The word “sacred” itself conjures all kinds of thoughts, ideas, and meanings. Sometimes these are good, rich, and beautiful; other times, not so much. I’m committed to the former. Even more, I’m committed to healing the latter, to redefining the sacred. You get to make it your own, to imbue meaning into any and everything that helps you discover the sacred within. And that – the sacred within – is the most divine thing you could possibly do.
Every Monday this month, I’m looking at various aspects of the sacred and inviting you to redefine them for yourself. Because you can. Because you must. Because the sacred is you, you know. The real, holy you. And you matter. A lot.
It’s official definition? 1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship. 2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
For many, many years I wrote out my prayers. Different forms, to be sure. Sometimes just lists – people, situations, hopes, desires. Other times, full-on narratives in directed language to God. Later and lately, far more informally, in trust and belief that my journaling itself was prayer.
But as my understanding and definition of God changed, prayer became a more difficult practice for me. To whom was I praying? And if not God, or not known, did it matter? If I prayed – even without having a subject/object to whom my prayer was directed, was I somehow reverting to old beliefs that no longer served me? And even if I could put all of these things to the side, my doubt would often get the best of me: was anyone listening? Did my prayers make a bit of difference – for me, let alone others?
Perhaps you can relate.
This is, at least in part, why it is so incredibly important that we redefine the sacred for ourselves, on our own terms.
To be removed from experiences of the sacred, even the Divine, because of definitions, limited/limiting beliefs, even disbelief only harms us.
But when we reclaim all of this and then some for ourselves, we reclaim our very selves – which matters, a lot. Prayer is one way in which this happens at warp speed and in undeniably powerful and potent ways – especially when done your way.
To offer you perspective of exactly this, a few examples:
Here is Anne’s way (of Green Gables):
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.
And here is Anne’s way (of Lamott):
…you might shout at the top of your lungs or whisper into your sleeve, “I hate you, God.” That is a prayer too, because it is real, it is truth, and maybe it is the first sincere thought you’ve had in months.
This is the way of Thérèse de Lisieux:
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.
The way of Franz Kafka:
Prayer means casting oneself into the miraculous rainbow that stretches between becoming and dying, to be utterly consumed in it, in order to bring its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one’s own existence.
And the way of Virginia Woolf (from In the Lighthouse):
Pray heaven that the inside of my mind may not be exposed.
There are as many ways to pray (all equally valid, beautiful, and worthy) as there are people.
One of the templates I learned long, long ago was the acronym ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Yes, there was loads of meaning within each of these based on my system of beliefs; but when taken as invitational form and structure, they offer something lovely and wise – even now, even still.
- What if you experienced “spiritual communion with God or an object of worship” through your articulated expression of adoration, deep love, and respect?
- What if you confessed the things that sadden you about your own behavior, your self-talk, your lack of self-love, all that breaks your heart in our larger world?
- What if you expressed (and expressed and expressed) your thanksgiving? Would you ever stop once started?
- What if you articulated all that you long for, your supplication to the Universe, to Spirit, to God/dess, to Love itself?
And what if you did this without ceasing? I have to believe that doing such just might change everything.
You have permission.
So…do exactly this!
Carve out some time this week to pray – reclaiming the practice (and the sacred) for yourself – on your own terms, in your own ways, through your own lens, on behalf of your own experience. Because you can. Because you must. Because the sacred is you, you know. The real, holy you. And you matter. A lot.
Next week, Part 3 – Text
The most powerful way in which a woman experiences the sacred on her terms is when she becomes more and more of her (sacred) self: confident, strong, vulnerable, tender, all of these and then some. There is nothing I want more than for you to know and experience exactly this. Which is why it’s what I talk about – and offer – over and over (and over) again. Learn more: www.ronnadetrick.com/start-here
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