Wrapping Myself in Gratitude
A nurse with Morrison Medical Center heard a knock on the window and turned to see a man with tears streaming down his face, holding a cardboard sign that read, “Thank you all in emergency for saving my wife’s life. I love you all.” She said she didn’t know the man, but this is why she does this work.
“Gratitude is understanding that millions of things come together and live together in order for us to take one more breath, that the underlying gift of life a privilege.” – David Whyte, Consolations
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I wrap myself in gratitude. Every endeavor, relationship, and experience of my life is endowed with a graceful air of thankfulness. I am comforted, inspired, and guided by an abiding, indwelling sense of wholeness. All is well. Thank you, Spirit, forever. Amen.
Fulfilling the Goodness of Life
Jeremiah Thoronka, aware that only a small percentage of his fellow Sierra Leone residents had electricity, noticed how many cars were passing by his house. He began educating himself about kinetic energy – the energy of motion – and, at the age of 21, developed a system that produces electricity by drawing kinetic energy from moving vehicles. His device powers 150 homes and 15 schools.
“Your life is a reflection of how effectively you balance your potential and your energy.” - Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
Affirmative prayer: I am made of pure energy, moving through this day with the love of God. I give thanks that the Divine endowed me with limitless possibilities, and I am awake to the intrinsic goodness of life that is mine to uniquely fulfill. I have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
The Genius of Nature
The weather service in Honolulu has issued a blizzard warning for this weekend in Hawaii. Yes, Hawaii. A foot of snow with winds gusting up to 100 mph is forecast for the mountain summits of the Big Island. And the vast majority of the rest of state will see a lot of rain. A flood watch is in place. Aloha.
“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” – Henry David Thoreau
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I pray today for all in the path of the storm. May each person be beautifully prepared and may they be held in warmth, safety, and the breath of life. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Peace be Unto Thee Stranger
A study by the American Psychological Association found that strangers connect better with each other if their conversation is more meaningful than our usual chitchat. Behavioral scientists say it’s because we are deeply social beings, and we simply like to connect. So, rather than making small talk with the person in line at the grocery store, try asking them something like, “Can you tell me about a time when you cried in front of another person?” Yeah, right. Like, we’re all going to do that. 😊
“Peace be unto thee, stranger, enter and be not afraid. I have left the gate open and thou art welcome to my home... I have swept the hearth and lighted the fire. The room is warm and cheerful, and you will find comfort and rest within. The table is laid and the fruits of Life are spread before thee... I have set a chair for you where the sunbeams dance through the shade. Sit and rest and refresh your soul... All, all is yours, and you are welcome.” – Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, may my prayer today in word and action take on the loving energy of, “Peace be unto thee…” Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Letting it Be
“The creation story is built on a prayerful phrase: ‘Let there be…’ Not: ‘There will be,’ or make it be.’ No suggestion of effort, strain, or anxiety. Just, letting… The Kingdom that is within us is a finished kingdom, and that for which we pray is done even before we ask.” – Eric Butterworth, The Creative Life
Affirmative prayer: Today, in faith and confidence, I know that my prayers are answered before I speak the words. This holy decree is my belief manifesting as guidance, healing, resolution, and abundance. It’s love. It’s love made visible in my life and in the lives of those for whom I pray. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
An Act of Defiance
Rosa Parks Day
On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a city bus. The act of defiance elevated this Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress into a pivotal symbol in America’s civil rights movement. She was honored by the U.S. Congress as "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement."
"Without vision, people perish, and without courage and inspiration dreams die." – Rosa Parks
Affirmative prayer: With clarity of purpose, I align my actions with my values and my vision for life. I stand for what I believe in, allowing the Truth of my being to shine forth in the relationships I nurture, the causes I support, and in the way I treat others. There is only one Life - God’s life - in me and in everyone. I give myself to this high Truth. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Labor of Love
Julie Anne Genter was in labor early Sunday morning when she headed for the hospital – on her bicycle. She gave birth an hour later. "My contractions weren't that bad when we left the house, but they were 2-3 minutes apart when we arrived.” Julie Anne is a member of the New Zealand Parliament. One might think she heads up the Labour Party, but no. She’s in the Green Party.
“There are a few individuals within our wider fellowship with whom we have a particular nearness. These we carry by inward, wordless prayer. This is work, real labor of the soul. It takes energy, but it is done in joy.” – Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion
Affirmative prayer: I move through this day as a beneficial presence, not trying to let God into my heart. Rather, I open my heart and let God out. It’s a labor of love. Thank you, Infinite Presence, forever. Amen.
From Breakdown to Breakthrough
When the Billings Fire Department responded to a nighttime car accident, sirens blaring and lights flashing, one firefighter answered the call with a tender touch. He saw the stress that a little girl was feeling so, in the spirit of the firefighter’s creed to “always be ready,” he retrieved a children’s book from the fire engine and asked if she would sit with him on the curb and read together. “Calming fears, easing minds, saving lives.” Indeed.
“Sometimes a breakdown can be a kind of breakthrough, a way of living through a trauma that prepares you for radical transformation.” - Cherrie Moraga, poet and activist
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I am ready for a breakthrough. Knowing that pure Spirit is at the helm of my life, I am poised to transform a challenge into a triumph. I am inspired, enriched, and renewed in Spirit. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
holy days - hanukkah and advent
"In Advent, we celebrate the gift of a Loving Presence that became for us a source of hope, compassion, and courage, a Torch bearing truth, a Beacon offering guidance."
- Joyce Rupp, Out of the Ordinary
"Hanukkah is an honoring of the Divine spark in every soul, made in God’s image." - Suzanne Fields, actress
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today I take to heart the Light-and-Oneness messages of Advent and Hanukkah and hold all who walk these faith traditions in pure Light. May we recognize the light of God’s love in one another and be holy encouraged in ways of kindness and inspirited action. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
An Explosion of New Life
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is spawning in an explosion of new life and color as the natural wonder recovers from life-threatening coral bleaching caused by warming sea temperatures. “Seeing the reef’s recovery is a demonstration that its ecological functions are strong,” said Marine scientist Gareth Phillips. “The reef has gone through its own troubles like we all have, but it can still respond – and that gives us hope.”
“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways: either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” – the Dalai Lama
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, today, I find the resolve and strength that puts me on a path of a great healing. By my faith, thoughts, and prayers, I adopt an energizing consciousness that restores body and soul. I pray this for myself and for other souls on this journey. This prayer wraps us all in love and empowerment, and it is answered before I utter it. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Once More Into the Breach
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. Stiffen the sinews, set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide. Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit. Show us the mettle of your pasture. Let us swear that you are worth your breeding. I see you straining upon the start. The game's afoot.” - William Shakespeare, Henry V
“When Jesus traveled through towns and villages and beheld the marketplace, he saw the crowds and had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’” - Matthew 9:35-37
Affirmative prayer: Today, on Black Friday, I have compassion for crowds and merchants as they exchange goods and services. May there be soulful connections in the marketplace, a sense of sacred bartering and blessing with each exchange. May grateful souls everywhere be about family and friends, relaxation, and safe travels. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Thankful for Miracles
“A grateful heart beats in a world of miracles. If I could only speak one prayer for you, it would be that your heart would not only beat, but grow ever greater in gratitude, that your life continues to bring you miracles in abundance.” - Kate Braestrup, Here If You Need Me
Affirmative prayer: Today, my thankful beats in a world of miracles and shows itself in service to others. My gratitude is a fulfillment of the vows I’ve made to myself, my family and friends, and to the Most High. I abide in the brilliance and poise of this hallowed prayer, simply: “Thank you.”
The Purest Joy
On a West Hollywood street last year, Denzel Washington watched from his car as police officers questioned a distressed homeless man and were preparing to handcuff him. Denzel got out of his car and talked with the man and the police, helping to diffuse a tense situation. Rather than arresting the man, he was held for a mental-health check and allowed to go.
“The world largely forgets the efforts of individuals, yet those efforts are not in vain. They bear fruit in a life helped here, a future brightened there. I cannot live without purpose, without recognizing that the purest joy comes in helping others.”
– Arthur Ashe
Affirmative prayer: I give thanks for every life that has touched my own, blessing and lifting me up. I reach out to others, praying that my service brings comfort and joy. Today, I give of myself, allowing my touch to be the occasion of connection and love revealed.
Hearing with the Ears of the Soul
“The soul has been given ears to hear things that mind does not understand.” – Rumi
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Spirit, today I practice lowly listening, placing my heart and mind in a divine current of power, love, and wisdom. My understanding is inborn, and I am open and available to be rejuvenated, inspired, and guided. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
The Power of my Word
During the past year, Brazil's Amazon rainforest saw its highest rate of deforestation in over 15 years, losing more than 5,100 square miles of rainforest. The country’s president, Jair Bolsonaor, is chipping away at environmental protections and derides rainforest shrinkage. “Bolsonaro tries to hide the damage with fantastical speeches and actions of greenwashing," reported Mauricio Voivodic of the World Wildlife Fund. "In reality, he is accelerating the destruction."
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Affirmative prayer: I am called to express the love of God in every corner of my life. May my actions and my words reflect the pure goodness of Spirit as I live by the qualities of openness, integrity, and compassion. May I always remember that the Divine is living Its life through me. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
See Us Coming Together
A new muppet named Ji-Young will make history as the first Asian American muppet to join the cast of “Sesame Street.” The move is an entryway into discussions around anti-Asian racism. The 7-year-old Korean American girl is slated to debut Thanksgiving Day as part of a special titled, “See Us Coming Together.”
“Spiritual leaders, mystics, and now even scientists invite us to behold the world, this life, not as a parade of separate expressions, but as a unified field. Unity consciousness proclaims that we are one with the Divine and with our sisters and brothers. We are, together, in the Pure Land of infinite goodness.” – Scott Awbrey
Prayer blessing: “Gracious and loving God, we celebrate our common bond as descendants of one human family. We each come with our own story of life. How blessed we are to be together in this journey. May our togetherness be a source of joy and hope for all. Blessed be the ties that bind us’”
– Joyce Rupp
possibilities inherent in the problem
Byron Kominek’s family farm near Boulder, Colorado was struggling to turn a profit when he got an idea: what if solar panels and farming could co-exist and even benefit each other? He mounted 3,200 solar panels eight feet above the field and discovered that the shade from the panels helped the plants thrive. They also meant less evaporation of irrigation water, and that the panels remained cool, making them more efficient. Veggies and solar power generating together. Wow! The story gets better. Read more here.
“Believe in the open invitation to manifestation. Believe in the possibilities inherent within a problem. Make yourself available to guidance, inspiration, innovation, and serendipity. Move from reactivity to higher-order creativity.”
– Roger Teel, This Life is Joy
Affirmative prayer: I give thanks for the blessing of God-inspired ingenuity in the human spirit. I celebrate the inspiration that is in the hearts and minds of my soul companions, and I give thanks that this spiritual and mental fitness is resident in me as well. My Lord, we can do all things by this love which lifts us up. Thank you, God, forever, Amen.
Sensing the presence
When you’re in difficult emotions, try the RAIN meditation: Recognize what is happening. Allow what you are feeling to be here without judging it or trying to fix it. Investigate where the emotions live inside you, in your body. Nurture what you are feeling. After the RAIN: Take some moments in stillness, simply sensing the quality of presence that has unfolded.” - Tara Brach, psychotherapist and meditation teacher
“Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In this state we withdraw from outside objects. In this subjective mood we are immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves.”
- Abdu’l-Bahá, head of the Baháʼí Faith
Affirmative prayer: In prayer and meditation, I court the presence of the Infinite. In the stillness, I remember that Life is for me, that I am held close to Its heart, and that the very core of my being cannot be harmed or endangered. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
Coming up is the longest lunar eclipse of the century. Look up tonight (Thursday night) to see a Blood Moon lunar eclipse as the full moon slips into the Earth’s shadow over the course of three-plus hours. The partial eclipse begins on the West Coast a little after 11 pm (2 am on the East Coast) and will reach its maximum two hours later.
“The shadow of the Earth moved across the moon in celestial time, somehow slowly and fleetingly at the same astronomical moment. It seemed like the moon was being consumed. As if, in its last moment, you got to see the moon's whole life pass before your very eyes.” – Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
Affirmative prayer: Creator God, I am blessed by the spectacle and beauty of the moving sky. I take the fading of the moon as an invitation to become still and to remember that all things pass from light to darkness and back to light again. The mystery of the heavens is in my own being, in own my life. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
November 17th, 2021
Sled dog racer Blair Braverman says that the characteristics of the lead dog on a sled team are the same qualities that human leaders have. “People think that the lead dog is the ‘alpha,’ dog, but they love the open trail. They're very independent. They love running the trail and deciding where they're going to lead you. They're in close connection with you, the musher.”
“Teach others to live beyond themselves. Urge them toward excellence. Pull them deep into yourself. Pull them upward like an angel arranging clouds. Let your spirit move through them.” – Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I am a cheerleader for others. My encouragement helps them to believe in themselves. My belief in them magnifies their strength and courage. I see them as God sees them: as absolute winners. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
November 16th, 2021
The new infrastructure bill will create funds to improve roads and bridges, broadband, transit and rail, airports, ports and waterways, electric vehicles, power and water systems, environmental solutions, and more. Experts say it gives us a foundation to be more safe, and to prosper.
“A rising tide doesn't raise people who don't have a boat. They need a boat. They need basic infrastructure to rise with the tide.” - Rahul Gandhi
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I am building a solid foundation upon which my life can flourish. I shore up my spiritual practice, deepen my relationships, take care of my health and my livelihood, and I bring clarity to my sense of purpose. I affirm that the resources needed for empowerment and prosperity are provided by God and that I feel worthy to live as Spirit intends. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
The Sanctuary of the Soul
For only the third time on record, a penguin swam 2,000 miles from Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand. It's not certain why it made the journey, but New Zealand is the penguin’s historic home. The bird, which was underweight and dehydrated, was fed fish smoothies and released back into the wild on the coast of Banks Peninsula.
“Deep within us is an amazing sanctuary of the soul, a Divine center to which we may return. Eternity is at our hearts, calling us home unto Itself. It is a Light within which illumines the face of God.” - Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion
Affirmative prayer: I recognize the presence of Infinite Life within me and in everyone. I am forever at home in the heart of the Universe, resting in contentment, moving in inspiration, and abiding with others on our shared journey. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
11-14-21 All That the Ear Can Hear
In Spotify's Feel Good Classical playlist is a great piece called "The Typewriter" by Leroy Anderson, in which an actual typewriter is "played" as a percussion instrument with a string orchestra. It's fascinating and very imaginative. Anderson composed "The Typewriter" in 1950, and it was first performed a couple of years later by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Catch a more recent performance of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2LJ1i7222c
“All things are boiling over with life, flowing like a stream from one source. They are known by the sense of touch. May they be all that the ear can hear; each melody and every rhythm.” – Plotinus
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I give thanks for being in the great chorus of life. How good it is to be in sync with the Divine melody that inspires, uplifts, and blesses all. I give myself to this love song, that I may be a pitch-perfect instrument of Thy peace. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.
The courage to love well
“It takes courage to love well, and it takes work to sustain important relationships, but I promise you, it is possible, and it's what our hearts are really longing for.” – Elizabeth Lesser, Marrow
Affirmative prayer: Today, I open to the beauty of loved ones in my life, to the blessings of relationships. I give thanks for my soul friends, and I nourish our communion with my attention, affection, and gratitude. Heart to heart, I reach out. Amen.”
A Masterpiece Restored
As India faces the worst drought in its history, the country is returning to its almost-forgotten system of capturing rainwater. Stepwells, which were created 1,000 years ago, have a kind of inverted pyramid design and they channeled rainwater into underground aquafers. The architectural masterpieces are being uncovered and restored and are functioning as well as ever.
"There's a part of us that longs to know that even what has been abandoned or broken in us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good."
– Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
Affirmative prayer: Infinite Presence, I am thankful that the grace and value of my life are infinitely redeemable. My worthiness is forged by Divine energy within me and cannot be diminished. I am made new again as I move forward with trust, hopefulness, and gratitude. Thank you, God, forever. Amen.