Morning prayers are part of my spiritual practice. I start by bringing my offering out to the tall trees around my house. These trees are my elders and are very good listeners. They have roots in the earth and also in the sky. Holding my offering in my left hand, the hand closest to my heart, I introduce myself and give Thanks for all things and for the Life Force infusing all things. Sometimes this takes just a few minutes, sometimes much longer.

Before placing my offering near the roots of the biggest tree, I often include others in my prayers. A child I know who is going into surgery. My friend who is just starting her cancer journey. Sometimes I ask for patience with with a situation of my own that is feeling difficult.

A friend’s family lost a young father this week, and I prayed for that family. I prayed for the being who has left his physical body and is journeying to the Spirit World. I pray him along on that journey, holding the offering in my hand so that my prayers will enter the offering and the offering will bring the prayers to the tree roots, which are connected to the Everything.

Yesterday, as I was making this prayer for his journey, I became aware of all the people who might be making that same journey at the very same time. Think of all the people on the whole planet who are are leaving their body at this very moment. That’s a lot of people. It’s happening every hour, every day, every year. And then I became aware of all the people who are coming in from the Spirit World to enter a physical body, in this very moment. That’s a lot of people. Every hour, every day, every year, all over the planet.

Think of all the coming and going! We are acutely aware of it when someone we love passes or is born, but it is happening all the time all over the Earth. All of these movements are cycles of energy, constantly turning. Each one of us is traveling one of those cycles. We’ve come in, we’re here for a bit, and then we leave.

I think it’s important to acknowledge these bookends, not just as ideas, but as actual occurrences that help us see the amazing gift that is the time between coming and going. It’s so easy to get trapped in the limited view of the ego–money, sex, status, rules, the need for affirmation and approval. But the bigger context is always there, the context of the Universe and our small lifetime’s place in it.

I am like a plant in the garden. I came from a miraculous seed, infused with the mystery of Life Force. As fall arrives and my leaves yellow, have I made the most of the summer of my life? Have I grown green and lush under the circumstances I was given? Have I produced nourishing fruits for the next generations? Will I lay down when the frost comes, and be thankful for the blanket of snow?