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The swoosh of frigid air within a hearty welcome jump-started my cane-waking as we pulled open the automatic door at the Y. It was almost too much, my helper supporting my upper arm, until steadied.

Seated upon a plastic chair in the lobby, her thin arms leaning against her housekeeping trolley, she had belted, “Hi! Back again, I see! Good for you!”—the words still echoed down the corridor, her image fixed in my heart: her wide toothless grin, her round eyes accustomed to seeing deeply, her pixie-braided-head jiggling with delight, her bosom creating peaks and valleys beneath her blue uniform shirt. Veined hands still bore the imprint of hard work, from all times.

In a split second, she had revealed her seasoned spirit of having been tossed around Life’s washing machine—when it worked.

I will not forget.

From smarming mists beyond telling emerged the Celtic Druids with their rituals, prayers, stories, and incantations that swelled their oral tradition for long centuries and steeped their followers in a natural wisdom. Even though their power was indisputable, lawlessness still terrorized the land.

To ward off protection from bandits, travelers often invoked Nature in The Celtic Breastplate:

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

Centuries later, when St. Patrick and his monks were evangelizing fifth-century Ireland, he spotted Celtic marauders on the road, intent upon their destruction. He remembered this prayer and used its blessing as a protection. “Immediately, a cloak of darkness went over them so that not a man appeared.”

The story from The Celtic Tradition by Caitlin Matthews continues: their enemy only saw a troop of eight deer and a fawn with a white bird on its shoulder. Patrick and his cohort continued their journey, unharmed.

So the Celtic Breastplate has become the St. Patrick’s Breastplate: I Bind unto Myself Today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This morning’s meditation on Step Eleven enlivened my spirit.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the God of our understanding, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

 Seated in my prayer chair, my eyes closed, my legs elevated upon a hassock, I gave thanks for last night’s encouraging dream of quaternity/balance, its silence enveloping my spirit with tranquility. Slowly, I mulled over each word of Step Eleven, then listened for new insights—They always came.

Like fire galling dry branches, the verb Sought set me ablaze for this exercise. With the eye of my spirit entrained upon the next moment, I sat up straight and began deep breathing. All the more critical was my desire to improve my conscious contact with the God of my understanding, given my spend-saver sands cresting at the base of the hourglass. That I will come to know Creator God, rather believe in Him, that I will spend eternity in with Him can lead to soiling my pants.

praying only for knowledge of God’s will jettisoned my myopic sense of self and opened me to the mystery of on-going creation in multiple universes. As co-creator, I’m mandated to produce something unique for the inspiration of others; and closer to home, to accept the daily diminishments occurring in my old body—a new experience, not without its moments.

That’s where the power to carry that out came into awareness. The rough spells of breathing, the eruption of knife-pains that eventually pass, the need to take more breaks from meaningful activities, the rigors of deep breathing and stretching exercises—all find succor in this power. And another day spoons into another, with more spiritual growth that graces my immortal spirit.

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