Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tools of the Trade: unnecessary but nice

This is where I usually meditate.

The table was made by a local craftsman who used a piece of mahogany my deceased brother Greg gave me over 30 years ago. We call it Greg's memorial table.

In front of the table are my Zafu meditation cushion and a prayer rug made by my husband Bill's father.

On the table are two photos. One of my deceased daughter Francesca, and one of my son Thomas and his little family.

Not shown is a meditation shawl brought back to me from India by a dear Yogi friend.

I have several other places where I can meditate which I shall show in future posts. My husband calls our home, Beryl's Monastery.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A good day to start

For more than 30 years I've been journaling, charting the daily thoughts and happenings in my life but, until today, I'd never considered the option of writing a public journal about my efforts to live a God-centered life.

So here goes. Day one.

Though I've spent most of my life searching for God: rising daily intending to make my day one of praise, I continue to retire every night having to accept the poverty of my efforts.

This morning for example, I woke to the sound of thunder and dashed downstairs to my office to unplug my computer. As I entered the room, a bolt of lightening thrust itself into the lake and I sent a quick plea heavenwards that it would stay on the lake and keep a safe distance from my house -- at least until I got the appropriate electric cables, phone and satellite, disconnected. Having done so, I went back upstairs to begin my 40 minutes of silent meditation.

After all these years, one would think that I've gotten this morning schedule thing down pat but I'm still working on it. Almost daily I debate the option of stretching first and then meditating or meditating first and then stretching. Stretching calms my mind, which at 5 am is already busy planning its day. Stretching helps me focus. Something to do with exerting oneself and breathing deeply. Meditating first thing in the morning, however, is the option preferred by spiritual directors.

This morning, meditating first seemed like the more viable option. I'd just experienced the creative power in an electric storm. Certainly focusing on the divine should be easy. But was it?

Of course not. My 40 minutes of silent prayer limped by as thoughts besieged me: remember to confirm lunch with Vicki, don't forget to cancel the appointment with Crystal, remember to bring wild flowers when you visit Virginia. Each time I became aware of these thoughts, I gently returned to my breath and wham, before I knew it I was thinking about the book I'm working on, structural changes to make, conflicts to include, a character's voice.

This morning I actually took a peek at my watch rather than waiting for the timer to chime the end of my session. 35 minutes down. Five to go.

That's enough don't you think, I told myself (and God). Got such a busy day. Better get my stretching done while there's still time.

And, dear God, please help me to remember to remember you throughout this day because I need your help. Desperately. Thank you.

About Me

My photo
Beryl is the author of The Scent of God: A Memoir published by Counterpoint NY in 2006 and A View of the Lake published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. in 2001. She’s been living on Lake Superior for seventeen wonderful years, and spent 10 years writing two popular columns for the Cook County News Herald: Newcomer Notes and Putting Down Roots. Beryl is past president of the Schroeder Area Historical Society and a long-time chair of its Oral History and Marketing committees. She is a past board member of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais and committee member for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s first ever annual North Shore Reader and Writers Festival. She’s been published in the Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, and The Trenton Times and in the anthologies, Surviving Ophelia published by Perseus Publications in 2001 and The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2, published by Scarletta Press in 2008 and was named Best of Minnesota Writers by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third memoir: the sequel to The Scent of God.