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The portal of thin places, found in ancient Celtic spirituality, still speaks to the experience of prayer.

The Celts settled the British Isles in the early Bronze Age, about 1180 b.c., and brought with them imaginations teeming with myths, poetry, songs, and rituals that maintained communion with the Otherworld. Earth mounds marked entrances to this realm, but only the initiated could enter; others did so, at their peril. Heroes peopled these enclosures and became sources of inspiration, guidance, and courage for the Celts as they vanquished other warlike tribes and expanded their influence.

In the early fifth century a.d., however, the evangelization of Ireland began through the preaching of Bishop Palladius and St. Patrick. Except for the Otherworld, its “pagan” heroes, sacred wells and springs, portals, and landscapes were Christianized. To this day, the Otherworld is still accessed through the portal of thin places, permeable membranes to the Sacred; it alone separates us from the God of compassion.

Our times, like those of the Celts, call for extraordinary measures as planet Earth reels with sickness and enervates spirits. Powerless and humble, we await the interventions of the medical community, follow recommended protocols, and check developments online.

Through thin places, we also access our God who wants the eradication of this deadly virus more than we do, wants restitution of systems, so sorely disrupted.

As prayer-warriors, we can help.

 

In heart-heaviness, we cry out:

Our Father—We seek the center-point of your stillness within our depths and silence clamoring instincts.

 who art in heaven—In faith, we engage our spirits within the realm of the Sacred and remember.

 Hallowed be your name— Palms outstretched, we prostrate ourselves before your inexplicable holiness and listen and wait.

Thy Kingdom come—We yearn for color-flushes/grace that alone eradicate global manipulation and gutting of psyches.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—We surrender anew to this empowerment: its multifaceted energy incorporates us within Creative Word in which all life hums in multiple expanding universes.

Give us this day our daily bread—We yearn for spiritual sustenance, one day at a time, which steadies tentative steps across rocky terrains, which embolden hearts to embrace the untried, the unspoken.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us—We own our violence to ourselves and beg forgiveness. We also forgive others and repair rifts in the social fabric. Our part does matter.

And lead us not into temptation—We beg for discipline to listen for true guidance, often communicated in subtle whispers.

Deliver us from evil—We pray for discernment to unmask the allure of evil in its multiple disguises, especially in group-think.

For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, both now and forevermore—We thrive within this color-fresh vision, despite the cloying darkness and disease that still surround us. We have the protection—we have nothing to fear.

Amen—And so it is.

 

 

“Remember to scoop your abdomen and purse your lips when you exhale,” my Pilates coach said, her voice supportive and encouraging. Again, I concentrated as my bare feet pushed the bar forward on the reformer, moving the padded carriage upon which I was lying. Still, I could not visualize my breath enhancing my movements. My mind was split off from my body, my cheeks flushed, my breathing shallow.

It was September 2001, my third lesson in her studio. Balance issues had led me to seek her guidance. Walking across grass or uneven surfaces had become hazardous, and my usual exercises did not help.

“You’re doing very well, Liz,” she said drawing me a cup of water from the cooler. “It takes a while to get the knack of this—Pilates is different from your workouts in physical therapy: gentler, a slower more effective toning of the body. You’ll see.”

She was right. That winter’s wetness did not prevent long walks up and down the hills in my neighborhood as strength coursed through my body.

But over the years more than coaching was offered me. She loaned books on anatomy for my review, recommended supplements, shared spiritual insights, channeled the world around me, even supplied my needs when hospitalized—all with lightness of Spirit hiding out in the next breath.

She still serves, despite chronic illnesses kept at bay with Pilates and research into healing modalities. A wounded healer, she’s touched me deeply and still does.

 

 

Her name is Mary.

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