During this week of Easter, with Beltane quickly approaching, my children and I have been focused, perhaps even more than usual, on living meaningfully and new beginnings. This probably sounds more profound than it is. It's not. It all started with cleaning the house, throwing sh** out (excuse me, 'recycling') and consciously trimming down.
Spirituality is part of daily life here in Mac-Ski Land. Not the structured-organized-religion-type of spirituality that my husband and I grew up with and still admire, but a more visceral and immediate spirituality that keeps nudging and pushing and clobbering us over the head until we pay attention to it, kind of spirituality.
It goes something like this: clean up, simplify, see beauty in the everyday, love deeply, be thankful, appreciate life (that includes the environment which we have an obligation to keep healthy), intend to do good (then follow through and actually do it).
Sounds preachy. It isn't. It's pretty self-centered actually, but I digress.
I am currently writing an adventure-romance that has myth, magic and pagan spirituality as a back-drop, sort of the way Christianity is the back-drop for Raiders of the Lost Ark. So I sent away for some information from one of the modern Druid societies. My son and I were reading the information they sent to help inspire me while writing my current pages. (An alternative and perhaps more valid reading of these events involves my continued ability to procrastinate whenever I sit down to write...but that's another blog).
Another piece of this involves my continued search for ways our family can help the environment, even if only by using fewer resources and conserving the ones we have. This has been a constant theme so its energy is ever present permeating the collective consciousness of our household.
So, getting back to my story...
My 12 year old son who makes connections that boggle my mind, and does it with lightning speed, said to me: "You know how you always tell me that saying 'Thank You' is a prayer..." (and for the reader I had forgotten this 'always' conversation so I nodded with parental certainty and answered "yes")
Then he followed with: "So, is saying 'I love you' a prayer too?"
WOW. Neither an under-graduate degree in philosophy, nor five years of Catholic school and daily mass (I'm not Catholic by the way) nor a life-time of UCC attendance quite prepared me for that one.
Then the skies opened (figuratively) time stood still and I heard "ahhh" resonating through my synapses. The answer I gave? A resounding "YES".
The Pagans got this one right.
At least the modern Druids seem to on the face of their statement about who they are, which my son was reading at the time. That statement embodies in part: Love of Life, Love of People, Love of Environment, Peace & Justice, Beauty, Reverence for Ancestors & Story & Myth, among others. (To a writer, this is like crack...again I digress).
My son put all the pieces together and wove them into a thing of beauty I couldn't consciously contemplate in my frenetic and sometimes disjointed life. And he did it in less than a second. Talk about reality check. Time to slow-down,see the interconnectedness of life and smell-the-roses-stupid (that's me I'm referring to).
So here's what I came up with when my son-induced AH-HA moment smucked me up-side the head.
When we say or think "I love..." we are in fact saying we inherently have the capacity to love and that capacity (I would argue) is a gift to be thankful for. We are also saying: I am worthy of giving love and I am worthy of receiving it. Again, something to be grateful for; a prayer of thanksgiving or simply an expression of joy for being alive. (Same thing. Different name.)
If this all seems a little convoluted perhaps I should say it's all connected. I suggested early on to my children that when they pray they start with: "Thank you for..." instead of starting with "Please let...X...happen". They can always ask for "X" after they indicate their initial thanks for being here as long as they end with 'Thank you'; sort of a 'Thank You' sandwich if you will. So now 'Thank You' has become a prayer of gratefulness and they self-identify as praying several times a day (some call it meditation or simply being present and aware of the moment).
My son took it a step farther, enlightening me, and strangely or not, making my universe a happier place by reminding me that Love, no matter what its form, is sacred and a reason for rejoicing in the everyday.
Love as Prayer. Love as Mediation & Meditation. Love as the Ultimate Expression of Life.
Wow, I CAN slow down and listen to the birds and smell the flowers and be thankful for the people who enrich my life and for the peace my home and my environment bring me. I got that part of being alive right. The work of the day is important, but it's secondary to the purpose of the day. This I learned by paying attention to my children. (Can hardly wait to find out what my grand-children will hit me with!)
What a wonderful reason to glory in story-telling and to write romance. It's all connected.
Thank You, my son, for asking the question. I Love You. (AMEN. So-Mote-it-Be & Blessings.)
My wish for all of you: Happy Writing, Happy Living and Much Love. And may you all have someone in your lives who asks thoughtful questions.