize that voice we must be quiet so we might hear.

Declarative prayer is one of the many ways of communicating with God. With declarative prayer, you state that you accept the quality or thing you want in your life right now. An example would be, “I accept radiant health and wholeness.” Until a few years ago, I had always prayed using the “Please God” begging method. Now I assume divine help and support. Everyone prays differently and I certainly believe God listens to us however we pray; but I really like this positive, trusting, affirming method and it has been extremely powerful in my life. I’m learning to give up a time line, to trust divine guidance. I’m also learning to give up being right about many things. And there are times when I still get down on my knees, sometimes weeping with a “Please God” at the beginning (and the end) of my prayer. God listens.

Some people love reading the Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, The Course in Miracles, or from the Vedic texts. Others enjoy poetry or philosophical readings to connect them to Spirit. You may find the prayers of your childhood to be soothing. Find what works best for you.

There’s a beautiful meditation that I have found to be simple yet profound. It’s from an ancient Hawaiian practice known as Ho’oponopono (meaning “to make right.”) The words are simple and powerful: “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you.” What’s your favorite prayer?

In the early nineties, I had the honor of meeting monthly with my sangha “sisters” to enjoy dinner together, to listen to “what’s up” for us, and to pray. (Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means “community.”) We then shared our prayer requests for the month and agreed to pray for each other in between our meetings. Would a gathering of your own prayer community support your spiritual wellness?

I don’t think God minds whether we declare what we most desire or simply ask for it. God is ever-present and knows you well, so praying the way that feels best for you will keep this part of your spiritual wellness sacred. The ritual of praying the rosary or reciting the Hebrew words that hold a place in your heart may be the way you connect and become closer with the Divine. If you are one of many seekers who yearn to heal wounds created by old religious beliefs, you may enjoy reading Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Journey to God. She offers inspiration to women and men who want to create new ways of prayer and connection to Spirit.

I’ve heard it said that prayer changes us, not God. It can be an empowering way of shifting so we know what the next best steps might be. Have you heard the saying, “Pray and move your feet”?

Meditation, a very ancient practice, is growing in popularity in our fast-paced western society filled to overflowing with cell phones, text messaging, Facebook and BlackBerry technology. How interesting that meditation needs no expensive electronic equipment, just a quiet mind. Not too many years ago, if you lived in North America and told someone you were meditating they may have looked at you a little funny. Today, many people join meditation groups or classes and are aware that it is a practice done daily by many people worldwide.

Swiss-born psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, author of the ground-breaking book On Death and Dying said, “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.” It may seem intriguing to think we might need to get in touch with silence—it seems like such a simple act. Yet, for many of us, our mental chatter is in high gear during most of our waking hours. Taking the time to sit in silence opens up an avenue of peace that adds richness and deep wisdom to a spiritual practice. Take some time to listen, observe, and not judge the thoughts that pass through your head. Like clouds in the sky, thoughts pass by us and are replaced by new ones. Your gentle breath can guide you as you breathe in and breathe out.

As with prayer, many styles of meditating are available. Some individuals prefer to listen to their iPod or to CDs that provide guided meditations full of soothing words and images. You might enjoy listening to Karen Drucker’s tender song Morning Prayer at the start of your day—it’s one of my favorites. Other people meditate by sitting still or lying still in complete silence, quieting the mind of all thoughts. When a thought enters the mind, the idea is to notice it, observe it and let it pass. You can say, “That’s a thought,” and watch it melt away. Eventually, the noisy mind becomes still and you have access to divine wisdom. That wisdom is always there, I believe, but it has a tough time getting through our constant, sometimes flood-like stream of thoughts.

How would your day be different if you started it with just five minutes of silence? Ten minutes? How would your day be different if you added one of the above suggestions to your spiritual practices? If you’re interested in experiencing the simplicity of silence, you can try taking a walk alone or planning an hour to move in silence with no TV, computer, music, or cell phone.

Like prayer, meditation is a gift you give yourself. Talking to God, listening to God—what a high and holy conversation. I can just hear God saying, “Can you hear me now?”

What practices do you have in place that sooth your soul? As I have strengthened the spiritual dimension of my own wellness path, these seven spiritual activities and resources have added blessings to my spiritual wellness. Everyone defines “spiritual wellness” in their own way and I want to note that the following resources are not affiliated with any religion. I encourage you to explore which activities feel right (if any) for you to add to your own practices of spiritual wellness.

Seven Practices to Enhance Your Spiritual Wellness

  1. Start your day with five minutes of inspirational reading, music, or meditation. I often begin my day with Karen Drucker’s beautiful song, “Morning Prayer.” (From her latest CD Songs of the Spirit IIII.)
  2. End your day with your own thank-you prayers or by mentally listing ten things you were grateful for that day.
  3. Consider learning about the powerful Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono. It has simple, peaceful, and poignant lines: Dear God (Or whatever you call the Divine) I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. And I thank you. You may want to Google “Ho’oponopono” to explore resources that appeal to you.
  4. Listen to healing music that sooths your soul. My favorite is the music to support the “healing stream” practice created by Bruno Groening (www.bruno-groening.org). This free music is available by clicking on “download” and then “music.” My personal favorite is an instrumental entitled, “II Gitarre 2.”
  5. Subscribe to a daily message that uplifts your spirit. Abraham-Hicks Publications (www.abraham-hicks.com) has a daily quote I read at the start of my day. The top corner of their banner says, “You are loved. All is well.” If I read nothing else, it’s a great reminder that makes me smile each morning.
  6. Create or discover a daily affirmation or short prayer that inspires and directs your day. Gay Hendricks shares what he calls the “Ultimate Success Mantra” in his empowering book, The Big Leap. “I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.” I love this affirmation since it includes others too.
  7. Find ways to access the healing power of love. If it calls to you, check out Robert G. Fritchie’s work through the World Service Institute (www.worldserviceinstitute.org). This organization teaches people how to apply Divine Love as a healing energy to amplify spiritual wellness.

Excerpt from Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit, 2nd ed (2011) by Susan Tate

Do you have practices that support your spiritual wellness? I’d love to hear about it here or over on my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.

 

 

Posted 3/25/16

 

 

©2000 – 2016 Susan Tate


The Space In Between

spaceinbetweenA few days ago, the management of the beautiful dance space where I have been teaching Nia for nine years gave us a week’s notice to cancel further classes and return our keys. My last class there will be Saturday morning, December 20. When I read the email notification, I immediately went into a very spiritual mode of thinking. “Ahh, everything will be okay! I wonder what’s next?” Within five minutes my mind took me to incredibly human thoughts (not so spiritual) and then I circled around to the spiritual view again. I’ve gone through shock, anger, acceptance, confusion, sadness, and denial. My grief is still present. But I am settling pretty deep into acceptance. I am keenly aware that, if this is one my biggest problems of the year, I’m very lucky.

What I want to share with you is the feeling of peace that is coming to me (in spurts) now. It’s similar to the feeling I had when we sold my parents’ home in the late 90s. My mother had died in 1996, two years later one of my younger sisters died, and then my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and could no longer live alone. It was time to sell the family home and pack up 53 years of a household.

As I wrote in chapter 25 of my Wellness Wisdom book, I vividly remember the feeling of sitting by myself in the family living room as I gazed at all that was around me. There was the family Bible on the table by my dad’s favorite chair, my mom’s music box collection, a small bust of Jackie Kennedy, family photographs on the dining room wall, and the old maple stereo console we’d had since the sixties. Anticipating the next four days of packing and removing remnants of our family’s life together in my childhood home, I began to cry. It seemed like a task I was too young to be doing and nothing seemed to make any sense. How would it feel to never come home again?

After praying for a few minutes, I felt a deep sense of peace wash over me. Spirit was clearly at work here, as I felt I was receiving a profound gift that enabled me to move through this passage with grace, strength, and trust. This gift proved to be more valuable than any household item in our lovely family home. I realized that it wasn’t the stuff, it wasn’t the dishes, and it wasn’t the doors or the walls or my old bedroom that was important at that moment. It wasn’t the living room where I stood for photos in my prom and wedding dresses or groaned when mom wanted to take one more family picture. It wasn’t the things—it was the space in between that was important. The gift was the realization that the space in between all this stuff was where I had learned to love. And that love was something I was able to safely pack with me and keep for the rest of my life. My tears stopped and I thanked God for the gift of this peaceful insight, and for the gift of such loving parents.

And now after nine precious years, I am leaving The Dance Space—unexpectedly. This space was like a home to me and to many students and teachers in our Nia Seattle community. It seems that here too, it was the space in between where we danced and laughed and played and cried and expressed joy and love. It was the space in between where we connected as dancers, friends, supported each others’ life events, and sometimes danced and donated to send healing and resources to places throughout the world.

I notice the similarities with leaving my family home and leaving The Dance Space now. It was the space in between where I found a loving Nia family that was always there for me as I celebrated birthdays and holidays without my children and grandchildren at my side. I will take all of that with me and I don’t even have to pack it!

I will take with me the feeling and energy of the love that we generated there. I offer gratitude for every student who walked through that door. I offer gratitude for each of the (over 1,000) classes  that I had the honor of teaching there. I offer gratitude for all the workshops held there. I offer gratitude to each of my Nia teaching colleagues for sharing their gifts there. I offer gratitude for the experience of teaching a Nia class in April with my daughter and granddaughter in the class–three generations doing Nia together, I offer gratitude for the space and for the neighborhood. I will leave the studio free and clear to serve the next people to enter. I will clear the space and take all my personal energy with me. That will leave my body, mind, spirit, and emotions free to embrace the next dancing steps; and lead me to the perfect studio space so I can continue to share my beloved Nia practice. My wish is for my students and our Nia community to be open to doing the same.

Are you in a time of life where you can see the value of the spaces in between? I’d love to hear about it here or over on my Susan Tate Community Facebook page.

Posted 12/17/15

 

A Letter to My Grandchildren

to my grandchildrenMy son’s son is turning 18 this month and he lives 3,000 miles away in Pennsylvania. My daughter’s daughter will be celebrating her first birthday next month—farther away in Fiji. So this grandmother is feeling rather emotional and overflowing with love at the moment. This letter is for all my grandchildren, my future great grandchildren, and for the children you love, and for all the children of the world.

Prompted by my dear friend, Fran, I originally wrote this “Letter to my grandchildren and great grandchildren” in 2009. I placed the hand-written version in my notebook that contains my Last Will and Testament, along with my notes and wishes for when they will be needed. But this week, after seeing all the pictures on Facebook of the sweet faces of all the children heading off to school, I was compelled to send this yesterday to my grandchildren. I mean really, why wait till I’m dead? And then I thought I’d share it here with you.

Please enjoy and share this letter. Feel free to adapt and change words and send this to a child you love.

Dear Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren,

First of all, I want you to know that you are a precious being, inside and out. You are infinitely loved—loved and treasured beyond words. You have been loved long before you were born to your incredible parents. You picked them, and they picked you! You have special things to teach each other.

You are so deserving of all good. You are enough. Never, ever doubt that, no matter what the world around you might say.

Whenever you encounter a tough choice or decision, get quiet and ask God or Spirit or whatever you call the Divine, to light up the way to the answer. You will probably find the answer delivered to your heart, not your head.

When you grow into adulthood, don’t feel compelled to fall into the stress of “earning” a living. Create your days doing what you love. You don’t need to earn or strive, but be who you are and use your gifts and talents to share with the world.

Be of service. Be a force for love. Offering your gifts to the world can unfold in many ways.

Let generosity flow. And notice how important is to both give AND receive graciously.

Oh yes, when you choose your life’s path, it gets to be your path, not your parents. Be all that you are and don’t copy anyone else. You are an original!

Love deeply and love passionately. Be sure to not give up any part of yourself to please others. Take care of yourself first, not in a selfish way, but in a self-FULL way.

Never let anyone silence you. Your respectful and honest voice deserves to be spoken.

Practice forgiveness. (Oh, it does take practice!) When you forgive someone, it doesn’t make their actions right but you will find yourself released from the pain. And sometimes it’s important to feel the anger first, (righteous anger, I’ve heard it called) before you can get to the forgiving part.

Don’t worry about the future but make healthy decisions today so your future will be grand and the planet will be better than it ever was when you arrived. Leave it better for your children and grandchildren.

Know that peace begins in your heart. And know that having peace in your heart is where world peace can blossom.

When things are overwhelming and challenging and you are not sure what to do, offer all of it over to the Divine. You can do this in your head, or you can write it down, or you can throw your hands up and say, “Here! This is Yours!” Then listen for the next best step to take—and take it.

Be grateful. Every night before you go to sleep, think of at least ten things to be grateful for so you are smiling as you drift off to dreamland.

And know, that as you read or re-read this at any age in your life, I am either loving you from this earth or from beyond.

There is only love.

Love never dies.

I love you!

Originally written by your grandmother, Susan Tate, in 2009. Expanded for you on September 3, 2015.

 

32x32-Circle-84-FBFeel free to share your comments on my
Susan Tate Community Facebook page.

 

My Prayer for You

My Prayer for You

 

The spiritual component of wellness is highly individual, as each of us can choose to know God (or whatever you call the Divine) and create our spiritual practice through the lens of our own religious, spiritual, and cultural beliefs.  May this prayer bring you peace and gentleness today.

 


My Prayer for You

May you see the infinite possibilities that exist with each sunrise.

May you make wise choices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit.

May you allow your soul the freedom to express who you really are.

May you allow yourself to love greatly and be greatly loved.

May you know that good self-care ultimately supports all those around you.

May you discover peace-filled solutions in the opportunities of conflict.

May you allow yourself time to grieve.

May you use your gifts and talents to create a better world.

May you listen to others with ears of compassion.

May you forgive yourself and others for any behaviors or beliefs that have caused pain.

May you feel God’s presence in every cell of your body.

May you be filled with gratitude for your daily blessings.

And so it is.

Please visit my
Susan Tate Community Facebook Page
32x32-Circle-84-FBI thought I’d add a short excerpt from the last section of the “Know God”
chapter of my Wellness Wisdom book.

Steps to Take If You Want to Get to Know God Better

1.  Create quiet time each day. You can start by taking just one minute before you get out of bed. Then gradually add to this precious ritual or practice as you begin your day. Some people like to light a candle, read from a holy text, play spiritual music, or just quietly breathe. Pick something that works for you. Treasure and protect that time. Quiet time for some may come, if only briefly, after you fall into bed after a long day. Breathe. Open your heart. Listen. God’s there.

2.  Explore places where you feel closest to God and hang out there when you can. Examples include but are not limited to: churches, synagogues, mosques, chapels, temples, beaches, forests, mountains, with your family, or in your garden.

3.  Take time to talk with God. And then, take time to listen to God. You’ll love the results. Praying doesn’t change God—it changes us.

4.  Remember that what you focus on expands. So, focusing on God can provide a greater awareness of the Divine in your daily life. This doesn’t mean you need to become a monk or priestess! It just means that the more you look for good and God, the more you’ll discover both.

5.  What, if any, rituals or prayers from your childhood hold special meaning for you? Add or create a new practice if you like. Enjoy reading the next chapter (“Pray and Meditate”) for more ideas.

Wellness Wisdom by Susan TateBuy Into the Mouths of Babes on Amazon