An Escape To Pray

The past couple weeks have been laden with a deep sense of change.Loss. Struggle. Conflict. Beauty. Alienation. Death. Misunderstanding. Illness. Insecurity. And a slew of powerful dreams, including one in which i heard a torrential downpour, waking up to the near-certainty of flooded ground outside.. only to find parched earth outside my window instead.

In the wake of these undulating emotions, i craved peace. I found it through prayer. Not in the conventional sense, mind you. Unlike others around the world, who have been flocking to indoor spaces, to churches, temples, syngagogues, mosques and Mecca, and even unlike the Balinese who almost daily venture to their en plein air, i sought refuge in a pool. There, in the shadows of frangipani and coconut palms, banana trees and shrines laden with incense and offerings, i swam (another version of “meditation in action”), and prayer.

I prayed for she who died far too young, for he who was losing faith and agility, for she who lost her way in our friendship, for he who could not take responsibility, and for myself, who was on shifting ground.

Then, i ventured into unsettling territory: the realm of forgiveness, and apology. I reflected on it, wrote about it, doodled around it. Then i read an insightful if not irreverent essay about it. I wondered whether i was practicing forgiveness, or paying lip service.

Mornings, my prayers rose with the sun. Then, in late afternoon, after a day filled with schedule and busy-ness, i would pray for letting go of residue, for more faith and hope in tomorrow,for accepting what it is. And practicing gratitude.

Not for trivial matters, those that i’d long forgotten about, but those that had taken on a life of their own, larger-than-life, super-grudge size.Those, i acknowledged, were dragging behind me, draped all over me, sewn onto my skin like patched or bruises of permanence. I prayed for dissolution, for the dress of stubbornness to fall by the wayside,for my damaged skin to be cleansed of the wight and discoloration… I prayed for forgiveness to flow.

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