Coffee Break Prayer

In honor of our theme of Hunger, we will do a series of food-based prayers this month, including a Dinner Prayer!  Enjoy and don’t for get to submit your own prayers!

Dear Spirit of Divine Energy,

Give me a break.
Let me carve out a moment for myself.
Give me energy to move through my world,
todo the things I need to,
and those things I want to do too.
Let me have time to enjoy a hot drink with a loved one,
and let me be uplifted by that communion.
Help me give myself a break.

Amen

Advertisements

I See Hunger Everywhere

Today’s post comes from Adam Pracht, who talks about the various forms of hunger he has seen, and what it can teach us about love. Adam currently works as a chef and lives in Chicago. He also wrote our first ever guest post, Tiny Love

I see hunger everywhere. On the south side of Chicago I see people going hungry, without food, money or homes. I see kids hungry for drugs, for power, where killing is a game, and a fun one too. I see hunger for violence, or money, a willingness to hack your way to the top regardless of who gets trampled underneath. It’s an insatiable hunger that sometimes makes it too difficult to get through the news. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed.

If you look really close, though, you can see a different kind of hunger. I see love and passion coming from places, and people, where I didn’t think I’d ever find it. I’ve grown to love and respect many men who could have continued their lives as gang members, but instead decided to put the guns down and made a life for themselves out of nothing but hard work. I’ve been given mad love from whole groups of people I was meeting for the first time, for no reason. Then I can start to see a different kind of hunger, which is just a hunger for love, to be able to give and receive freely and happily.

Many days it seems like it’s a losing battle. Most days, if we’re honest; but the good thing about hunger is that it’s not a desire, it’s a need. The hungry will always be pushing back, using our desire for peace to drive us to love with abandon, using whatever skills available to give. I find the more I give, the more of myself I still have left over. There are always people in need, always more we can be doing if we keep our eyes open to the people around us. I hope someday it will be easy to find love, anywhere, and we’ll have to look hard to find the misery and violence that dominated the headlines today.

 

Dinner Prayer

In honor of our theme of Hunger, we will do a series of food-based prayers this month! Enjoy and don’t for get to submit your own prayers!

Dear Spirit of Care,

I hunger for a pause,
a break in my day, my week, my overly-busy life.

Let this dinner bring me the peace I crave,
and let it remind me of the joys of slowing down.

Do not let me forget
those who will not have dinner tonight,
and those who will eat their dinner alone.

Let me be nourished,
so that I can nourish others.
Le me be fed,
so that I can feed the hungry.

Let me enjoy this meal,
let me enjoy those who share it with me,
let my hunger be satisfied.

Amen

How Many Loaves Do You Have?

ByJenni Taylor

941234_10100514988401111_869514584_n

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat…’

His disciples answered, ‘where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’

‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus answered –Matthew 16:32-34

My fridge is full, but my eyes are hungry. Hungry for more time, more freedom, more peace, more wisdom. I am hungry for less- less stress, less pain, less loneliness, less daily doses of despair. I want to be faster, smarter, kinder, more patient, more giving. I want to be better.

All this wanting leaves me paralyzed.

I kick and scream in my tantrum, a small ugly smugness creeping from my heart. I want to be good; that means I must be halfway there already. I want, I want, I want… My eyes are turned inward, my ears tuned to the sound of my own voice, and there are my fists- closed tightly, ever so tightly.

“How many loaves do you have?” He asks.  The question burns.

“I have compassion for these people,” he says, and I finally look up. I see the thousands of high-rise apartments surrounding me, their lights softly glowing in the night. The lights outnumber the visible stars a million to one, and I am gently reminded how selfish I am to ever think I am alone.

My clenched heart hears a thin strain of music, ancient and connecting and almost completely forgotten. A song of giving.

I am hungry. My needs are not belittled or lost in the void, but no longer do they come first. I accept the hunger, and I accept I still have so many things to give. My heart begins to thaw, and I close my eyes and pray for the same compassion the Great Teacher had to put his own hunger to the side and care for those around him. I have loaves- warm, buttery, full of goodness loaves to offer the world. People break bread, they connect, they open their hands and in return are filled to the brim. I count my loaves, I count my blessings, and  I see the same miracle in my life that we see in the gospel of Matthew-

There is more than enough.

 

Seeking Submissions: Hunger

It is November! A time for food, family, and fall! Here at Searching Sophia’s Pockets, November is also the time to talk about hunger. Physical hunger is a humanitarian issue, it is an issue of faith. But although we will highlight ways to fight hunger, like through Heifer International, we are also going to discuss other kinds of hunger, metaphorical hunger, spiritual hunger, hunger for love, acceptance and more.  So we are asking for your submissions on hunger this month.

If you are stuck for where to start your submission, here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What are you hungry for in this life?
  2. Have you ever fasted? What was it like?
  3. Read Autumn’s post on fasting, and tell us would you fast for Thanksgiving?
  4. How are you fighting physical hunger in this world?

We want to know! The world wants to hear your wisdom!

With Wisdom, Love …and Lint,

Autumn and Jenni

Fear and a Hunger for Justice

We received this post too late to put it in last month, but it is too good not to share. It deals with an issue we have seen here more than once, fear, prejudice and being Muslim. Even though it mostly focuses on last month’s topic of fear, there too is a hunger for justice, for equality, for understanding, that underlies this great post from Hafsa Mansoor.

I’m afraid. A lot. I’m afraid that my faith is the defining characteristic- in the most negative way possible- of who I am. Don’t get me wrong; I am proud to be a Muslim, and I am proud to say that. I’m afraid of what people perceive as my religion. I’m afraid that the actions of ISIS and Al-Qaeda will be what people see as Islam. I’m afraid that the cloth I wear on my head will be interpreted as a sign of oppression and not the choice I made of free will. I’m afraid that the Islam FOX News pastes across headlines is the Islam people will think is the actual truth. I’m afraid people won’t bother trying to learn more about Islam because they think they already know what it is… but too many people don’t. I’m afraid that this all-too-popular perception of my faith will bar me from any political position and I will never be able to make institutional change because of it. I’m afraid every time I go somewhere new that I will be assaulted in a hate crime. I’m afraid the horrible things happening across the nations featuring Muslims- or Sikhs mistaken as Muslims- are not isolated incidents but indicators of a growing problem and misconception. I’m afraid.

But that fear empowers me to make change. It forces me to confront the problems I see in society, not just from a “humanitarian” perspective, but also from a sheer need for self-preservation, and don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say that. I aim to confront bigotry of any kind whenever I encounter it I am emboldened to take measures I would not otherwise I would have the courage to embrace to stop Islamophobia in its tracks- from starting a blog on what Islam is and writing this post to setting up a series of talks at my university about Islam and joining the Webster Muslim Students Association so we can educate, inspire, and empower people.

One of the things that has helped me the most in my journey to courage has been my faith- especially the hijab. Now I know that strikes a lot of people as counterintuitive because a headscarf is seen as so intrinsically oppressive in today’s society. But it’s not. It’s actually extremely empowering. I have such an immense amount of control over what other people see of me and how they view merely because of this cloth I wear on my head. And suddenly I don’t feel like I have to spend immense amounts of time every morning trying to conform to the beauty standards and new hair and clothing trends. I also don’t have to feel like I need to count my appearance as part of my charm and thereby sexualize or objectify myself;. I feel like because I’m willing to hide parts of my exterior, people get the message that it’s because I respect my interior. And it shows.

People tell me that I’m “intense” because I am so purely me and so comfortable with myself. I respect myself and my opinions and feel like I am worth something, and Islam has helped me to reach an accord with myself. The Qur’an has innumerous verses on women’s equality and promoted respect for women at a time when women were ordained second-class citizens and innately inferior to men; Islam championed women and gave them rights and worth as human beings, establishing them as queens over their households and men as mere providers for them. She can work and gain an education if she so desires, but it is for her betterment, not to earn money for her husband; if she earns any money through her career, it is hers to keep; her husband will still have to pay for all the expenses of the household. This is the power and respect Islam gave women- the self-respect Islam gave women.

So when I see on the news the bigotry and hatred, it is Islam that urges me to fight it and strengthens me to be able to make changes and join the cause to end the injustices committed on both sides of the debate, and it is Islam that helps me to conquer my fears and do what needs to be done in spite of any hesitations or insecurities that could hold me back.

5 Ways to Give More Love This Valentine’s Day

37324_667304444581_3650221_n

Valentine’s Day is often turned into something commercial, but at its heart, Valentine’s Day is about sharing as much love as you can. So, here is a list of five ways you can give more love this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Attend a V-Day show. V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Their shows, put on all over the world this month include “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” by Eve Ensler. You can find shows near you using their handing V-Spot locator. The shows make great dates, and fun self-love gifts.
  2. When you give your loved ones gifts from Heifer International for Valentine’s day, not only do you get the “aww” factor of looking at the cute faces of cows, sheep, and chicks, but you also get to help end world poverty and hunger. You get to give a gift to someone you know and someone you have never met.  Now that’s a lot of love.
  3. Send someone you love and e-card from Scarleteen this year and you share more than just your feelings. Scarleteen provides young people essential information on sexuality, love and sexual health. A gift to Scarleteen means you are helping young people make better choices about who to love and how to share that love. Plus, you might learn a tip or two for your own love life.
  4. If you want to really share the love this Valentine’s day, then One Family Honduras should be your Valentine. One Family Honduras helps one family at a time in Gracias,  Honduras to get access to excellent education.  You donation helps adorable kids like Karla, Ada, Sergio, and Stefani gain knowledge that will change their futures.
  5. Want a gift that keeps on giving and gives back? Well then Kiva is your way to give more this Valentine’s day. Give your loved ones $25 Kiva cards and they can choose how to share that love with people around the world. When the loan is repaid, you can give it to someone else. Talk about a chain of love!

If you still want more ways to share your love check out our Spare Change page. We all have wisdom and love to share, so go ahead…

 MAKE YOUR LOVE GLOBAL

Heifer International in the Spare Change Spotlight

Today, we introduce another great organization that could use your spare change. Heifer International fights poverty and hunger all over the world, while maintaining a commitment to environmental sustainability.

It is impossible to talk about food without talking about hunger. Some of us are fortunate enough to only experience hunger as a desire to eat, but for those who are served by Heifer International, food means life and continued hunger means death.

We believe all people deserve dignity, opportunity, and a future free from hunger. We believe we provide the tools of transformation to bring about that opportunity.

Heifer International works all over the world to end hunger and poverty, and they need your help. There are lots of ways to get involved via their website, or check out their amazing Gift Catalog. By buying a flock of chicks as presents, you not only help spread the word about Heifer International’s work, but you also actually give a flock of chicks to someone who needs it!

Tomorrow, we will have a personal post about the ways Heifer Gifts can change even the giver’s life.  For today, we leave you with the words of Vineeta Sharma speaking about her experience with Heifer International and their incredible set of values that guide all their work.

I finally got an opportunity to attend the Cornerstones Training taking place at Alwar, Rajasthan, India. The training started with a candle-lighting ceremony. Interestingly, each participant had to light the other one’s candle. By the time the last partaker’s candle was lit, the training hall had kindled beautifully, exuding brightness and positivity reaching every corner of the room and perhaps the corner of our hearts as well! It was a sight! 

I learned that the Cornerstones in Heifer’s perspective are  time-tested principles and values that are followed in order to make development ecologically sound, socially just, culturally appropriate and economically viable. They constitute the holistic approach to development to which Heifer International will always aspire and strive for.

Vineeta Sharma of Heifer India