Posts Tagged ‘self-forgiveness’

 

A Jewish Cleric’s Meditation for Self-Care

Posted on: July 2nd, 2020 by Alden No Comments

In what now seems like a premonition, Fall 2019 edition of The Reform Jewish Quarterly was dedicated to spiritual and mental wellness, including self-care in times of trauma. The Central Conference of American Rabbis asked me to contribute to the edition. As Jewish clergy and educators begin new jobs and reaffirm their current positions, here’s a prayer reminder that we — your congregants, your flock, your choir, your friends — need you to take care of yourselves, especially in these difficult times. A link to download the prayer from the Journal the follows the text.

A Jewish Cleric’s Meditation for Self-Care
God of our mothers and fathers,
My life is dedicated to the Jewish people,
According to Your will,
To expand Torah and mitzvot in the world,
Keeping watch over this generation,
In service to Your Holy Name.

Source and Shelter,
Grant me the wisdom to care for myself
As I strive to do Your work,
Accounting for my own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs,
Day by day,
Which I can so easily neglect
In my zeal to fulfill this sacred calling.

Renewed, refreshed, and revitalized,
May I come back to this holy work
With a greater sense of wholeness
And a richer sense of peace,
Aware of the gifts You have bestowed upon me,
And the limitations of my strength and endurance.

Let my eyes sparkle with blessings.
Let my voice resound with truth.
Let my life reflect Your everlasting love.
Let me be a vital and worthy servant of Your Word.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: This prayer first appeared the Reform Jewish Quarterly, CCAR Journal Fall 2019.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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: Life Right Now

Who, Still Broken

Posted on: October 9th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

img_0711One of the ways my wife Ami z”l attempted her own life was with gasoline. She poured gas onto a grassy midway, ignited it and stepped into the fire. Thankfully, when her clothing caught fire, she dropped and rolled. In the decade since, I’ve struggled with the High Holiday prayer Un’taneh Tokef; in particular, the famous couplet: “Who by fire. Who by water.” Today, after an angry sea pulled back from Haiti, more than 800 are dead. Today, a boy lays in an induced coma after he was set on fire. Today, I wrote this meditation. It includes direct and indirect references to the Un’taneh Tokef, as well as allusions to the Kedusha and to the tradition of prostration during a special Alienu added for the High Holidays. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Who, Still Broken
Who by fire,
Screaming with seared flesh?
Who by water,
Gasping for one more breath?

Rock of Life,
Tell me that these are not
Your tools of justice.
Tell me that these are not
Your verdicts or Your punishments.
How do You bear the cries
Of Your children?
The starving,
The battered,
Buried in rubble
Or washed to sea?

No, this is not my God.
Neither Judge nor Witness,
Prosecutor nor Executioner,
Issuing severe decrees
In a kangaroo court
Of intimidations
And forced confessions.

.כִּי כְּשִׁמְךָ כֵּן תְּהִלָתֶֽךָ
Ki k’Shimcha cain t’hilatecha.
For according to Your name,
So is Your praise.
Your name is Righteousness. Forgiveness. Love.
Your names are Mother, Father and Teacher.
Your names are Source and Shelter.

.קָשֶׁה לִכְעֹס וְנֽוֹחַ לִרְצוֹת
Kasheh lichos v’noach lirtzot.
You are slow to anger
And ready to forgive.
But I,
I am slow to change,
Slow to amend my ways.
I can be consumed by the fire
Of my own anger.
I can drown in the sea
Of my own sorrow.
I need Your guidance,
Your gentle hand.

.וְאַתָּה הוּא מֶלֶֽךְ, אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם
V’atah hu Melech El Chai v’kayam!
For You are forever our Living G-d and Sovereign!

Yes, I will fall to my knees
Before You.
For you are Holy,
Your Majesty fills the universe.
My origin is dust
And I will return to dust.
Until then,
God of Mercy,
תְּשׁוּבָה, תְּפִילָּה, וּצְדָקָה
T’shuva, tefillah u’tzdakah —
Repentance, prayer and righteousness —
Will allow me to rise,
To stand before You
Human,
Humble,
Fallible,
Still broken,
And still whole.

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

Postscript: This meditation reflects a certain anger, redemptive by asserting a gentler conception of G-d, as well as G-d’s justice, mercy and redemption. See also “Cry No More” and “At the Gates.” Please consider donating to support my daughter Dana’s participation in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Greater Los Angeles Walk to raise funds aimed at reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.

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: Abq Jew

Repentance Inside

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

582746main_sunrise_from_iss-4x3_428-321What does it take to internalize a deep sense of repentance, so that real change is possible? What will it take to be the man G-d envisioned when making me? This is from a series about internalizing G-d’s gifts, including “Egypt Inside” and “Forgiveness Inside.” This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Repentance Inside
This I confess:
I have taken my transgressions with me,
Carrying them year-by-year into my hours and days,
My lapses of conscience
And indiscretion with words,
My petty judgments
And my vanity,
Clinging to grief and fear, anger and shame,
Clinging to excuses and to old habits.
I’ve felt the light of heaven,
Signs and wonders in my own life,
And still will not surrender to holiness and light.

G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand
Repentance in prayer is easy.
Repentance inside,
Leaving my faults and offenses behind,
Is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live today as I lived yesterday,
Or to set my life free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.

G-d of forgiveness, help me to leave my transgressions behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.

Blessed are You,
G-d of justice and mercy,
You set Your people on the road to t’shuva.

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

Postscript: Here are focused lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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

Forgiveness Inside

Posted on: August 18th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

forgiveness2Seeking forgiveness from G-d is relatively easy. Forgiving myself for my misdeeds requires an act of bravery. It’s so much easier to make amends to others, to attempt to make changes in myself and to work to become a different man than it is to let go of guilt and shame. Accepting forgiveness from myself, that’s a real challenge. This is a prayer to release ourselves from the burden of guilt. It is part of my series of prayers to internalize G-d’s gifts, including “Egypt Inside” and “Repentance Inside.”

Forgiveness Inside
This I confess to myself:
I have locked forgiveness away,
Hiding its wonder and grace
In a secret spot deep in my heart.
I have set myself up as judge and accuser,
As provocateur and jury,
Regarding my own words and deeds,
My wisdom and my truth,
With loathing and with distain.
I have known forgiveness from G-d,
But not from myself.

G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand
Seeking forgiveness is easy.
Accepting forgiveness is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live a life of condemnation,
Or to set my heart free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.

G-d of Mercy, help me to leave my judgments behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.

Blessed are You,
G-d of Righteousness,
In Your wisdom You have taught us
That forgiveness is the road to peace.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are focused lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Wise Living

The Spark

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

campfireThis is a brief meditation on taking so-called negative emotions and harnessing them for sacred purpose. Although dark, it has an optimistic message: even when besieged by our worst thoughts and feelings, we can turn the power of these emotions toward healing. This theme is reflected in a set of prayers devoted to individual emotions, “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger” and “Shame.” This will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler.

The Spark
Oh strange fate.
Oh cruel humor.
I am stalked from within.
The dark night of my soul
Lurks heavy in the hollows of my veins,
Sometimes silent,
Sometimes wild with passion and revenge.

Oh odd fate.
Oh curious humor.
My fear and doubt,
My anger and shame,
Are a well of compassion
And a professor of justice,
A source of humility
And a guide to understanding.

Oh mystery and majesty.
Oh wonder and awe.
That alone, in pain,
The spark of holiness is ready,
Leading me to turn this power,
Toward healing the world.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger,” “Shame” and “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

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: Alaskan Campfire Fishing/Tours

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