I’ve only recently discovered the incredible thing that is the body, mind and spirit connection. I’ve heard about it for years, but I was either too lazy or too….something….to see if it had any real substance.
Well, it does and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never felt better.
So, since early this summer, I’ve been applying this new-agey wellness mindset to my everyday life: I go to work and then come home and write (mind), I make every effort to walk two to three miles a day (body) and I go to church to sit a meditate (spirit).
Now, I know I can meditate anywhere, but there’s a lovely church near River Oaks, which is a very affluent neighborhood here in Houston. St. Michael’s is the home of some very wealthy Houstonians and the lay out of the church reflects the generosity of its parishioners. Lots o’checks in those collection plates, apparently. I say that because this church is amazing!! We’re talking pricey appointments. It has a 50-foot ceiling and on either side of the sanctuary are these massive floor to ceiling stain glass windows. I love going in there in the early to mid afternoon. The church is cold and dark and the sun offers the only light. It surges through the windows, throwing prismatic colors against the floor and nearby pews. It makes St. Mickey’s a great place to contemplate; to resolve….to pray.
This morning, I awoke early as I usually do and after schlepping around the house waiting for the sun to rise, I decided to do my meditating first so I was out the door by 8 am.
But alas…there was a morning mass I didn’t account for and I walked in during the middle of it. The church is filled with dark plaid uniformed tykes, all students of the St. Michael’s school, K-8, thank you very much, their teachers and a few parents. Now, it is true, I am Catholic, but it is also true that I don’t necessarily practice full-blown Catholicism. Instead, I’ve developed my own constructs which have been honed by time, experience and education. Make no mistake–I have a distinct faith that a Higher Power doth exist, but my version is far less boxed in and confined and much more dimensional than the religion of my childhood would have me believe. This system works for me. Me. No one else. Just me.
I should also add that I’m not a regular mass goer either, but since I was already there, I decided, “What the hell? Might as well stay.” Besides, I felt I should pray for all the crazy loons and sinners in my life, that there be rain…and lots of it here in drought-riddled Texas and for the firefighters plagued by wildfires they’re ill-equipped to battle. I also wanted to be magnanimous: I wanted to pray for the personal Axis of Evil in my life (aka: all of my exes).
So, I sat there and did what Catholics do. I recited all the responsorials like rote and I did all of the Catholic calisthenics required: I stood, I sat, I genuflected, knelt, made the sign of the cross, shook hands…I nodded.
The communion portion of Mass for the not so committed, can kinda/sorta be like an ecclesiastical version of half-time, so I left early, but fear not, I got a few prayers in. Because of my new-found sense of self, direction and my place in the world, I’ve learned to pray differently. I now know that praying is as much a pep talk and an optimism infuser as it is actually asking for Divine assistance. With the exception of praying for rain over a devastated state of Texas, I’m in control. The reality is, God isn’t magic. In other words, I help make it happen. I know what I want; I’m learning what I need and I’m also learning the role I have to play in getting the desired response, i.e., getting my prayers answered. I increase my odds of that happening by being pro-active.
George prayed every day for three years to win the lottery, but never heard from God nor did he ever hit the jackpot. Finally, God woke him up in the middle of the night. “George, is that you who’s been praying so hard to win the lottery?” the Supreme Being boomed.
“Yes, Lord, I’ve been praying desperately! I really…REALLY want to win!!!”
God paused for a moment, then said thoughtfully, “Well, if that’s the case, George, I’ll tell you what. If want you to win, you have to meet me halfway. Buy a ticket already, OK?”