Posts Tagged ‘joy’

 

Recipe for a Life

Posted on: December 25th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

In one of my writing fantasies, a famous chef proposes that we coauthor a cook book/prayer book. Yum. This will be the opening prayer. It was inspired by the amazing creativity and generosity of the people at ELI talks and CCAR Press. And it’s one of those pieces that come out as a complete surprise, like “Come Walk.” This piece was first posted on Facebook. The text follows a video recitation.

 

Recipe for a Life
1 cup gratitude
2 tablespoons humility
½ teaspoon pride
5 cloves love, 2 crushed
4 seeds forgiveness
2 tall stalks strength
1 tablespoon surrender
2 sprigs awe
3 sprigs wonder
½ cup hard knocks, melted
1 cup fresh squeezed joy
½ cup pounded sorrow
1 cup wisdom, sifted
1 gleaming ray of light
Two cubes compassion
Dash of fleeting time
Pinch of coarse suffering
Zest of music
Zest of prayer

Combine ingredients
Stir with abandon
Invite friends
Sing

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to “Falling in Love with Prayer,” my ELItalk. Friday morning I woke with profound gratitude flavored with a humility that feels closer to awe. Two pillars of my legacy were released this year: This Grateful Heart, a book of psalms and meditations from CCAR Press, and ‘Falling in Love with Prayer,’ my ELI talk. My gratitude is for the faith that these organizations have placed in my work. My humility is for the gift of talent, professionalism, enthusiasm and joy shown by the people of these groups. I wrote this piece in honor of the amazing people of both organizations.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Home page image: ooffoo.com

Ha’azinu: We Are Music

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

music-notesIn this week’s parasha Ha’azinu (Deut. 22), Moses sings a majestic farewell song, beginning by calling on the heavens to hear. The Haftarah (II Sam. 22:1-51) is David’s Song of Thanksgiving. This prayer/poem is about embodying the music of life, hearing the music created when we move in and out of moments together. This piece appears my forthcoming book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

We Are Music
Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

You are music.
Your breath and hands,
Your smile and tears,
Your eyes and pulse,
Are notes that dance
In the space between us.

We are music.
A symphony conducted
By the rhythm of life,
By G-d’s hand,
By our choices, day-by-day.

Our notes play on,
Separately, together,
The sacred sound of living.
Our music waltzes,
Making melodies fresh and new,
Never heard again,
Bass lines that pulse from our hearts
To the Soul of the Universe.

Joy bends sorrow.
Sorrow bends hope.
Hope bends grief.
Grief bends love.
Love bends joy.

Quiet now.
Listen.
Breathe.
And listen.

The silence is your longing.
The silence is your yearning for a different song.
The music of your own will
Blocks your heart to the harmonies
Already dancing around you,
To the chorus already singing around you.

Oh, you hidden delight of heaven.
Oh, you secret gift of G-d.
We are music.
We are music.
The music plays
Through us.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Postscript: While Moses calls on the heavens to give ear, this meditation calls on us to listen to our own — and to each other’s — hearts. This is my second meditation incorporating instructions to the reader into the prayer. The first is called “Invitations.” Both include this exclamation: “Oh, you hidden delight of heaven. Oh, you secret gift of G-d. Please see also: “Life as a Symphony,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.” This prayer first appeared on this site on Feb. 6, 2013.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Picks and Sticks Music

In Sorrow

Posted on: January 31st, 2016 by Alden No Comments

Clouds with Bird SilhoueteThis is new a prayer for moments of sorrow, regardless of whether they’re tied to a particular event – such as a loss or trauma – or are more general feelings of depression or despair. Here’s a related prayer called “Seasons of Sorrow.” Both appear in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

In Sorrow
Ancient One,
Send light into this darkness
And hope into this despair.
Send music into this emptiness
And healing into this aching heart.

Air.
All I need is air.
A breath to give oxygen
To the anguish within.
A breath to give voice
To the howl in my heart.
A breath to set me free.

I am undone.
Crushed silent by sorrow.
Bereft by loneliness and loss.
Still yearning for healing.
Still yearning for love.
Still yearning for You.

Ancient One,
Send light into this darkness
And hope into this despair.
Send music into this emptiness
And healing into this aching heart.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: This is one of the few prayers in which I use the same language for the opening and closing stanzas.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

Two Prayers by Teens

Posted on: August 4th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Writing with InkHere are two prayers written at two different sessions of my teen writing workshop. We used the same process, but the conversations about prayer were much different. So were the results. Yesterday at NewCAJE6, I led an intensive teacher training called “Pray in Our Own Words: Generating Excitement for Prayer,” which included teaching the technique I use with teens to write a common prayer.

For a Better World
Acknowledge us, O God,
So we may know wisdom, strength, justice and kindness;
So we will witness the miracle of life, love and peace;
So that the doors of understanding open for us and for our children.
As we learn to fulfill our duties to you Adonai,
Rekindle the light of mitzvot
And protect us all.

‘Wowl-ing’ to God
God is the original superhero.
You are awesome, the deliverer of truth and faith.
You give us creativity, which is the opportunity to make all that is good and evil.
We thank, praise and sanctify your knowledge, light and change, forever.
Thank you for giving us all choices.
Thank you for the unique universe.
Help us long for the life, ability, soul, body and love
That makes our destiny beautiful and, most of all, ours.
Sanctity humus, the moon, the sun, and light.
Praise beauty, awe and wide double rainbows.
All love trees.
Let us ‘Wowl’ at the moon and rejoice in Your Awesomeness.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: If you’re interested in learning more about my workshops for adults and teens, please drop me an email at alden@tobendlight.com. ‘Wowl’ is a word the teens coined by combining the words ‘wow’ – as in ‘praise G-d’ – and ‘howl, as in howling at the moon. It means: ‘howling with spiritual intent to celebrate the beauty G-d put in this world.’

Tweetable! Here’a suggested tweet. Please tweet it (with link): Two awesome prayers written by teens at @tobendlight workshops:

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Living a Life of Writing

Breathe

Posted on: July 12th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Sky and LakeThis prayer is a simple reminder to breathe and the gifts that coming from simply being. It includes a space to include a name, yours or someone else’s, so that you can use it as reminder to yourself or as a hope for someone else. Six other pieces of mine include the instruction to breathe. Three of my favorites are: “Sing Praises,” “We Are Music” and “Invitations.”

Breathe
Listen, dear __________ (your name or another name),
Remember to breathe,
Remember to fill your chest
With the sweet taste of living,
To fill your heart
With a gentle gift of peace.
The breath of God
Surrounds you.
Let it flow through you.
The pulse of the universe
Beats with you.
Let it enliven you.
Invite your inhale,
The willingness of this moment.
Release your exhale,
And surrender to being.
Fill your lungs.
Feel them.
Feed them.
Heal them.
And you will know,
The majesty of now,
And the mystery
Of forever.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: My three other prayers with the instruction to breathe are: “Choosing to Heal,” “Let Your Heart Stir” and “Rules for Being Me in Jerusalem.”

Tweetable! Here’a suggested tweet. Please tweet it (with link): “…fill your heart with a gentle gift of peace. The breath of God surrounds you…” https://tobendlight.com/?p=13239

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

Entrances and Exits

Posted on: May 17th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Doors_WikimediaThis is a new prayer about living in the best and the highest moments of our lives.

Entrances and Exits
This moment is an entrance:
An entrance to your breath,
An entrance to your heart,
An entrance to your journey,
An entrance to your destination.

This moment is an exit:
An exit from your solitude,
An exit from your fear,
An exit from your wounds,
An exit from your cage.

G-d of Old,
Open my eyes to the majesty
That surrounds us.
Grant me the courage
To enter this day
With wonder and amazement,
With enthusiasm and joy,
With strength and with hope.
Teach me to dance
In the direction of holiness.
Teach me to sail
In the direction of beauty.
Teach me to love
In the direction of wholeness and peace.

The world is Yours
In fullness and glory,
Given to us as a gift
So that we may rejoice
In the mysteries
Around us.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Postscript: See also: Now.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

The Gifts of Our Lives

Posted on: April 4th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Divine-Gifts-6129895This new prayer of gratitude includes an alphabetical acrostic. Acrostics were a mainstay of Jewish liturgical poems, known as piyutim. This piece combines the acrostic with a four-part structure that repeats in each of the internal stanzas, using the metaphor of G-d as “well,” “source,” “foundation” and “crown.” In an early draft of a prayer called Elijah, I spelled his name with the initial letters in each of the opening lines, but later revised the piece to broaden its scope, losing the acrostic.

The Gifts of Our Lives
With gratitude and appreciation
We give thanks for the gifts
Which flow into our lives day-by-day.
A river of divine blessing.

For You are the well of Abundance,
The source of Beauty,
The foundation of Courage
And the crown of Dreams.

You are the well of Energy,
The source of Faith,
The foundation of Grace
And the crown of Hope.

You are the well of Insight,
The source of Justice,
The foundation of Kindness
And the crown of Love

You are the well of Mercy,
The source of Nourishment,
The foundation of Our Lives
And the crown of Peace.

You are the well of Quiet,
The source of Righteousness,
The foundation of Strength
And the crown of Truth.

For You are the well of Understanding,
The source of Vitality,
The foundation of Wonder
And the crown of Years.

With gratitude and appreciation
We give thanks for the gifts
Which flow into our lives day-by-day.
A river of divine blessing.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Note that this acrostic is incomplete, it that I did not create lines for the letters q’ and ‘z.’ My other prayers of gratitude include several favorites: “Fresh Delights,” “Now,” “One Gift,” “Unseen Lands”  and “Sacred Cargo.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Heaven Now

Vayakhel-Pekudei: For the Gift of Art

Posted on: March 10th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

'Windows_Open_Simultaneously_(First_Part,_Third_Motif)'_by_Robert_DelaunayIn this week’s double torah portion, Vayakhel-Pekudei, the master artist Bezalel is named to direct the creation of the tabernacle, all of its symbols and tools, as well as the vestments of the priests. From Impressionism to Dada, from sculpture to photography, from Michelangelo to Chagall to Hokusai, the visual arts are amazing. Here’s another prayer celebrating creativity. It follows the same structure as the others in this series, which is explained in the introduction to “For the Gift of Song.”

For the Gift of Art
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of art,
For pencil and paint,
For glass and fabric,
For metal and stone,
For the gift that sees wisdom and beauty hidden in Your works,
For the skill and love that creates and crafts,
Releasing divine radiance for others to see.
Hear this prayer for those who fashion art
Revealing the secret glories of Your creation.
Make their works Your vessel.
Let heaven pour its vision through them
So that they overflow with Your light
Drawing others to Your glory.
So that when we see their works,
Our souls turn back to You in appreciation.
Together, we offer our gratitude back to heaven,
And rejoice.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Be sure to check out the other prayers in this series: “For the Gift of Song,” “For the Gift of Words,” “For the Gift of Dance,” “For the Gift of Music,” “For the Gift of Laughter,” “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship” and “For the Joy of Learning.” This prayer first appeared on this site on July 2, 2010; this version has slight modifications.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons, ‘Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif)’ by Robert Delaunay

On Starting a New Job

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Alden No Comments

First-Day-on-JobHere’s a prayer of thanks for beginning a new job. It is one of several prayers about employment and unemployment, including: “Upon Losing Employment,” “Upon Gaining Employment” and “On Professional Achievement.” Optional text is shown with [brackets] and word choices are separated with slashes (“/”). Parnasa is the Hebrew word for livelihood; it encompasses more than just a job, including the ability to provide a full life.

On Starting a New Job
G-d of sustenance,
Thank you for the gift of this job,
This opportunity for parnasa,
This opportunity be a productive
Contributor to the economy
[And renewed financial well-being].
May this new job be a source of blessings
For me [and my family].
Let this be the springboard to
[Professional / career / entrepreneurial / managerial] success.

Bless those still in need of employment.
Grant them income and livelihood
So that none suffer the lack of financial resources,
So that they know health and happiness,
Security and peace.

Source of goodness and life,
Grant me success on this new path
And prosperity in all my endeavors.
May this be an opportunity to learn and to grow,
In the joy of fruitful labor.

Blessed are You,
G-d of bounty and grace,
Who has seen me through my hour of need
And brought me the gift of work.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a related social justice prayer “Against Worker Exploitation.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Career Rocketeer

 

Soul Shine

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Soul Shine PlateThis meditation is about allowing our souls to fill our hearts, to fill our minds and to fill our bodies with the radiance of heaven, so that we can bring that light into the world as tikun olam, the act of repairing the world. The meditation recognizes the majesty within each of us, declaring that that glory must be shared. This piece appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Soul Shine
Let your soul shine
In your chest.
Let your heart sparkle
In your eyes.
Let joy
Fill your limbs with radiance.
Let love
Fill your hands with splendor.
You are the instrument
Of G-d’s music,
The tool
Of repairing the earth.
You are the voice
Of wonder and awe,
The song
Of hope and tomorrow.

This gift,
This majesty within,
Is not yours to keep.
It is not yours to hold.
It is not yours to hide.

Let your soul shine
Luminous, elegant,
Brave and true,
A beacon of praise,
A lantern of song,
A summons for holiness
To enter our lives
And this world.

Let your soul shine.
Set it free.
Set it free to fill the space
Between the here
And the unknown
With abundance
And with blessings.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

Postscript: If you enjoyed this meditation, you might also like: “Fresh Delights,” “Come Walk,” “Let Me” and “This is the Place.” And for musical accompaniment, here’s a link to the Allman Brothers Band singing “Soulshine.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: tomboyArt on Esty

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