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The Altar of Your Life

What rests upon the altar of your life? What are you making sacred with your presence?

Each morning I light a candle and I pray. I fill the kettle and meditate while the water heats. After time on the bench, I prepare hot water and lemon for my first drink of the day.

Someone gifted me with a cup last year. It is simple. Elegant. White on the inside, black outside. No handle. It is meant to be cradled. Inside the rim is written “Rituals…”. The name of a shop in Holland, this bit of advertising reminds me that yes, my life is an altar. Each morning, I squeeze half a lemon into the cup. The wooden juicer fits just so into my palm, the other hand cups the bright half round as the juice spills into the bottom of the white interior. I can be present with the lemon, the juicer, and the cup. I can be present as I lift the kettle and hot water pours out, diffusing the juice.

All of these actions are as simple as the cup. Ordinary. All of these actions become sacred by the fact that I am present and paying attention. My mind isn’t wandering in its list of things to do. I’m not wanting to do anything except be with water, lemon, and cup.

What rests upon the altar of your life? What are you making sacred with your presence?

We can infuse any activity with the scent of the sacred. How does our body touch the chair, how are hands and arms connected to our shoulders? We are present with our bodies as we type – trying to communicate across great distances. What happens when we pass a tree? Do we drink it in with our eyes? Do we say hello to the sparrows? We are present as we walk to work, or lunch, or home.

There is no place that is not holy ground. When we are present – oriented to East and West, North and South, oriented in and out – we find the sacred waiting, everywhere.

What practices connect you? 

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