Praying With Dots

It isn’t often that I feel speechless.

This week has been pretty close to one of those times.

My tear ducts, however, seem to be working overtime.

My dearest friend has been in a hospital in Florida all week, gravely ill, and I can’t leave yet to be with her, because of Hurricane Irma.

The hospital is now running on generators and they’re taking her back to surgery.

As I imagine so many of you have done, I’ve practically worn the buttons off my cell phone checking on her and all my other friends and family in the path of this storm.

I grew up in Florida.

My heart wants to be there now.

Instead, I am rationing my Weather Channel time to leave time for praying. (And sanity!)

There are lots of ways to pray.

I, who am what is now called a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), have been learning to pray the rosary. My friend is Roman Catholic.

This is not something I learned in Seminary. Imagine my surprise when I discovered, after looking it up on my cell phone, how much this ancient practice includes many of my own traditions!

I am stunned by all the connections I feel.

Fires. Friends still struggling out from under Harvey. Friends not heard from yet in the early days of Irma. Another friend’s family near the center of the earthquake in Mexico. My family. A beach restaurant Bill and I love, complete with treasured memories of Key Lime pie and strong coffee with real whipped cream for breakfast.

Those connections are a huge part of the reason for these words, in this moment, now.

I’ve also been doing a lot of what my Pilgrimage friends would call painting in dots. Tiny random-esque polka dots, applied with the handle end of a paint brush to the image of a Black Madonna I’ve been painting.  Each dot an immediate prayer with, in my case, a name attached to it.

My friend. Her daughter. Her mom. My family. And, the all-encompassing Irma.

It feels a great deal like meditation. Somehow making the dots seems to engage more of me in prayer. It feels like help in setting down some of my anxiety and  doing what I can in the moment.

It seemed somehow out of context when the Facebook elves reminded me, yesterday afternoon, that today is “Grandparents Day” in the U.S.

Honestly, I had a bit of trouble finding space for that particular piece of information just now. And yet, despite the fact that I clearly did not get the Hallmark genes in my family, it tugged at me.

Then I figured out why.

You may have heard these words by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes here before, for they are among my favorites:

Do Not Lose Heart. We Were Made For These Times.

“I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now.

Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is, we were made for these times.

One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or despair, thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl.

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.

The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these, to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.” And neither are we….

No matter who you are…if you are a grandparent, or hope to be one, or had one who loved you, or cherish in some way the archetypal grandparent energy in our world, please imagine that this is your “card” for today.

Live who you are.

With hope and blessings for all the world, Sue





“We Shall Not Be Moved!”

Today is, at least according to the Hallmark folks, Grandparents’ Day. Now, if you checked around a bit, you’d discover that I didn’t get the Hallmark genes in my family but I really needed to share this with you!

Until a couple of days ago, I didn’t know about this book. Then a friend told me she’d heard something about it on NPR. I went hunting! What follows is the text of a childrens’ picture book that’s a little hard to come up with immediately, but Amazon is glad to help.

For me, this is the story to remember on the days when it’s hard to believe that we really can help make the world a better place for our kids and all those who will come after us. And I now have 2,223 more people standing in my very helpful visualized circle of people who support me in my journey.

I’m sure they’d be glad to join your circle, too! (Even if you’re not a grandmother but just like hanging with hopeful folks!) If you’d like to join this circle, simply add your name and email address to the little pop-up thing or to the comments below and we’ll send you an email when there’s a new post! (There are exciting things ahead!)


My Dream for Paradise

by Sharon Mehdi from the U.S.A.

The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering

A busboy who worked in a café whose window faced the public park noticed that two grandmotherly looking women had been standing in the park all day without moving at all and without talking. They were dressed up in their Sunday best and were just staring at the town hall.

He asked the other patrons in the café what they thought the women were up to. They speculated on a variety of things. Then, a five-year old year who was in the café spoke up and said “One of them is my grandmother and I know what they are doing. They are standing there to save the world.”

All of the men in the café hooted and howled and laughed.

On his way home the busboy decided to ask the women what they were doing and sure enough their answer was “We are saving the world.”

Over dinner that evening the busboy told his parents and he and his father hooted and howled, but his mother was totally silent. After dinner, the mother called her best friends to tell them.

The next morning the busboy looked out the café window and the two women were back, along with his mother, her friends, and the women who had been in the café the day before. All were standing in silence staring at the town hall.

Again, the men hooted and howled and said things like “You can’t save the world by standing in the park. That is what we have armies for,” and “everyone knows you have to have banners and slogans to save the world–you can’t do it by just standing in the park.”

The next day the women were joined by the women who were in the café the day before and a number of their friends. This brought the local newspaper reporter to the scene. He wrote a derisive article about the women. The day after it appeared, hundreds of women showed up to stand in the park in silence.

The mayor then told the police chief to make the women leave because they were making the town appear to be foolish.

When the police chief told them they would have to disperse because they didn’t have a permit, one of them responded that “we are just individuals standing in our public park and we are not giving speeches or having a demonstration so why would we need a permit.”

The police chief thought about this and agreed with them and left the park.

At this point 2,223 women including the mayor’s wife, the police chief’s wife, and one five-year old girl were standing in the park to save the world. The news quickly spread and soon women were standing all over the country. Even women standing in every country throughout the globe:

… standing to save the world!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach