Category Archives: Prayer

How to Change the World

On Facebook every day I see little messages like “Be the change you want to see.” and “Save the Rainforests” and “Give Peace a Chance.” Well, yes. Of course.  But let’s get real. What can we actually do to change the world? It isn’t enough to write a check or post a clever saying or read a book or love the sea lion pups. We have to be pro-active, steady and consistent.

Imagine for a moment that there is actually a fabric of planetary consciousness that floats above our heads in the near atmosphere.  This fabric is invisible to our eyes, but perhaps not to the celestial helpers who oversee our planet. They can tell at a glance the sorry state of our planet.

This fabric holds and reflects the thoughts and attitudes and mind-action of every person on the planet. When you or I have a fearful, negative, angry or resentful thought, our thoughts stain this fabric, help to turn it dark. When we have a spiritual thought, a loving experience, commit a selfless act, we add a tiny portion of light to the fabric.

I believe in this fabric. And I believe that darkness begets darkness, and that the light banishes shadows.

What color do you suppose the fabric of planetary consciousness currently is?

If we want to change the world, we need to be in control of our thoughts. I believe our thoughts are far more powerful than we can imagine. And when we are cruisin’ in the zone of light, we’re spreading the benign virus of love, which is a powerful way to lighten the fabric of planetary consciousness.

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Filed under Beauty, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability

The Tao of Yarn

Anyone who knows me knows that I knit. In fact, I’m kind of a knitting maniac. Not a day goes by without yarn handling of some sort. I make yarn, spinning it out of beautiful, silky fibers. I knit garments and things. Warm things for children and old people, fashionable things, utilitarian things, things of beauty, filled with the peace that I feel when I’m knitting.

For the last two years I’ve been knitting and/or spinning twice a week at a yarn shop in town, Textiles A Mano, run by Laura Macagno-Shang, a delightful woman of amazing expertise and artistic talents.  Inspired by her and the other spinners and knitters, my knitting has gone from mundane, meat-and-potatoes knitting to creating incredible laces, intricate cable networks and dozens of warm things for the Relief Nursery, a local charity that helps out parents and their children from newborn to six years old.

Most of the things I knit are given away to family, friends, or charitable organizations. I keep a few special things, of course, but it seems as though the minute I cast on a project, a person comes to mind and I begin to think about that person, meditate on his or her situation, and pretty soon that warm garment becomes first a thing of comfort for me and then a thing of comfort for the recipient. But this is not a blog post about what a great knitter I am. It’s about how we can all do little things to enrich a life.

Something as simple as a warm “chemo cap” for those going through treatment. Something as simple as a pair of baby booties for a friend’s new grandson. Something as easy as a set of felted coasters as a wedding gift. These are not items of great value, but I believe that they send good, healing heart-energy into the universe that is multiplied over and over and over again. When we give gifts from the heart, from our creativity, we affirm the recipient’s worth, we spend time in creative contemplation, we engage in constructive prayer.

And that is always a worthwhile endeavor. It adds love to the planetary consciousness.

What can you do today to make the life of a loved one — or even an acquaintance — better?

 

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Filed under Beauty, Joy, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Stress

2011: The Year of Living Simply

I’ve been naming my years now for a while. It’s more than a resolution, it’s a reminder to bring more lovingkindness, more awareness, more sweetness to life. In naming my years, and in holding those thoughts in my head and in my heart, my outlook changes.

In 2011, I vow to live more simply.

What does that mean? To travel less for business. Maybe just travel less.  To only go where my dog can come along. She’s not getting any younger, either, and every day in a boarding facility is just that. To make fewer commitments. To acquire less stuff and to give more stuff away. To appreciate what I have rather than spend time and energy thinking about what I want. To not busy my schedule out a year in advance. To do more of the things I really enjoy and fewer things I dread. To not please people, but to please God instead. Pleasing people is exhausting. Pleasing God is simple.

To do more art. Both in writing and knitting and living. I heard not too long ago that if we, by our countless tiny decisions, make each day a work of art, by the time we’re finished, we’ll have created a masterpiece.

That’s for me. That’s what I want for 2011 and beyond. To build a simple masterpiece, day by day.

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Filed under Aging, goals, Joy, knitting, Possibilities, Prayer, Reading, Spirituality, time, Writing

What is a Prayer Shawl?

We can cook!

A prayer shawl is a soft item of comfort. It can be an actual shawl, or it can be a scarf, a chemo cap, a hat, a pair of socks, mittens, gloves, a quilt… Anything that is hand made with the intention of bringing peace, comfort and love to someone who suffers is, in my world, a prayer shawl.

Last Sunday afternoon, seventeen women got together at Textiles A Mano to knit, crochet and sew soft items of comfort. We talked, we laughed, we ate (boy oh boy, can we cook!) and we combined our spirits, and our positive healing energy to infuse the items of love in our laps.

This, to  me, is a sacred act. For seventeen of us (eighteen, if you include Paul Shang, who baked and brought over an amazing cheesecake) to lay down our lives in the service of those who suffer, whether we know them personally or not, is a wonderful act of love, mercy and ministry.

Most churches have prayer shawl ministries. Two of the women who came to Sunday’s event knit prayer shawls every week with a group at their church. These are the world’s unsung heroes. These are the members of The Global Conspiracy.

It didn’t take much time or energy, you know, to organize this event. I found a place to hold it (the last one, last February, was held in my living room), sent out a few emails, bought some cheese and crackers and people came. I like to think that in those four hours, we generated a great amount of calm energy to contribute to uplifting the spiritual tenor of the planet.

It was easy to do, and you could do it too.

I hope you will.

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Filed under Goodness, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, time

Every Day at 5:50pm

Beginning July 1, I’m joining a group of people who will spend five minutes at 5:50pm (Pacific time; 8:50pm Eastern) every day meditating.

We expect that our energies will join to help eradicate fear and greed on this planet. We expect to concentrate on the concept of Rightmindedness in the hopes that this five minutes of concentrated effort will not only change us, but will ripple out and effect real change everywhere.

Please join us. Five minutes. Set your timer. Close your eyes and visualize our planet in good hands. How hard can that be? Sometimes the tiniest of actions produces the greatest results.

5:50pm for five minutes every day. I’m fairly certain that you won’t be doing anything more important for those five minutes, so why not add your considerable energy to the mix?

Magic might happen.

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Filed under concentration, connections, goals, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Laying Down One’s Life

Yesterday, seven women “laid down our lives” and gathered in my living room. We left chores behind, we didn’t go out into the beautiful sunshine, we didn’t go to the gym, we didn’t go shopping or mow the lawn or work in the garden.

We knitted and crocheted prayer shawls for our friends who need our prayers.

We talked of many things as we worked, but our focus was the garment we were creating, and eventually the conversation always returned to things of a spiritual nature.

We found connections. Two of the women realized they had met years ago. A different two realized that their social groups overlapped and they had mutual friends. We discovered many things that we all had in common with each other as we prayed, snacked, and talked of this and that, but mostly we knitted beautiful things intended to comfort someone who is in need.

It didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice, as it was a completely enjoyable time, gathering together, sitting and knitting, but I can’t help but reflect on all the things that were likely on each person’s “should do” list for a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. But because comforting our friends in pain is a much higher priority, we all stopped what we were doing and saw to that first.

Not everybody knew of someone in need of a prayer shawl yesterday, so their shawls, scarves or lap robes will be stored until a need arises. Some of us brought photographs of the people for whom we were creating garments infused with love and the intention of healing.

Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). I believe that’s what we did yesterday, and the spiritual reverberations will echo through the generations as these shawls are worn and passed along, and the love will spread laterally through the circuits of time and space.

The next time you receive a handmade gift, take a moment to savor the fact that whoever made it, laid down their life for you.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Friends, girlfriends, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Hey: Pray!

I mean it. You. Now. It only takes a second to send a little healing energy via the deity of your understanding to one of your kids, your spouse, a co-worker who is in trouble, our troops overseas, their families struggling to manage without them, the starving children in the world… take your pick. If you want, you can even move beyond prayer and extend a little mercy in the direction of those who have wronged you, those who have moved against us, those who knowingly and consciously commit evil acts upon others.

Listen, our planet is in a world of hurt, and if you don’t know that, then you really have not been paying attention. Do you think our national leaders are going to get us out of it? As Dr. Phil famously says, a good predictor of the future is looking at our history. Do you think we’re going to be able to mobilize the masses in time to make the drastic changes that are necessary to keep our civilization from going the way of so many that have failed to survive?

I say divine intervention is the only path left open to us, and we better be getting about asking for help in a serious way. Prayer circuits, I’ve been told, begin like game trails, and with more and more traffic, they become cart paths and then roads and streets, and eventually superhighways. We need those superhighways. We need all the help the celestial overseers are able to give us, and we need it now.

So do your part. I’m not asking you to vote, inflate your tires or even change a lightbulb, although we should all be doing those things anyway. Just say a prayer, a small one. Right now. Nobody’s going to know unless you tell them. And maybe you should tell them, and ask them to do it, too.  Maybe do it every morning while you’re brushing your teeth. It’d be more productive than admiring yourself in the mirror.

It’s a small thing. Just as every vote counts, so does every small petition to those on high. Your small request just might be the tipping point that makes the switch from a material citizenry to a spiritual citizenry. You never know.

So do it.

Now. It won’t hurt, I promise.

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Filed under Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality