I am feeling in a reflective mood these days. I have been working quite hard lately and over the last several weekends have had a lot of time to interact with some wonderful folks and to create sacred space for retreat. So knowing that next week brings another amazing time of immersion with wonderful folks and creative expression, my inner hermit is asking for some nurture. The news about Tune adds to my desire to just be still with her, to simply relish the unfolding of each moment.
At my work with the Ignatian Spirituality Center we offer some programs through a wonderful place called the Recovery Cafe, serving people with various addictions. The last couple of weeks I have had the gift of simply attending one of our programs and being present to the community there. On the very first day as we were invited to share our image of God or our Higher Power with each other, one of the participants said that he doesn’t pray to God, he prays in God. If God is not some distant figure in the sky then there is no “to” necessary in prayer. I was so touched by this simple shift in language. I have long experienced and believed in a God who is closer to us than ourselves, and yet this reframing of the words I use was gift. I now find myself praying in God throughout each moment, breathing in grace, breathing out peace.
In our introductions, people shared some of their own struggles to recover from various addictions. I shared that my father was addicted to alcohol, gambling, and sex, and so I had experienced intimately the affects of addiction on a life. I sat with that word “recovery” and discovered within it the word “recover.” We are all on a journey of trying to recover something essential about ourselves that has become distorted or lost. My recovery may not be from alcohol or drugs, but I am trying to recover many other things I have lost.
What are you trying to recover these days of spring abundance?
What would it mean for you to pray in God rather than to God? What difference might that make?
Make sure to visit the wonderful and amazing Poetry Party this week!
© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
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PS — thanks lucy, the image was sheer grace, I was paying attention. :-)
Such beautiful responses here.
Jane, I love use of the word Godde as a bridge between God and Goddess, I will have to ponder that one. Do you have a post somewhere you explain the process behind coming to this?
kigen, yes, it is indeed mutual isn’t it — we pray in God, God prays in us.
Wes, thanks for sharing those things you seek to recover, “Vision for right living” especially touched me today, I think there is something for me there.
Siosa, recovering trust and safe within, beautiful.
Suz, the breath just becomes more and more profound to me in each day.
lucy, I do remember that now, perhaps it planted the seed for me. Yes, Recovery Cafe is alive and well and living in a temporary space downtown while renovating their new home which will be the Fairview Club on Denny and Fairview. In fact I am leading an Advent Art Series there in December you may want to help me facilitate. :-)
btw–that image is phenomenal. it may be in your top five!!
the workshop i attended at SDI on hasidism used exactly that premise “we are IN god.” there is no separation. powerful stuff. thank you for this reminder.
so much has touched me with this post. i have long been drawn to the idea of the recovery cafe. for some reason i thought it closed. i am glad to see not. let’s talk :-)
and what am i trying to recover? oh my…be prepared, dear friend… xoxoxo
Thank, Christine, for a lovely meditation. I especially loved your words of praying in grace and praying out peace…just think of all those millions of prayers that go out to the whole world, just by praying out on each breath.
I gave it a try…and I hope to continue.
I had a priest friend who used to interpret “Be still and know that I am God” as meaning God lives in all of us. We are each a bit of God, I suppose like being Christ’s body in the world.
Just free-floating here :-)
In, within, God – thank you. I am seeking to recover trust, yet again, and practicing resurrection in the sense of working despite not trusting, perhaps that is working within God – that whatever is without or that I am without, I am still within, safe within.
What a simple, but fundamental shift the word “in” brings. Beautiful sharing Christine, thank you.
The gifts of the Spirit so often come from those broken open. I am grateful you opened yourself to this community in recovery. Praying in God requires I get centered…be in God in awareness…let that being in God shift most of my thoughts, perspectives and energy in some fashion…and then offer something of myself instead of request something from God.
I seek to recover my intuition; my energy; my vision for right living.
I remember a priest saying, We don’t pray to God, “God prays in us!” But I seem to keep forgetting that, and your post brought it back. Thanks.
Thanks for a beautiful reflection, Christine. I will reflect later toward an answer to your question, but for now, let me say that I love the language of “praying in God (or Godde, as I prefer to spell the Name). It makes a lot of sense.