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Spiritual Practices ~ Ordinary Time #7

Breath Prayer ~ Inhale ~ SO, Exhale ~ MA One meaning of soma in Yoga philosophy is;rejuvenating the body, elevating emotions, awakening the intellect, and realizing the true meaning of immortality. 

Scripture ~ Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Words have power—power to hurt and power to heal. Power to change a relationship, build a community and bring peace. The children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” historically was a first defense against bullying, but it did not stop the bully from continuing to hurl painful rhetoric. Only words of peace, compassion and love can counter a negative narrative. Listening intentionally for those healing words when they are being spoken can change our hearts and minds. There is a sacred space between listening for and speaking words of peace, compassion and love. That sacred space is the contemplative practice of writing the words down. 

At a yoga and writing retreat, the teacher addressed some common obstacles to writing. She offered these suggestions, “Don’t worry about a title or a theme. Write one page a day, just words. Don’t worry about punctuation, capitalization or grammar. Don’t worry about writing full sentences, just write. When you write a word, then change your mind, just cross the word out, reach for another word, keep writing.” In this practice, a pencil is preferred over pens as it gives one the sense that what is written can be changed. 

Writing this way is a spiritual practice that helps us examine our thoughts and cull our words so that they are acceptable and reflective of who we are as people of faith. Lyrics for songs, poems and prayers evolve from this practice. You will notice Psalm 19:14 is simultaneously lyrical, poetic and a prayer. We often hear this scripture at the beginning of a sermon. 

This week we have a poem/prayer from Yogadevotion Instructor Andrea Volker. The poem will be read twice during the practice. I invite you to grab your paper and pencil, and as you hear the poem, write down any words that resonate with you. As you go through the week, consider spending 10-15 minutes at the end of your devotional time or yoga practice just writing words and see if a poem of your own reveals itself. Like breath, this spiritual practice taps into our God-breathed creative nature that connects us with God, our rock and redeemer.

Heavenly Father, Thank You
For the eyes
that allow me to see
the injustice
before me

For the voice that permits
me to speak against crimes
of abuse and oppression

For the wisdom to discern 
how to use the gifts
you have bestowed upon me

For the hands in which to perform
your works of
purpose and meaning

For the feet on which
I stand with my brothers and sisters

For the heart that melts
hate and ignorance into
forgiveness and grace
On bended knee
In your heavenly name I pray

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