A prayer for recovery, courage, discovery, and getting lost

beacon_hill_cliff

In a world choking on technology,
help me lift my head, walk outdoors, 
and breathe through my heels.

In a world crusted over by the religions of rote,
let me sit in a park, speak plain with my brother,
and drink to the mysteries joining souls and spirits.

In a moralizing world, stark with method and system,
let me rest in the simple, original good I came with,
and rediscover the naïve innocence of a seeing heart.

In a culture enthralled by image,
give me simple, comfortable shoes that fit
—so well as to forget my feet.

In the reductions of our visual culture,
reignite my imagination with poems of red wagons
and white chickens and the slung bellies of cows.

Give courage to stand against a world made violent
by envy and resentment, and monstrous egos—
strength to stand and not shoot back.

In a world herded by silly fascinations,
give me a profound capacity
for ignorance.

Help me accept “yes”, “no”, “now”, “not yet”,
for who knows that today’s “no” brings tomorrow’s “yes”?
or today’s “not yet”, tomorrow’s “now”?

May I learn to live serenely, sincerely, without thought of guarantee,
not in some illusory world, before or beyond this given day,
but here, right now, with you.

Remove my appetite for self-improvement, self-fulfillment, self-actualization,
it all seems so tiresome and vain,
replace it with an ability to waste time in some splendid unconscious purpose.

Help me release questions of death—I have no power to change anything.
Help me release the fears of life, befriend uncertainty, and recline
in the throat of a daffodil—I have no motive to rage against dying light.

Give me strength to survive my failures—
more strength,
to survive my successes.

At dawn may I rise in the budding of self-blessing,
irresistibly compelled to honour all others,
as Divinity itself.

Bring the warm-cool rains, 
draw me inexplicably into obedience to Love,
and let Love act in me without impediment.

And may this stumbling prayer toward “the way of peace”,
never tempt me to suppose it an object
of attainment or spiritual merit…instead

let me lose myself in the spring green of poplar,
in old hollows that whistle in wind,
in the patter of a farmer’s market,
in the smell of fresh tomatoes,
in harmony with this turning earth—
and Creation find me with hands folded,
when addressed by sparrows.


14 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this today and not tomorrow and not yesterday. Today – right now – I needed something to soothe my aching heart and your words drew me inexplicably to peace. Thank you.

  2. There seems a madness, here in the United States these days, and sometimes it is difficult to turn away and turn back to Love. Your words were like a long, deep breath of relaxation and an invitation to trust. Thank you, Stephen.

  3. “… profound capacity for ignorance…”
    “… obedience to Love…”
    These two particularly caught my attention today. Thanks.

  4. Stephen,
    I hope you don’t mind, but I recently shared this prayer/poem with a group of students that were part of a science and sustainability academy in the Rockies. Most were from urban settings, so the wildness of the landscape was disorienting to them, but not as much, perhaps, as the inability to connect to the internet or get a cell phone signal!

    We spend a week of trying to connect — not to electrons and ones and zeroes, but to the landscape and to each other. Monitoring biodiversity and talking about cultural differences, thinking of challenges facing the planet – the type of challenges that are truly important.

    So reading this poem about getting lost seemed perfect for those closing moments together. Thank you for providing the appropriate words.

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