Breathe Deeply: A Prayer and A Song for the New Year

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Editor’s note: We are so honoured to start off the new year with the voice of one of our indigenous sisters. Melaney honors us with her presence, her voice, her song and her gift of words. She goes first, like our sister Miriam. Together, we long for the Promised Land. Together, we long for a new world. 

By Melaney Gleeson-Lyall  |  Twitter: @melaneyglyall

The Great Mystery, the Uncreated One has gifted us a new year, a new season, a new day.

Most years on January the first, I head to the mountains.

I walk down a snowy path flanked by ancient cedars and humbly approach the cascading river.

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” —John 7:38 (NLT)

The breath of God fills the air.

Melaney Lyall Eagle

As an Indigenous woman, I understand my spiritual, physical, social and cultural connection to creation and the land of my ancestors.*

Bundled up, I sit on rocks by the river and offer prayers, sing songs and open my heart.

I wash my face with glacier waters, rinse my feet and cleanse my hands.

It is a spiritual act, a personal cleansing ceremony.

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With open hands, open heart and an open mind I ask the Spirit of God to recreate me.

Dying to self is never easy. This day comes with tears and resistance.

Eagles call from the forest and fly above me. Creation speaks. The Nature of God is calling.

Like the sacred moment of baptism—this ritual is a tangible reminder that I am created in the image of God. Creation is my witness.

Honouring the Divine, this tradition has become one of my acts of worship.

Though struggles and hardships have sometimes consumed us, we stretch out our hands to touch the cloak of Jesus. We take a step of faith and take hold of our Father’s hand.

We cherish each other, our circle of sisters who carry songs, medicine and gifts of healing.

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” —Donna Roberts

Great Spirit, may we hear your song on the wind. Sing it to us when we have forgotten your promises.

We pray for courageous hearts to walk into our own unique destinies this year.

With trembling voices may we say a resounding “YES” to our spiritual conversion.

Deep calls to deep.

May we surrender to the deeper places with our Creator and with each other, the created ones.

The Breath of God fills the air. Breathe deeply.

The Breath of God fills the air. Breathe Deeply.

Exhale your gifts, your calling, exhale the breath of God.

QUESTION:

Lovelys, do you have any special rituals for the new year? Rituals allow us to focus and welcome God into our lives. Reflect on ways to form a daily ritual to connect with our Creator. Be mindful of the promptings of the Holy Spirit during the meditations of your heart. Be prepared to respond or exhale your gifts and callings.

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* For Christians, the best way to relate to this idea of ancestors, is when we talk about the cloud of witnesses. Or when we remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It’s not a worship of our ancestors, but an honouring of those who have gone before us, those who have made way for us, those who have walked this journey of faith.

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About Melaney:

melaney-picMy name is Melaney. I was born on the unceded, ancestral lands of my ancestors, the Musqueam people in Vancouver, B.C.  Between my adopted family and First Nations bio families I have 17 siblings.  My grade one report card read “Melaney is justice-oriented.” I love Dr. Seuss and Henri Nouwen. I am an introverted contemplative and lifelong learner. Ever mindful, I stand in the strength of those who have gone before me and walked the earth before me. I am learning to live between cultures; between worlds—yesterday, today and forever.

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  • Thank you so much for leading us into the new year, my friend. So grateful for you.

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Thank you! Thank you for calling out the songs in me….

  • Shaley Hoogendoorn

    “Exhale your gifts, your calling, exhale the breath of God”
    Yes!!!!! Melaney this is beautiful! Your words and song have filled my heart. xo

    PS “Melaney is justice oriented” Grade One! LOVE that!

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Oh Shaley, you are a treasure!
      Thank you for your welcoming spirit! xo

  • Yesterday I took a long walk in the cold sunshine and let my mind rest. It is such a gift when God meets us each day, but there’s just something about this space between two years that invites fresh planning, thankfulness to God and to our “cloud of witnesses,” and new resolve to say “YES” to God.

    So thankful to meet you here, Melaney, and for your urging us toward mindfulness.

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Nice to meet you as well Michele. Yes, the change of seasons are reminders to me about our lives – being in transition. I love this full day of intentional contemplation. Thank you for your encouraging words. Enjoy your long walks this year!

  • “May we surrender to the deeper places with our Creator and with each other, the created ones.” Oh, what we and our world would look like if we did this. Seeking to this year. My ritual of going to the monastery and listening to the prayers of the monks, the prayers of the ancients and those who have gone before me sustains me. My word for the year is rhythms as I seek to establish unforced rhythms (daily rituals) to help me grow deep. This resonated so well with what I seek in the new year, thank you!

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Going to the monastery sounds beautiful Nicole. There is so much beauty in the rhythms of daily life… I sit by the hummingbird feeder to witness their strength, and their wings beating and chirping is quite loud! May our roots grow deeper with God this year!

  • Helene Burns

    Beautiful… thank you Melaney. xo

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Thank you Helene! Happy New Year!

  • Ganise C.

    Love, love, love! A SPLENDID prayer.

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Thank you for your affirmation Ganise. Happy New Year!

  • Tammy Thomas Gonzalez

    Melaney, my word for this year is “presence,” and the thoughts you’ve expressed here call me to a deeper awareness of God’s presence all around me. “The breath of God fills the air. Breathe deeply.” Yes!

    • Melaney G Lyall

      It’s interesting that everytime I read that line I actually take a deep breath…
      Thank you Tammy for sharing you one word “presence” – it is powerful to be present with God and with each other! Breathe Deeply!

  • Catherine

    So beautiful Melaney. Your words, Creator’s words through you, inspire me, and call me back to the peace of the place where I hear God …

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Moments of stillness – be still and know – in this crazy, busy world it can be hard to be still. Thank you Catherine for your presence today. Breathe Deep!

  • This is beautiful, Melaney. Something about this post has given new meaning to “deep calls out to deep” for me. What a gift. Thank you.

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Bethany, thank you for entering into this sacred space with me, with us. It is a reflection of the Father’s heart to lead us to more, to take hold of more of his gifts…
      To know how deeply we are loved…

  • Melissa Angel Saiz

    Melaney, You bring such beauty to my soul. thank you for always brightening my heart and my smile. I love you.

    • Melaney G Lyall

      Thanks Melissa! Thankful for you always!