Learning How to Pray . . .

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the darkening season—when the days are growing shorter and we are invited to get quiet, enter the dreamtime, and look within for the light.For many, this is a challenging time—family events can bring triggers, lack of tribe can bring loneliness, and the darkness itself can bring a sense of isolation and contraction.

I feel blessed this year, as I am in love. But not like you think.

I am in love with Source.

I’m not going to lie, it was a rough autumn for me. As was true for many of us, the great tidal wave of letting go had her way me, and I submitted. Relationships dissolved, karma untangled, and I found myself apprenticing to grief.

But now, on the other side, I feel a greater sense of peace than I have ever known. There’s a deep settling in my being, a faith in that which is unshakable—the indwelling source of the Divine.

So from this place of settled light, I’d like to offer you a blessing–in the form of a post I recently wrote on facebook.

May it inspire you to find your way through this dark season.


A couple of months ago I was invited to speak as part of an event on joy. A few days before the event, the host asked the teachers to gather via Skype and share a little about themselves. She asked one question: “What’s one thing that brings you joy on a daily basis?”

I sheepishly answered the first thing that popped into my head: “My relationship with God.”

Now I am not a religious person. But I have to admit—my primary relationship is with the Divine. When I sit with my clients, it’s the Divine that I turn to to help me hold the space. When I wake in the mornings, it’s the felt sense of God that I reach for in my tissues. When meditate, when I walk, when I’m in my car, I’m often, unconsciously, calibrating myself to the vibration of Source.

Not that I could tell you what any of that means. I don’t know what God means, but I like the way the word feels when I say it. I can’t tell what Source is, but I like the way it feels when I reach for it inside.

I’m Jewish by birth, but never learned Hebrew. When I first starting going to temple as an adult, I noticed I felt ashamed because I didn’t know how to pronounce the prayers; I didn’t know how to pray.

I still don’t know how to pray, but now I realize that no one does. Prayer is a living process, a doorway into the Mystery. The prayers themselves teach us how to pray.

Recently I spent four days in solitary retreat in a sweet, off-the-grid cabin in the mountains. Every morning I rose and prayed, and every evening I sat by the fire in contemplation. In the hours in-between I wandered on the land, meditated, sang, danced, made food, read, slept, journeyed, and dreamed. It was one of the most beautiful gifts I have given myself.

My morning prayers in that cabin initiated me into a new level of prayer. I learned to ground first, to practice incarnating as fully as possible, so that I can be a vehicle for light. I learned to rest back into outrageous support that’s available to all of us. I learned to give thanks, to entrain to the vibration of gratitude before I offered my prayers. And I learned to pray for others, especially those that had hurt me, with a simple mantra—“May your soul be free. May my soul be free. May our souls be free.”

What a blessing it was, to have the time and free energy to be up at that cabin, and to receive these simple practices. I’m pretty sure that’s how most spiritual practices have come into form—through someone who didn’t know what they were doing but who were led through the darkness of their not knowing by the surprising incandescence of their own light.

We learn how to connect to the Divine by connecting. We learn how to meditate by meditating. We learn how to bless one another by blessing one another. If we listen deeply enough, the indwelling spirit will show us the way.

I love this time of year—when it gets dark early and we are invited into the dreamtime. To gather in the liminal spaces, light the lights, hold one another, and get quite enough to learn how to pray.

So in this dark season, I humbly offer you a little blessing: May your soul be free. May you know how loved you are. May you let yourself be held. And may you be quiet enough to listen—for your way to pray.

Many Blessings to you.


p.s. If you enjoyed this article and want to receive others like it, please sign up for my newsletter by clicking here. And, as always, I love to hear from you, so if my words sparked something in you, please let me know by sharing your thoughts below.



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About Sweigh Emily Spilkin

Sweigh Emily Spilkin, MA, CHT, PhD is passionate about helping people transform challenge into soul-centered growth. She is the founder of Thresholds Healing, through which she offers Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Somatic Soul Retrieval, and workshops and classes for therapists, healers, and other individuals ready to cross the Threshold into the full embodiment of who they really are.

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