Why I love working with women. A prayer.

I’m away for the weekend leading a retreat. It’s all women. My favorite.

I’m laying here in the dark next to my son. I don’t have my hearing aids in so I can’t hear a thing except my tinnitus. The shushing in my head never ceases. The ringing. It’s water rushing, it’s a never ending reminder of something I’ll never remember, an inchoate ear that got stuck, perhaps as it was forming. The constant sound in my head- a reminder of the fragility of the creation process, of the beauty, perhaps, in imperfection. Or, I don’t know, none of that. Or, maybe I just got the short end of the stick & I can’t hear for shit & I always always have ringing in my head? I’m laying here in the dark in Ojai, in the absolute utter silence minus the stubborn thundering in my head that I’ve grown to, if not quite accept, at least tolerate.

I woke to feed my boy & can’t fall back asleep.

I’m thinking about prayer.

When they arrived I asked each to write their own personal prayer- whatever that meant to them. I asked them to start with the ritual of prayer every day they were here. A quiet 5 minutes at the start of each day with their own prayersong. Whatever that looked like to them.

May I become my prayer.

May I let it enter my body & become part of me. I don’t know who I’m praying to. Maybe I’ll figure it out- maybe I won’t. I smell my baby’s head, right here next to me & pray into it. Maybe to my father. Daddy, thank you. I wonder if you’re watching? I think you are. Thank you for your love, which I’ve carried with me all these years waiting for someone to give it to. He’s arrived. So thank you. Thank you for helping keep us safe.

May we always know such love.

This retreat has been, in a word, prayerful. We started with a silent morning & although I’m nearly deaf, it was a different kind of silence. It felt safe, as if my prayer was answered. It felt sacred & wholly creative & full of wonder.

May I become my prayer so that you know my intention as I walk beside you, my skin speaking its own language, that even the broken, even the deaf, even the dead can hear.

The sun will rise soon. My eyes burn, my ears ring, my son is asleep. I pray to be released from anything that holds me back. From jealousy, from scarcity. I pray to be reminded each day of the beauty all around me, in the faces and bodies. And I pray that I never ever miss it or don’t hear it because of my ears. I pray that I notice the light streaming across her face like that, the Jolly Rancher smell of my baby’s head, the way her lip quivers when she shares what she wrote & how she wants to stop, how she thinks she can’t keep going, and yet she does. I pray that I always notice and never stop noticing this beauty. I pray I stay curious about all of it so that I ask questions and listen. I pray that I hear the answers despite my ears. And if I don’t, I pray I don’t give up, that I ask again and notice again and start all over again.

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