Maintaining Motherhood Spirituality: Prayer and Meditation
One of the reasons I love the holidays is because it seems like the whole world is feeling the spirit the season brings. We open our hearts to our neighbors and make the effort to feel more charitable and loving. It’s easy to share expressions of faith, and everyone is a little more open to one another. It’s the rest of the year when that spiritual fervor and excitement seems to diminish. We get busy with other things that motherhood piles on our plates and we can lose touch with that spirit the holiday brings. I know that when I’m in church much of my energy is spent hushing my little ones, and pacing in the hallways with sick kids or a fussy baby. I don’t often get to hear 100% of the sermon or Sunday school lesson. What I do hear is interspersed with giving out goldfish crackers and handling diaper changes. So how do we maintain spirituality in this season of our lives?
Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as ‘a form of private devotion or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme.'
One thing that has been essential to my life has been taking time each day for personal prayer and meditation. While my version of meditation may not be what you picture – the whole legs crossed on a yoga mat arms raised at 90 degree angles – it’s what works for me. Often, my meditation time is the only time of the day when I am truly alone; in the shower. Meditation is the language of the soul. It is defined as ‘a form of private devotion or spiritual exercise, consisting in deep, continued reflection on some religious theme. My shower routine is so rote that my mind is clear and free of distraction. I begin with prayer and then allow myself to truly listen and open myself up to inspiration. If I believe that prayer is a conversation with God and I conclude my prayer and go about the rest of my day – that’s a pretty one-sided conversation. For me, meditation after prayer is His turn to speak.
In my opinion this poem says it perfectly:
An Informal Prayer
“The proper way for a man to pray,”
Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,
“And the only proper attitude
Is down upon his knees.”
“Nay, I should say the way to pray,”
Said Reverend Dr. Wise,
“Is standing straight with outstretched arms
And rapt and upturned eyes.”
“Oh, no, no, no,” said Elder Snow;
“Such posture is too proud.
A man should pray with eyes fast closed
And head contritely bowed.”
“It seems to me his hands should be
Austerely clasped in front.
With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,”
Said Reverend Dr. Hunt.
“Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well
Head first,” said Cyrus Brown,
“With both my heels a-striken’ up,
My head a-p’inting down;
An’ I made a prayer right then an’ there;
Best prayer I ever said;
The prayingest prayer I ever prayed;
A-standin’ on my head.”
(Sam Walter Foss, “The Prayer of Cyrus Brown,” in Stars to Steer By, ed. Louis Untermeyer [New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1941], pp. 301–2.)
I love it so much because it shows that each of us is in a different set of circumstances, we have different beliefs about who and how we worship, and what faith is about, but whatever prayer we say, and whatever brings us inspiration is the prayer that is best for us!
Keep yourself in tune with that spirit that we all feel this time of the year, by keeping that relationship with spirituality in your life daily- and allowing yourself that time, to listen and be open to inspiration. Even if the only time of your day that isn’t filled with meal planning, homework help, and finger paints is while you’re in the shower! Here’s hoping you get that shower today!
When do you feel the most spiritual? In your garden? Breastfeeding your baby? In a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque?