How to Make Your Own Prayer Jar...and Why You Want To!

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I wanted to share with you one of the ways that I have been changing my habitual tendency to choose fear and instead reprogram my thoughts towards love.

 

Recently, I started keeping a prayer jar on my altar.

Every time that I have feelings of peace and love for another I write their name on a small slip of paper and place it in the jar.

 

Any time I feel worried about another person, I write their name on a piece of paper and I place it in the jar,

If I have anger or irritation, or an expectation of someone, judgments…if I feel a wanting or neediness from someone, I place the name of that person on a slip of paper and I place it in the jar.

Each time I write down the name, I bless this person. I thank this person. I send them love. I send them light.

Or I may imagine them being surrounded by light.

 

Sometimes I put the same person’s name in there multiple times in a day. Sometimes I will put my own name in the jar.

 

Then in my meditation, I bless the entire jar, seeing it with light. I say a prayer for everyone I have placed in there. I hold the jar in my hands sometimes and really infuse it with love and light.

 

And can I tell you, it feels really good!

This is one practice that really helps me experientially feel the inner truth of giving and receiving being one and the same.

 

It feels wonderful to shift any feelings of fear that I have and turn them into love in this way. Quite honestly, completely natural, and it’s so simple.

 

Most of the time…

 

Sometimes I feel such a strong pull of fear and am being hijacked by feelings of separation. In those moments it feels more natural to choose fear. I feel myself resisting sending out light and love.

 Why would we resist doing something like this?

 

Old tapes. Learned ideas about the world that feel like they are serving a purpose but they are actually just limiting now. They feel real. And can sometimes feel like an insurmountable hurdle to get over. We have so many fears that we have accepted as true, that we don’t even realize how deeply we’ve bought in at times. And when we actually realize we are on this groove of fear and we attempt to switch up our thinking, the fear will lash out stronger at first which can make it feel even more difficult to switch off of it because its message gets so loud.

 

In behavioral psychology this is called a behavioral burst. When we try to switch up a behavior that is ingrained, i.e. in this case a thought pattern, the behavior and all of it’s emotions will peak, sending out a signal more intensely because it assumes that a louder signal will get the results that it “wants”.

Think of a dog who normally comes to the table for food and you give it some periodically, and then one day you stop. What will it do initially? Bark louder, try harder!

 

What we have to do is realize what it is that we TRULY WANT. In the moment it may feel that we WANT what pain and misery are telling us, but if we really look into the feeling we see that pain and misery are actually reminders that we are in need of what we REALLY WANT.

 

It’s kind of mind blowing when you really look at anxiety, anger, fear.

 

For instance, when it comes to this exercise and I am feeling fearful, anxious, or angry about someone or for someone, and I look closely at this emotion,  I realize I am actually experiencing LACK of love.

 

I am actually focusing on the lack of love that I have for someone in this moment, am believing at some level that they need to give me the love that I want, and I am BLAMING them for not giving it to me.

How can this be helpful to anyone?

 

My ego would like to convince me that expressing these forms of LACK will benefit someone. I have trained myself continuously for a very long time to “care” this way. To “protect” this way.

Yet this “way” causes me pain. It keeps me miserable. It leads to behaviors that can cause pain to others. And I feel separate from others.

 

 When I am anxious about someone..I am worried about their well being.

When I am anxious about myself..I am worried about my own well being, my peace, and my love being taken away. Or maybe I am worried that I won’t get any peace and love in the first place.

When I am angry, I am feeling like someone or something has done something to take away my peace and love. I judge myself as missing something and I judge and attack the other person for “doing” this to me. How does remaining in anger do anything to help this situation? How does attacking another person and myself further give me what I want?

 

Even if someone does something that really justifies this anger, how does my sending anger their way help them or me?

 

So I’m doing something different. When I am feeling LACK of love..instead I SEND love. I recognize that I cannot GET love from the outside. That there is NOTHING anyone can do on the outside to GIVE me that love anyways.

 

 I recognize that anyone else who is pain, anyone else who is experiencing anger, fear, anxiety, is operating from a LACK of love in that moment too.

 

I recognize that when we are all experiencing LACK of love it just means that we need MORE LOVE.

 I recognize that the LACK I am feeling is actually SPACE for LOVE to seep in from

 I then ALLOW it to come in.

 

I visualize the LOVE filling my body, like a beautiful light filled rain shower.

I feel it filling up my body, every cell and expanding outward.

I experience my heart expanding and my body softening.

There.

 

I am now filled with LOVE and the beautiful thing is once I AM filled there is PLENTY to SHARE.

I am FREE NOW to GIVE this LOVE.

And the other funny thing that happens next is, I start to RECEIVE MORE LOVE to myself just by GIVING.

Try it out and let me know how it goes for you;

 

Here are some of the new "rules" I live by:
The freedom to get things dirty.
The willingness to listen to what my body is telling me.
The acknowledgement that my true self knows best.
The radical idea that the answers I need are within me.
The magical perspective that everything happens in the right timing.
The surrendering practice of expressing, trusting and feeling as the gateway to connection and meaning.
The life-changing phenomenon that whatever is in me can be expressed creatively in front of me.
And so many more . . .
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Feeling Stuck on a Hamster Wheel and Wanting Things to be Different?

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This rich and metaphorical poem is one of my favorites over the years. Take a peek and let me know what you think!

Autobiography in 5 Chapters, A Poem by Portia Nelson

Chapter One.

I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.

 

Chapter Two.

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place! But it isn’t my fault and it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three.

 

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit!My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four.

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five.

I walk down a different street.


There was an interesting commentary on Elephant Journal by Barbara Becker where she states that her Meditation Teacher explains to her that there is a Chapter 6. 

I find this to be really interesting because it has been almost 8 years since I originally read this poem.  

After my own personal journey and witnessing it among clients, this sixth chapter, according to Becker and her teacher, is that once we head down the new road, there is another hole, and we fall in again. 

I have to admit at first glance reading this I didn't really want to hear it. I mean, who wants to keep falling into holes? It's exhausting right? 

I want to get to the road where there are no holes. Where the streets are paved with gold like my Uncle would say. 

And yet, as I continue on my own path I keep seeing that yes, there are always some more holes. 

It doesn't mean I don't get better at climbing out .And I find that there happens to be a lot more time spent on certain roads now without the holes. 

But inevitably, there will be ups and downs. It's not about having those downs that means we have done something wrong. 

It's how can we be more compassionate to ourselves, more curious and get more information about what's happened and how we can apply it (gently) to what comes next. 

Image by Sherry Riter of www.theredheadriter.com

Image by Sherry Riter of www.theredheadriter.com

Life can be complicated enough! We don't need to bring more judgment, ridicule, and criticism to our journey. 

Feeling stuck in a relationship or holding onto resentment from a past relationship that you can't let go of? You might like to try my 7 day free course on Releasing Relationships.  It includes Art Journaling exercises and writing prompts to help to let go with love. 

 

 

The New Rules I Live By...I'm Breaking the Old Ones!

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Paint can bring me into the micromoments like no other. For over 15 years I've studied intuition and practiced mindfulness. My first introduction to mindfulness was in undergrad at Boston University when I took a Buddhism course. My first introduction to intuitive being was at another course there called Stalking the Wild Mind. For many years I applied and learned and experienced these practices in relation to my own healing journey and as my role as therapist. It wasn't until my paint awakening happened though that I realized that my true vessel for all of these teachings is in art making and painting. What a surprise and what a gift!!! 

Available 14”x18” Acrylic on Matboard. “Life is a Surreal Dream”    Shop this painting and others here     Here are some of the new "rules" I live by: The freedom to get things dirty. The willingness to listen to what my body is telling me. The acknowledgement that my true self knows best. The radical idea that the answers I need are within me. The magical perspective that everything happens in the right timing. The surrendering practice of expressing, trusting and feeling as the gateway to connection and meaning. The life-changing phenomenon that whatever is in me can be expressed creatively in front of me. And so many more . . . If you enjoyed this and are looking to bring more compassion and self love into your life, you might like my free restorative yoga class that you can do at home, from bed!  

Available 14”x18” Acrylic on Matboard. “Life is a Surreal Dream” 

 

Shop this painting and others here

 

 

Here are some of the new "rules" I live by:
The freedom to get things dirty.
The willingness to listen to what my body is telling me.
The acknowledgement that my true self knows best.
The radical idea that the answers I need are within me.
The magical perspective that everything happens in the right timing.
The surrendering practice of expressing, trusting and feeling as the gateway to connection and meaning.
The life-changing phenomenon that whatever is in me can be expressed creatively in front of me.
And so many more . . .
If you enjoyed this and are looking to bring more compassion and self love into your life, you might like my free restorative yoga class that you can do at home, from bed!