The Soul Garden

This page is for everyone who needs a prayer or a blessing, but particularly young women of color. To the young women of color in my life, to all young women of color in the world, you inspire me every day.  I’m writing this to thank you with my whole heart.

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Prayer for Tenderness

May I extend infinite compassion to myself and all living beings. May I understand fully that understanding is love. May I love myself enough to grow through pain.

Prayers for Young Women

Dear young women, we are always wondering when, and how, and why, and why not. We are always growing into the women we want to be. We look at ourselves in the mirror and smile with all our teeth. We look at the mirror and we are solemn, we practice saying, “Yes, I’m sure,” and “No,” and “No,” and “No,” again. The world wants so much from us, although we are already in bloom.

Prayer for Peace

I know that there is peace. I know that there is peace in the eyes of children, in the still lake, even in the ocean in the rain. I know that there is peace because I can come home and sit, alone or with a candle, and repeat to myself: I know that there is peace. There is only one moment: it is the moment in which the flame flickers. When this happens, the candle reminds us of light’s impermanence and light’s endurance. We don’t know whether the flame will go out, we worry—and then it grows taller, steadier as it breathes. I breathe with the candle and this is peace. I, too, am stronger when I inhale, and when I release my breath my whole body sighs. I know that there is peace because when I look at the candle, I recognize the candle as the only thing. I allow it to consume me. Each moment is complete, and then it is gone. It is gone. Peace is allowing it to go.

Prayer for Assurance

I know that there is something for me. There is something waiting for me to find it. I am somebody’s someone. I am the world to someone I’ve not yet met. Let me learn to follow things that will bring me joy. Let me learn to follow my inner light.

Prayer for Forgiveness 

As women we need to forgive the unforgivable because the weight of blame is too heavy. The anger burns. If we were to feel all of the sorrow that we could we would have to empty ourselves of everything else. We would allow anger to hollow us, to carve out a space in our belly for loss and pain. And then we would begin to give love that is born from sorrow, to give love because we shattered from the weight and we have no self to give I would rather give my self. At the same time I would like to hold myself intact. Let me give without disappearing. Let me learn to take.

Prayer for Generosity

Please let me give, and give, and give. Let me cherish the part of myself that is generous as the earth. Let me cherish my courage. When I cherish my courage, I do not fear sharing myself with others. When I do not fear sharing myself with others, I recognize that there is nothing others have to do to deserve my love. I give love because I am courageous. I do not share myself by means of exchange. I do not share myself as capital. Because I am loved in my own skin, I am loved everywhere I go.

Prayer for the Body

Here I am siting, breathing, having coffee. Here are my arms holding the book stable. My right hand writing and my left hand still as it watches with love. My left hand the anchor, my right hand the agent. Here are the bracelets on my wrists reminding me that my body deserves to be ornamented. Celebrated. Here are my shoulders hunching, and then trying not to hunch, and then hunching again. Here is my belly trying to love itself. Here is my back, straight, proud, and strong. Here are my feet, crossed, leaning on the table, glad for a rest. Here are my eyes, blinking away the migraine. Here are my lips, pursed in concentration. We are writing this together as an act of love. We are writing this together because we love each other. We are writing this together because we are home.