I want to talk about the kinds of things that I have on my altar because I believe a home altar is a great gift we can give ourselves. Each day you can cherish the things that you’ve put on your altar.
There are so many benefits to having an altar in your home. It will revive you when you’re sad by recalling treasured memories. It will help you focus before your meditation practice and before you start your day. These things you love are the tools to shift your thoughts from chaos to calm.
So let me share what I’ve put on my altar. Everybody’s altar will be different because we each have different objects that are precious to us. What they are is not important. It’s what they represent that matters.
Now, let me describe the objects on my altar.
1. I’ll start on the left. This is a statue of what I believe is a Chinese goddess. (It belonged to my mother and I never asked her about it.) To me, she represents female power and wisdom, graceful and radiating love and inner strength.
2. Next, is a poster of my book cover. It confirms that yes! I am an author, and to say “Hey maybe you’ll wanna write another book sometime!”
3. Hard to see but there’s a brass horse’s head which represents my husband who passed in 2010. He was an avid horseman and rode in many equestrian events, winning many ribbons and trophies.
Pictures and mementos of our loved ones who have passed are especially meaningful. They may not be here with us physically but they’re always with us in our hearts and minds. As I gaze upon these memorabilia, I’ve found that, through the years, what I tend to remember about them (my husband and my mother), is that I’ve retained the tenderest memories for the most part. There’s always a few little things here and there but yeah, I’m working on it!
4. Which leads me to an oil painting that my mother made. She was an amazing woman. I could go on for hours about her intelligence, artistry, handiness (she could fix anything!) So her painting takes center stage above my altar.
5. Here’s a 3D sign I found at a garage sale. it says PEACE and that’s my favorite word because I talk about being calm and creative and all that good stuff, and you have to be peaceful in order for that to happen. This is my reminder.
6. The trifold contains a Hindu prayer. As an Interfaith minister, I honor all the great religions and philosophies of our world’s people.
7. Of course I have on my altar a picture (in a chicken frame) of my two kids when they were teenagers. You may think it’s funny, but I love them and I love my hens who gift me with organic eggs.
8. I was just amazed when I saw this meditating Jesus. I said, yes, I really believe Jesus would have been a meditator. He represents one of the greatest spiritual masters in history, bringing a message of love and peace. He’s my main guru as author of A Course in Miracles.
9. The little round piece is a mineral of some kind that was skillfully carved into a flower. It represents to me the wonder of this beautiful blue planet that I dwell upon and reminds me to support and protect it as best I can.
10. This next one, my crystal ball, may give you pause! But wait! Let me explain.😊 I don’t read crystal balls per se, but what I understand is that a crystal ball aids in focus, so when you’re looking into the crystal ball, there’s nothing really there and that’s fine. So it’s a good tool to use if you like this sort of thing. I use it sometimes to take me into my meditation practice and teach how to do it in my online course. I teach people how to find their own inner wisdom and a crystal ball can help.
11. Gracing my altar is a laughing Buddha, another of our great spiritual masters. I read the Dhamma Pada often and always get a boost of inspiration and energy from the Buddha’s teachings.
12. You’ll see a photo of 4 signs that a dear friend of mine painted for a workshop that we were doing. I took the signs, lined them up on the floor and took a picture. Then I printed out the photo and put it in this frame. These are the four things that mean the most to me in my life. They are the things I want:
I want to experience Oneness with everyone that I meet.
I want Truth to flow from my lips.
I want Love to be the banner I carry into every interaction that I have (I know, it’s a lofty goal!)
And above all else, I want to see Peace everywhere.
13. I was thrilled to find this hand-carved wooden picture at a local tag sale. The homeowner told me he wanted to make something that represented him and his wife. The cross stands for his Catholicism and the star for her Judaism. “We complement each other.” he said. That was me and my husband so how could I not buy it!
14. The photo on the right is Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, who was my mentor of A Course in Miracles for over 30 years. He passed I think it was in 2014. I miss his joy.
15. See the little kitty cat! I’m a cat person although I love all animals. Putting a kitten on my altar is a reminder of my connection to all the creatures of the earth that walk, crawl, fly and swim. How deeply I love all the life on our planet and feel such happiness in their presence
So I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour across my altar. And I highly recommend that you make your own altar somewhere in your home. Maybe it will be in your den over a fireplace as mine is, or maybe there’s a little table in the corner of a room or a shelf somewhere that you can put a few things that are meaningful to you so that when you stand in front of it, you allow yourself to open up to all the possibilities that exist for you.
The last thing I want to do is share with you this simple prayer for the new year. It is an ancient Buddhist prayer that I learned many years ago.
May all beings be happy
May all beings perceive the good
May no being experience suffering
Love and Blessings,
Everything Begins With A Thought
so monitor your thoughts and release the ones that are hurting you!