A Thanksgiving Prayer

In our home, we hold hands before meals and in silence, we offer up our own prayers, in the way we want, to whom we wish. I do a lot more meditating than I do praying, mostly because I feel words are often to small to express the complex thoughts/emotions I’m experiencing and that it’s better to sit in stillness and quiet and stay on the “receiving end” of things. When hearing other’s prayers, I often hear the same sentiments – especially around this time of year. Dear Heavenly Father, bless this food that we are about to receive and bless the hands that prepared it. This is a wonderful statement, but there is so much more I feel is missing. I don’t really think anyone in my extended family spends too much time wondering what kind of prayer I would pray if I was ever the one to say it out loud, and I’m not even sure I would have the courage to say all of this in that setting. It’s emotional. It’s messy. It’s ugly. It’s not traditional. It is in fact, the shadow side of this Thanksgiving Day. It is the other side of the “yin yang” that makes it all complete. I feel it’s necessary and it makes me feel so much better to put it out there – bravely, courageously – embracing it all. Not just the food. Not just the pilgrims. Not just the tryptophan, the parade and football. This is what I came up with and pray it will all my heart.

 

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Holland LeDelia ~ November 22, 2018

Mother/Father God,

We kneel down before you now in humility and gratitude – overwhelmed by the goodness and by the abundance that we are lucky enough to receive from you daily. On this day, may we enjoy and be thankful for the nourishing food, the animals that gave their lives, the people that prepared the meal,  and the company with whom we share it.

May we remember that the collective path we took to get here as Americans was fueled by greed and ego. We coveted, lied, cheated, stole and murdered. We remember now the Indigenous People. We ask forgiveness for the sins of our ancestors and we pray that new ways of reparation will be shown to us, so that we may actively care for the Native People now and work to heal what we’ve so badly damaged.

As we enjoy this excess, may we remember those who are not experiencing abundance and those who are barely surviving. They are around the world, across America, and in our town – all around us. May we not take for granted what we have and we pray now for opportunities to help and serve those in need. Give us the awareness to see these opportunities and the drive and energy to take them! To care for God’s people with and open heart and without judgement.

Mother/Father God, we ask to be taught MODERATION. Teach us to live in harmony with nature, animals and our fellow humans. Teach us – on this day of plenty and everyday – to take only what is necessary. Lead us away from greed, gluttony and fear that there is “not enough.” Help us to stay present, mindful and thankful everyday that we receive this gift of life. Help us do our best to contribute positively to others’ lives – helping them in any way we can – to become present, mindful and thankful.

We pray this now to the God of our own understanding. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Marriage Prep

It’s now October 1st and my best friend’s wedding is today. (Don’t worry, I haven’t decided that I am in love with him and that he should be with me instead of his fiancé!)
Not only that, but my own wedding is only 16 days away. (How Kyle and I managed to get married in our 34th year within 3 weeks of each other is truly amazing to me.)

With a large event around the corner, it’s easy to get taken over by ALL the details. Your attention is spread across so many things, from sleeping arrangements to food planning, activities, the ceremony, the weather, and for ours, how to make this a zero waste wedding. About a month ago, I was reminded that I needed to be preparing myself for the actual marriage that was to take place–not just planning the event.

The truth is that I had been on cloud nine since Jonathan proposed back in December. We were having a blast doing everything together as fiancé’s and loving our life by the beach in St. Thomas and starting to make wedding plans. My wake up call happened while I was attending another wedding in August and for two days, I felt fear. Whatever you like to call it–cold feet, anxiety, uncertainty–I was feeling it, and knowing that I could not continue on with those feelings–and I certainly could not walk down the aisle with those doubts.

I spoke to my fiancé a bit, trying not to hurt his feelings with my honesty. I reached out to a couple of friends who I thought could help me sort through, but they were unavailable. I was in trouble, because I remembered–after this blissful eight months of engagement–that I barely even like the concept of marriage!!

I spent years of my life deciding I would not marry for various reasons–many of those stemming from injustice and my rebellion against tradition. Until only recently, one reason I didn’t want to marry was because my best friend, who is homosexual, could legally not! I felt a horrible sting that I was allowed to have this right and this ceremony just because I loved someone of the opposite sex. I secretly told myself, I wouldn’t marry until he could. Another reason–all my friend’s are divorced. I spent my 20’s being in weddings and attending weddings and getting gifts for weddings and then one by one seeing those marriages end in divorce. With each one, I thought, no thanks. Also, monogamy is not actually in our nature. It is unnatural for humans and most animals to be monogamous, so I questioned if I should go against nature. (Especially with what long lives most people live nowadays.) And most recently, with the current Presidential campaigns that are happening, I believe with Secretary Clinton in the running, sexism is rearing its UGLY head. So I dissected the process of marriage:

I don’t want anyone to GIVE me away. I am my own woman! I’m not going anywhere!

I don’t want to be proposed MAN & WIFE. Why not WIFE and MAN??

Why does the woman’s family have to pay for most of the expenses??

Why do I have to give up my name and take someone else’s??

Seriously, at every turn, marriage is sexist and kinda crazy. (Note to self: read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed.) To top it all off, my fiancé was raised in a religion that he and I do not practice, but that most of his family still does. We made the decision to ask our families to stand with us and our wedding parties during the ceremony, and although they initially said yes, when this time rolled around, many questions started to be asked about who our officiant was, and what exactly would he be saying during the ceremony (and would that put them in a compromising position according to their faith)?

I’ll jump now to my fiancé and I thankfully getting in touch with our officiant, (the wonderful Matthew Krepps, owner of Circle Yoga Shala in Northwest Arkansas), and talking through these issues over speaker phone on day two of unsettling feelings. Honestly, most of my thoughts did not even have to be voiced, as Matt calmly articulated his plans for the ceremony and spoke to us about commitment we will be  making. Silent tears ran down my cheeks as I felt my fears subside, with my fiancé’s
hand in mine. When we hung up, I felt better, but I spoke to one more friend, who brought to my attention, that my feelings had been a wake up call…and it was time to get to work.

What a gift. I have realized that I have a month and half to DO THE WORK of preparing for marriage.

This is not decorations and ordering dishes and making napkins, this is work of entering into this union without reservation.

My work was cut out for me.

I began in silent meditation–making sure to make time for this daily. I began to sit quietly and actually contemplate marriage. Asking myself what it means for me, what it means for my future, what changes does it creates, what things do I release? I thought through the ceremony–in depth–to figure out how to make it feel holy, scared and equal. While we visited New York City for a few weeks, I joined the Siddha Yogis for Satsangs, chanting and meditations. I’ve contemplated and now I’m writing this blog. I have sat down with my fiancé and had a handful of tough conversations where we brought up questions and possible future problems as we gave ourselves our own “marriage prep counseling.”

I feel exponentially better and truly can’t believe I was going to get married without doing this work!  Still to come, I’d like to journal this process more and work through anything else that comes up. Continue to meditate on accepting this season of my life. That though I feel about 15 on the inside, it is in fact, time for me to move into the season of my life where I will be a wife and mother. I need to spend some time in grief, and mourning the loss of my single life, leaving the life of being only a child, a daughter, a girlfriend–before the responsibilities and growing pains of becoming a wife and mother. Moving through the grieving, and into acceptance with grace, and then by the wedding day, peace, joy, and pure bliss in joining my freedom to Jonathan’s freedom. We are going to form a team and make a difference in the world–more of a difference that we could on our own.

I’ll toast to that. I may even change my name for that.

Through it all, I’ll still be spreading the word–tough–challenging–taboo though it may be, and starting much needed conversations in the world–igniting change and evolution as…

CountryGalCityGal

Love & bliss to you all.

Fight or flight: When to stand our ground and when to walk away.

I have often asked myself when is the right time to stand up and not take any more crap from someone! Of course I am usually asking myself this when I am right smack dab in a situation that demands this decision, i.e. in the middle of taking a lot of crap from someone. (I’m … Continue reading

We made it through the challenge…Summin it up!

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Well, time sure flies when your having fun! Our two months flew by in St. Thomas as we worked at Point Wellness, I teaching yoga and J giving massages. I got to make delicious foods at the delectable Barefoot Buddha Cafe and J headed up the kid’s Shakespeare Festival for Pistarkle Theatre for the second … Continue reading

Half way through the challenge!

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Here we are, already half way through our time on the island this time around. The weather has been beautiful and as I type this from my kitchen table, I have breeze blowing through the screen doors and a lovely view of the Pillsbury Sound–a place where the Caribbean Ocean meets the Atlantic. We are … Continue reading

St. Thomas Take 2, Zero Waste Challenge Week 1

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I arrived back “on island” this week (after being away for 8 months) and immediately started making decisions about the Zero Waste Challenge or ZWC, for short. As ideas started to become realities, it was time to set up some hard and fast rules. As we already established, J (my partner) and I are both … Continue reading

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After floating a lot of ideas around about how to make this challenge a reality, it’s time to start packing. I’m using The Boy Scouts of America’s motto as I go–BE PREPARED. (My best friend, Kyle Dean, Eagle Scout, would be proud.) This is what makes me a meticulous and amazing packer…but also what causes … Continue reading

Here comes the “Zero Waste Lifestyle” Challenge

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Welcome to the beginning of my Zero Waste Lifestyle Challenge…2015…US Virgin Islands. So I’m headed to St.Thomas for a few months. My partner and I lived there last year for 6 months and although it is undeniably a tropical paradise, there was one thing that was practically unbearable for us…total lack of recycling! You could … Continue reading