Enough Already

Enough already! Have you ever yelled that out at the top of your lungs or whimpered it through tears as you knelt face down on the floor? I have, throughout life, more times than I can count. Sometimes the heavy stuff happens and hits like an avalanche, without warning. At a particularly empty moment where God felt far away, I wondered if I just might be a distant relative of Job, as I wrote these questions in my journal.

When will I know love?

When will I know peace?

When will I know joy?

When will I be healed from this pain?

When will I be free?

And the voiceless Voice of my Beloved beckoned, “Now,” and my heart melted as it listened:

“Walk through the threshold this present suffering provides, into my Presence, where the fear and doubt are released. It is true, you can not do this on your own. Your mind will only lead you further into pain and chaos. This present suffering releases it’s grip as you move through it into my Presence. Like a plane moves through the clouds. Like a bird moves through the air. In my Presence the illusion of the unforgiving, condemning thoughts of the past and fearful images of the future disintegrate. Grace flows over you and through you, gently pulling up the roots of fear. You can not think your way into a new way of being. Just come to me. Turn to me. Fall into me. Fall into grace and mercy. Fall into my embrace. There are not enough words to convey my heart. For Silence speaks the meaning mere words can only point to. Do not be afraid, my beloved. You are not alone. I am with you always.”


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

You Are The Beloved

Be Still and Turn

As published on Contemplative Light™ and Silence Teaches with Rich Lewis 

Being a Contemplative Christian does not exempt me from worry, fear and anxiety. It does, however, make a way through the challenging stuff of life creating opportunity for authentic transformation.

How does transformation translate into real world experience?  What does it look like?  What does it feel like As a single woman, business owner, mother, grandmother and Spiritual Director, life can feel overwhelming at times. Primarily when I let some situation trigger me into creating a fictitious story in my mind about what could happen, rather than what is happening, in the moment. Perhaps you can I identify with this?  From the story comes fear, worry and all the ‘what ifs’ that cause the stressful feelings of being overwhelmed. The story takes on a life of it’s own and worry quickly becomes fear that quickly turns into anxiety. So then what?

Sometimes I berate myself for not trusting God more.  Sometimes I pray more, or pray less. Other times I distract myself with family or work. Yet all of the time God’s gentle, relentless voiceless Voice breathes deep within, “Be still and turn to me.”  What I’ve come to learn is in times like this if I just become still, my mind is drawn to ‘the story’ and focuses on the overwhelming feeling that’s tossing me around like driftwood on a storm tossed wave.  It’s the ‘turn’ within the stillness that changes everything.  To turn toward God, means I must turn from the story and the feelings associated with it, releasing my white knuckle grip on fear and my small reality.  

So how do you turn? Some of us struggle with this concept of turning. What does that mean and more importantly how do you do it? What helps you release your focus on the story or challenge? I’ve included here 7 Ways to Turn Toward God. Use any or all of these tools every day to help guide you into a deeper connection with God, yourself and others.

7 Ways to Turn Toward God

  1. Become aware of your breathing and notice your mind creating the story like you’re watching a movie. Let the scenes pass by without becoming emotionally engaged. Remember, you are simply watching the scenes from the audience. You aren’t in the movie.
  2. Choose a prayer word or short phrase that you repeat over and over again as needed. My favorite word is “Jesus.” Yours may be “God” or “Yahweh.”
  3. Use your favorite prayer track on the Insight Timer mobile app. My fave is St. Patrick’s Prayer which I recorded to help my soul friends arise out of bed every morning.
  4. Schedule a spiritual direction consult. There are spiritual directors all around the world. Go to sdiworld.org to find someone locally or go to thedeeperconnection.org and book a session to work with me virtually.
  5. Subscribe to The Deeper Connection YouTube channel. You can pray with me and countless other soul friends right on screen.
  6. Download my Wake Up on the Inside Morning Meditation Tool
  7. Purchase my It Is Time CD. If you don’t have time for centering prayer, listening to even one of the teaching tracks will help you turn from your present train of thoughts.

In a simple moment, any or all of these gentle inner ‘turns’ creates the space for faith to move, for the Spirit to breathe and trust emerges.  I can not will the ‘overwhelm’ away.  I can not muster up trust.  I can only choose to be still and let my mustard seed of faith prompt me to turn.  For in that turning, God calms the strongest waves and transformation happens.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

About Maria

The Deeper Connection Workshop

As followers of Christ we long for truth, freedom and authenticity. We long to exemplify the teachings of Christ in a world in desperate need of them. Yet, we too get caught up in the current of an incessantly critical culture. The Deeper Connection Workshop is about learning to live in truth, freedom and authenticity. Come explore and experience contemplative prayer and meditation from the ancient Christian tradition, to help guide, ground and center you throughout all your days. Whether you are an adult who has a practice of meditation or have never meditated; whether you follow the Christian tradition, another faith-tradition, or no tradition, ALL are welcome.

DATE AND TIME

Sat, March 11, 2017
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM PST

LOCATION

First Presbyterian Church
230 Northeast 9th Street
Bend, OR 97701


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

Breathing: A Simple Prayer

Breathing is the simplest prayer taught to me by a 5 year old.

As a 5 year old I remember standing in my bedroom and singing “He’s got the whole world in His hands…” (some of you know the song I’m talking about) adding gestures and movement to every phrase as I passionately belted out the words. I remember thinking about how God might even have me in His hands and my little child’s mind said ‘wow’ as I became enthralled with that mystery.

Later that night laying in bed by myself, somehow I knew I wasn’t really alone. I actually remember becoming aware of my breathing. I felt fearful at first but with my eyes closed I breathed slowly in and out…the fear dissipated into calm and after a time (who knows how long for to a child even 5 minutes feels like forever) I fell asleep. Looking back on that now I believe the Spirit of God reached into that little child and taught her how to pray.

Several decades of living have gone by so quickly and here I am. I awaken in the middle of the night with a number of serious issues on my mind. Singing “He’s got the whole world in His hands” is quite far removed and is certainly not part of the ramblings in my head. Finally I realize all the worrying disguised as ‘thinking things through’ will not impact anything except my lack of sleep. I try to pray but the words sound like noisy chatter echoing back at me.

The dark stillness of the night reminds me I am by myself…but I am not alone. The silent word ‘yes’ rises out of my breath and I remember…simply breathe. As I breathe in I fill my lungs…my mind…my heart with the ‘yes of God’…as I breathe out I release all that is not ‘yes’ within me…all that is burdening me…all that is fear…I breathe in life and I remember the prayer God brought me to when I was too young and innocent to doubt and analyze…consciously breathing…true prayer connecting me with the Presence…and the peace which surpasses all understanding and all circumstances fills my heart and mind.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

The Light in Darkness

In my darkest hour…there was Light…

There was nothing easy about going through a divorce. The guilt, shame and darkness was debilitating. Just as overwhelming were the insidious temptations to comfort and appease my pain with the immediate gratifications readily provided by the world.

When I gave up the self-defensive, victim posturing I was left to face my immense shame alone. That was when it happened.

One afternoon I could not move from my bed. My heart was heavy and I felt paralyzed by the darkness. I could not move a muscle. Breathing became difficult as the heaviness bore down on me. It felt like I was suffocating in my shame. The only movement was that of the racing and pounding in my chest. I could not speak. I could not justify or defend. I could not retreat into the Silence.
I could not even cry out for help. I could barely think. Nothing made sense.

Though I felt like God was far from me I managed to allow my mind say the name of Jesus. I have been saying the name of Jesus as my ‘prayer word’ since I was a small child. Now, it was all I could muster up. I was too weary to speak but I let my mind repeat ‘Jesus’ just as that frightened little girl did decades ago. I cannot say that I saw a blinding Light pierce through my darkness, nor can I say I felt any semblance of peace. What I was able to do was breathe that was all. As I breathed in and out and in and out the miracle took place.

In one brief moment I let go of my ‘white knuckle grip’ on my reality and God wasted no time revealing quite a different Reality. I became conscious of Christ. I couldn’t see or hear anything different but I could feel the Presence supporting and sustaining each breath holding my heart and soul. The anxiety and shame did not spontaneously dissipate. The miracle is that this loving, conscious Presence was right there in the midst of the debilitating feelings, thoughts and pain. Christ was present precisely in my woundedness, my darkest, most self-incriminating hour. Christ came as the Presence of no judgment, no condemnation and unconditional love. ‘How could this be?’, I thought. I remained there. I have no idea how long. After a while the freedom from this truth of ‘no condemnation’ started settling into me and the heaviness began to lift.

That is how I knew it was not my own mind or ego but the Reality of God breaking through. I could not create this feeling of freedom for I never felt it before in my life. I had no idea it even existed and therefore had no frame of reference. The miracle was organically experiencing the meaning of the words, ‘for there is no condemnation…I did not come to condemn…but to free you…who is here to judge you?’.
(John 8:7)

I experience that freedom to this day.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

What is Contemplative Worship?

During these times of pressure, draining schedules, 24/7 fear inducing news, demanding responsibilities, and critical decisions our hearts and souls long for refreshment and peace that only comes from a deep connection with God. We desire a communal setting for worship that will soothe our over stimulated, over ‘agenda-ed’ minds. We may find such spiritual refreshment in worship which is reflective and contemplative.

Contemplative Worship is a setting in which we quiet ourselves in order to open our hearts, minds and souls to the ministry and Presence of God within us. It is one way to hear the gentle voiceless Voice of God with our hearts. Contemplative Worship waits for the Divine Mystery in the silence, words and music.

Contemplative Worship is an opportunity to still the internal busyness, allowing us to settle deeply into our spiritual center. Contemplative Worship practices us in the rhythm of Christ, a rhythm of moving into prayer and communion with God before going out to engage the world in our work and relationships.

Contemplative Worship does not imply that a person must be proficient in a certain skill or spiritual discipline to participate. It simply implies a desire to seek God and to be open to however God might choose to move within our lives.

Contemplation implies inner awakening to the Light and Presence that fills our being and is present in the world around us. The aim of Contemplative Worship is to draw us into that Light and Presence of God bringing about a deeper awareness of this intimate, healing Love.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

What Is Spiritual Direction?

Does your life ever feel unmanageable or that you’re barely holding on? Perhaps all is well, yet you feel like something is missing. Do you wonder does God really hear you? Does prayer even matter? Do you ever feel like you’re living someone else’s life and not the one you desire to live? Have you felt the need to go deeper into your inner life with God? Perhaps you have way more questions than answers. Spiritual Direction is the oldest form of talk therapy (though it is not therapy) having it’s roots in Judeo-Christian history. In centuries past one might have gone to their rabbi, priest, wise neighbor or friend to help with life and all it’s challenges and transitions from the perspective of one’s connection to God and the spiritual journey. Now spiritual direction is a professional practice for individuals and groups that is becoming more widespread and sought after.

What Does the Practice Provide?

Spiritual Direction provides a supportive, non-judgmental, confidential place to share and understand your personal story, recognizing the Divine Presence in and through all of life. Spiritual direction invites you to a deeper connection, recognition and understanding of God, self and others that helps bring about authentic living through healing, growth and transformation.

Why Do People Come to Spiritual Direction?

For many reasons… some are:

  • For a more personal and authentic connection with God
  • For renewed or deeper understanding of the spiritual journey
  • For support and guidance through divorce, grieving of loss or other life transitions
  • For support in overcoming addictions
  • For authentic healing and transformation
  • To discern one’s call or purpose in life
  • To be able to recognize and live out of one’s True Self

What are the Benefits of Spiritual Direction?

  • Peace in the midst of all of life, including the chaos
  • Release from judgment of self and others
  • Freedom from addictions
  • A full, engaged, more abundant life
  • Happiness and acceptance
  • Clarity of thought and insight
  • Greater love of self and others
  • Reduction of stress and release of anger
  • Emotional and spiritual healing and transformation

Find out how Spiritual Direction can serve you. Book your free discovery call with Maria today. You’ll be so glad you did.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a work and community dedicated to helping individuals go from anxiety, stress and loneliness to inner peace and freedom, through experiencing a deeper connection with God, self and others. Maria has her graduate degree from Neumann University in Pastoral Care and Counseling and Spiritual Direction. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of Christ through contemplative Christian spirituality; teaching centering prayer, leading retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.

St. Francis Prayer

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and the first thing I want to say is… thank you. I want to share my gratefulness for you being there, for you being part of The Deeper Connection community, for you praying with me wherever you are in the world. I am truly grateful to be connecting with you,

But sometimes gratitude doesn’t rise that easily, does it? Sometimes it feels like there’s something blocking our gratitude. Maybe it’s quite obvious to us, it could be a trauma or a crisis or an illness of a loved one or maybe something’s not going well at work, whatever it might be.

Perhaps life is going along quite simply and calmly and we do feel that gratitude more readily. Whatever it is, it’s okay. It’s all okay, because whatever and whenever you don’t feel that gratitude, you can ask for it. Simply ask God. “You know what? I”m not feeling grateful right now, but I would truly like to… I would like to receive that from you.” Ask for it and God, who has created this benevolent universe for you, will pour out gratitude into your heart.

Sometimes it’s a matter of just looking at the small things. Maybe the big things are not going well, but perhaps it’s the small things that we so take for granted… even just having food in our refrigerator, or hot running water… or heat… or that we can get up and stand up on both feet and walk… or that you can watch me right now, we can hear our friends, we can hear the cries of our grandchildren. Whatever the simplest thing is, sometimes just settling on that and just recognizing that and receiving that is enough.

So today, I’d like to pray with you and I’d like to pray a prayer I adapted called the Prayer of St. Francis, and I would like to share it with you if you would pray it with me, wherever you are. I don’t have it memorized so I’m going to read it, but if you would just open up your hearts and minds. I always say that’s the foundation of prayer because it is. It’s not so much our words, but the positioning of our hearts.

So just be wherever we are. Let your presence be in the presence of a living God.

Breathe a nice, deep cleansing breath. Close your eyes. Just feel yourself in this space and let us share these words together:

My God, Source of Life. Source of Love. May I be your messenger in a world that is in desperate need of you. May I be an instrument of your peace in a world filled with division and discord. May I bring love in the midst of anger and hatred and may I bring compassion and understanding where there is hurt and suffering. Where there is doubt and fear, cause my faith to rise up. Where there is despair, may I be a voice of hope. In darkness, may I bring light and in sadness, may I bring joy. Divine Master, rather than seek my own comfort and consolation, may I show mercy and be a comfort to others. Rather than needing to be heard, rather than needing to be right, may I bring patience, understanding and a willingness to listen. Rather than seeking to be loved, may I be love. I know that all I desire is already provided for me and that it is in giving, that we receive. In forgiving, that we are set free. And in dying to self, that we are born into our true, eternal life.

Let it be so. Let it be now. Let it be.

Amen.

Listen to more meditations like this.


Who is Maria?


Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.

Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.

Follow The Deeper Connection @deeperconnects on Twitter, and @thedeeperconnection on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.