This is 6 minutes very well spent with Valerie Karr, lawyer, mom and founding member of Groundswell:
An interesting thing happened this morning. After spending much of the day yesterday watching C-span - with coverage of the inauguration and the Women's March - I went to bed with lots of feelings, praying for guidance. I woke up this morning, turned on my computer and a web page came up that I have not had opened all week (I used it over a week ago to research hymns to go with my sermon, but not since). It popped up without my fingers touching anything. It was Hymnsite.com, a website designed to support people in picking hymns for worship. Across the top was this:
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
I've been practicing this at least daily for years. I haven't always felt much. Fears often short-circuit my ability to feel and move with much love. Many times in the past, and sometimes now, my prayer time consists of trying to give God my fears, and that is about all I can muster - anxiety is running so high in me. But now, following this process usually brings me back to an experience of loving energy. I start empathizing with people, no matter which "side" they're on. I can see where folks are coming from. I can appreciate what they are feeling, realizing that if I were in their shoes, I'd probably have similar feelings. Getting to that place has been key to working through difficult issues. I can honestly say it's what turned some former opponents in social situations and churches into friends and allies. This is what I think our country needs most now. I think that this is the first and most important daily step for a person of faith who thinks that love is worthwhile (and it is absolutely worth trying to be a person of faith and love, no matter what framework one uses, religious or otherwise. This is why we we encourage everyone to go to their center and be true to their soul at The Center - www.thecenterec.com).
More power to you in your prayer life. It takes work and a lot of patience, but I can guarantee you that it is worth it. Nothing has been more significant in my life. Nothing.
My prayer life is what has led me back to love again and again, and finding my way back to love is what has made my life rich beyond description. Any real good I've done anybody else will find it's deepest roots there.
Thanks for journeying together.
We sometimes forget that we're really all in the same boat. We share common desires and vulnerabilities as human beings.
Everyone wants to be healthy and secure in body, mind and spirit, and to love and be loved. Staying mindful of those common desires is very valuable. It helps us align with God's Love, and beckons us toward a redeeming approach toward ourselves and others. That’s why the vision of The Center is to encourage everyone to go their center, be true to who they really are and live their life from there. As we do that, we discover honest, common ground for healthy, respectful, and appreciative relationships. Peace grows like fruit from such relationships.
Mark Coleman’s new book, Make Peace with Your Mind has a great meditation for realizing this truth and living it out. It's called "Just Like Me" and it can be used just about anytime with anyone, silently to ourselves or out loud. It affirms others as it affirms us personally:
Mindfulness of these common truths is a key element of the rest that works. That’s why the subtitle of the main text is: Living a Life of Loving Mindfulness. As we are mindful of what is going on within and around us, we put ourselves in a position of conscious choice. We are freed and empowered to go deeper than our ego’s buttons. We are able to find that solid ground made of love that comes from Our Creator.
I heartily recommend Mark’s book. It’s excellent. It holds the best collection of perspective and tools for mindfulness that I have found in a single book.
Thanks for journeying together. More power to you in your adventure with God (which includes the part of God that moves within you and between us when we love).
(P.S. Here's a link to the book page and an interview with Mark Coleman if you're interested: newworldlibrary.com/BooksProducts/ProductDetails/tabid/64/SKU/84304/Default.aspx).