The Ancients’ Sunne Meditation

Sister Alma Rose begins each day praising God and watching the sun rise, unless it is raining. Sister Alma Rose did not just fall off the turnip truck. 

Sunne, sign of Holy God, symbol of hope; proof of renewal,
you hover beneath the horizon, invisible but for the glory of
lavender radiance bleaching the shadow away. This is the
loveliest time-this sweet waiting, this breathless ephemeral
moment, as ray upon ray paints the sky. Soon comes the day.

In the predawn have a score of antiphonal songbirds begun
their effusions, for you they anticipate, faithful and sure
of their wings. “Welcome,” they sing, and the music rings
joyously, stirring the cool air still heavy with night mist.
Already delight wakes the spirits who listen and know
the serene expectation of grace.

Praise to the God who created you, Sunne; who gave you
to Earth; who made you to call forth the green shoot of
corn from the sod. When to our senses you offer the
shimmer of silver on cottonwood limbs and the fresh
lilac fragrance in May-we will remember to praise Heaven then.

Would we complain of you, distant and dim in the
wintertime, blistering delicate foliage in summer? When rose
petals wither, we say we are sick of the sight of you. We wish
for rain then. The clouds break apart, loosing superabundance,
and once again we complain, crying out, loud and strident,
“O, Sunne! Bright yellow circle of fire, sustainer of all living
things, giver of light, vanished beacon-return to us now.
Banish the rain!” But in truth you were never away.

But for you all the water would stay in the sea. But for
you there would be no refreshing and cleansing, and
all would be desert and dust and decay.

Now here at the cusp of the day, this most blessèd of interludes, we
wait to welcome you. We stand this hour with our faces turned
eastward, not taking for granted the planting, the harvest, the feast,
or the flower, the forest, the lush prairie grass.

And at last, in a fearsome display of such power and
beauty we must look away after merely a glance at the
slender curve breaching the edge of the world… at last
you emerge, and the land is awash in magnificence. Great
God, forgive us a minute’s regret for the awesome
fulfillment of promise; it’s only for loss of the willing,
sweet, soft contemplation we turn from. But with us and
in us we carry the light we inhaled in your great and triumphal

Gracious God, may that first beam’s bold brightness illuminate,
guide, and inspire us today. May we glow with your glory
and go forth with vigor and purpose, our hearts singing echoes
of songbirds in chorus and shining with love as the wheel of
the Sunne on its journey gleams warmly, benignly above.


Read about Sister Alma Rose and the Ancients in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete.
Find more prayers and meditations in Unfamiliar Territory, Vol. 1.
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Sister Alma Rose’s Prayer for a Time of Sadness

Great God, Redeemer, Our Shelter in Joy and Sadness — I read today that “sadness is a is a cleanser, a clearing, a healthy rain needed in every emotional climate…. Rejoice in the rains… of sadness. See it as part of the larger cycles. But be careful when the snake of sadness feeds upon itself, resulting in a stuck or escalating sadness that feels like emotional quicksand.” (Bradford Keeney, Shamanic Christianity, on

People bring their sadness to me. They want me to take it away. They say, “Sister Alma Rose, y’all seem happy all the time. Tell me your secret.”

O God, you know how wrong they are. I tell them, “I am not happy all the time. Who could be happy all the time when there is suffering all around? I serve where I can, I pray where I can’t.”

Sometimes I am sad. Never do I despair. Only you, God,  can see around the corners. So I ask “What if?” only when I am creating, never when I am thinking about the past or contemplating the future. I have no guilt, no regrets, no worries. You have offered to take them, by your grace. Why should I refuse such a gift?

People bring their worries to me. They say, “I pray, and God doesn’t answer.” I tell them,

Prayer’s like planting vegetable seeds.

You poke them in the ground in spring

and pull the weeds that would surround

and choke them as they germinate. In

short, you have to nourish them with

food and water; then you wait, but not

so long, it only seems that way. Be patient;

soon the strongest grow and

flower. Then a nubbin of zucchini , pepper,

bean, or pumpkin peeks out from the

foliage, and you feel like it’s your

birthday. Woe to any cheeky rabbit

who perceives a meal in store and

tries to steal your marvelous romaine

before it’s ready to be harvested. 

Some will fail, some won’t come up at

all, but they enrich the soil to nurture

seeds you plant another season.

If the seeds don’t grow the way you think

they should, is that a reason to believe that

planting seeds won’t do you
any good?

— from Unfamiliar Territory,


Sadness is one of your great gifts, I praise you for it, God. Sadness is filling, like molasses bread. It ain’t birthday cake, it ain’t strawberry fondue… but it ain’t emptiness, like depression or despair.


And like molasses bread, sadness, too shall pass. Amen.


Most of the time we cry for the things which do not cry for us.Rohit Sharma
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Read about Sister Alma Rose in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete

Sister Alma Rose’s Thought for the Day: Breathing Is Enough


Author and meditation teacher Susan Piver, on her CD Freedom from Fear, leads a very simple, very effective breathing meditation that never fails to bring peace and gratitude.

At one point she invites the meditator to pause in the little space after the “out breath” and notice how the “in breath” spontaneously arises.

What she doesn’t say is how wonderful it feels to breathe.

I am about to say something that might sound preachy. If it does, please understand that I am preaching to myself as much as I am to anyone else who is experiencing discontent.

Breathing is enough.

That’s the beauty of a breathing meditation. When we are breathing consciously, then each breath is an affirmation, a choice to be alive. And it feels so good.

Whatever might be wrong with our lives, our relationships, our health – when the house is a mess or the spouse is messing around – when we should have had the promotion someone else was given, however unjustly – when (in the words of a song called The Merry Minuet, written by Sheldon Harnick and popularized by the Kingston Trio in the 1950s) “they’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain, there’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain” – as long as we can breathe, we have a place to start.

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed – by the laundry, by global warming, by the millions of messages that bombard us every day, by our own unreasonable demands on ourselves.

When I am flinging fragments of myself throughout the cosmos, trying to solve my own and everybody else’s problems, Susan Piver, in her low, soft, reassuring voice, inevitably helps me reassemble myself in the process often called ”centering.” When life is unmanageable, sometimes all you can do is, as Anne Lamott advises, remember to breathe.

When you can be grateful for breathing, then everything else – sunlight, shelter, warmth, coffee, leftover pizza – feels like abundance.

Health, a light body, freedom from cravings, a glowing skin, sonorous voice, fragrance of body: these signs indicate progress in the practice of meditation. —The Shvetashvatara Upanishad

Photo © Luc Viatour, GFDL/CC. Text from the forthcoming book Unfamiliar Territory, Volume 2: Meditations.
Unfamiliar Territory, Volume 1: Poems, Prayers, Meditations, and Household Hints is available at


Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer: A Clean Heart

Boreinu, Our Creator…

Create in me a clean heart
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence
And take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore in me the joy of thy salvation,
And uphold me with thy free spirit.

The King James Version of the Holy Bible is the one I go to when I want to meditate upon this psalm, as I do every day, because my heart needs a good scraping every day. This is the psalm I meditate on at the dentist, Loving Boreinu, especially the “uphold me with thy free spirit” part, because, unless dear Dr. Halbach is using a chain saw, as I’m like to certain he was last Friday, though he denies it and holds up this puny little drill, not that Dr. Halbach is a mendacious individual, I wouldn’t have thought, but I know the feral grinding of a chain saw from the tap-tap-tap of a wee drill… as I say, with the exception of the chain-saw intervals, I am transported up among the clouds, floating in a stream of warm sunlight, all unaware that two or three people are jamming all manner of foreign objects into my mouth.

You make us new, Boreinu, whenever we remember to claim our innocence… created afresh, “like the tender grass, springing out of the earth, by clear shining, after rain.” Amen.

Read about Sister Alma Rose in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete, at


Sister Alma Rose’s Morning Prayer—Spiritual Astigmatism?

© Luc Viatour GFDL

To El Elyon—God Most High

My heart is full, O El Elyon — full of spring, like to bursting in the crisp early morning, softening as the sun climbs over my garden fence to kiss the seeds I poked in the crumbly earth and drenched with the water from the bottles I fill while I’m waiting for it to heat up to scour the dishes, the water I mean, precious as it is.

My heart is full and joyous. I can’t speak for everyone else’s heart. Not yet. I guess I ain’t evolved enough. Maybe next lifetime.

There’s holy men and women preaching strange and mystical precepts, and selling lots of strange and mystical books along the way. Bless their work, O El Elyon, for they have great spiritual insight, though I think maybe a couple of them is just a bit spiritually astigmatic, forgive me, God, but if I was wanting to bring folks around to my way of thinking, I probably wouldn’t start out by telling them they don’t exist. To do young Adyashanti credit, he does caution his people to “listen to the silences between the words,” where there’s more truth than in the words, as he so rightly says, but, then, he might say that truth is just a construct, which if he did, and he happened to be in my personal vicinity, I might just want to reach over and pinch him, forgive me, El Elyon.

Words, they’re slippery. Jesus, now, he tells his people they have to leave their mothers and fathers and children and all, to follow him, and give away every bit of their money and storehouses of grain and such. And I know what he means, which is much the same as Adyashanti means, which is you got to let go of yourself to find yourself. But we already knew that. Don’t we get fidgety around folks who we call “self-absorbed” and “self-conscious”? Don’t we understand that our identity resides in thee and not in our occupation, social status, height, weight, age, color, or use of earth-friendly cleaning products?

Now along comes Dr. Wayne Dyer, who’s sold a lot more books than Adyashanti, and I have seen a great deal of wisdom in those books, a great deal indeed, and I believe perhaps there is folks with mighty and awesome spiritual power who can visualize theirselves wealthy and close their eyes and say “Ahhhh” over and over for twenty minutes like somebody with a suspected case of tonsillitis, and bingo, “with no lapse in time,” the doorbell rings and it’s Michael Anthony with a check from John Beresford Tipton (and you who are praying with me this morning who don’t know who I’m talking about, just merge your mind with all the atoms and molecules and so forth of the universe, I’m sure you’ll find Michael Anthony and John Beresford Tipton in there somewhere, or you could just Google them).

So I’m asking you, El Elyon, for wisdom and discernment in this time of shall we say somewhat unfocused spiritual vibes in the universe, and meanwhile, in case you don’t hand over that wisdom and discernment “with no lapse in time,” I’ll just keep on glorying in thy grace that has dropped down spring on thy children like a soft green blanket. Amen.

Photo, top, Luc Viatour GFDL
Read about Sister Alma Rose in The Ancients, Part 1: Daddy Pete
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AARP Says ‘Drink More Coffee’

Great book! Available on or contact

AARP Says Drink More Coffee

(AARP, January-February 2007 issue, p. 40)

The steaming cup that wakes you up can also keep you healthy. Research shows that coffee protects against a variety of ailments from cavities to colon cancer. And some studies suggest that the more you drink, the better. The beverage lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes and can protect your liver from damage, too. Caffeine gets the credit for some of coffee s magic powers, including protection against Parkinson s disease and gallstones. But coffee s main benefit comes from its wealth of antioxidants. In fact, the coffee bean, which is technically a berry, has one of the highest antioxidant contents of all berries, says Tomas de Paulis, Ph.D., formerly of the Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies. That s why, drop for drop, coffee has more of these nutrients than even red wine. If you have osteoporosis, be sure to follow your doctor s advice for calcium supplementation, because in some studies, coffee drinking has raised the risk of bone fractures.

Wednesday January 3, 2007 – 03:49pm (PST) Edit | Delete | Comments: 1


Do You Have a Code? Sister Alma Rose Q & A


Q. Dear Sister Alma Rose–I am self-employed and work at home. Because I am a night owl, my workday begins at about 10 p.m., and I usually turn in between 8 and 10 a.m. The problem is, I don’t know what to wear. I mean, should I work in pajamas and then change into daytime clothes for… well, you know, for daytime? Or should I just wear sweats all the time, day and night? Here’s another thing: I don’t know when to eat breakfast. I mean, it’s not like anyone else would know, but it just feels funny having baked salmon and creamed spinach while the Today show is on. –Signed, Pale and Wan in Oregon

A. Dear PWO–Sister Alma Rose thinks you should get out more. It doesn’t matter what your dress code is, as long as you have one. Otherwise you’ll find yourself wearing the same set of sweats day after day, night after night… losing track of the hours, the weeks, the months… letting the mail and the newspapers pile up… neglecting your friends and family… slithering around in caves and lagoons looking for your ”Pretty”….

If you had any kind of social life, you wouldn’t need to ask Sister Alma Rose what to wear, or when to have baked salmon versus Malt-O-Meal. She suspects that once you have restored some balance to your life, these little matters will resolve themselves and you can apply your energy to things that matter, such as world hunger.


Sister Alma Rose does not recommend wearing Levi’s to bed, especially if you sleep on your stomach. You’ll end up with a permanent Levi’s-button indentation in your stomach. Nor should you don professional office attire, such as a natty little black suit and pumps with three-inch heels, when you’re working at home at 4 a.m. Your clients are unlikely to pop by and besides, Sister Alma Rose believes that pantyhose should never, ever be worn, including at gunpoint.

Friday November 24, 2006 – 11:42am (PST) Edit | Delete | Comments: 0


Sister Alma Rose Q & A: Gotta Dance!


Q. Dear Sister Alma Rose I take tap-dancing lessons once a week. I have now missed three lessons in a row. Even when I plan my entire week around this one lesson, I just don’t get there. Not only do I feel that this is rude and disrespectful to my instructor, and that I am missing out on something I really enjoy, I also know that my instructor feels that I am a very promising dancer. She has told me that my dancing puts her in mind of Savion Glover had he been born “stiff, uncoordinated, and a different species, e.g., tortoise or bison.” I hope you can help! Sincerely, Uncoordinated in Utah

A. Dear UIU Did she really say “e.g.”?

Q. Of course not! Nobody has said “e.g.” since Tiberius! “E.g.” is Latin!

A. Sister Alma Rose is sorry to hear that you are having difficulty meeting your goals. She assumes that you have ruled out the more obvious explanations for your lethargy, e.g.

  • Anemia due to blood loss as a result of having been run through with a bayonet
  • Coma as a result of, in spite of the WARNING on the bottles, mixing chlorine bleach, ammonia, and other cleaning products “just to see what happens”

If you have eliminated these possibilities and you get plenty of sleep; eat seven servings of terrible-tasting vegetables per day such as brussels sprouts; ingest no lactose, fructose, glucose, sucrose, or anything else ending in “-ose” (e.g., mangose); go for a brisk 45-minute walk twice a day; are “regular” in your “hygiene”; meditate often and practice yoga, imaging, receptiveness, gratitude, and breathing; and are experiencing absolutely no stress Sister Alma Rose would say you are just lazy.


Please do not think Sister Alma Rose is unsympathetic. She understands that one’s self-esteem is inversely proportional to the gap between one’s intentions and one’s success at fulfilling them, although in her case this “gap” is purely hypothetical. This is especially true if these “intentions” involve commitments to others.

Sister Alma Rose’s advice, for the moment, is that you reexamine your general health, double-checking for, e.g., bayonets and coma under the supervision of a board-certified physician. Meanwhile, avoid making commitments. If you are invited to a party or asked to take on a task, reply by saying, “Perhaps,” or, “We’ll just have to see.” You could smile in a dreamy, mysterious way, as if it is not you but the Demigods of the Sky and the River that will determine where you will be at any given point in time. (Practice doing this in a mirror until you can do it with assurance or you might alarm your children, who will teach you a new definition of the word commitment.)

Friday November 10, 2006 – 12:23pm (PST) Edit | Delete | Comments: 0



Birthday Berry Protocol

Sister Alma Rose Q & A

Q. Dear Sister Alma Rose–I know you have answered this question many times before. I apologize for bothering you with it again, especially since it is the type of thing that is never likely to happen to me or anyone I know… but just in case, and purely hypothetically:

If someone who is lovely, delightful, and charming–your daughter, for example–comes to visit you on your birthday along with, oh, say, her husband and four children, your brother, and a close friend… and she brings you a large, luscious birthday cake laden with cream cheese and raspberries… and she serves you a massive piece of this cake and leaves three huge pieces in your refrigerator… and everyone sings “Happy Birthday,” and you blow out imaginary candles because the relevant number of real candles would require six cakes of comparable size plus the entire surface of a grand piano… and after a lovely birthday celebration everyone leaves and you promptly eat the three “extra” pieces of cake, which, inasmuch as you have never experienced anything as tasty and delectable as this cake, merely serve as an appetizer…

If, in the unlikely event something like this should happen to you, wouldn’t you disown your daughter and cut her out of your will and spread malicious gossip about her and go to her house at midnight and run the garden hose into the basement window and turn it on full blast (for starters), and put up a sign by the window announcing “Spider Jubilee Tonight”– in retribution for her not having left you the entire cake and possibly a second backup cake, inasmuch as it was, after all, your birthday, even if she had given you as a birthday present two tickets to “An Evening with David Sedaris,” which you went to, even though you were very put out with your (hypothetical) daughter, because “An Evening with David Sedaris” is at least ten thousand times more enjoyable than “An Evening of Flying to Paris on Your Own Personal Jet with Richard Gere and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and a Ten-Thousand-Dollar Gift Certificate Redeemable at Any Parisian Retail Establishment”?

A. Yes