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A Greater Purpose Afoot

God, Goddess and all that represents love and light hear this prayer.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Serenity Prayer

Today I ask for awareness to remember to stay in the present, using my breath as the anchor it is.

Today I ask for patience as I discern where I place my attention.

Today I connect with my heart and believe there is a greater purpose afoot.

Today is a day of waiting. I created a list of stress-relieving techniques years ago so I could refer to it with ease. It is available on my website at:

Dr. Bert Pepper, a clinical psychiatrist, teaches a 30-second exercise called Quieting Response. QR is a way to calm yourself. The QR uses the common elements of different kinds of yoga and meditation. Practiced repeatedly, it will probably reduce your stress level. Doing it more than once will be more effective. This is an excerpted from one of his article’s in Psychology Today:

Many years ago, while studying meditation and self-hypnosis, I learned how to bring myself rather quickly into a state of physical and emotional relaxation. I also bought an electronic watch with an hourly chime. The chime reminded me to practice the QR every hour. That repetitive training led, after many months, to the QR kicking in automatically whenever my body got tense. Here's an explanation of how the QR works and why it can be important. The first time you practice QR, you may want to have another person coach you with the instructions.
Sit comfortably, feet flat on the floor, hands relaxed on your thighs.
Close your eyes and keep them closed for the next minute.
Take a deep breath, hold it, and make a fist with your dominant hand.
Exhale slowly as you imagine a horizontal line or zone of relaxation on your chest.
While you exhale slowly, imagine the line move down your body, from chest to belly, to thighs, legs, ankles, to feet. As you exhale, gradually relax your fist.
That’s it. Sit quietly for a moment, feel your body. Now, try it again, just once or twice.
Do not expect immediate results. Results require practice. Fortunately, this is not nearly as hard as learning to play the violin, which requires years of daily practice.
When you have practiced QR for a while you may notice your feet tingling, a hallmark of relaxed feet.
Life is rhythmic. There are several intrinsic rhythms that regulate the human body. Each is based on a repetitive cycle of tension-relaxation, tension-relaxation. The most obvious rhythm is the heartbeat.
The rhythm we can consciously control is our breathing. This is another muscular tension-relaxation cycle. Use the mantra: “Follow the breath” as you practice.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. I was so present today and some last week to how much I love both poles of experience here in the world. That deep kind of peace and love that we can experience in meditation is really important. It’s crucial and vital. But I also love the swirl, intensity and opportunity of being alive. I’m so hungry to learn things and do things. I’m watching all my thoughts. I’m wondering why that is this way or I’d like to do that or maybe I should call a friend to see how she’s doing. That’s part of life too. It’s not about putting one above the other, but about bringing them together. To bring the light and love into this extraordinary intensity of everything that is happening and available to us now in the present day, every direction we can send our minds and grow, and the possibilities of focusing our attention and energy on the things we care about. It makes me happy and vitally alive.

  • Thank you for this exercise this morning, and the tips for managing stress. Wonderful timing. While I was meditating, I was picturing us all on a pleasure boat on a lake. No one was talking. Normally, when you are with a group of people, everyone is yakking it up. But we were all just being and experiencing the morning on the water. There was so much peace there. I liken it to this group and how we are: we can be quiet with each other; we can also share. There is an easiness and peace, a power and unity of us all meditating at the same time. Thank you for offering up this space for us.

  • When you did that exercise with the fist, it reminded me of an exercise I used to use to coach pregnant women through labor. I’d say pain is like a constriction, a contraction. Picture the pain being a fist, and open up and let it go. Consciously, let it go. Today is a pregnant pause. Last night, my son moved out. The energy of the house today feels so different, a pregnant pause in my house, in the country, in the universe as we are all just waiting.

  • One of the things that used to bother me in the past—I called myself an episodic meditator—I’d go to a retreat center like Rowe and meditate for a couple of days and then take a few years off. I never really felt that I was doing it right. Today, I’m wearing my Muse biofeedback device which I find is helping me. It indirectly measures my heart rate, and one of the exciting things is that it showed me during the meditation that my resting heart rate drops about three points. Not only are we doing great things for our spirit by meditating here, we are doing great things for our body. Thank you.

  • This exercise reminded me of a technique a therapist taught me for relaxing. I’m glad to be reminded. I’ve been debating about buying a biofeedback device. Maybe I don’t need it because I can do this exercise for relaxing. During the meditation, I did the QR and I felt incredibly peaceful at the end. I felt like I went into a self-hypnotic meditative state where I felt very calm and peaceful. Thank you so much. It is what I need today to stay in that calmness.

  • My images had to do with water as well. Mine was the ocean. I always do a mantra “flower fresh, mountain strong, ocean deep.” As I sank into the idea of ocean deep, I realized that’s where the calm was. There can be all sorts of things going on on the surface, but being down within it, within our meditation. This is the way I want to feel all day today, regardless of the waves crashing on the beach and things going on and boats bobbing. The other image I got was the Red Sea parting, and everyone just marching across to whatever’s on the other side. And there’s all the sea on either side. That’s what I wish for all of us today, is peace, and let’s just get to the other side.

  • I don’t think in images when we are meditating, but phrases. What came to me today was that we are here to help, not to hate.

  • It’s such a comfort everyday that we will be here tomorrow. Thank you for being with me yesterday. I didn’t feel as alone. My heart is with everyone as well. I can feel it when someone is in pain. My heart goes straight to them.

  • I started on this journey to feel. And because I’ve accepted that, I had a choice to either feel today or make French toast. I chose feeling. I watched the news last night and am going to help in the polls tonight. I sat down and took a slow start to the morning, and this amazing, immense sadness is just rising up. I think it is acceptance. Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day working on acceptance. And if it goes bad, it just means we are going to just have more pain and hopefully the suffering will bring a greater peace. It’s been fairly easy to stay in that. Today, it’s been like, okay, you can be in acceptance but here’s what you are accepting. There’s fear in there. So I appreciate being able to cocoon here and have my feelings and know that I am not alone. And I can get up and do the next right thing and start to breathe and take care of myself, and by a light of hope, I am okay. What’s true is that I am okay sitting in moments of the despair. I’m going to feel that today and then I’m going to get up and take care of what needs to be taken care of and come back to the open heart. Thank you for this opportunity.

  • Thank you for this group. I’ve wanted so much to start my day with you all because it’s such a momentous and scary day. I had a friend call me last night who literally could not catch her breath. Now I’m going to share this exercise with her, and I’m going to do it all day.

  • The remark of the Red Sea reminded me of the August 25 blog about how the Red Sea actually parted. It was so amazing. One of the incredible things about this group is that, while taking care of our spiritual needs, we learn so much as well.

  • The image I had was of my heart as a fist. That’s a visualization I can use, of opening up my heart.

  • It’s about remaining in an open heart and choosing an open heart today. Normally, when I’m watching the returns of an election, I’m looking at the map and I’m looking at all the numbers. Today, I’ve been guided to not only look at the results—and I too have that intense energy today—but also to experience the transformational energy of this day. This day will be a transformative day, historically for our country and personally for every single person who lives here. I want to tune in energetically as well as mathematically today and in the days to come.

  • You just named something I needed named. When we started the meditation, I looked like I was in a cocoon. Yes, it is transformative today. Thank you for the reminder.

  • My meditation was powerful. The words that sifted up to the surface were ‘fierce courage’. That we all hold a fierce courage, no matter what.

  • I wish you all a courageous day, a transformative day, with awareness, gentleness. Cocoon if you need to. And remember your heart and this community holds us, absolutely holds us. Thank you.

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