Come Come Whoever you are...
When I breath in, I'll breath in peace...
From You I receive...
These are the first lines to some of my favorite UU hymns. They both express a metaphorical image of my own theology, and provide a grounding chant when I feel overwhelmed by pain or a disconnection from the sacred.
I with be gentle with myself, I will love myself
I am a child of the universe, being born each moment.
This is a song that I share with others, or use during moments of doubt for myself. The second line is most important as It affirms the inherent worth and dignity of each human being, and the importance of learning and growing as our salvation.
These songs, and many others, form a sound track to my life, and are a spiritual practice that is both practical and mystical. Singing is a spiritual practice that I can engage in alone or with others, in my car, teaching new songs to young people, or just breaking into song with who-ever will join me!
Rituals that are deep with symbolism, ranging from the ritual of lighting a UU Chalice, to the ritual of planting seedlings in the spring, are also spiritual practices that I may go to the congregation to share, or do with family members. The candle-light service on Christmas eve is an important experience and when friends or family are gathered we say a blessing over our meal. Prayers are becoming an ever more important part of any important occasion as I expand my understanding of what is a prayer, and why we pray. For instance, a yoga posture flow, done with deep attention, counts as a prayer in my book!
Tarot and Collage
While singing and ritual are shared by many, interacting with images on cards, such as the Tarot cards, is a more personal practice for me. I started studying the symbolism and stories embedded in the art and history of Tarot when I was a teenager and have never stopped finding new insights, and applying old insights, from the cards. My studies of the Tarot have given me insights into the mythologies of western Europe, Christianity, and with the advent of reinventions of cards based on the Tarot tradition, into Neo-Pagan, Feminist, and Jungian world views. The myth and the story in the Tarot help to lead me (and others) into deeper knowing of ourselves. Creating "soul cards" or other image-based story-starters help me to unfocus my rational eye and relate to truth in new, softer, (and often deeper) ways.
The ocean, the forest, a labyrinth outside, someone's amazing garden, a bell pepper, a stone. Each of these places and things help me to center and deepen and connect with the sacred.
Though I am not a regular participant in Yoga, I have internalized the sun salute posture flow as a meditative technique. When possible, I will actually stand up and complete it. When that isn't an option, I will do the breathing and complete the postures in my mind's eye. I love to dance, all types, from swing dance to NIA to dancing in front of my WII. Dance connects and energizes me.