Getting Ready from the Inside Out
Q. Dear Sister Alma Rose — I am a faithful reader of Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word, and you have convinced me of the importance of frequent prayer and meditation; but I am having trouble finding the time! It is always rush-rush-rush in the morning and rush-rush-rush in the evening, and, by the time the children are asleep, I’m wiped out. Can you give me some advice? — Signed, Pooped in Ponca City
A. Dear Pooped — Even if y’all have time during y’all’s work day to meditate, which Sister Alma Rose is intuiting y’all haven’t got on account of it looks like y’all’s modus operandi is rush-rush-rush (but in any event, see Sister Alma Rose’s Lunchtime Meditation and Sister Alma Rose’s Walking Meditation featuring Fats Domino), it is always a good idea to start the day with prayer and meditation. Maybe, if y’all did that, y’all would be calm and focused enough to ambulate purposefully instead of rush-rush-rushing, which, Sister Alma Rose supposes, involves hurried and inadequate nourishment and the inability to find y’all’s keys or a pair of clean undies, and so forth.
Sister Alma Rose also supposes that y’all find time to brush y’all’s teeth before y’all leave the house, and y’all probably scrub too hard and when y’all get a little older the dentist will say that y’all have damaged y’all’s gums and tooth enamel what with all that scrubbing. In any event, Sister Alma Rose is certain that y’all would be more READY to start your day after prayer and meditation than after hasty and perhaps harmful tooth-brushing.
Sister Alma Rose is a great believer in ritual. A ritual is one step up from a routine. A ritual is a routine infused with sacred purpose. Sister Alma Rose’s ritual infuses her entire day with sacred purpose — not, perhaps, so’s anyone could see it from the outside. Y’all wouldn’t look at Sister Alma Rose bustling about at 2 in the afternoon and be saying to yourself, “Goodness, how I admire the way Sister Alma Rose infuses her day with sacred purpose.” Nevertheless, Sister Alma Rose is always (usually) conscious of the presence of the Almighty in each action and in every encounter. At least that is her intention.
Sister Alma Rose calls her morning ritual “getting ready from the inside out.” She begins by (1) feeding and tending to her spirit, through prayer and meditation. Then she (2) feeds and tends to her body — by performing her morning ablutions, eating a healthful breakfast, and going for a walk. Then she (3) feeds and tends to any who are in her care. (When Cousin Dulcie is staying with Sister Alma Rose, which is frequently, they have their healthful breakfast and go for their walk together.) Then she (4) tends to her environment, doing whatever tidying up and washing up and pulling of noxious weeds, and so forth, are necessary.
Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer and Meditation
One of the fine advantages of a routine or a ritual is that it’s somewhat automatic. Y’all don’t have to waste time and tempt Satan’s spawn whose name is Procrastination by deciding what needs to be done and in what order. Imagine if, every time y’all got in the car to go somewheres, y’all had to figure out how to drive all over again. Fortunately for most of us, driving is routine.
Routines and rituals need to be reexamined now and again to make sure they’re still serving their purpose. For prayer, Sister Alma Rose makes use of (and has for a good length of time made use of) a Prayer Pattern. At the same location as the prayer pattern are (1) music that Sister Alma Rose likes to pray to and (2) the names of the folks she’s praying for.
Sister Alma Rose prays for a great number of people. Sometimes she does an imaging sort of prayer wherein she feels divine love and healing entering through a white light as she inhales, and when she exhales she expresses her prayer for each person by a warm light that reaches from her heart to the other person’s heart. Sometimes she pictures those she prays for standing in the Valley of the Sunrise as the first morning rays cleanse and sanctify each of them. Sometimes Sister Alma Rose, herself, glows with golden healing light as she embraces each person with that light.
Y’all are welcome to use Sister Alma Rose’s prayer page, adding the names of the sick and suffering so that all who visit that page can pray for them too. (See “Request Prayer and Pray for Others” below.)
Sister Alma Rose does not intend for y’all to put “prayer and meditation” on a checklist and then DO prayer and meditation and then cross it off your list and forget about it. There is great need and there are many opportunities to refresh y’all’s spirit during the day, even if it’s when y’all are waiting in line or stuck in traffic. It takes less time and energy, and it is more productive of peace and harmony, to pray serenely when y’all are stopped at a red light and the driver in front of y’all — who presumably was able to procure a driver’s license for her broom only by casting a powerful spell upon the DMV personnel — is looking into the rear-view mirror and applying lipstick when the light changes, and is no more cognizant that the light has changed than she is that the earth is revolving around the sun at a speed of 18.5 miles per second — than it is to honk the horn and flip her off. Sister Alma Rose knows this to be true. She has tried it both ways. To this day, she occasionally croaks “ribbit” for no apparent reason, always at inappropriate times, as if there were an appropriate time to croak “ribbit” when one is a respectable lady in the prime of one’s life.
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