One year after loss…

Jesus Shrine

Jesus Shrine in honor of Tim
Click on photo to enlarge

This is offered in honor of Timothy Paul Kretzmann, and also as an inspiration for all those who have suffered profound loss.

I share this today because a friend in another community was crying daily over the loss of Swamiji and some other members… She needed encouragement in finding a tangible way to transcend that feeling of loss and grief.

This ceremony, below, could easily be adapted in suitable ways.  It could even be done in a home with a candle, a burning bowl, a photo of the beloved, and some sacred symbol that is dear to your soul. It could be done inside, or on a deck, or in a garden.

August 6

…I wondered how to honor him this day… My beloved, my husband, Timothy… What is the best way?

I lit a votive candle at a special altar in our home and kept it lit all day. I had quiet time, and also some supportive phone talks with friends, and gently relived some memories of when we first met over 38 years ago… I also wrote out some notes on how I would try to move forward, and serve others in new ways, in the name of loving and honoring him, and in gratitude for our life together.

We had a fire and flower ceremony at the special Jesus shrine dedicated to Tim’s soul (where months ago some of his ashes were placed beneath the boulder). I had been doing these sacred fire ceremonies quite frequently at a shrine on my deck, all through this year…So it was fitting to include the family now, and it was helpful to them, and to me.

  1. We traveled to the site, at Ananda Meditation Retreat, and first tended the shrine, and trimmed a bush that was blocking it.
  2. We each wrote a letter to God and to Tim’s soul – to express our love, and also to include a special prayer for ourselves and for the family – especially for Guidance on how to best proceed in our lives in a way that honors God, and this beautiful gift of having shared life with Tim, as Husband and Father.
  3. After a prayer – these letters were offered into the flame, to be released to God, and to Tim’s soul. We sang a very simple chant as this was happening – “God, Christ, Guru.”
  4. We sent quiet blessings to each family member, and for their private prayer intentions, as they offered their letter into the flames.
  5. We then sprinkled the shrine with beautiful rose petals, and then closed with chanting of AUM AUM AUM and AMEN AMEN AMEN

We were choked-up during the ceremony, and my grandson Bodhi’s eyes looked very concerned.  Our hearts were then touched to watch little Bodhi, age 10 months, so sincerely join in those AUMs…

After the closing, the family eventually wandered off to show Bodhi the other statues in the peaceful, forest garden, but I felt a strong urge to stay put… I sat on a bench where I could gaze at the shrine bedecked with flowers, and felt surrounded by love and gentle, comforting blessings… That love lingered for days… And I knew we had found a way meaningful to heart, mind and soul, to address this sacred-yet-sad anniversary.

May all hearts be comforted and blessed.

In Love,

Mary Kretzmann, and family

PS – Please feel free to offer your experiences of sacred remembrance for loved ones in the comment field, below. They may be of help to others… Perhaps in the future I will collect them together in a special booklet.

  • Lisa Powers told me that years ago she had heard that Master said it was very important to honor the one-year anniversary of a soul’s passing, so she offered a kirtan and short mediation at the Crystal Hermitage Chapel for Hassi and her family of four children, at the one year anniversary of the death of Rich Bazan
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Be Still, My Child (poem)

I wrote this up early yesterday, before hearing about the slain children in Newtown, CT… My heart goes out to those families experiencing such a heart-wrenching and devastating loss.  I post this now in deep empathy for their journey ahead…

My son, David, age 20, has written another exquisite poem regarding the loss of his father (and my husband), Timothy Kretzmann, on August 6, 2012, from cancer. (I mention this because some new members have signed up since then) .

I offer the poem here in empathy to others who may also be grieving such a loss, and as a window into the soul process when a family loses such a precious being… It compels us all to move closer to God and the Source of all Love, for it is now much too painful to stay away…

Blessings to all,

Mary Kretzmann

Be Still, My Child

by David Timothy Kretzmann

Oh how I miss you
I wake but the dream is not lifted
This weight cannot be shifted
My slumber haunts me
With images that could have been
But not in this new reality
My conscience forces me to ask
How could it happen this way
Why were you taken away
Everyone watching, powerless
As you move from this world to the next
Yet your eyes showed no fear
How could you not be scared?
I weep for a future without you there
And when I reach all despair
In the darkened moments
When sorrow abounds
And I tremble with regret
I listen for your voice
Anxious for you alone
Desperate to bring you back
And when my hope is lost
Inside grows this feeling
Your thoughts seep into my being
To bring me where I belong
Your voice that was there all along

“Be still, my child
Weep not for my body
Love is the timeless vessel with which we are connected
Fear not the future, for I am with you
Cry not for my presence, for I am here
Cling not to doubt, for I have traveled the Path you tread
Inside you will find what you seek
Adventurous joy and joyous adventure
Drift not to angst, you will see me again
Eternity’s pole will guide you
Our true home lies not in this world
Travel forward, my child
Worry not for the trials ahead
For you are a part of me
And I of you
Look inside and you will see
A glimmer of the world that is to be
This is life’s journey
Ever patient, ever courageous, ever joyful
Time is but a mirage of separation
I cannot forget you
Just as you cannot forget me
Yet your journey here remains
Learn that which you need to learn
And when you are ready
When your time is near
Let there be no fear
This dream will be lifted
With open arms, I will be waiting
To say Well done, my son
You are home now
Come! let me show you
Together, we will be free.”

Prayers with Children

Sometimes children are more receptive to prayer and other spiritual things as the holidays approach. This post has 2 elements on on how to pray with children.  You can easily forward this email on to any families who may appreciate the inspiration.

 1) A friend wrote this to me after reading my article, Healing Prayers with Children:

Dear Mary,

This is the first time I’ve read this page. My husband has passed and I don’t have any children. However, reading this about how you and Tim involved your children in prayer is very inspiring. There are many children in my extended and spiritual families…and this post is an eye opener as to ways that we may pray with and for each other. Thank you, beloved sister gurubai. Jai Guru!

In Master’s JOY. Love & blessings, J…

To read more click here: Healing Prayers with Children

2) Below is an excerpt from the back of this online booklet, Life’s Little Secrets, by Swami Kriyananda: (used with permission)
 Note from Mary Kretzmann to Parents on using Life’s Little Secrets
These instructive seed thoughts will be helpful to your children in many ways. My husband and I raised our three children here at Ananda Village, founded by Swami Kriyananda.  We used little daily routines to keep the children mindful of God, and higher truths.  A little thing, done consistently, is powerful, and lets your children know you value these higher principles in life.
My neighbor’s grown daughter and two children moved back home after her marriage dissolved. Creating a solid sense of home for her grandchildren during this challenging time was a high priority. They kept meaningful routines, such as regular meal times, bedtime stories and prayers, etc.
The grandmother  also read one of these Little Secrets at dinnertime, right after blessing the food. Such a simple thing, but the kids came to expect it, and if she ever forgot, the kids would say, “Grandma, aren’t you going to read from the little book?”
There are four Little Secrets books here: a thought a day for four months! Print them out to use at bedtime or mealtime.
Blessings,
Mary Kretzmann
Scroll down and use the “download” button if you want to print this out.

Newsletter – AUGUST 311

This month’s newsletter – ready to download and print (see button at bottom of screen)

Newsletter: September 310 Dwapara

This month I want to share with you some of the many waysAnanda Healing Prayer Ministry is reaching souls around the world. First we have had people from Europe, Malaysia and other countries join us on our weekly healing prayer webinars. I hope to offer more times slots soon to make this available to many others, as well. Mila, from Moscow said she would love it if sometimes I could address her healing prayer group there. This is giving me fresh ideas.

I have also been in touch with Rev. Wangai Rukwaro of Kitale, Kenya. He is the pastor of a Christian congregation, and he has been a member of the Ananda Healing Prayer Council for many years. His ministry cares for 40 widows and their children, who struggle to support themselves as best they can.

A couple of years ago our family sent him money at Christmastime to buy a treadle sewing machine so the women could better support themselves. (Otherwise they did very low paid working like washing..) We were impressed that they showed great industriousness.

This summer Rev. Wangai told me about 4 new orphans resulting from the death of one of the widows, and he was hoping somehow I could help find monthly support for the children. (This is a typical method to support such a ministry). However, my “main” ministry is theAnanda Healing Prayer Ministry, and I wasn’t ready to take on such a big new project…

Later that morning, I prayed for guidance on how to help the children. Instantly an inspiration came to my mind. It was so quick, and so fresh an idea, that I took it as an answer to the prayer. I felt the blessings of Paramhansa Yogananda, and the idea was this: Could the widows form a cooperative society together, to help each other with their children in life, and even (God forbid) if some of them should die? It is hard to think about such things, but it is a necessity in any one-parent home, and especially an impoverished one. I wrote and asked Rev. Wangai if they had 10 treadle sewing machines, could the women bring in enough extra money to help even feed these orphans? He said yes, with 10 machines, that would be feasible…

In the next couple of months some friends on the healing prayer council assisted me in getting the number of treadle sewing machines up to the total of eight! This has helped the women very much. They work cooperatively in using the machines, and in healing each other with childcare. And I have been assured that those orphans are now well loved and cared for by some of the older women in the congregation.

Now instead of getting 2 more sewing machines, we have the goal of helping them purchase 2 goats. They have already repaired an old shed that will serve as a goat shed, and can hold up to 10 goats as the herd grows. This will provide milk for the children, and if they have extra, goat milk gets a good price in Kenya as a health food. (If you want to help with this, please write to me at the Ananda address.)


Pastor Wangai (near the window) leading healing prayers

This process has touched my heart deeply. I have been watching it blossom from the other side of the world as a new cooperative spiritual community. They continually send their loving gratitude and their prayers for all who have helped them. It makes such as difference. Pastor Wangai, in honor and appreciation of this, has named the group “Ananda-Kenya Prayer Ministry.”

He has asked me to give them spiritual direction from afar. This sparked my memories of years ago when I myself had a treadle sewing machine – before we had much electricity at Ananda. I had 2 little children and I would sew for much-needed extra income. The sound of the treadle was peaceful, and gave a rhythm to my inner prayers, and practice of the presence of God. It was a very special time.

I asked Pastor Wangai to guide them with a prayer each morning. (The machines are all together in a simple building.) I also suggested that they strive to “pray unceasingly.” They could pray for all of the children – showering them with prayerful love. (For more on all this you can search “Kushona Sisters” to find my blog online…)

He was very happy to share this with them, and they were very inspired by it. I also taught him the “Jesus Prayer Meditation” and asked him to teach it to the women. Nayaswami Kriyananda taught this to a Catholic priest many years ago. It is the hong-sau meditation, but uses the prayer: Lord Jesus Christ (inhalation) have mercy on me (exhalation).

Last week he asked for further instruction and inspiration because he was leading a 3 day prayer seminar. I suggested that he teach them all the Divine Mother healing prayer technique (see previous photo). I also suggested the Prayer of St. Francis, and sent it to him in English and Swahili. It is such a sacred prayer, and will help the women to live a sacred and holy life together in Christ.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Pastor Wangai teaching the St. Francis Prayer

Paramhansa Yogananda wanted to help infuse Christianity with the experience of deep inner communion with God. My heart is touched watching this unfold so far away – but as a new branch of our spiritual family. In any spiritual community, it is important to support the body, mind, and soul, while holding fast to Yogananda’s ideal ofPlain living and high thinking lead to the greatest happiness!”

God bless you all!

Joy!

Mary Kretzmann

Director of Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

14618 Tyler Foote Road, Nevada City, CA 95959

http://www.healing-prayers.org/

Divine Mother Healing Prayer – video

Paramhansa Yogananda taught several healing prayer techniques.  NayaSwami Kriyananda taught these to the Ananda Village community years ago. We are happy to offer this now to you, as it is a more tangible introduction than simply using the written word.  This video is basic, and yet complete enough to share with others, at your discretion.  But I probably wouldn’t send this to a confirmed skeptic. No use casting “pearls before swine” as Jesus said.

And, Paramhansa Yogananda said,

“Healing depends on the power of the healer, and the receptivity of the patient.”

Likewise, people are much more receptive to this video if they are already interested in spiritual healing, or if they are right now in some sort of prayer need, whether for themselves or for friends and family.  Suffering itself often tends to soften the heart, and the ego, and make one more open to the Divine.

God bless you all.

Joy!

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

This free e-booklet, Jesus Prayer Meditation, by Mary Kretzmann, offers much comfort and peace now in your time of need.

You might also enjoy: “Thou Art With Me” by Mary Kretzmann.  This free collection shows the inner meaning of some of the psalms, and other sacred prayers.

Gift of Peace – a short and beautiful online video on the peace of meditation. FREE

Radio Ananda –  Joyful Music

October Newsletter – 309 Dwapara

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

(Note: I send it out here first…you can get a printable copy on scribd here)

Healing Story of Light:

Several weeks ago a woman called me from town, wanting prayers for her grown daughter concerning a very serious and unusual matter.  As we spoke, I was struck by her spiritual good sense, and yet I could see that she needed extra support for her special prayer concern. We kept in touch as the situation developed, and I gave her some healing suggestions to keep God strongly in her mind during this time. Meanwhile, I got a small, specialized prayer team to focus on her prayer need. The last time we spoke – it was clear that Light had entered the picture, and this matched some of the reassurance that I had felt in prayer. A member of the prayer team also confirmed this. So – this created a special understanding over the phone, and she then told me why she had called the Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry in the first place.

She said that about 18 years ago she was at a very low point in her life.  She had married a veteran who had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. She loved him and wanted to help him, but in the end, his troubles brought out her own pain, and she turned to alcohol. One night she was in very deep despair about her life, and was overwhelmed and helpless. She then awakened in the middle of the night to a bright light filling her room with healing grace and peace. At the center of the Light, she saw the face of Paramhansa Yogananda. She recognized his face from book covers but she had never read his books. She was not a disciple or a follower at that time – she just knew who he was.)  She asked, “Where is this Light coming from?” and she received the answer, “It is coming to you from Ananda.”

She said this was unquestionably the most important event of her life. She changed her life; she left her husband, and got sober. She visited Ananda Village a few times over the years, but never really latched on, so to speak. However, she became very dedicated to Christ. He became her guide. She has also helped to shepherd others toward clarity and Light.

This experience of Light happened to her so many years ago that there is no way to confirm if anyone had actually placed her name on the prayer list, but it is very probably so. (We often pray for local situations, for it is one of our best ways to be truly neighborly. People remark that they feel the healing prayers, and are greatly helped. This has helped to foster positive vibrations with the local community.)

Anyway, isn’t it amazing that so much can be happening and we don’t even know? So many blessings of our Masters are available through Ananda via books, music, the websites, meditations and healing prayers; it brings to my mind this quote from the Gospel of St. John: (John 21:25)

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

Swami Kriyananda in Los Angeles

I also felt expansive blessings going out during Swami Kriyananda’s recent talk in Los Angeles. It was a very special feeling to be outdoors in the amphitheater, with the darkness and peace of the evening all around us, listening to Swamiji. The audience, made up of long time Ananda people and many first time listeners, felt very connected in the heart to what he was saying. I highly recommend you watch the video of the event here.

And finally, I wrote a piece in September for my healing blog called, “The saddest prayers…” concerning the tragedy of how to pray for victims and families of suicide.  Here is a condensed version. More can be found at healingprayers.wordpress.com. I also invite you to sign up there to receive the special e-mails if you haven’t already.

The saddest prayers… (Excerpt)

1) I will pray for the soul of the person myself… When praying this way, I first make doubly sure that I am feeling strong in the Light of God, Christ, Guru.   I look at picture of Paramhansa Yogananda’s eyes, whether I am praying in my office or before an altar.

I ask the Masters’ power and grace to flow through me to that soul. When I feel a sense of contact with the soul, I pray: “Look up! Look up! Look up into the Light!”

No matter into what dark mists a soul may temporarily fall, there are angels there – right above – waiting for him to look up again…In suicide, a person…temporarily lost faith in his own ability to  “look up” for the Light…The soul needs to be firmly called, and re-awakened to look up again.

It is also very good at this point to make a strong prayer demand to God, Christ, Guru: “Help this soul, NOW. Please touch this soul NOW with Thy Light!” (Note – if you feel at all uneasy, do not pray in this way.  It may be “too close” for you. Please read on for a more “removed” prayer in #3:)

2) We put the names of the family on the prayer list for healing of their shock and grief.  We will also mention the name of the suicide victim in the prayer request…This helps you to empathize with the family on their loss, and to send some prayers to the victim, but only if you feel able…

3) So, if you feel so inclined, you can add in a prayer for the deceased soul as well. You can use the one-part Divine Mother Prayer, and then ask the Masters to watch over that soul.  …When you do the three AUMs, make them strong and powerful. This keeps you strongly as a powerful sender of the energy and not a potential “receiver” of the darkness or depression that overwhelmed the soul.

4) I will also suggest to the family and/or close friends to pray for the soul for years to come. This is a great source of spiritual comfort and direction for a soul who has died in this way:

Get a picture of the deceased in which he looks relatively happy, or strong…  Place it on a special shelf as a prayer altar, with holy things to remind you of God…When you see that altar – send loving thoughts of God’s Light to the soul….  As time goes on, do whatever seems natural and best for you, and allows you to heal in God’s peaceful presence… Continue with prayers for that soul daily, or weekly, …or on holidays, birthday and anniversaries. All of your loving prayers are helpful…

God bless you all.

Joy to you!

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

and

Healing with Divine Energy blog