Returning to God
Lars and Kristen are married! It was a glorious day and we were delighted to gain a wonderful daughter-in-law and have our son so happy!
There are so many wonderful memories! For me, the obvious love between Kristen and Lars, and the amazing way our community and families showed up to support us will remain powerful in my heart. Another more personal and equally powerful memory for me will be how many times I got to let go of my concerns about the details and return my mind to my center, God.
I knew the weeks leading up to the wedding would be “pressure cooker weeks” filled with wonderful events with wonderful people, but all jammed together with lots of wedding tasks to accomplish between events.
I was actually excited for a “pressure cooker” time that culminated in a celebration, not one that was a tragedy. I wanted to stay centered and in the moment. So I committed to starting and ending each day using an old spiritual practice called Centering Prayer. This practice is a method of meditation that puts a strong emphasis on interior silence: On being, not doing. It is making a space inside yourself to rest in God’s presence.
I love starting my day by acknowledging that God is present. I get to stop, breathe and listen. To acknowledge I am not in control. To move even beyond conversation with God to communion with Him. It is often more about the mingling of two hearts than the exchange of any words or ideas.
As I start each day, I use a sacred word recommended by Jamie Winship: Yah-Weh. It is the old Hebrew name for God which means “breath.” I say “Yah” as I inhale and “Weh” as I exhale. I attempt to focus on God by making a space for Him. Knowing silence and peace is difficult to sustain, this practice acknowledges that thoughts, feeling and images will arise. As you become aware of disruptive thoughts, feelings and images, you gently return to the practice of Yah-Weh.
I am actually not very good at the practice yet, but I was introduced to a profound thought: Think of returning your thoughts to God not as a failure of the practice, but as the very point of the practice, which is continuing to return to God.
That practice of returning to God became part of my daily life during wedding week, and I am still practicing it… It became a powerful and delightful way to acknowledge that when I had started to become anxious or was grabbing too hard at control, that I wasn’t a failure. Instead of listening to my inner critic, I gently returned to the experience I had started my day with – God’s presence.