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Prayers and Meditations for Holidays and the Season
January through June

by Susan Helene Kramer – Shuchi

July through December

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1. Brilliant Star Prayer for Meditation
2. Easter Joy Meditation
3. Easter Meditation
4. Easter Verse on Forgiveness
5. Easter Meditation on the Resurrection
6. Easter Prayer
7. Easter Prayer and Meditation on the Risen Lord
8. Easter Prayer for Children
9. Easter Week Meditation
10. Father's Day Meditation
11. Father's Day Prayer of Remembering
12. Father's Day Reflection and Prayer
13. Father's Day Prayer and Meditation

13a. Few Minutes to Meditate During Holidays
14. Flag Day Prayer
15. Heart of Winter Meditation
16. Holocaust Remembrance Day Prayer
17. Hope for Holiness Prayer in the New Year
18. Lent as a Living Practice Meditation
19. Lent Contemplation and Meditation
20. Lenten Meditation
21. Maypole Dance for May Day
22. May Day Polka Maypole Dance
23. Meditation for Change in Lent
24. Meditation in a Spring Garden
25. Memorial Day Prayer and Meditation
26. Memorial Day Tribute
27. Mother's  Day Blessing and Prayer

28. Mother's  Day Memories Meditation
29. Mother's  Day Reflection and Prayer
30. Mother's  Day Prayer of Remembering
31. Mother's  Day Benediction

32. New Year's  Meditation and Prayer for Peace
33. New Year's Journaling Meditation
34. New Year's Prayer and Meditation
35. New Year's Prayer and Meditation for World Peace
36. New Year's Resolution Meditation

36a. Pentecost Meditation

37. Preparing an Altar for Easter Meditation
38. Spring Equinox Meditation and Prayer Celebration
39. Spring Mindful Meditation
40. Spring Prayer of Appreciation
41. St. Patrick's Day Meditation
42. St. Patrick's Day Prayer
43. St. Valentine's Day Meditation on Love
44. St. Valentine's Day Thoughts and Meditation
45. Summer Solstice Prayer and Meditation Celebration
46. Three Kings Meditation
47. Tribute to Mothers
48. Valentine's Day Heart Meditation
49. Valentine's Day Meditation on Expanding Love
50. Valentine's Day Prayer and Meditation
51. Valentine's Day Meditation
52. Welcome in the New Year Meditation
53. Winter Prayer and Meditation

54. Winter Prayer
July through December

 



1. Brilliant Star Prayer for Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The brilliant star right before the New Year is the light that shone so brightly when our dear Lord Jesus was born on earth. Light shines every day to allow us to live on this planet, to eat and thrive, to grow and participate in small and larger families and communities, until we stretch our arms of love through prayer and action past every boundary, into the brilliant Light of Love, of God.

May this New Year prayer help open hearts to loving and giving, caring and sharing, making every day bright as the everlasting Light of Christ is truly shining for us now. Use it to reflect on in your meditation practice; let it open your heart to the light of eternal love.
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A brilliant star shining bright
Reminding us
Of Christ's birth that night.

Shining with the truest light
Pointing out His bright new life.

For all to follow in His ways
A Christ-like life begin each day.

For loving, giving is the way
That Christ would like our life to stay.

To share and care and do our best
And live with kindness; He'll do the rest.

To open hearts in those that follow
The light of the most wondrous star.

Shining so brightly in our hearts
Ever near, never far.
Shining forever in our hearts
Ever near, never far.


Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



2. Easter Joy Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The joy of Easter is contagious! When we think of the risen Lord we feel hope well up in us that the challenges in our life will rise up and fly away, the burdens lift and be gone.

Let's give thanks for the joy of Easter and let it live in our hearts every day that we may transform our world into a positive home for all humanity. It must be done one by one and what better time to begin than in this present moment.

Let this meditation inspire you to contribute to the joy in the world.

Begin by sitting on a cushion on the floor or on a chair with your back held straight. If sitting on the floor fold your legs in, and if sitting in a chair place the soles of your feet firmly on the floor for balance.

Fold your hands in your lap or rest them face up or face down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and take in a cleansing breath and slowly release it. Now begin a cycle of even breaths in and out, such as one count in and one count out. Continue this rhythmic pattern throughout your meditation without actually saying or thinking the numbers.

Breath is the connection between body, mind, emotion. By concentrating on breathing evenly the mind is distracted from anxious thoughts. Over time and practice even and rhythmic breathing can come to your rescue at a moment's notice to regain your peace when needed.

Spend a minute observing your breaths and feel your body, mind, emotions become peaceful and calm.

Today's meditation is about carrying the joy of the risen Lord into your daily life. This is done by not disturbing the natural peace awakened in this meditation. By acting in the world from clarity of mind and with right and good actions maintain or regain harmony. Choosing to act for the best of each situation is a way to maintain personal peace, personal joy. And when we are in this state others will catch it too, as joy is contagious.

We are a sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity, affecting each other by actions, thoughts, moods.

Spend a few minutes quietly contemplating feelings of connection with others both come and gone.

Finish your Easter meditation with an appreciation for all that is positive in your life and send out thoughts of caring love to the universe.

Take a deep breath, slowly release it, stretch out and go on with your day.

Happy Easter!



3. Easter Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Easter is no less than an arising of love from our 'Heart of Hearts' a rebirth of kindred feelings with our world sisters and brothers.

In the spirit of this holy season may we take time to meditate in appreciation and thanksgiving.

To begin
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Notre Dame, Paris, France; photo credit Susan Kramer
Find a spot that is peaceful and uplifting indoors, or weather permitting, a garden, park, special woods, meadow or sandy beach.

If sitting on the ground spread a blanket. Sit straight, legs crossed in. Fold your hands in your lap, or face down or up on your thighs. Close your eyes.

For a minute or more listen to the sounds of nature birds singing, wind rustling and the sweet smells of new grass or early-blooming flowers. If meditating indoors, listen to a tape of uplifting music or sounds of nature.

Take time for a minute of even breathing such as: breathe in counts 1, 2; breathe out counts 3, 4; breathe in counts 1,2 and continue.

Keep up the rhythm of your even breathing, but let go of the counting and turn your thoughts to the meaning of Easter the rising up of undying love. Let this idea permeate your attitudes and thoughts 'Being kind begins in mind'.

Spend a few minutes feeling appreciation for all you have family, friends, community finishing by imagining world unity and world peace.

Slowly stretch out and stand up with the resolution in mind to take the unconditional love of Easter into all your relationships!

Article and photo of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France by Susan Helene Kramer



4. Easter Verse on Forgiveness

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Easter is a joyful time to celebrate and remember that our true self and eternal home is with all dear, near and everyone in the home of our Creator - Sustainer. This prayer is a reminder that we grow into our fullest development of self by being loving and forgiving with everyone beginning with our self.

Uplifted eyes see light so bright
A memory of those bygone days
A Savior came upon the earth
And showed us all the truth, the way
To act with love, to act with care
To give and be forgiving.

To show we want the whole wide world
To know we are forgiven
Of all the small and larger ways
We ere when not our pure care given
But with the grace of God's own love
Find faith and hope in living.

So, fully does our true self grow
We learn to be as lights of love
God rose in all our hearts we know
To shine through us from heaven above.

After praying take time for a period of silent meditation to reflect on the personal meaning of Easter to you. Begin with a few rounds of even rhythmic breathing to center your body and mind. Close your eyes and be still for a few minutes.

It is a good idea to write out your insights in a journal so you can review your thoughts from time to time. Let Easter be a new beginning as Spring is a new beginning an opportunity to grow right along with nature into the full beauty of your eternal Self.

Article and photo of Spanish bluebells by Susan Helene Kramer



5. Easter Meditation on the Resurrection

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


The Resurrection is cause for celebration. It gives us hope that we can transcend what is confusing for joy. That we can make it through the trials of earth and rise above.

Be it in our waking life or a resurrection in our unseen heart, we can meditate to uncover that the best of us lives joyfully within.

To begin:

Sit in a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed. If the weather is mild, a garden space is perfect. If you are at your meditation altar, light a candle and incense. Have a meditation journal and pen nearby.

Close your eyes. Start some rounds of even breathing, without any strain, such as: breathe in 2 counts; breathe out 2 counts; breathe in 2 counts and continue this way throughout your meditation.

Now, say a prayer of thankfulness for realizing that the path to the Divine lies within to be taken out into the world for action.

Dwell on what the Resurrection means to you. Ask yourself how you can resurrect dormant joy for your happiness and joy in daily living.

Think with appreciation about all the good that is in your life and for your family and friends. Pray for those you know of that are in need; pray for health and wellbeing for all on our planet. By extending ourselves in prayer to others we strengthen our realization we are intertwined and a useful part of humanity.

Take some time for sitting quietly and listening to your breath. Gradually come back to every day reality. Open your eyes and write new insights in your meditation journal for later review.

Stretch out, go on with your day, renewed and refreshed.

The Resurrection
Brings an awakening of joy
Through the bursting wide open
Of our heart.




6. Easter Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

A prayer for contemplation - meditation - on the timeless message of Easter.

Lord, You have arisen forever
In my heart!
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May the sunrise
Remind me to shine in Your light.

May the caress of a gentle breeze
Remind me of Your compassion.

May the fragrance of a flower
Remind me to blossom in Your love.

May the singing of birds
Bring a song of joy to my lips.

And in the closing of each day
May I remember to quietly pray.

Wherever I am, whatever I do
May my thoughts in joy return to You!



Prayer and photo credit of zwartemees by Susan Helene Kramer



7. Easter Prayer and Meditation on the Risen Lord

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Easter is a time of joy and celebration that should be with us every day of the year. May this prayer to begin your meditation inspire hope and action:

May the Risen Lord inspire
Love in our hearts
Kindness in our thoughts
Useful action in our hands.
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May the energy of Christ's love
Imbue us with desire
To lift those who are needy
With food and shelter.

To give back to the world
Through sharing
From the plentitude
Of nature's bounty.

For in sharing
We feel full in heart
Refreshed in knowing we are doing
What is right and good.

Remembering that Christ's rising
Is to be lived every moment
Through all actions in the day
And reflected upon in quiet meditation.

Holy Christ, keep us close to Thee
That all may link arms in action
For the care of our brothers and sisters
Our family of humanity
Filling the world
Your fulfillment in the world.


Article and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer



8. Easter Prayer for Children

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

An Easter prayer for kids and families, too. I find that it is much easier to learn about care, kindness and appreciation by remembering a little story modeling these qualities.

Time for joy and time for giving
Time for remembering
Love while living.

Take this message Easter Day
Show kindness, care
At home and play.

It's in our very acts of giving
Easter's joy
Makes life worth living.

Children round the globe now hear
Keep Easter
In your heart all year.

May joy and love spread land to land
Linked heart to heart
And hand to hand!


As a follow through activity after reading this little prayer with your children, have them draw several pictures of to illustrate the message, and collate the pages into a little prayer book for them.

Article and photo by Susan Helene Kramer



9. Easter Week Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


Events in the week leading up to Easter cover a range of emotions the solemn celebration of the Last Supper; the sadness of the Crucifixion; the joy of the Resurrection.

These events reflect much of what we go through in life ups and downs; joys and sorrows.

With the events leading up to Easter in mind, here is a meditation for reflection.

Sit with a straight back on a cushion or chair. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes.

Begin to practice even regular breathing, such as 2 counts to breathe in; 2 counts to breathe out. Do not use breath retention. Keep up the pattern of even breathing throughout the meditation without actually counting.

Breath ties the body and mind together. We need to breathe to live, and maintaining an even rhythm of breathing can calm the mind when it is agitated, and refreshes the body at the same time.

Now, think on the events leading up to Easter. How can they be applied in your own life? What does the Resurrection mean to you? Do you have habits that you can let go and resurrect into better or healthier habits? Could your actions be kinder, gentler, or more giving?

Take time after your quiet reflection to write your ideas in your journal for occasional review.

Before opening your eyes and stretching out, finish your meditation with thoughts of appreciation for the good in your life.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



10. Father's Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Let's do a meditation in remembrance of the nurturing we receive from those who father us now and have in the past.

To begin: Choose a quiet spot to sit. If it is warm in your area a bench in the garden is a peaceful place for meditation. Either sit on a cushion on the deck with your legs folded in, or sit up straight on a bench. Fold your hands in your lap or rest them, palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and do some rounds of even breathing such as breathe in counts 1, 2; breathe out counts 1, 2; breathe in counts 1, 2; and continue on for a minute. Then let go of the counting but continue the rhythmic breathing.

Now take a few minutes to think over how important fathering is, and who you should be appreciating on this special day. Even if your biological father has passed on there are always others who play the male nurturing role for us. It could be a stepfather, grandpa, uncle, or even a teacher, or sports director. This year I am grateful for 2 of my male cousins about 10 years older than myself, who have made an effort to contact me again after many years. For them I say a prayer and blessing this Father's Day.

Now sit in silence and listen to the sounds around you; melt into the moment; appreciate this very moment that you have been given to be appreciative and grateful that fathers exist in the world.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and slowly release it. Open your eyes, stretch out and peacefully go on with your day.



11. Father's Day Prayer of Remembering

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Remembering fathers and those who have fathered through kindness and guidance -

Fathers young, fathers old
Remembering good times is our gold.

Value earned through guidance given
Helping us go forth in livin'.

Each father adding to our trove
A treasure chest of love untold.

Remembering fathers in our lives
Taking time to realize.


Fatherly love brings wealth to living
Remembering this, we go forth giving.

Fathers young, fathers old
We remember you all
As life unfolds.



12. Father's Day Reflection and Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

To all fathers I wish much peace and joy, love and blessings on your special day. And I'm not talking about just biological fathers, but anyone who has given fathering care along the way.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer; meditation gardenFathering makes up at least half the nurturing we need growing up and in the nature of the circle of life, fathering is then given in turn when we mature.

Fathers are known as and become the backbone of our life and personality, especially during our formative years. The role gives structure and we all know any construction needs a solid foundation to hold the innards.

Fathers are like the foundation and frame of the house, sometimes hardly seen but always important.

Fathers and those who father as in the verb, give an invaluable service to the development of kids, grandkids and all they come in contact with in their lives.

I still have a stepfather whom I cherish and respect even here in middle age. My biological parents have long gone on, but I still get that warm glow and comfortable feeling interacting with my step dad.

Take time in your meditation to give appreciation to all those who gave you fathering, and ask for strength that you will have the insight to give fathering when called upon in return.

Father's Day Prayer

Dear fathers everywhere
For your strong and caring ways
Appreciation we give today.
And, for teaching us
That patience, kindness
Carries us through every day.


Article and photo of harbor at Harlingen, The Netherlands by Susan Helene Kramer



13. Father's Day Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

May we remember in our prayers and meditations to be thankful and grateful for the father figures in our lives.

Father's Day gives us a special opportunity to make this a time to do something to show appreciation for the past and present men in our lives.

Here is a special prayer to include in your meditations

Fathers everywhere
We honor you and wish to say
May God’s blessings be with you
In a special way today!


From a father’s strength
We learn so we may teach
Our children to be kind and caring
With everyone they meet.

When times are rough
Your guiding hand points the way to go
May we follow in your footsteps
Right from wrong our actions show.

Now, on this Father’s Day
Our tributes go to you
Fathers, grandpas, uncles, brothers
All our dear friends, too.


Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap; Scottish highland cattle

 



13a. Few Minutes to Meditate During Holidays

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Sometimes we put ourselves in last place when it comes to doing what is best for us. But it is only when we are balanced and energized that we can give others our best.

 

During the holidays we may get revved up and try to cram more into our daily schedule than we are used to and the result is we lose our peace of mind.

 

The trick is to schedule in meditation first. Then we can get even more done because we are energized and internally peaceful.

 

First thing upon waking take a minute to breathe evenly in and out while stretching out and mentally preparing to face the day.

 

The next opportunity to enjoy personal peace may be in the shower: as the water pours down let any pent up stress wash away. Visualize it swirling down the drain and dissolving away, away, away.

 

If you are preparing breakfast and lunches for the day you have an opportunity for a standing meditation. I do this every morning year round.  I face the kitchen counter with all the ingredients for the meals assembled in front of me.

 

Then I begin even rhythmic breathing: one count to breathe in, one count to breathe out. I do not rush the process, but instead carefully do one step at a time in assembling and packing up while bread or waffles cook in the toaster.

 

Off to work or school and another opportunity is walking between classes or the coffee (walking) break. Coordinate each step by breathing in while stepping on the right foot and breathing out when the left foot steps forward. This will calm your mind while the walking energizes your body.

 

Your lunch time may be taken up with shopping during the holiday season, but you can still maintain your peace by doing rhythmic breathing standing in line at the checkout counter.

 

When others are vying for your attention look at the overview and take one situation at a time. Sitting down and calming resolving each need that is presented.

 

Later in the day after dinner and supervising the evening routine excuse yourself to your room for a few minutes. Sit on a cushion by your bed and do some rounds of even breathing and think with appreciation on the blessings of having a lot to do, because it means you are important in others’ lives, and that what it’s like to be an integral asset in the circle of humanity.



14. Flag Day Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

On Flag Day include this prayer in your meditation to help remember the significance of our nation's flag. Flying in the breeze, so free to be fully unfurled, as we are free to live our lives freely in the great land of the free and home of the brave.
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Wave your flag high this year
And every year to come
Remember national patriotism
Inspires us to feel as one.

One united nation strong
Symbolized by red, white and blue
Our flag forever showing through time
All our nation has been through.

Proclaim our continuing unity
Shown by our country's flag
Sails of large flags, quiet small flags
No matter our differences
We're under one flag.

Sails of large flags, flying true flags
Remembering forever
We're under one flag
Remembering forever
We're under our flag!




15. Heart of Winter Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

When days of winter are dark and gray and it is hard to stay outside for long, it is an opportunity to spend more quiet time in reflection and meditation.

The heart of winter in the northern hemisphere is nature's way of providing an opportunity for soul searching and getting to know about our permanent self more deeply.

Meditation
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Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed for a time. One choice may be a corner of your bedroom with a small altar set up on a wall-mounted bookshelf then you just need to set a cushion on the floor to have a suitable spot for your session.

You may wish to place some winter objects on your meditation shelf or altar, such as a candle sitting in a holly wreath, a vase of small pine boughs and burn some spicy incense.

The lit candle represents the eternal sunlight ever shining from your heart and soul over your life and your family, friends, community. This light of self-effulgent brightness is not dependent on anything of our earthly doing; it is our never-ending heritage stretching back and forth eternally.

The holly wreath with berries red shows us that even in the heart of winter nature provides life-giving sustenance to her creation. And the pine boughs, even seemingly cut from their source still emit the fresh scent that cleans the air and lifts drooping spirits. Spicy incense is invigorating.

To begin your meditation sit on your cushion or on a chair with your back straight but not strained. Fold your hands in your lap or place them face down on your thighs. Gently let your eyes close.

Start an even breathing pattern such as 2 counts to breathe in and 2 counts to breathe out. Continue counting this way for a minute then let go of thinking the numbers and just keep the rhythm.

Now think about what it means to you to have eternal roots never-ending awareness and free will to act with kindness forever from your heart your feelings. This is getting in touch with your permanent nature; getting to know and enjoy this deep self that can be reflected in all actions in practical ways through being caring and acting with kindness. With practice you will find it is the way to experience deep harmony happiness.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and out, stretch, arise and go on with your day. If possible, take some time to write new insights in your journal for later review and further contemplation.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



16. Holocaust Remembrance Day Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

May we pray and remember on April 22nd that all of us are world sisters and brothers -
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Let us never forget
The memory of humankind lost
Through horror, through injustice.

May we learn and remember
That everyone in our worldwide family
Is part of the unseen plan.

That those different from ourselves
Extend and enrich our lives
As we learn from other points of view.

That no matter what our
Race, religion, country, culture
We will ever stand as one humanity.

And in the planetary plan
We are but one universal family.

Let's take the worldwide view
Let's embrace each other wholeheartedly
Going forward with caring thoughts, actions
In grace and harmony respecting each other.

Prayer and photo of winter solstice moon by Susan Helene Kramer



17. Hope for Holiness Prayer in the New Year

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Loving and caring for another wholeheartedly uses my energy optimally. And it does not use up my energy. Rather, more energy recharges my body during my acts of caring. Could this be how beloved Blessed Theresa of Calcutta was able to care for so many? I think by giving of her wholeness and holiness, she allowed for a continuing flow of energized love to course through her tiny frame creating a tremendously productive life.

In the New Year let us magnify the blessedness of the season and carry it on into all new beginnings in our lives right now and all time to come. Let us remember that it is our thoughts and deeds that shape our lives and form the place we stand amongst our brothers and sisters all over the world.

Take some time to say and reflect on this prayer as you prepare to go into the New Year. Make these moments a time of reflection and with a firm resolve make your highest hopes a plan for heavenly action.

Hope for Holiness.
Abundant energy arising
Recharging our body
From attitudes of love, kindness, caring
Daily living all that it can be
All that it is meant to be as kindred souls in God
Exemplifying our loving nature
By loving unconditionally.

Flow on in my life River of Love
Flow on in my life
Carrying me along your swift current
Washing away debris, energizing me
Clearing my thoughts
That I may clearly see
My Loving Nature.




18. Lent as a Living Practice Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Lent is a holy season with a joyful outcome and as such is one of my favorite times of the year. Rather than think of Lent as a time of forsaking something I think of it as a time of extra preparation and enrichment in my spiritual life.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer; blooming pampas grass and eucalyptus tree
Growing up we were told there were two ways to look at Lent: we could make a sacrifice and give up some treat we really liked, or we could add to our storehouse of spiritual growth by doing something extra to help others.

Well, I usually took what I thought the easier practice and gave up chocolate which I still dearly enjoy.

But now as an adult I like to give extra time to service projects as my way of respecting the Lenten season, because it enriches the world at the same time adding to my spiritual growth.

Here is a meditation to add to your own practice during Lent

Prepare your meditation altar by lighting a candle and an incense cone or stick. Keep your meditation journal nearby. Sit up straight in front of your altar, either on a cushion with your legs folded in, or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor for balance. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Let your eyes gently close.

Begin a pattern of even and regular breathing. For example, breathe in 2 counts; breathe out 2 counts; breathe in 2 counts and continue for a minute. Now let go of counting but continue the pattern. Breath is the tie that harmonizes the functioning of body and mind when either or both are restless.

Now take a few minutes to think with appreciation on at least one relationship you care about in your life. It could be a spouse, a friend or even a pet you are really devoted to.

Caring is the way the Divine looks after each of us. As eternal souls we are as well-loved children, even when we are dressed in these costumes we call bodies and playing in our various roles.

Caring love is so precious and I believe is the message for us to hold during Lent. After all, this is the season where we are shown that we are more than minds and bodies through the resurrection of Jesus into the Christ in the celebration of Easter.

Lent is our time of preparation, laying the table, preparing to receive the new step on our way to remembering from whence we've come and in fact, for coming to know, once again that we always have a foothold in heaven.

Finish your meditation by resolving to expand in caring love to include more and more in your thoughts and actions for good in the world.

Take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Go on with your day with a full and brightened attitude to make caring a top priority in your life.

Article and photo by Susan Helene Kramer; pampas grass and eucalyptus tree



19. Lent Contemplation and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

This is the time of year we prepare to celebrate Easter, the triumphant rising from the dead of our dear Lord.

It is good we have several weeks to contemplate all the implications of this mystery. What does it mean to us, what does it show us, how does it fit in to the physical world as science paints it?

Lent, if used as a time for prayer and meditation, gives us time for contemplation.

If we search deep within, past the physical barriers and mental concepts we fall into the endless open expanse without limit or constraints. We fall into our eternal self, our everlasting nature. And what other point is there to life than to go beyond what constrains and contains us in the concept of terminal earthly beings?

The events leading up to Easter show us that there is more to each of us than a terminal body. Pray and meditate deeply on the joy that awaits us Easter morning when we align our lives in Truth, Honesty, Charity, Kindness as our Lord showed us through example.

Meditation for Lent

Choose a quiet and private place to meditate. If you are sitting on a cushion fold your legs in, if sitting on a chair or bench place the soles of your feet firmly on the floor for balance. Wrap a shawl around your shoulders if you feel cool. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes.

Begin a series of even regular breaths, such as: breathe in one count, breathe out one count, breathe in one count and continue this rhythmic pattern throughout your meditation. Even breathing calms the mind and body and prepares the mind for its journey within.

If you use a mala or rosary begin to mentally repeat your mantra and coordinate the repetition with your breathing. For instance, I often use "Om Reveal" and I breathe in on "Om" and breathe out on "Reveal." Move ahead one bead for every mantra phrase.

For Lent spend some minutes contemplating steps you can take to improve your life in order to rise above the physical and mental limitations of the natural world in order to experience the transcending state of joy we feel on Easter. Rise from the deadness of pointless physical and mental struggle into the eternal joy of harmony.

Finish your meditation with appreciation for your dear ones. Take a deep cleansing breath and slowly release it. Stretch out and go on with your day, refreshed, renewed.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit of author with mala by Stan Schaap



20. Lenten Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


This is one of the holiest seasons of the year. It is a time to prepare for the great event of the resurrection of our Lord. And in Christ's memory a time to clear and prepare our heart for the reception of the graces that come with aligning our lives inwardly and outwardly with the Divine.

By aligning with the Sacred Heart
We become the soul we're meant to be
Alive in joy and harmony.


To begin your Lenten meditation choose a quiet location, if you have a space set aside for meditation that is best, but a spot where you will not be interrupted is just fine. If you are outdoors in your meditation garden pick a time of day when you will not be disturbed.

Indoors, prepare your meditation altar with a clean cloth over the little table and a candle, incense and flowers of your choice. These items are to help remind you of the Risen Light in the world.

Sit up straight in front of your altar, either on a pad or carpet, or straight on a chair with the soles of your feet firmly planted on the floor to maintain your balance. Fold your hands in your lap or rest them palms up or palms down on your thighs, whatever is most comfortable for you and helps maintain your still position.

Close your eyes and begin breathing in a regular and even pattern, such as breathe in on count one, and breathe out on count 2, breathe in on count 3, and continue up to 50 counts.

Let the counting of your breaths stop but maintain the even rhythm for the remainder of your meditation.

Contemplate on this time of preparation for Easter. What can you change in your life to purify your thoughts and actions? What will make you feel more in harmony with the purity of your soul? How can you contribute to the world and live a Christ-like life?

Sit is silence contemplating these questions for a few minutes.

Slowly come out of your reverie. Open your eyes. Take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Record your new ideas in your journal. Stretch out and go on with your day with renewed vigor.

 



21. Maypole Dance for May Day

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

May Day, May 1st, also called Beltane (Bright Fire) by the Anglo-Saxons, notes the beginning of the growing season. Circle dancing or a Maypole Dance, or May Pole dance as it is also written, joins us hand-in-hand in a group celebration of joy, merriment and thanksgiving!
Music, rhythm instruments or singing are all appropriate accompaniments.

The tune to "Three Blind Mice" is fun to use!

I have choreographed this circle dance or its variation of Maypole Dance so the action changes every 16 counts. The number of counts can be adapted to the music or song, to coincide with the end of a phrase.

No dance or musical training is necessary; loose clothing is best and shoes are okay.

Just a memory: when I was growing up in the middle Atlantic states the girls wore white dresses with full skirts for the Maypole Dance.

Circle or Maypole Dance

To begin, participants stand shoulder to shoulder, about 2 feet (60cm) apart, facing center, in a large circle.

If you are going to dance around a Maypole have one long streamer per person attached at least head high on the pole. When dancers come into the center in part A. each person picks up a streamer and takes it back out to the edge of the circle, holding it in their right hand, (or if a loop has been added to the end of the streamer it can be slipped on the right wrist), for the rest of the dance.

If you use streamers, it is best not to move in and out of the circle till the very last part of coming into the circle a final time, then dropping the streamers and moving backward to the full circle for the closing.

Sequence of steps

A. Hold hands and raise arms while walking forward to the center 4 counts; still holding hands and lowering arms walk backward 4 counts. Repeat sequence to equal 16 counts. When arms swing forward look up, and look down as arms come down.

B. Continue to face center, holding hands, while moving to the right in a counterclockwise direction. Count 1. right foot steps or slides to right side with a bent knee. Count 2. left foot slides to meet it and both legs straighten. Continue in this way for the remainder of the 16 counts.

C. Continue to face center, holding hands, while moving to the left in a clockwise direction. Count 1. left foot steps or slides to left side with a bent knee. Count 2.16 counts.

D. Repeat A.

Repeat the sequences as often as desired to fit the music or song. Skipping is fun to substitute for the movement clockwise and counter-clockwise in the circle.

A nice ending is to stay in the circle, facing in, still holding hands while enjoying the after-tones and some moments of silence in thanksgiving for the arrival of another summer!

Note: If you would like to see a Maypole dance, order the ballet "La Fille Mal Gardee" in VHS format. The video also includes a clog dance.

La Fille Mal Gardee - VHS

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: La Fille Mal Gardee - VHS

Article and dancers in Emmen by Susan Helene Kramer



22. May Day Polka Maypole Dance

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Celebrate the coming of May with this polka step circle meditation.

The dance can be done as part of a May Day celebration. The main dance step is the "polka." The technique to do a polka is take 2 gallops, and a step forward to change front foot. Each new polka changes the front foot.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Emmen, The Netherlands; photo credit Susan Kramer
First there needs to be a sturdy pole set up, with an even number of 20 foot long 4 inch wide ribbons attached to the top. Each dancer holds the free end of a ribbon. For the sake of describing this dance I will use the example of 8 dancers.

Dance is in sets of 16 counts each polka is one count.

Before beginning, have dancers count off in numbers - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Preparation

Dancers gather facing the maypole in a tight circle, and each picks up the free end of their ribbon in their right hand.

Facing the Maypole, dancers stretch out in a large circle, standing about 3 feet apart, and turn so their right shoulder faces center, then pauses to begin.

Begin music - The tune to "Three Blind Mice" is a good choice

Moving in a clockwise direction, dancers hold their ribbon at shoulder height and do 16 polkas moving around the circle and pause…

Turning toward center, face opposite direction, changing ribbon to left hand and do 16 polkas counterclockwise direction and pause …

Now to begin the ribbon weaving

Odd numbered dancers stand still facing into center, ribbons at shoulder height.

Even numbered dancers will be moving counterclockwise in circle doing 16 polkas. As they pass a dancer they alternately dip under the next dancer's ribbon and then lift their own ribbon over the next dancers head; then again dip under; then again lift their ribbon over. Complete one circle.

Then changing places, the even numbered dancers stand still facing in, and the odd numbered dancers do the weaving sequence.

As the dancers weave tighter they will move closer to the center of the maypole.

To complete the dance, all drop their ribbons near the base of the Maypole, and polka in a line off the stage or away from the pole.

The dance is not as complicated as it sounds, and is certainly fun for the dancers and onlookers to see as the ribbons become woven around the pole.

Is the polka step too advanced? Then substitute skips!

Note: If you would like to see a Maypole dance, order the ballet "La Fille Mal Gardee" in VHS format. The video also includes a clog dance.

La Fille Mal Gardee - VHS

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: La Fille Mal Gardee - VHS

Article and photo of dancer on town square in Emmen, The Netherlands, by Susan Helene Kramer



23. Meditation for Change in Lent

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The days leading up to Easter are for contemplation and anticipation. When we make a break in our routine: either add to or take away something, we are creating just the diversion we may need to squeeze in time for sitting meditations to think on the deeper meaning of the resurrection.

To begin:

Sit at your meditation altar during a quiet time of day when you will not be disturbed. If you use them, light a candle and burn incense. Let the light and fragrance become part of your experience of the moment. Light shines so we may see, not just in the outer world, but within our deeper consciousness.

Begin rounds of even and regular breathing such as breathe in one count; breathe out one count; breathe in one count and continue this rhythmic pattern while meditating.

Close your eyes. Mentally, say appreciations for the good in your life. Appreciation puts us in a positive mood; dispels gloom.

As this is a meditation for every day in Lent, take one quality each day or time you meditate that you'd like to improve. For example, think about what you might do to substitute a better habit for a harmful practice.

We still need to fill in the time we spend in unhealthy habits and practices and while it may seem too hard to improve all at once, a small step in the right direction is to make a little improvement every day.

Another way to counter what you wish to change is to begin a completely new and better practice for the time spent in the old ways.

These days of meditation leading to Easter are a time to really become clean and refreshed inside and out: in mind and body.

Now, while sitting still, make your plans and open your eyes briefly to write out your new plans in your meditation journal. You can refer back to these pages later to check on your progress.

Close your eyes and say a closing prayer to align with the coming Resurrection:

Lord of Love
Open my mind and heart
Clear the way for receiving
Your joy and blessings.




24. Meditation in a Spring Garden

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


Is there anything so uplifting as sitting in your garden on one of those warm days of Spring, and letting the sweet smells of narcissus wafting on the breeze give you feelings of satisfaction with life? It is an experience you can recreate any time through meditation.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Stan Schaap; Tuinesbloemen, The Netherlands
Guided meditation

Pick a spot to sit that is secluded and where you won't be disturbed. If you really have an outdoor garden to enjoy sit there on a bench. If you are indoors and imagining your Spring garden, either sit up straight on a cushion or a chair.

Let your hands rest in your lap or place palms up or palms down on your thighs. Let your eyes gently close.

Now begin some rounds of even and regular breathing such as: counts 1, 2, breathe in; counts 3, 4, breathe out; counts 1, 2, breathe in and continue the rhythmic pattern throughout your meditation. After a minute let go of the counting and continue the pattern.

Breath is the joining force between mind and body and establishing a rhythmic pattern of breathing is calming; body relaxes and mind centers.

You are sitting in your Spring garden. And before you know it a robin hops in and looks up to you, wondering if you're a human or a statue. Determining you're not a threat she jumps up to a low branch in a bush for a moment's rest. It is as if she is having a bird's meditation, herself.

The garden animals know to take life's events in their stride and find a pattern to the day that sustains and nurtures them - eating, sleeping, eating some more most of the year, except the scurrying time of raising their young - sound familiar?

Think about how we can learn from nature to arrange our lives in a harmonious rhythm so we can keep our peace and regain it if lost. Note the balance of work, sleep, eating and play that streams through nature's creatures, whether just those in our garden or in the vast expanses of wilderness.

The key to learn is balance in life keeping our priorities balanced and in harmony with the whole of our life. If we overwork we get stressed out; don't do something productive we get lazy. It is finding the balance that opens us to our natural peace of mind and body that we see in our Spring garden creatures.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, make a resolve to bring your daily tasks into greater harmony so you feel balanced. After your period of silent reflection write your new insights in your journal for review.

To finish your meditation take a deep breath in, slowly release it, open your eyes and feeling refreshed go on with your day.

Meditation by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap, Tuinesbloemen, The Netherlands



25. Memorial Day Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Let’s meditate and remember 
Many gave their lives for our freedom .
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Each year we give this tribute
Out of thankfulness and love
For your loyalty and courage
Virtues that set you above.

We’ll never forget you gave your all
That others can be free
You paid the ultimate earthly price
Immortal you will ever be.

We walk the byways, streets of towns
Country lanes, through parks
At ease, at peace, possible because
Of missions upon which you embarked.

When there is no setting sun
And tides stretch out o'er all the land
No birds to fly, no songs to sing
Then we'll come and take your hand.

For now we won't forget
An emptiness your parting left
You gave your life in freedom's call
In God’s eyes you're ever blessed.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



26. Memorial Day Tribute

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

On Memorial Day we can begin our meditation with this prayer, as a reminder of the sacrifice made by those who died in freedom's call. If we as a whole pray for peace on Memorial Day there will be less bloodshed beginning right now, because those who would be ruthless will have their mind softened by the peaceful thoughts and prayers of the masses. This is how we can all do our part in all meditations for peace every day of the year.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: North Sea; photo credit Stan Schaap
Memorial Day Prayer

Our tribute goes to all who gave
The cause of freedom with their life
Serving fully with strength and valor
Freedom's call for peace their strife.

To see the goal of freedom for all
They're peacefully laid to rest
Hope was emblazoned in their hearts
Can we do less than give our best?

And for our children
Generations to come
We owe them peace
... A world family as One.

To give our best and realize
That those who gave their all
To keep our country strong
For freedom's call.

Deserve a memorial forever
In our lives, in our hearts
... All year long.

Memorial Day:
Remembering those
Who made the greatest sacrifice
Their life.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap, the North Sea, Holland



27. Mother's  Day Blessing and Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

A blessing and prayer tribute to all mothers arranged with a response.

Blessed be all mothers
Who have come into our lives
Whose kindness, care and loving
Remain with us to guide.

Response:
Blessed be all mothers
Who have come into our lives
Blessed be, Blessed be,
Blessed be!


Your inspiration in us
Made us strive in every way
Especially to remember
Helping others makes our day.

Response:
Blessed be all mothers
Who have come into our lives
Blessed be, Blessed be,
Blessed be!


Mothers, this little tribute
Flows directly from my heart
You are so loved and cherished
Invaluable, one and all, you are.

Response:
Blessed be all mothers
Who have come into our lives
Blessed be, Blessed be,
Blessed be!




28. Mother's Day Memories Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

We celebrate Mother's Day once a year, but memories of the mother in our life remain with us all days. Mothering influences come to us from other than the nurturer who raised us and to those men and women we can give thanks and send our blessings on this special day.

Even if we were not raised in a traditional home those who raised us deserve recognition for the time and devotion it takes to raise a child. So, here is a special meditation in honor of Mother's Day:

To begin: Prepare your meditation altar by laying out a clean cloth and lighting a central candle to represent the light and learning brought to us by our mother or mother figure. Put fresh flowers in a vase to represent the delicate love it takes to give care and nurturing. Light an incense cone or stick because its sweetness permeates the atmosphere of the room just as a home is sweetened with mother's love.

Sit up straight on a cushion on the floor with your legs folded in, or sit on a chair with the soles of your feet on the floor for balance while meditating. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Then gently close your eyes without straining.

Begin to breathe in an even and regular patterns such as 2 counts to breathe in; 2 counts to breathe out; 2 counts to breathe in, and continue for a minute to establish the rhythm. Then, let go of the counting but keep up the even breathing during your meditation.

Breath is a tie between body and mind. Even and regular breathing harmonize us when our mind or body is out of sorts. And when we feel in harmony the answers to our problems come most easily to mind.

Start by thinking with appreciation about at least one person in your life who has given you mothering care; if not your mother perhaps a grandmother, aunt, sister, cousin, teacher or friend. Mothering appears in many ways at different stages of life.

Appreciation puts us in a positive mood and as a snowball rolling along in the snow growing bigger and bigger, we develop more positive traits through being appreciative. Notice that when you say "thank you" to someone you feel better and elicit a smile from another. It forms a conscious memory of how we are all in a human bond with each other and the world, too - the environment and planet.

Spend some minutes in quiet enjoying the side effects of appreciation and think how you can carry this feeling into your daily life.

Now take a deep breath and slowly release it. Open your eyes and go forward into your day more relaxed and refreshed from feeling appreciative for the care and mothering you've received in your life.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo of honeysuckle by Stan Schaap



29. Mother's Day Reflection and Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Can we ever honor our mothers enough, when we think about the daily gifts of time and energy for our care? Quite simply there is only one way to make a return, and that is to turn our attention to loving and nurturing the next generation; our children, grandchildren.

If we don't have progeny there are plenty of opportunities in community service, or even worldwide service. This brings me to the example set by one of my relatives recently who spent her five-week vacation from work serving in an orphanage in Tanzania.

What really touched me is that before she came home she bought all thirty of the children a pair of sturdy shoes. Now, that nurturing is paying homage to the universal mother we all descend from, and I think is an example for us all.

Giving, giving, giving is really getting, getting, getting. "Ask and you shall receive" reminds me that it is in the very act of giving love we receive a welling-up of peace in our mind and feelings of harmony in our life. The reward of joy is instantaneous.

To align oneself with the attitude of giving and receiving harmony at once it is helpful to carry out a daily practice such as meditation, that nurtures and uncovers this charitable well-spring within.

Meditation is a prime practice because it harmonizes mind and body. The regular breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body allowing us to forget the body for the time being and concentrate on thoughts of appreciation and care, as a mother would for a child.

In photos of mother and baby we see the serenity of mother when looking down at the bundle in her arms. It is just this calmness carried generation to generation that pays homage to the caring mother in all of us. The universal mother is the image of this care and the beautiful teaching of getting love from within while giving love in our heart and actions.

Mother's Day Prayer
Mother dearest, Mother Divine
Awaken love in my heart today.
Keep me remembering your caring ways
This I pray on Mother's Day.




30. Mother's  Day Prayer of Remembering

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

M other - there is no other who held us with such tender care

O n her lap as babes, cuddled, fed
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T hen given a nudge to crawl

H er glance watchful of

E very move we made, and when we started to walk and

R un, our mothers, perhaps reluctantly, let us go to discover and grow!

Do we really want to get away from the nurturing we first had from a mother? I don’t think so. All through life we seek relationships of nurturing - love and care given and received.

Mother's Day is an opportunity to give care either to our mother or to the world at large in the kind and caring way symbolic of mothers everywhere.

Let's make every day one of kind concern, through actions and our prayers and meditations on kindness.

Here is a prayer to include in your meditation for Mother's Day -

Blessed are mothers
Models of care, like no others.
With mothers' love in mind
May we grow to shine.
Bright beacons of care
For family, friends, neighbors
Our world family everywhere!


Article and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer



31. Mother's  Day Benediction

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Take a few moments to meditate on the blessings and lessons of kindness from mothers ...

The month of May in its beauty, a fitting time to honor our mothers.

A time of thanksgiving for the mother of our youth, and the mothering that follows through life by the nurturing of friends.

Thank you, dear mothers, models of love. Examples that set us strong on the path of caring kindly for your grandchildren, and for all the world’s children, too.

Mother's Day Benediction

May the blessing of the Divine
Be an especially bright benediction
Upon mothers everywhere
On your blessed day
On Mother’s Day.

May we remember
Mothers everywhere
Seen and unseen
Who by their love and kindness
Bless us always!

Love be with you dear mothers
Love be with you always!


Benediction by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



32. New Year's Meditation and Prayer for Peace

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

New Year's Day is an opportunity to begin anew with a fresh and brightened attitude that will bring forth fruits of useful thoughts. Ideas and actions that are good for us and helpful for everyone spring from positive attitudes.

Let's take this opportunity, this "new year" to change our deepest attitudes to those of kindness and helpfulness for our worldwide family.

May we meditate on these verses sometime on New Year's Day, that peace will over all the earth, shine over each; brighten lives in many ways.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo of field of sheep in snow, The Netherlands by Stan Schaap
Peace Prayer for the New Year

May peace prevail deep in our hearts
May peace prevail at home
May peace weave through our daily lives
May worldwide peace
Our goal become.

We are one human family
With roots in many lands
Let's be the peace remembering
Our ancestors together
Worked hand in hand.

Let's take the opportunity this day
Spread New Year's blessings 'round
Let's each send love
Through thoughts and prayers
Let bindings come unbound.

From thoughts that bind humanity
That keep each other tied
To preconceptions that we're different
When reality is
Interwoven lives.

For all of us one family are
When looked at from above
The heavenly view sees everyone
As dear brothers and sisters
A family of love.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo of sheep in snow by Stan Schaap



33. New Year's Journaling Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi
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Take a few quiet minutes with your journal to think about these thoughts and jot down your reflections. Periodically add to your ideas.

Before beginning the reading and journaling, spend time breathing evenly to center your body-mind: breathe in counts 1, 2; breathe out counts 3, 4; breathe in counts 1, 2 and continue for a minute.

Thoughts for reflection on how to benefit our world family

What could we be doing?

If we were born to set our souls free, then caring and strong 'wings of love' will help us fly high!

Developing 'wings of love' gives us power to use earth's offerings wisely, efficiently, for the benefit of the greatest good.

Kindness - 'wings of love' - envelopes us in a spiraling circle of warmth, because as we give, we receive a vibrant energy swelling up in our body from within, sparking our kind actions.

And importantly, the energy of 'wings of love' motivates us to take good care of ourselves, so that we are fit to act on kind intentions.

Meditation and photo credit of robin Susan Helene Kramer



34. New Year's Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


A prayer for reflection and meditation on personal and world peace.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: National park next to North Sea, The Netherlands. Photo credit Stan Schaap
In the New Year may we remember
Today's decisions shape tomorrow's outcomes
That living each moment the best we can
Creates a harmonious life.

May we remember
By holding fast to integrity
Others see we are trustworthy.

When times are rough
May we remember to turn in
To our close and ready Source of comfort.

On New Year's and every day
May we remember that each new moment
Can be a fresh beginning.

And may we especially remember that
Personal peace preserved leads to
World peace, well deserved.

Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap; national park preserve, next to North Sea, The Netherlands

 



35. New Year's  Prayer and Meditation for World Peace

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The New Year brings us more acutely into the realization that if we want our planet to survive - people and environment - we must rise above our differences and take on a nurturing worldwide view.

I firmly feel we each need to be instrumental is bringing about planetary peace, starting with being peaceful in our own relationships - within, amongst family, neighbors, and the community stretching ever outward.

By being a peaceful and bright beacon of light we feel harmonious and become an example of peace and harmony to those whose lives we touch, known and unknown to us, alike.

Meditation is a powerful magnet of peace, because in the moments and minutes of meditation it is peace in action. And meditation is something we can sink into at any moment, no matter where we are, by turning to those verses, affirmations and thoughts we find uplifting.

It is the right and necessity of everyone to seek out and practice inner peace that we may all be part of the solution to peace, harmony and love on our planet. Let's join together in blessing one another with thoughts and wishes of peace often during the day.

Here is a prayer to meditate upon to begin your journey in becoming peaceful and contributing to building a beautiful planetary home.

May we all in every land
Join each other hand in hand.
Setting difference aside
Arms and minds opening wide.


To see the unity that's All
May that become our beck and call.
Striving for the outer peace
Striving for a firm release.

From possessiveness, oppression
To a kind concerned expression.
That our earth sees out as one
Light as the sun may we become.

Humanity, one planet bright
That's how we know it's really right.
To set aside entrenched indifference
And realize that in Love, we're infinite.

Then everyone in every land
Will join together hand in hand.


Article and artwork credit Susan Helene Kramer; scene in Oklahoma in conté crayon



36. New Year's Resolution Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

As each New Year's Day dawns, full of promise, we are once again inspired to make resolutions for personal improvement.

I think of resolutions as pacts, made by my discriminative mind, to exert control over my actions.

Some helps for remembering a resolution:
1. I like to write it on a piece of paper and carry it in my pocket. Every time I put my hand in the pocket and touch that paper I am again reminded.
2. Post notes in visible locations.
3. Send yourself an email reminder.
4. Write it on your daily planner or calendar.

When you remember your resolution and other people are around, just take a few moments to reflect upon how it is working in your daily life. Remember, you are working at something that is going to improve the quality of your life.

Journaling Meditation

Later, perhaps before retiring, spend a longer period in a more formal meditation: 5 minutes of even in and out breathing, moving on to several minutes reflecting on your progress toward meeting your goal.

Now, take your journal out and begin a new chapter to record your progress in keeping your resolution. In this way you can see how you are doing over a period of time and what the stumbling blocks are. And, if you fail, just write out a fresh resolve and keep going. Only quitters are losers.

Finish your meditation with an appreciation to yourself, for positive efforts in any area you have made that day!

Resolutions
Resolves in progress.

 


36a. Pentecost Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Pentecost celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles of Jesus Christ.

In art we see the descent represented as tongues or flames of fire above but not touching the heads of the apostles.

I understand the flames as an initiation of awareness of the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity.

God the Father as 1st person of the Holy Trinity; Christ the Son or 2nd person of the Trinity; and for completion of the apostle’s work on earth, the descent of the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity. The triune God. Separate roles in one and the same God.

To paraphrase, in the Bible the reference is made that with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, they were able to speak in the tongues of all peoples of the world as they knew it at that time.

To me, speaking in tongues is speaking the good news to people using language they understand, rather than just saying what now came to mind in a local language.

My intuition tells me how great an event Pentecost was, that allowed all to be able to hear the good news in a way or manner they could receive it.

Meditation for Pentecost

Begin by sitting quietly either with your hands folded in your lap, or resting palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes and begin regular even breathing and keep this up throughout the meditation.

Say a prayer of appreciation for the loved ones in your life, and send loving thoughts to all the planet and beyond.

Ask God for the gift of the descent of the Holy Spirit in your life.

This could come as awareness of a subtle sound or melody seemingly emanating under the crown of your head. If you hear this melodic vibration, stay with it for the remainder of your meditation.

The Holy Spirit is for all of us to awaken our higher centers of understanding and love so we can make the best use of our time on earth.

Sit in silence for a few minutes, then close your meditation with a deep breath in and slowly release it. Stretch out and write your insights in your journal.

Quiet still meditation
In the bosom of the Holy Spirit
A passport to a world beyond
Lifting us in mind and spirit




37. Preparing an Altar for Easter Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The weeks preparing for Easter are some of my favorite days of the year. I find thoughts of the risen Son very uplifting. To me it means the rising of love and light in my life; a time to set aside negative attitudes to be replaced by positive attitudes and caring actions.

I'm glad Easter is celebrated every year to give an annual look toward peace on earth - personal and worldwide. My wish for each is to be inspired by Easter - to feel the rising of love in your heart, then shown and enjoyed by loving others.

Preparing an altar for Easter meditation
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If you have an altar set up for daily meditation this is an opportunity to freshen and clean everything. If the idea of a meditation altar is new for you here are some considerations to include -

Lay out a clean cloth over a table or even a carton turned upside down, whatever your budget will allow. One idea is to use a small step stool as your altar, as it is just a step off the ground in height and just about perfect to set a candle upon.

I like to use a new white decorated candle for Easter meditation.

Then you can surround your candle with a wreathe of fresh Spring flowers if available, or some beautiful silk flowers like orchids or lilies. If you are using silk or artificial flowers, clean them with some bursts of air from a hairdryer if they are dusty.

During your meditation light a few sticks of sandalwood incense or a floral scent if you prefer.

I also have a special crystal I lay on my altar that reminds me of the purity of my soul. And I like to have a rosary or mala - prayer beads - laying across the front of my altar to use when I feel like doing mantra repetitions.

I also keep a journal and pen laying alongside the altar to record inspirations. And I wouldn't be without a volume of poetry or uplifting writing alongside the journal.

My habit is to silently read a paragraph, page, or short chapter of inspired writing, or something about the lives of saints before closing my eyes and beginning silent meditation.

That completes my altar preparations for Easter meditation. My prayers and blessings are with everyone on this joyful holy occasion!

Article and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer; pink lilies, Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands



38. Spring Equinox Meditation and Prayer Celebration

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The spring equinox marks equal hours of light and darkness, and in the northern hemisphere it is a time of moving toward growth in the natural world; an inspiration for accelerated growth in our lives.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo credit Susan Kramer
As the equinox is a marking point, it is an opportunity for celebration of the spirit running through us all.

Here is a plan for an equinox celebration for a group of people to hold outdoors  at the beach, park, in the mountains, or another space big enough wherever you live.

The celebration ceremony

1.
A central focal point is established. It could be a bon fire or candles or flowers something universal to all, regardless of religious orientation.

2. To begin, everyone gathers round the central focal point in a circle and holds hands.

3. The leader or group recite a prayer for spiritual growth in personal peace and world peace. I like the “St. Francis Prayer for Peace.”

4. After the prayer follows a minute of silence for contemplation on the meaning of the equinox as a point in time signaling spiritual balance.

5. The silence flows into uplifting group singing or peace chants. If the group knows a simple circle dance that could come next.

6. At the end of singing and dancing everyone sits down in place for a few minutes of silent meditation on the theme of spiritual renewal - spiritual growth.

7. Rounding out the ceremony, all rise, join hands and sing an uplifting song for world peace and harmony. A recommendation is “Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me” by Sy Miller and Bill Jackson.

It is fun to finish out the event with socialization in a potluck meal or dessert!



39. Spring Mindful Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Spring in the northern hemisphere brings longer days of light with more time to be outdoors.

Here is a mindful meditation technique to enjoy in your garden, in a park, or out in the country.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo credit Stan Schaap
Stop and sit for a few minutes on a bench or in a meadow. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature - birds singing off in the distance, the humming of bees, the croaking of frogs.

Be aware of the moment. Spring has so much inspiration to offer; we are uplifted by the gentle breezes, the sweet perfumes. It is a time of renewal on all levels. Let yourself be carried along and renewed as Spring inspires.

Paying close attention to the enjoyment of the moment pushes worldly concerns aside for the time being, giving the mind a mini-retreat.

This rest and relaxation technique can also be done indoors by sitting in a comfortable place and listening to nature sounds or a soothing music CD.

Whenever you need a break, take time for this mini retreat, refreshing yourself in the process, ready to face the rest of your day!

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



40. Spring Prayer of Appreciation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

This is a prayer to bring energy into your heart when beginning your meditation session.

Uplifting sights and sounds surround
New life at every door
Birth of Spring reminds us all
That life renews in us once more.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Field in The Netherlands; photo credit Stan Schaap
Flowers dormant underground
Push through earth, reveal
Brilliance in the light of Spring
Warmth for all to feel.

In thankfulness we lift our eyes
With loving thoughts in heart
We give thanks for all things good
For blessings the Creator imparts.

Let our hearts be ever glad
For beauty that abounds
And gives a taste of heaven's glory
Where Spring is all around.

By caring, sharing gifts on earth
With those who need a blessing
We'll one day reap eternal Spring
In the presence of our Creator
Living a divine blessing.

All around Spring inspires us to get up and out in action. It is a time to get busy with new projects with the return of our determination and energy.

Let your moments in meditation spark actions that are helpful and kind. For these are what bring happiness our way, and comfort and peace most all of the time.

Remember to close each meditation with a prayer of appreciation for the loving people in your life, and for remembering to show love by caring actions.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



41. St. Patrick's Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and his life is celebrated on the anniversary of the date of his death March 17, AD 461.

I find the following lines from The Shield of St. Patrick attributed to St. Patrick and paraphrased by Cecil Frances Alexander truly a bulwark of strength and inspiration:

“Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me;
Christ to comfort and restore me; …”


A meditation inspired by St. Patrick’s devotion

Sitting in a quiet place; perhaps your meditation room or garden, fold your hands in your lap and close your eyes.

Begin a gentle even breathing pattern such as counts 1, 2 breathe in; counts 3,4 breathe out; counts 1,2 breathe in; counts 3,4 breathe out and continue. When your breathing becomes relaxed and regular stop counting and begin listening to the sound of your breathing for another minute.

Take time to think about what the word ‘devotion’ means to you.

Does it make you feel fortified and strengthened on your spiritual path? How can you develop devotion in your life? Read about lives of the saints? Read great poetry? Listen to uplifting music?

Decide on one way to develop devotion in your daily life.

Now, again turn your attention back to your even breathing for a minute. Then take a deep breath and stretch. You may want to take time to write down your new plan as a reminder.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



42. St. Patrick's Day Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Looking for some blarney gold? Perhaps it's already within!
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer

We come to you with open heart
May we receive what you impart.

You tide us over through our days
And help us in so many ways.

We strive to give with care and kindness
Through trust in love, with thoughts of oneness.

Our worldwide home becomes our family
As one to one we act most kindly.

A circle of love, a home of peace
A planet in harmony, where conflict has ceased.

Sisters and brothers, young and old
Give of your hearts  that's blarney gold.


Prayer and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer



43. St. Valentine's Day Meditation on Love

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

This is one day a year we're all centered on love. A day dedicated to love. And over the years the holiday's expression has expanded to the many ways we see love. Shops carry whole categories of Valentine's Day cards, for every relationship in our family, with friends and partners alike.

Let's meditate

In your meditation nook sit up straight on a cushion on the floor, or alternately on a chair with feet firmly planted on the floor. If you are sitting in front of a little altar light your candle; a red or pink candle would be appropriate to celebrate this holiday of love.

Burn a cone or stick of incense to remind you of the sweetness found in love. A vase of flowers next to your candle would be a perfect remembrance of St. Valentine's Day.

Close your eyes and begin a few rounds of even rhythmic breathing such as: count 1 breathe in; count 2 breathe out; count 3 breathe in and continue this steady pattern throughout your meditation. After a minute stop counting but continue the rhythm. Breath ties body to mind and regulating your breathing pattern calms the mind and relaxes the body; a heads up for harmony.

Take a few minutes to reflect with appreciation on the many forms of the one great love flowing through your life. Even though relationships are in different formats the underlying core of love - care - runs through all; both the warp and woof threads of the fabric of love.

You have the opportunity to create a beautiful tapestry of love in all its expressions by being kind, caring, considerate, respectful with all in your life. After all, a beautiful brocade is made with the finest threads in a pattern that takes time to weave. So, too, our relationships turn out the best through care and maintenance.

Now take a few moments to let your feelings of love for family and friends expand out to the world community - we all need to send loving care and harmony through us to those in strife.

Be a beacon of love that your inner light and actions brighten the lives of others; brighten your own life by acts of sharing and caring.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and slowly release it; open your eyes; stretch out and go on with your day, renewed and refreshed.

Article and photo of Swiss groundcover by Susan Helene Kramer



44. St. Valentine's Day Thoughts and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Take time to sit quietly in your favorite meditation place, whether it be a corner of your bedroom, a nook in the attic, or, weather permitting, a bench in your garden protected from sight of the neighbors.

When I meditate in the garden I sit on my bench that is in the back corner for protection from the wind and to be able to view the whole of my garden. It is also under the fronds of our palm tree so offers protection from direct sun.

Begin your quiet time by doing some rounds of even breathing such as one count to breathe in and one count to breathe out. Continue this even patterns throughout your meditation without actually saying the counts. Breath is the tie between body and mind: when we are agitated even breathing calms us down. It is a wonderful aid unseen by anyone else so we preserve our privacy while helping ourselves.

Now turn your attention to thoughts of love and care. Start first thinking of those you love and stretch that love to your community, the world, the universe, which in recent years has shown to my eyes is full of life, too. This is an opportunity to pray for unity between civilizations, whether of this world or between us and the diverse inhabitants of the cosmos.

Take time to think with appreciation for all that you have: family, friends, food, housing, and continue on. When we voice appreciation we are less likely to be complainers.

Finish your quiet time with a deep breath in and slowly release it. Now stretch out and continue your day in a happy way.

Happy St. Valentine's Day to all.



45. Summer Solstice Prayer and Meditation Celebration

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


Summer Solstice Prayer:

In thankfulness we lift our eyes
With loving thoughts in heart
We give thanks for all things good
For blessings the Creator imparts.
Let our hearts be ever glad
For beauty that abounds
And gives a taste of heaven's glory
When summer comes around.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo credit of farm in The Netherlands Stan Schaap
The summer solstice marks the longest hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is a time for enjoying all nature has to offer in the outdoors. And if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed with the shortest hours of light now, and time for more indoor activities.

Living in either hemisphere, the solstice turning points are a time for inner reflection and positive growth.

Here is a plan for a solstice celebration for a group of people to hold outdoors - at the beach, park, in the mountains, or another space big enough wherever you live - or in a large indoor space.

The celebration ceremony

1.
A central focal point is established. It could be a bon fire or candles or flowers - something universal to all, regardless of religious orientation.

2. To begin, everyone gathers round the central focal point in a circle and holds hands.

3. The leader or group recite a prayer, such as the one above, for spiritual growth in personal peace and world peace.

4. After the prayer follows a minute of silence for contemplation on the solstice as a time of strong spiritual practice and action.

5. The silence flows into uplifting group singing or peace chants. If the group knows a simple circle dance that could come next.

6. At the end of singing and dancing everyone sits down in place for a few minutes of silent meditation on the theme of spiritual growth.

7. Rounding out the ceremony, all rise, join hands and sing an uplifting song for world peace.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



46. Three Kings Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

The feast of the Three Kings commemorates their visit to the newborn babe in Bethlehem with offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

In our present day we can make valuable offerings also, through thoughtful gifts of kindness, generosity, and meditation - generosity in the form of sharing our worldly goods; kindness in helping those in need; meditation for personal and world peace.

Meditation

Start out by sitting straight in your favorite meditation spot facing a little table or altar. Light a candle with its bright flame to represent the gift of gold, and burn two cones or sticks of incense to represent the offerings of frankincense and myrrh.

Begin regular even breathing such as 2 counts to breathe in and 2 counts to breathe out, and continue this pattern for a minute to calm your body and mind.

Turn your thoughts to how you can incorporate into your daily life the three practices of 1. kindness, 2. generosity, and 3. meditation for peace.

1. Some ideas are to begin right upon rising in the morning by being kind to those nearest and dearest family and friends. Your kindness helps put them in the mood to be kind to others it is contagious.

2. During the day give generously of your ideas, wisdom, and material help as you can.

3. At the end of the active part of the day with a meditation on the breath to calm your thoughts and body, and then mentally send thoughts of harmony to people of all lands our large world family.

Finish your "Three Kings" meditation with a deep breath, stretch out, and go forth with lightened energy!



47. Tribute to Mothers

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

What better tribute to mothers than to send thoughts and blessings of spiritual love their way. We can surround mothers in a holy light of spiritual energy by thinking good thoughts of them and by acting in a way that is a tribute to mother love.

When we act lovingly we are making a tribute to mother love as that is what epitomizes caring and kindness.

Mothers inspire us to be the best human beings we can be. Not to achieve some outer greatness, rather that we should develop into the fullest aspect of humanness we can aspire to. And, that is loving all with an equal vision of divine love. That is our highest human aspiration, because in this achievement we break the barriers between ourselves as divided parts of the true whole being we are in body, mind, soul, spirit.

It may seem a mystery while we are striving for wholeness and worldly achievement, but when love transcends every circumstance as our guiding keel we know we were born to soar along through life as loving, caring people.

The greatest tribute to mothering received is mothering given in thought and deed; giving purely and with a positive attitude, as we have been given to along the way every time we felt uplifted by the realization of new wisdom gained.

Mothers give their very best
Can we then act with any less
Than caring, kindness, giving, sharing
In tribute to this loving bearing?
Mothers' love  tapestry of art
Inspired by the Divine Loving Heart.


May our tribute to mothers all over the world be our focus in meditation in the month of May, one of the most beautiful times of the year. Every day in meditation give thanks for the uplifting lessons learned from the mothering situations in your life.



48. Valentine's Day Heart Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

What better way to begin meditating than with our heart feelings! Caring, sharing, kindness set the scene for a positive outlook all day.

To begin

Sit on the floor on a cushion or folded blanket, back straight, legs crossed, hands folded in lap or on thighs palms turned up, facing a small table. Alternately, sit straight in a chair, hands folded in lap or on thighs palms turned up.

Place a lighted candle and flowers on the table and burn incense if you'd like. For a heart meditation, it is nice to include a crystal on your meditation table.

Recite an invocation for peace amongst all lands

May peace reign over all earth's lands
As we join together hands.
May our hearts light up with love
Inspired by caring from above.

Now, close your eyes and quietly begin even breathing: breathe in counts 1, 2; breathe out counts 3, 4; breathe in counts 1, 2 and continue for a minute.

Let go of the counting, and for a minute quietly enjoy the harmony even breathing brings.

Visualize your inner radiant heart expanding outwardly through caring feelings to include your loved ones, community, country, world family stretching through the universe without limit. Hold these thoughts and enjoy the feeling of energization they bring into your body-mind.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and out and the resolve to put a caring attitude into action!

Article and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer



49. Valentine's Day Meditation on Expanding Love

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi


St. Valentine's Day brings hearts and flowers to mind; perhaps we are thinking ahead with longing to spring-like weather. Light, love, warmth: all sentiments for this mid-winter holiday.

It is a day concentrated on remembering those we love in all our relationships with family and friends. Some may limit Valentine's Day celebrations to a particular loved one, but as we really think about it, the worldwide family needs and deserves our loving attention, too.

Meditation on expanding love

Begin by sitting in your favorite quiet spot. Close your eyes and do some rounds of even breathing, such as: breathe in 2 counts; breathe out 2 counts; breathe in 2 counts and continue on in this rhythmic pattern without actually saying the numbers during you whole meditation.

Turn your attention to thoughts of one you love and send rays of warmth their way. Now let those rays expand in loving thoughts for your family and friends and out to the universe.

Allow yourself to receive love in return from the world in the form of pure air and positive thoughts. Allow any negative thoughts to fall aside. Concentrate on loving and giving today of all days. Then your loving heart will expand and in the growing circle of love you'll receive back peace of mind, contentment, satisfaction, joy.

Finish your meditation with a deep cleansing breath in and slowly release it. Open your eyes; stretch out. If you keep a meditation journal take time to write any positive ideas that come to you. Now, go on with your day with a lightened and loving heart. Happy Valentine's Day.

Stretching borders of love
Increases experiences of love.




50. Valentine's Day Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Stan Schaap
Uplifting thoughts fill our hearts
Looking toward St. Valentine's Day
Hoping, praying we feel a part
Of all the love that holiday.

This special day year to year
Is shown by giving candy sweet
Fragrant flowers, verses light
Giving, receiving both a treat.

But underneath these touching gifts
May opportunity be found
To share with others deep felt thoughts
That bind us all the world around.

Peace for all, harmony, love
Underlie St. Valentine's Day
This deeper message, a fervent wish
To carry forward in every way.

Giving love makes every heart
Feel special more than on this day
It makes love last the whole year long
Makes every day St. Valentine's Day!

Once again we have the opportunity to share with one another our dearest thoughts of love and care in a way so sweet. I think the message of St. Valentine's Day serves us well when carried past the day into the whole of the year, the great circle of life.

To begin your St. Valentine's meditation sit in a quiet place. If you have a meditation altar, in honor of the day, place some blooming flowers on it and whatever objects you find uplifting; perhaps little angels or cupids with their bow and arrows to dart a lucky recipient with enduring love.

Use your meditation time to reflect on the prayer above and how you can show love and care in your life, today and everyday. It is this effort one to one that must spread till the goal of peace and harmony on earth prevail. Let's make that our Valentine's Day wish.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



51. Valentine's Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

How sweet our thoughts are as they turn to Valentine's Day. It may even bring a smile to our face and a softening of attitudes and actions.

With that in mind here is a meditation to open our heart wider to the presence of the Divine, kept sacred within us, vibrantly inspiring our best acts in the world.

Begin by arranging your altar: lay out a fresh cloth and place a candle in the center. Light the candle and burn some incense if you wish. Place flowers alongside the incense for reminders of the beauty within.

Sit up straight in front of your altar, either cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, or straight in a chair with soles of feet firmly planted on the floor for balance. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and breathe evenly at a normal rate like this: breathe in one count, breathe out one count, breathe in one count and continue this rhythm throughout the meditation without actually counting out loud or mentally.

Say a prayer of thanksgiving for all you have. Your shelter, food, family, friends. After all, these are the essentials that provide the backup you need to go out and live productively in the world.

In celebration of Valentine's Day send loving thoughts to the dearest person in your life or a dear pet. Really feel that caring connection. Bask in the warmth of these feelings for a minute or more.

Observe your breath, how it becomes calm and peaceful when your thoughts are caring and warm toward those beyond yourself. Enjoy these moments of calm.

Draw in a deep breath and slowly release it. Open your eyes, stretch out and write any new insights that have come to you in your meditation journal for later review.

Go on with your day, lightheartedly and with care and love in your heart and actions.



52. Welcome in the New Year Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Every year we have the opportunity to reflect deeply on the closing year and plan for the New Year. It is like a renewal of life, part of the cyclical changes in our natural world.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere it comes in the darkest of the seasons, and for those below the equator the time is lightest and brightest. Either way, it is a change and signal to look within and perhaps rearrange priorities.

All over the globe New Year's celebrations take place. People everywhere literally feel the change in the air. And if you go deep into your spiritual self you'll probably be aware of the uplifting excitement New Year's carries.

This is a meditation to use in the New Year or any time you have a change about to happen.

To begin: Go to your favorite quiet meditation spot. If this is at a meditation altar light a new white candle to symbolize the beginning of the year to come. If you like, burn some incense. A plant or flowers are a nice addition to your altar.

Sit on your cushion on the floor with your back straight but not rigid. Balance your weight front to back and side to side so you feel steady. Fold your legs in and clasp your hands in your lap or rest them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Alternately, sit on a chair and keep your back straight, soles of feet planted firmly on the floor. Clasp your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and begin breathing evenly such as: breathe in one count; breathe out one count; breathe in one count; continue in this even regular pattern for at least one minute. Let go of thinking of the numbers, but keep up the rhythmic pattern for the duration of the meditation.

Breath is a tie between the body and mind. Even, regular breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body, allowing us time to concentrate on the topic for this meditation, or to listen to the peaceful vibration centered under the crown of your head. Various religious faiths refer to this experience as the Holy Spirit, the Holy Comforter, Aum, Om, Holy Naam, the Amen. Different names, same experience.

Take at least five minutes to reflect on the benefits of transition, how change will impact your life in the coming year. Follow this by an appreciation for at least one person in your life. Then send thoughts of appreciation and care outward to the entire creation.

Finish your meditation with a few moments of silence. Take a deep breath, stand and stretch and go on with your day. If you keep a meditation journal, now is the time to record new insights or ideas.



53. Winter Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

A little prayer to meditate upon, during the quiet hours of winter-time.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Heron roosting in tree during snow storm, Castricum, The Netherlands. Photo credit Susan Kramer.
During lengthening days of light
May our actions be lighthearted
Upon right and noble impulses.

During quiet hours beyond dusk, before dawn
May we take time to think over events from the day
Plan for good in the morrow.

In light of day
May we extend our personal borders
Caring and sharing expansively.

So the world glows bright from our presence
May we blaze as beacons of harmony
Lighting the path ahead.

To nurture efforts toward lasting peace
May we with act with kindness toward all
Embracing our family and friends wholeheartedly
Ever gracing our world-wide family lightheartedly.

Prayer and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer; heron roosting in tree during snow storm, Castricum, The Netherlands

 



54. Winter Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer Shuchi

Uplift my heart, quench my soul

With humbleness, delight

Nature’s blessings all around

Fill, sustain my sight.

 

For the sunshine’s golden glow

Lighting up a winter’s day

For the coming warming light

Bringing children out to play.

 

Nature’s blessings all around

Daily reminders of the way

Of caring, sharing with each other

Today and every single day.

 

Uplift my heart and fill my soul

With abundance and delight

That my life will shine in glory

Reflecting out Your radiant light.

 

So, to this earth we all have come

To grow and give in love’s delight

Until one day we find ourselves

Glowing, reflecting, shining bright

Glowing, reflecting, Your pure light.

 

Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer; Photo of North Sea in winter by Stan Schaap

 


 

Prayers July through December  http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles4a.html

 

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Email: susan@susankramer.com

 

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A meditation and yoga practitioner since 1976, Susan, Shuchi, writes on practical spirituality, meditation, yoga, family and social issues, and dance. Her instructional books are listed at her web site http://www.susankramer.com/books.html


 

page created October 3, 2009; updated November 28, 2016

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