“Come From Away” is a Tony award-winning musical that focuses on a few of the 7,000 passengers whose planes were diverted to a small town in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. Strangers, spending nearly a week together, singing, sightseeing, and healing after the events of 9/11. This is a big-hearted musical that makes its message plain: in the face of tragedy, goodness still exists, beauty still exists, love still exists.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.” – the Dalai Lama
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, when sorrow besets me, I let myself grieve, consciously being in the sadness. No resistance, no masking my grief with a brave smile. I welcome the gifts that the moment offers, finding clarity, wisdom, and resilience. My hope is restored, and I give thanks for soul recovery. Amen.
Climate change is not only a human problem; animals are having to adapt to it as well. Some warm-blooded animals are shapeshifting and getting larger beaks, legs, and ears to better regulate their body temperatures as the planet gets hotter. Researcher Sara Ryding said, "The climate change that we have created is heaping a whole lot of pressure on birds and animals, and while some species will adapt, others will not."
“The footprint of self-centered humanity is seen everywhere on the earth, and the life it is creating is not sustainable. We have reached a choice point. We are slowly awakening, realizing that we are one living body responsible for our own future. Our crisis is our birth!” – Barbara Marx Hubbard
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I hold sacred the earth-home in which I live, move, and have my being. I pray that the citizens and leaders of our precious planet are awakening to higher wisdom, a clearer vision, and to a steadfast courage that transforms our thinking and our planet to a home that is sustainable and verdant. We are holy stewards. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Art history professor Tom Ruggio was enjoying some solitude during his lunch hour in the Church of the Holy Family, just blocks from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. Sitting in meditation, he opened his eyes and his gaze fell upon a painting hanging in the church. Tom recognized it as a Baroque, 17th century masterpiece that was thought to be missing. “I couldn't believe what I was looking at." The piece is called “Holy Family with the Infant St. John,” by Cesare Dandini, and it’s been hanging in the church for the past 60 years.
“Spiritual perfection is an inherent part of each of us; it is never diminished by conditions. An awareness of this truth enables us to know that nothing is missing in God’s presence. Wholeness is a natural part of the sacred continuum.” - Dennis Merritt Jones, The Art of Being
Affirmative prayer: Today, I affirm the adage that “nothing is ever lost in the Universe.” Understanding that all is known in the Mind of God and that I am connected to this mindful Presence, I accept that answers, guidance, and the things of this world shall be revealed to me. I go within, then allow my Divinely inspired gaze to lead me. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
A small act of kindness can go a long way, say researchers, towards bolstering health and wellness. Dr. John-Tyler Binfet at the University of British Columbia published a study that explores how acts of kindness impacts an individual’s perceptions of themselves and others. “We know being kind yields a number of wellbeing benefits, such as stress reduction and happiness.” Simply, it means our actions that improve the lives of others also improve our own.
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
– the Dalai Lama
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today I align with the goodness of Life, open my compassionate heart, and allow the love of God to find its way to those in need. I recognize my union with all persons, and let this felt connection move me to embrace, give, and act in ways of kindness. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“There is a wellspring of healing energy within the physical body. Our job, as Emerson said, is to ‘get our bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits.’ When we create an energetic frequency of peace, love, and well-being, the quantum phenomenon that is the body can naturally reveal its balance and perfect operation.” – Roger Teel, This Life is Joy
Affirmative prayer: Today, I turn my attention away from the problem and place it on the wellspring of divine love within and all about me. This is my prayer without ceasing, my acceptance of divine truth, that anything unlike the love and energy of Infinite Spirit is released from my body, my affairs, and my intentions. I am made whole, again and again. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“Has anyone else found the mundanity of pandemic life sort of enlightening? I'm noticing things I'd overlooked before: The symphony of birds who sing a different tune from sunrise 'til dark, the way light bounces off the mirrors in my bedroom and creates little rainbows, the wee lizard who perches himself on the same patio chair every day. If this unique time is good for anything, it's rediscovery. And falling back in love with a familiar place that makes the days sweeter.” - Scottie Andrew, CNN
“When the younger son felt the depth of his isolation, he opted for that which gave him life again: family, friends, and community – the rediscovery of his deepest self.” - Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today I rediscover my true self. I awaken to the beauty and miracles that are ever-present in my world. I turn within and feel the love of God. I reach out and connect with other blessed souls on my path. Today, I come home again to the goodness that is my Divine heritage. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“Being in conflict with someone can be the opportunity for discovery and healing. First, remember that you are spiritually connected to the ol’ so-and-so with whom you’re in dispute. Then, ask yourself: ‘What can I discover about myself? What ideas, opinions, and judgments am I clinging to?’ Real peace comes when we’ve mended a sense of separation within ourselves. When we feel healed, rather than right; whole, rather than justified.” - Scott Awbrey
“In the depths of our consciousness, we have the seeds of compassion and the seeds of violence. Our mind is like a garden that contains seeds of understanding, forgiveness, and mindfulness, but also seeds of ignorance, fear, and separation. At any given moment, we can behave with either violence or compassion, depending on how we’ve nurtured the seeds within us.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I remember that Oneness is the underlying truth of all life. I look to another and see beyond the struggle, perceiving this blessed soul as a member of God’s living enterprise: full of life and embodying the energetic vibration of the Universe. There is spiritual cause to see my so-called adversary as a pure expression of the one life of God. Thank you, Spirit, forever. Amen.
Fall is the favorite season for many, for many reasons: Trail walking or taking a drive to see the fall colors. Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or tea. Sleeping under a blanket. Backyard fire pit. Making s’mores. Hayrides. Harvesting the fall crops and putting the garden to bed. Attending school sports. Raking and jumping in the leaves.
“Use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.” — Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
Affirmative prayer: Creator God, I am blessed with the changing of seasons and I welcome this time of autumn. I take the earlier setting of the sun as an invitation to become still. I am reminded of the wonder of being alive by the brilliant colors of these days. I feel the breath of life in the stream of cooler air, and I see the harvest from gardens and fields as the abundance of life and the bounty that I share with others. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
When the boom-lift that painter Cabrera Ramirez was in caught fire, he was faced with electrocution, fire, or jumping. He eventually jumped, but it took a while for firefighters, who had grabbed a tarp and held it taut as a net, to convince him. His rescuers yelled at Cabrera to jump while he worked up the nerve. The tarp held and Cabrera suffered only a minor knee injury. He was back at work the next day, but he stayed on the ground.
“To go with the flow of life is to live without a map, to be vulnerable. It is to trust that God is in the experience. It is being able to stop digging your heels in against the tide. It is responding to the nudging and prompting of grace.” - Robert Raines, award winning composer and writer
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, in this holy instant, I turn away from my fears, doubts, and worries, and I relax into the indwelling force of guidance, goodness, and right action. I trust that pure Spirit holds me close, always and forever. Into thy hands, dear God, I commit my life. Amen.
“If a hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will contain an image of the entire rose. When something is holographic, it exists wholly within every fragment of itself, no matter how many pieces it’s divided into. The whole of the image is contained in every part of the image.”
- Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe
“We have been told by mystics and prophets – and even scientists – that we are patterned after First Life. Not just in a physical state, but in the realm of Divine Essence. The beauty, grace, and power of Spirit is embodied in all of creation, in you. Knowing this is how we can love completely; how we can forgive seven times seventy; how we can do great things. This is how we save each other.”
– Scott Awbrey
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today I identify with the people in my orbit. We belong to each other. I am with my soul companions in a way that makes a difference for good. I am not my brother’s and sister’s keeper. I am my brother and sister. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Studies show that the heartbeats of individuals engaged in the same sensory experience can synchronize into a single rhythm. Like people listening to music together, children gathered around a storyteller, worshipers praying together, people holding each other or laughing together. We unify in perfect order. Bjorn Vickhoff of the Sahlgrenska Academy says it's a beautiful way to be. “You are not alone, but with others who feel the same way."
“All life flows like a stream from one source.” - Plotinus, from Return to the One: Plotinus's Guide to God-Realization, by Brian Hines
Affirmative prayer: Today, I feel the rhythm of the Divine within me and I consciously bring my thoughts, words, and actions into harmony with the noble, creative force of Life. I am in tune with my sisters and brothers, with the Infinite, in a sacred space of unity. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” – Shannon Alder
Affirmative prayer: Today, I am centered in the flow of all good, knowing that I am connected to my family, friends, neighbors, and community. Through deeds and prayers, I lift up the hearts of others, assuring them that that they are not alone. We are not remotely connected; we are one in the Spirit. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Sara Mudallal is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind athlete. She competes in a sport, parkour, that most people have never seen. She is one of only a few women who compete in what has traditionally been a man’s sport. Moreover, Sara is the only American Muslim parkour athlete, and the only one wearing a hijabi. She considers herself a “minority within a minority,” which hasn’t prevented her from rising to the top of the game. Her bigger goal is to inspire women.
“You are a unique expression of the creative energy of the Universe. You are an original, and the Divine in you has one desire: to express expansively and creatively its uniqueness. This is your spiritual destiny.” – Eric Butterworth, The Creative Life
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I give thanks for the pattern of wholeness at the center of my being. I claim my unique place in the cosmic procession of beautiful souls representing the one original Life. I answer Life’s call to express, create, and to serve. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Kev Crane’s love for singing as he works opened a door of good fortune for the Leicestershire plumber. He was plumbing a bathroom in the home of Paul Conneally, unaware that Paul is the owner of New Reality Records. Kev would sing his favorite tunes as he worked, and Paul was so impressed that he signed him to a record deal. Kev continues singing on the job, as well as in Paul’s recording studio.
“Every experience you have in your life is the seed of an opportunity. Once you have that perception, you open to a whole range of possibilities, and this keeps the wonder, the mystery, the adventure alive.” – Deepak Chopra
Affirmative prayer: Today I abide in a life of infinite possibility. By my awareness of the Divine in all things and with a consciousness of goodness and joy, I attract opportunities to share my heart and my talents, and to be fulfilled. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Frank Siller walked 500 miles, from the Pentagon to the Freedom Tower, to honor his brother, Stephen, a NYC firefighter who died on 9/11. On that day, Stephen ran in full gear from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers, then ran into the Towers. Twenty years ago, Frank founded the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports first responders, veterans, and their families by providing mortgage-free homes. By the end of 2021, the foundation will have paid off or built 450 homes. Frank completed his walk this past Saturday, September 11 – 42 days after he began.
“The moment you are motivated by the desire to return to another and help, you know that all the energy of anger has been transformed into the energy of compassion.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, my heart opens and my hands reach out to help my soul companions. I pray for those who have lost someone dear, offering them my love, compassion, and resources. I give thanks for responders who lay down their life for the sake of others. There is no greater love. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“There are two major tasks to human life. The first is to build a strong "container" or identity; the second is to find the contents that the container is meant to hold.”
– Richard Rohr, Falling Upward
Affirmative prayer: Today, I am becoming clear about who I am and what is important in my life. In this clarity, I discern the meaning of my ‘I Am-ness,’ and I add to the container of my life the qualities of God, expressing the beauty and love of the Divine in my human-ness. Thank you, Creator Spirit. Amen.
Gary Crane kept vigil in a hospital parking lot for his wife, Donna, who was in the hospital with Covid-19. He couldn’t be with her in person, so for 10 days he held a sign that read, “I love you.” The gesture gave Donna strength and a boost of positivity, and she recovered from the illness. "The nurses would sit me up in bed and let me look out the window, let me see he was there, and I knew, “Okay, we're going to do this.” The couple is expecting their first grandchild soon.
“There is a difference between waiting and keeping vigil. Anxious, impatient waiting is just waiting. But waiting with purpose, hope, and love is vigilant waiting.”
– Macrina Wiederkehr, Seven Sacred Pauses
Affirmative prayer: Today, I “wait upon the Lord.” I look within and I sense my life in tune with the Infinite. I look out and see the light of cosmic Presence on my experiences. I become still and know the freedom of one blessed by Life. I take action, even as I abide in the peace and love of the Divine, and I know that all is well because all is God. Amen.
“Instead of mourning, instead of a moment of silence or a hateful, Islamophobic message, how about today we make the world a little brighter? Be kinder. Be a little gentler with yourself and others. Be a better human. Today is more than a tragedy. Today is a birthday. A wedding. A birth. A new job. Today we take this day back for the happy and the brave and the new.” ― Taylor Rhodes, calloused: a field journal
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, this day I feel a sense of hope and connection awakening in me. I remember that, when there is pain in the world, I go deeper into a sincere belief that goodness is the true and enduring nature of people the world over. I pray for those who are hurting from tragedy, that today they find comfort, peace, and compassion for all. Today, I remember those who died, those who heroically saved lives, and those who still miss someone, affirming that all are forever in the heart of the Divine. Even now, always. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“Think back to a time when you did something amazing. Did you have all the answers? Probably not. But you took a risk and, yes, you did something amazing.” - Colin Chung, founder and president of Kayuga Solution
“There are risks and costs to action, but they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” - John F. Kennedy
Affirmative prayer: Today, with pure Spirit as my bedrock, and that which is before me as my motivating force, I am propelled into action. I break up the inertia that has held me back, and am rewarded not only by what I achieve, but what I become. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“When I was in the seminary, finances were very tight for my teen-age daughter and me. But I told her to have faith, that God will provide. One day, a clerk from the grocery store called and said we had just won a hundred dollars of groceries. I was elated and shouted to my daughter, ‘You see? God has provided. God is so great!’ My daughter looked at me and deadpanned, ‘Great, nothing. I stood down there at that grocery store all afternoon filling out a hundred entry forms for their contest!’” – Edwene Gaines
“When we live our lives with an appreciation of everyday miracles, we connect with the field of infinite possibilities. There are cosmic twirlings of Intelligence that endlessly create our Universe. And if we pay attention, we can let synchronistic moments guide us, inspire us, and provide us what we need in order to do great works.” – Deepak Chopra, Living Beyond Miracles
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I see the winding journey of my life, the joy and the difficulties, and I behold it all as a gift. All about me is the evidence of Pure Spirit loving Itself. The energy of Divine providence, optimism, and good fortune is everywhere, awaiting my recognition and my full participation. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew issued an unprecedented joint appeal to members of their Churches to "listen to the cry of the Earth" and back action to stem the effects of climate change. They prayed together that the leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference will make courageous choices.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle, 1786-1866, a Suquamish and Duwamish chief. The city of Seattle was named after him.
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I hold sacred the earth-home in which I live, move, and have my being. I pray that the citizens and leaders of our precious planet are steeped in wisdom, compassion, vision, and courage, that the divine mandate to be good stewards and holy protectors is fulfilled. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Twin girls, born conjoined at the back of the head, saw each other for the first time after successful and rare surgery to separate them. The 12-month-old girls were separated at the Soroka University Medical Center in Israel. “The first two days after the operation they were a little agitated,” said hospital staff, “and when we put them together in the same crib, they became calm and quiet.”
“We transmit the presence of everyone we have ever known, as though by being in each other's presence we exchange our cells, pass on some of our life force, and then carry that other person in our body." – Natalie Goldberg, Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home
Affirmative prayer: I feel the warmth and color of Infinite Intelligence in my being and in the lives of my soul friends. The love and brilliance of this creative force is reflected back to me by my sisters and brothers, allowing me to come face to face with the Divine. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
J.S. Bach inscribed the words, Soli Deo Gloria – “Only to the glory of God” – at the end of his compositions. He offered his work as a form of worship, declaring that in all music – indeed, in all of life – there “should be no other aim than the glory of God and the restoration of the soul.”
“Here lies John Smith, who for forty years cobbled shoes to the glory of God.” – epitaph found on a tombstone in London
Affirmative prayer: I am a beneficial presence. My work – be it for livelihood, a cause, or a personal project – is for the good of those around me. Because we are all connected in the One Life, the whole world is made better by my work and by the labor of my sisters and brothers. The works of our hands is indeed love made visible. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
For Maria Andrejczyk, something mattered more than the silver medal she won in the javelin during the Tokyo Olympics. She auctioned off her medal to help pay for a surgery for an 8-month-old baby with a heart defect. But the winning bidders, a Polish store chain, Zabka, gave the medal back to Maria. “We wanted to help with the surgery, and we also wanted Maria to keep her medal. She’s a true champion.”
“Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them: a desire, a dream, a vison.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Affirmative prayer: I am inspired to see Spirit in motion in the lives of dedicated champions and heroes: athletes, parents, educators, responders, and all who reach deep and enact the Divine. I give thanks for every way-shower; those who demonstrate the love and power of God. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
“The enemy of creativity is fear. The remedy, then, is to act in a creative way. Action persuades fear to lighten up.” - Seth Godin
Affirmative prayer: With pure Spirit as my source and inspiration, I act upon the desire, the task, the dream before me. Where I have been stymied by fear, unbelief, or indecision, I do one thing that rocks my inertia. I take action and I feel the energy, power, and love of God flowing through me. I can do all things through the Divine which strengthens me. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.