by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My mother likes me to go to church with her on Sundays. Sometimes I’d rather watch Super Soul Sundays on tv instead but I’ve been going to church more often these days.
When I’m at church, I mostly sit in contemplation. Last Sunday, I was reminded of a conversation I had when I was 6 with my 9 year-old neighbour, Patty. We were comparing notes about our churches — I’m Ukrainian and she’s Irish — and I was saying something like, “We do a lot of kneeling, standing, and sitting — stand, sit, kneel, stand, kneel, sit, stand, sit, stand, sit, kneel, stand, sit… oh brother,” rolling my eyes — “and if it was up to me, I like to sit.”
These days, I still prefer to sit. After a long sermon, hauling myself out of my pew to stand for what feels like hours without relief, seems like a lot of effort. And getting back up from kneeling is a different ballgame altogether when you’re in your 40’s. :).
So while I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that there’s actually a rhyme and reason behind these postures.
And since it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, I’m going to use a metaphor of a farmer couple, Fred and Frida, to illustrate my theory.
It all starts with a prayer. Prayer lets you get centered. It’s the “asking” side of the equation. Basically, you’re just having a conversation with yourself and with God (if you’re so inclined) to get clear about what you want. Praying helps strengthen your faith that whatever it is you’re asking for, you will eventually have, even if you haven’t noticed any physical evidence yet.
Farmers Fred & Frida
Our farmers, Fred and Frida, have just acquired a plot of land in a community garden. They want to start growing vegetables for their growing family and maybe sell the surplus at markets. First, they have to figure out what sorts of vegetables they’d like to plant and they have lots of options to choose from. They figure it wouldn’t hurt to pray about it so in their own way, they each take a few moments to gather their thoughts and ask for ideas, good weather (like enough sunshine and enough rain) for the crops, good health for themselves so they can do the labour, and the knowledge to solve any challenges that will come up, etc. etc. They’re also able to visualize what their garden looks like in full bloom and how they’re feeling as they share their bounty with friends, family, and neighbours.
Meanwhile, the land and the seeds of the plants represent pure potential. Prayer is what’s inside the acorn (the code inside the seed) before it cracks open and becomes the grande oak tree.
But it doesn’t stop there. Praying by itself isn’t enough. If you want results, you also need to take action — thoughtful, consistent, and repeated action.
There’s an African proverb that says, “When you pray, move your feet.” Everybody knows that you can’t get anywhere without taking some sort of action steps along the way. Getting up on your feet is about taking a stand for what you believe in, showing others that you mean business, declaring out loud what you want, and taking action. Also, a lot of times, action is about reaching out, giving, and being of service.
Farmers Fred & Frida
By now, Fred and Frida have procured their seeds and have designed the layout of their garden. They’ve come to the community garden prepared and are wearing the proper clothes for the job and have brought all of the equipment they’ll need for planting. The kale will go here, the zucchini will go there, the tomatoes over there near the basil. They’ve rolled up their sleeves and are working hard all day.
They come back to their garden rain or shine, day after day, week after week, and make sure the plants are getting enough nourishment and care. At first, the soil looks pretty much the same as it did in the beginning, but all of a sudden, there’s colour and little green leaves are starting to break through. Fred and Frida are excited about their progress and they’re motivated to keep going.
Eventually, after all of their hard work, the vegetables are awesome and the garden is ready to be harvested. The growing part may be over but there’s still a lot of work to do so that these vegetables and all of that effort don’t go to waste.
After kneeling (praying) and standing (taking action), the next step is sitting (receiving). Sitting is deceptively simple, but some people skip this step. Sitting is about relaxing, resting, and receiving. You can’t just give, give, give all of the time. You also have to be able to receive the gifts that others are trying to give you.
Farmers Fred & Frida
Fred and Frida are grateful that they have had a good growing season. They have plenty of healthy vegetables for their family meals and like to share the best veggies and recipes with their friends. They’ve also opened a stand at the local farmers’ market and are receiving compliments and cash for their quality produce and they plan to expand their plots next year.
I think, all in all, Fred and Frida are successful because they prayed, worked hard, and accepted the blessings that came to them.
So, if you’re feeling stuck in the mud of life and are ready for a positive change, try the kneeling, standing, and sitting method.
But you may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t know how to pray,” or “I can’t remember the last time I prayed and I don’t know what to say.”
Well here’s a good place to start: “There’s nothing greater that you can say to God than thank you, thank you,” ~ Maya Angelou.
And then you’ll be able to know which steps you’ll need to take that will yield the best results.
So, I’d like to take this moment and say “thank you” for all of the blessings of my life, and for all of the Homespunspa customers I’ve met over the years, and all of the readers of my blog. That’s what I’m most grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving. Now have a seat at the table and pass the turkey and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes, and the gravy, and the the brussels sprouts, and the cranberry sauce, and the pumpkin pie, and ENJOY the fruits of your labours with your loved ones.