Posts Tagged ‘song’

 

I Want to Die on the Trail

Posted on: June 22nd, 2022 by Alden No Comments

This is a prayer fantasy envisioning my death. G-d willing, it will be some time from now. I’m not ill, but of the age to begin preparing for the journey. I hadn’t envisioned this as a song, until I heard Michael Miller singing during a Jewish Songwriting Cooperative Retreat led by Sue Radner Horowitz, my collaborator on “Hallel in a Minor Key.” As soon as I heard him, this poem-now-a-song seemed written for his voice and composing skills. Listen to his album “Shelter” on Spotify. Here are the lyrics and an unfinished cut of Michael singing and playing piano for his music to “I Want to Die on the Trail.”

I Want to Die on the Trail

(Lyrics by Alden Solovy, Music by Michael Miller)

I want to die on the trail,
Surrounded by everyone I’ve ever loved,
Everyone who has ever loved me.
My body old and frail,
Barely containing what remains,
My soul unbound from the limits of time and space.

We will walk together into the canyon,
Descending to the river,
Strong in love.
The air warm, the breeze cool,
The sky more deeply blue than ever.

The sound of water falling on water
Getting closer as we move toward the stream bed.
Our host of companions multiplying.
Confession and forgiveness irrelevant
In the flow of love and affection.

I want to die on the trail,
Diving off the cliff’s edge into the unknown,
Singing, dancing, celebrating, embracing,
Loving the life that was once mine,
Blessing you for allowing my path,
However briefly,
To be one with yours.

Lyrics © 2022 Alden Solovy, Music © 2022 Michael Miller

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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.

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Photo by Alden Solovy

Praise, Praise

Posted on: December 13th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A hallelujah song, with two acrostic paragraphs each spelling the word ‘praise.’ It’s also a salute to the psalms of praise in Jewish liturgy known as Hallel, or praises. The translation of Hallelujah as ‘Celebrate G-d’ comes from Michael Haruni’s Nehalel Siddur. This appears in my new book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press. It’s appropriate for Passover, Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh, the Festivals, anytime Hallel is said or you feel moved to Praise G-d!

Praise, Praise
Hallelujah,
Celebrate G-d!

Praise with song,
Rejoice with dance,
Attest with word,
Inspire with deed,
Shout with joy,
Exclaim with awe.

Proclaim G-d’s majesty,
Recall G-d’s works,
Adore G-d’s wonders,
In hymns of love,
Sanctifying G-d’s blessings,
Eternal.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

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Please check out my Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy from CCAR Press. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

Photo Source: The Met 150

Recipe for a Life, Redux

Posted on: April 8th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

I made sweet and sour meatballs today for the first time. And chicken soup. The kitchen smells lovely, like our family Seders of long ago. Underneath, a familiar shock, brought back by this odd intersection between Passover and modern plague. The jolt to the system of the sudden end of Ami’s z”l shiva — after only two days — to make Seder. That feeling of doing the Seder anyway, because that’s what we do, and dammit how could it ever, ever, ever be the same. So this is post-trauma, I suppose. Or just plain trauma. I dunno. It doesn’t matter. We’re all in this moment of doing the best we can with the world we’ve been given. I made chicken soup and sweet and sour meatballs for the first time today. But here’s the recipe for a life (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.

Note: As a writing coach I have two open spots for new clients. Contact me at: alden@tobendlight.com.

Postscript: This prayer/poem was first published on this site on Dec. 25, 2016.

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

Shavua Tov Live! with Trisha, Devon and Alden

Posted on: March 21st, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This is your personal invitation to an online reading of prayer and poetry, with song and meditation, to uplift your week. Ritualwell is hosting a half-hour event featuring Devon Spier, Trisha Arlin and me on Sunday, March 22, at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on Zoom. Register in advance here. We’ll each read from our work. Devon will lead a chant and I’ll lead a Six-Word Prayer moment. Here’s a taste of the event. Remember to register.

Trisha Arlin’s “Instead of: A Prayer for Peace

Blessed Yah, Creator, Created, Creating…
We pray for peace,
For ourselves and the world,
Even if only for one day:

Instead of anger, we choose kindness.
Instead of revenge, we choose justice.
Instead of resentment, we choose empathy.
Instead of work, we choose rest.
Instead of ideology, we choose compromise.
Instead of destruction, we choose community.
Instead of fear, we choose endurance.
Instead of invective, we choose prayer.
Instead of violence, we choose peace.

Blessed Yah, Creator, Created, Creating…
We give thanks for this day of peace.
May it change us, may it change the world,
And let us say, Amen.

Instead of: A Prayer for Peace” is © 2014 Trisha Arlin. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Chant to be led by Devon Spier

From the head on my shoulders
To the soles of my shoes
Somebody someone comin’ through

From the soul ‘bove my shoulders
To the soles of my shoes
Somebody someone comin’ through

La da da da da da da da da!
Da da da da la la la la da da (x2)

לֹא בָאֵשׁ יְהוָה; וְאַחַר הָאֵשׁ, קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה
But Adonai was not in the fire
And after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12)

Spiritual Vandals” by Alden Solovy
At the gates of an ancient city
A spiritual vandal cracked into my heart.
Stunned,
Expecting the blood of my grief and shame
To sizzle on the hot stone,
Ready to shout,
‘How dare you touch that sacred place,’
I saw a river of light flowing through me.
Starlight. Moonlight. Sunlight. Your light. My light.
Light from the moment of creation.
So much radiance and glory.
Suddenly on my knees,
My forehead on the pilgrim’s path,
I wept.

Now I wait at the gates
For you.
To invite you close,
To let me see the fissure in your heart
Ready to burst,
To touch it with love,
To crack you open
So that you can see the majesty and the beauty
That flows through us all.

Listen,
Dear sisters, dear brothers:
Do not fear the vandals who guard
The gates of mercy.
For mercy is love,
And love is light,
And light seeks light,
And these angels only want to show
That it’s been inside you
All along.

Spiritual Vandals” is © 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Remember to register in advance here. You’re also invited to join my Six-Word Prayer Facebook page, and my daily gratitude Facebook page called “Grateful Heart, Joyous Soul, Precious Life.” Thanks again to Ritualwell.

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. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Come Walk, Revisited

Posted on: July 19th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

Saturday marks 50 years since the first manned spacecraft landed on the Moon, with the first human steps there coming a few hours later, with Apollo 11 Commander Neil Alden Armstrong’s now immortal words: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” In that moment, it seemed that there were no horizons that we couldn’t conquer with effort and imagination. In 50 years we’ve learned more about the vastness of our universe and the depths of our inner dimensions. To commemorate the first moon walk, here’s an invitation for you to walk the unexplored landscapes of your heart.

Come Walk
I know a man who lives in a rainbow.
I’ve heard the poet who lives on the moon.
I’ve heard the secret that sings all around you.
I know a man who can teach you the tune.

Hear the music among the lilies
And whispers in the blades of grass.
Hear the thunder beneath the ocean.
Feel the love that will always last.

Come walk the sacred sunshine.
Come walk the Milky Way.
Walk gently through the heavens.
Walk gently through each day.

Put your head upon my shoulder
And your hand upon my chest.
Put your hope above your sorrow.
Give yourself a time to rest.

I know a man who sings from the mountains,
And another who sings from the seas.
I’ve heard the man who sings from his glory,
And the man who sings on his knees.

Come walk between the layers of clouds.
Come walk the spirals of stars.
Walk gently through joy and sorrow.
Walk gently, walk holy, walk far.

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

Postscript: This meditation first appeared on this site on August 8, 2010. Thank you to Ira Scott Levin, Julia Bordenaro Levin and Tracy Friend. Their music helped me find this voice. Thanks also to Ros Roucher, her comments on earlier drafts. Here are more prayer/poems from the spiritual traveler: “All is Well,” “River,” “Bird is Bird” and “About the Rainbow.” 

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: Wikipedia

I Sing

Posted on: January 7th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A prayer about song in honor of the amazing musicians filling the world with new Jewish music. The format — 6x6x3, six lines of six words in three stanzas — is inspired by the Facebook group I created where people share their Six Word Prayers. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

I Sing
I sing because G-d made music,
To lift our hearts and souls
From the hollow depths of darkness
To the highest heights of heaven,
From the cold shadows of desire
To the gates of radiant hope.

I sing because G-d made music,
To mark the moments of wonder,
To sanctify the moments of sorrow,
To soothe, to comfort, to gladden,
To cradle us with infinite harmony,
To rock us with eternal love.

I sing because G-d made music,
To give our souls a trumpet,
To give our wisdom a tambourine,
To give our prayers a voice,
To make our lives a song,
With the instruments of G-d’s blessings.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Postscript: Other prayers about song include: “We are Music,” “To Hear Me Sing,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.”

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: ClipArtLook

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

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

Sephardi Quarter Note

Posted on: November 2nd, 2014 by Alden No Comments

sephardic-womenThis prayer/poem is about the beauty of Sephardic song. The inspiration came during a class taught by Galeet Darsahsti at OSRUI‘s Shabbat Shira, an annual weekend of creativity, focused on Jewish music. Music is a common theme for me, such as: “For the Gift of Music,” “Sing Hallelujah” and one of my favorites “We are Music.” This appears in my new book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Sephardi Quarter Note
If you listen
To the space between
The notes and the half notes,
The space between heartbeats,
You’ll hear quarter notes of love and yearning,
Ancient music of hope and sorrow,
Infinite in variation,
The echo of generations.
Notes that bend toward G-d.
Notes that linger with longing.
Notes that plead for redemption.
The voice of sorrow
And the voice of laughter.
Notes of surrender.
Notes that refuse to surrender.
Notes that cry out to Zion and Israel.

If you listen
To the space between
The notes and the half notes,
The rises and the falls,
The trills and trumpets,
You will hear a rhythm and a pulse
Calling out:
Adon Olam,
Yedid Nefesh,
Shachar Avakeshcha,
Yodukha Rayonai.
Master of the Universe,
Beloved of my Heart,
At Dawn I Seek You,
My Thoughts will Praise You.”

In the space between the notes,
Dreams of G-d
Touch the core of being
To become music.

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

Postscript: Thanks to Galeet for including this prayer/poem in a recent email to her fans, as well as her suggested changes to this piece. More prayers incorporating the theme of music include: “We are Music,” “Life as a Symphony” and “For the Gift of Song.”

Please check out my Meet the Author video 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: BuzzNet/Jewish Art House

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

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