I went out for my walk by the sea this morning knowing I have limited time to get shit done before picking up my son from nursery and I was scrambling in my head for a blog post. My walk is meant to be part of my self care routine as is my practise of centring prayer, which didn’t get done this morning because I slept in. So the morning had kicked off with a ton of whingeing and hustling and patience practised through gritted teeth.
I dropped the children to school, bundled myself off, called a friend to catch up on her life and walked the beach. Once my chat was done, I thought, I should go home, I should get writing, if I stay out I’ll be short on time….
But I kept walking and turned it into a meditation. Centring prayer is the practise of letting go of thoughts that come and returning to an intentional open hearted place using a sacred word, allowing the Divine to be present and do what He/She does without attaching to an outcome. It’s just as difficult as that sounds.
Fr. James Finley tells of a workshop he gave on centring prayer to a group of religious sisters and after the session, one of the sisters came up to him quite distressed and said ‘Oh Father Finley, I had to use my sacred word a thousand times!’ To which he replied, ‘How wonderful! You turned to God a thousand times.’ This story makes me feel a lot better.
So there I was saying my sacred word quite frequently, and trying to let go every time my head said ‘what about this for that blog post?’ Gradually, my monkey mind quietened and I started to notice the beach and the tide coming in and the sea birds playing in the breeze and the sea glass dotted along the shore, all the time coming back to my sacred word as an invitation for Divine presence.
I found one piece and it looked so pretty that I took a photo and then I continued my walk. Then I thought I should go back and pick it up and take it home. Perhaps I could start a collection of little green treasures from the beach. So I retraced my steps and could I find that little piece of green? Could I heck.
And then it hit me; you can’t find joy in the past. There is no point wishing for the life you could have had, or the treasure you wish you’d kept. It’s gone. That was then, this is now. But the beauty is that there is always more joy where that came from and all we need to do is take the time to notice, and accept it.
Abundance is everywhere. All is grace. From the sea birds dancing on the wind, to the racing inward tide to the little shards of broken glass made smooth by the work of the water.
Life can be hard. There are days when darkness descends and it can be hard to find the energy to look. But the treasure is there, even in small quantities, all we need to do is notice and accept it.