You are not praying, you are being prayed

The year of the body--Week 42

in which prayer whispers the great paradox and mystery of prayer  

Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,

Something happened during The Return of the Witches pilgrimage this summer that dramatically altered how I construct my prayer intensives. For the 5th gathering for Marguerite Porete, Marguerite’s champion got on a half-hour early to go over the slides and the timing.

As we finished our preparations and got ready for people to join, I joked, “I’m just the director.”

The ears of my soul perked up and grabbed this simple declaration, intended as a joke, and delivered it straight to my heart. Where it landed as truth.

The next morning in deep soul writing, I was writing about this funny interchange when I suddenly realized, what a minute! I am the director of this event. Furthermore, I’m also the producer!

I got the idea for the pilgrimage last December during The Lotus and The Lily, my annual intensive to complete one year and create a mandala to welcome the next. (Watch for the first opportunity to join this year's event next Sunday.)

Once “The Return of the Witches” landed on my mandala as the name and purpose of 2021, I got to work. I spent the next six months researching the 13 witches and searching for their champions, gathering a rich roster of artists and musicians, and designing how the two-hour ceremony would unfold.

It was a massive undertaking. I had never created anything like it. And as far as I know, no one has created anything like it.

That pilgrimage changed everyone who came. Especially the champions. Every one of the 13 champions who stepped forward to bring a witch alive in our midst has experienced dramatic change in their life’s work.

Including me.

I’ve been a prayer artist now for 3 years. Prayer artist changed everything. I stopped teaching my courses and began offering prayer intensives. I stopped doing my radio show and created a podcast devoted to conversations about prayer. I started writing a whole new genre of prayer. I even had the audacity to redefine prayer. I was having a grand time praying in the thresholds between worlds and inviting people to come and dance with me. And they came. Thousands of you have come to my prayer intensives.

But when I told my little “joke” to myself, a whole room in The Mystic opened up. But I didn’t know it.

As I was soul writing with Beloved Mother Sophia about my little joke, I surprised myself by writing that not only was I the producer and director of this radical mystical event, but the event itself was taking place in the Theatre of the Miraculous.

I had to stop writing and stare off in space for quite a while when I saw that term. The Theatre of the Miraculous…. What is that? And how do I direct and produce events in that theatre? And why does it have to have that elegant spelling? (I don't know the answer to that question, but it does.)

I spent a couple weeks soul writing about this mysterious place. I needed words to be able to describe it to myself and to you.

The first intensive I had planned after the pilgrimage ended was on deep soul writing. I’ve taught deep soul writing since 2008, but this time was completely different. Because this time we were learning this mystical practice in The Theatre of the Miraculous.

I surprised myself no end by how wild and glorious it was to talk about soul writing in this magical context. And it worked. People in that event who had taken previous deep soul writing courses all reported they were flabbergasted at the difference. It was like we dropped into another level in the threshold between worlds.

But how does it work?

Well, when you go to a theater for a play, you gather with others, have a shared emotional experience, and come out changed in some way.

So Sophia helped me come up with this paragraph to try to describe what happens to us when we gather as a community in our mystical Theatre:

As our Community gathers,
we become individual and collective
mystical Containers for the Contained
to be present, heard, seen, and felt;

unexpected miraculous Conceptions happen
and with those seeds, we receive the
guidance, grace, courage, and strength we need
to become a Conduit to bring our unique and sacred medicines into the world

I recognized the basic principle right away. You are not the one doing the work. The Divine is.

This is the diametric opposite of our linear thinking to set goals and work hard to achieve them.

In the mystical world, you show up with an open heart and the Beloved, by whatever name or nature you perceive Her, does the work.

I recognized this because one of the first prayers I received as a prayer artist said it perfectly: You are not praying, you are being prayed. I didn't understand this prayer when it came. But I’ve been trying to live into it ever since. And now, as I present all future events in The Theatre of the Miraculous, you will get to live into it too!

Do You Feel That Breeze

©Janet Conner

Do you feel that breeze?

The doors and windows
in the house of your soul are open
and the sacred breath flies right through you.

On the breeze come love songs

They move your feet
They sway your body
They open your throat

And you begin to sing

But you are not moving
You are being moved
You are not singing
You are being sung
You are not praying
You are being prayed—
Prayed at the speed of love

Your prayers have changed, haven’t they?

Once, you prayed prayers of wanting
Filled with words of sharp intent:

I need this
I want that
Protect me
Defend me
Comfort me
Hold me
Give me

Once you asked questions
Hundreds and thousands of questions
Each cracked one window a little bit more

But now your prayers have no questions
No questions you recognize
You stopped asking that something arrive
And started asking to be led

Smiling, the breeze complied:
Open your eyes—your other eyes
Open your ears—your other ears

The edges of your words began to dissolve
until they collapsed completely
unable to carry the weight
of your hunger for love

Laughing, the breeze got stronger, faster, wilder
And you moved
You moved where it wanted you to go

And now the breeze has secrets to tell you

It sings love songs
It sings the love songs of the day
And it sings the love songs of the night

And you begin to sing

But you are not moving
You are being moved
You are not singing
You are being sung
You are not praying
You are being prayed
Prayed at the speed of love

The doors and windows in the house of your soul are now flung open wide

But the walls still stand
What of them?
They’re made of salt

And look . . . the rain

to praying and living in the miraculous rain!


PS: I'm working on the 2021-2022 edition of The Lotus and The Lily in this wild gorgeous theatre right now. Watch for your first invitation to join next Sunday.

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