(For the past three years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts for every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month of questions.)
Best Book. What’s the best book you read in 2013?
I read a lot of good stuff in 2013, but I think that book that will end up making the biggest impact is Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, and Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. It is also a bit of a symbol for what when on for me this year in my spiritual life. The synchronicity of that is going to take a bit of work to explain:
I took a class this year called The Conscious Goddess. One of the first assignments we were asked to complete was to write a daily prayer. It had to specifically be a prayer of thanksgiving. No asking. No bargaining. Just gratitude and celebration and alignment with a higher power.
I also was a leader for Kairos, an spiritual retreat for upper-classman common to Catholic schools. It was my second one, and while the first time around I’d gotten a groups of students who were atheist and Buddhist and Hindu, this time around I got a group of good catholic kids who discovered over the course of the retreat that they loved prayer, and wanted to get better at it.
So there I am, having started on a journey about prayer in January, and finding that some of what I learned was helpful to these kids in August, and needing more. Wanting more. But there aren’t a lot of books on prayer that can help in all those situations, right?
Wrong. There on the shelf at the retreat center bookshop was Anne Lamott’s latest. A slim volume about the simple, straightforward prayers that come most often. I read it all in one night. It was immensely helpful and inspiring. I will return to it again and again.
I had forgotten how soothing it is to get home from a horrid day and work and plop down on my meditation cushion and just let it all out. “Holy Mother, I have had a craptastic day…” Or how right it feels to plop down on that same cushion 24 hours later and say something completely different. “Holy Mother, thank you for the perfect sunrise I saw on my way in today…”
PS. In 2011 I wrote this.