The life we live is not simple.

Unless we exist in an illusion, we know that no joy is unaccompanied by at least a hint of sadness, no beauty stands without a shadow of ugliness behind it.

The choice we have in making our way through this multi-shaded world is in how we respond.

He for whom a single drop of rain or a brief unpleasant interaction is cause for deep suffering, suffers long and often.

She for whom fireworks set the minimum standard for beauty and for whom anything less than undying, unconditional love is not a pleasant human interaction will rarely find joy in this life.

For the one suffers setbacks with equanimity - who rejoices to see a wildflower in bloom – who trembles with pleasure at the touch of a gentle breeze – who receives a ray of sunshine through the window as an invaluable sacred gift, life is sweet indeed.

Truly, this way of living with appreciation and gratitude is the simple open secret to the good life.

And truly, such a way of being does not come to us automatically.

Today, let us ask that we may learn to appreciate. Let us call upon what is powerful around, within, and between us learn a new way of seeing.

May we be blessed with eyes that see the intricate splendour of the growing things of the earth, with ears that hear a perfect symphony in the coo of a baby or the whistle of the wind, with a sense of smell that detects sweet perfume amid the smoke and fumes of the city, and with skin that rejoices in the touch of a human hand and the cold dampness of the life-giving earth.

May we be blessed with teachers who will help us in these ways of sensing.

May we be doubly blessed in being teachers who help others to live with senses open wide to all that is good and beautiful.

We pray that we may learn to love life, fully, openly, without abandon, until the moment we draw our last breath.

by Rev. Andy Pakula

Link: New Unity

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · Andy Pakula · liturgy · imperfection · life · happiness

Atheist Prayer

 Our Powers that are within,
Whatever be their name.
What they have done, what still may come,
This Earth can yet be as Heaven.
Live then this day, and without dread,
And forgive your own trespasses
As you forgive those who trespass against you.
And be not led into temptation,
But flee away from evil,
For Time is the Healer,
With power to restore me,
Forever and ever, Amen.

by Richard Packham

Link: Richard Packham

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· prayer · poem · poetry · atheist · atheism · life

Earth teach me

Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep in the rain.

by Anon - Ute nation


Tradition: Native American

· prayer · poetry · poem · Native American · First Nations · Ute · Earth · Nature · earth-centred spirituality

Mother Spirit

God our Mother: the source and origin of all life
Who is in both the starry heavens and the fruitful Earth
We sing to you of your beauty,
And we cry to you when we are in pain,
We whisper your many names into the night.
Your presence is everywhere
Your song is the music of creation, perpetually renewing itself,
Reflected in the patterns of Nature and the movements of the stars.
You feed us from the bounty of Nature’s store
And nurture us when we are in pain,
When we have hurt others,
And give us the strength to heal and forgive.
May we not harm the delicate web of existence,
But help to heal and strengthen it.
For yours is the beauty, present in everything,
The ever-changing beauty of Nature,
Throughout all existence

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · Earth · Goddess · Mother Nature · Nature · earth-centred spirituality · Unitarian · Mother Spirit · Mati Sveta

Prayer for liberation

O deep and ineffable Silence
That speaks from the depths
O space carved out by suffering
That is inexplicably filled with joy
You are the inspiration of our going forth
To connect with others
Move our hearts to compassion
That we may genuinely lift up the poor
Move our hands to action
That we may lift the burdens of the oppressed
Fill our heads with inspiration
That we may behold the vision of a just society
And work to bring it into being

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · liberation theology · liberation · compassion · Unitarian

Prayer of inclusive love

 Source of all life and love,
We give thanks for the beautiful diversity of love,
The glorious rainbow of sexuality,
and the myriad ways to give and receive love.
We give thanks for the love of lesbians, gays, heterosexuals, bisexuals, transgender, chosen celibates, whose souls are aflame with eros and agape.
We give thanks for the love of friends, families, companion animals, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and second cousins once removed.
We give thanks for the random acts of kindness shown by strangers to each other.
We give thanks for our beloved community.
May all these loves be strengthened and renewed
by wisdom, patience, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness and courtesy.
May all these loves recognise and rejoice in each other
as part of the great tapestry of love.
May all beings be filled with loving-kindness,
and may justice roll down like waters
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · LGBT · lesbian · gay · bisexual · transgender · rainbow · Unitarian · gratitude · wisdom · patience · tolerance · forbearance · forgiveness · courtesy

Sometimes we do not hear the call

Sometimes we do not hear the call,
the still small voice that speaks to us
in the watches of the night.
Sometimes we do not recognise the messenger,
nor hear the message,
though reality patiently sends it over and over,
showing the way, opening the door.
O source of all wisdom,
help us to discern the subtle whispers
among the tumult of conflicting messages.
Help us to find the harmonious way
among the many branching possibilities.
Help us to recognise the messengers from the Divine
in their many forms.
Help us to hear the voice of love
calling us to community, to justice and to peace.

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · Divine · messenger · angel

Thank you for the apples

Thank you for the apples like berries
that color the trees and the sky.
I want to leap and talk
and then sleep in the air
where your fruits ripen and dance.
Mother of earth, this is my prayer!
Oh yes — at night
when we turn from father light
please cover my cloud bed
with your phosphorescence.
Thank you for your apples.

by Scott Chaskey

Link: Prayers for the Earth

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· prayer · poetry · poem · Scott Chaskey · gratitude · Nature · Mother Nature · Earth · Goddess

This day

This day
I desire to make connections
   to sustain a sense of the sacred
   to be graceful and gracious
   to listen to the silences between the words
   to be mindful of the beauty in each moment
   to give thanks for the beauties
      of tree and flower,
      birdsong and laughter,
      friendship and fellowship.

Great Mystery at the heart of all that is,
may I be constantly aware of the wonder and joy
of being awake, alive and aware
and treasure each moment
whatever it brings

and when I fail,
as often happens,
let me not be too hard on myself,
but gently reconnect with the heart of the mystery
sinking gratefully into the soft darkness,
the singing silence.
For each moment we can begin again.
It is never too late.
The time is always now.


by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · awareness · mystery · sacred · connection

We are here

We are here. The time is now. And we are together.
Together is important. Together, the immense potential of the individual is unleashed.
Together, there is the possibility for healing, the possibility for growth, the possibility of comfort, the possibility of strength.
But, too often, we are not truly together. Thomas Merton insisted that the problem is our ignorance of reality.
We are already one. He said
But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
We are deeply afraid to be what we are. We fear that we will be rejected, that we will be expelled, that we will be shunned. We are sure that what we are is not enough  that our brokenness is a sign of our inadequacy.
Our brokenness is part of the human condition. The Christian tradition called it sin. Lets call it separation. When we allow ourselves to be separated from what is good and true  when we allow ourselves to be separated from community  our brokenness deepens.
When we allow ourselves to be connected  to truly know and be known  we can begin to heal. We heal  not as individuals  but in connection  in the oneness that is our true nature.
Spirit of life and unity
May we have the courage to seek the true oneness that dwells between all beings. We know that connection  that interdependence  is frightening. We know that opening our hearts makes us vulnerable and exposes us to the possibility of rejection and deep hurt.
May we have the courage to persist. May we have the courage to grow together, healing the hurt places in one anothers hearts. May we join in the communion of beings  awkwardly  generously  tenderly  and lovingly.
May this be our aim and our purpose  for ourselves and for all humankind.

by Rev. Andy Pakula

Link: New Unity

Tradition: Unitarian

· prayer · poetry · poem · Andy Pakula · community · unity · humanity

Yakut Prayer

My words are tied in one
With the great mountains,
With the great rocks,
With the great trees,
In one with my body
And my heart.
Do you all help me
With supernatural power,
And you, Day,
And you, Night,
All of you see me
One with the world!

by Anon - Yakut, 19th c.

Link: The Poetry Chaikhana

Tradition: Native American

· prayer · poetry · poem · Native American · First Nations · Yakut · Earth · Nature · earth-centred spirituality