Posts Tagged ‘wholeness’

 

Who, Still Broken

Posted on: October 9th, 2016 by Alden

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

Metzora: Take Me Apart

Posted on: April 14th, 2016 by Alden

Parashat Metzora details a particular form of leprosy that afflicts the mortar of a home (Leviticus 14:33-53). The home itself gets a spiritual sickness. The mortar is removed and the stones scraped, with some discarded. This meditation imagines a human being as “the house,” that we can be afflicted with an internal spiritual sickness that can only be cured with an inner dismantling. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Take Me Apart
Take me apart,
Bone by bone,
Sinew by sinew,
Organ by organ,
To reveal the lesions and strange bumps,
The fungus and the broken glass,
That blacken my veins,
That grind my joints,
That cloud my eyes.

I will take a knife and a wire brush
To scrape out the poison,
I will take rags and bleach
To wipe out the sludge,
Until my heart glows
And my soul shines
With the fruit of my own labor.

Only then,
Holy One,
When my flesh shimmers
And my spirit soars,
Reassemble me into
The man/woman/human
You intended
For me to become,
Clean and ready,
Holy and strong,
A sacred mirror,
Reflecting Your vastness
And Your glory.

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

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. 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: SelfTalkSoulTalk

Tazria-Metzora: Take Me Apart

Posted on: April 11th, 2015 by Alden

The combined portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with impurity, with reference to a form of leprosy that afflicts the mortar of a home (Leviticus 14:33-53). The home itself gets a spiritual sickness. In extreme cases the mortar is removed, the stones scraped and some discarded. This meditation imagines a human being as “the house,” that we can be afflicted with an internal spiritual sickness that can only be cured with an inner dismantling and, even then, only with the help of G-d. Word choices are designated with a slash (“/”).

Take Me Apart
Take me apart,
Bone by bone,
Sinew by sinew,
Organ by organ,
To reveal the lesions and strange bumps,
The fungus and the broken glass,
That blacken my veins,
That grind my joints,
That cloud my eyes.

I will take a knife and a wire brush
To scrape out the poison,
I will take rags and bleach
To wipe out the sludge,
Until my heart glows
And my soul shines
With the fruit of my own labor.

Only then,
Holy One,
When my flesh shimmers
And my spirit soars,
Reassemble me into
The man/woman/human
You intended
For me to become,
Clean and ready,
Holy and strong,
A sacred mirror,
Reflecting Your vastness
And Your glory.

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

Postscript: The house-leprosy is a powerful and useful metaphor for family dysfunction.

Please check out my ELItalk “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: SelfTalkSoulTalk

Let Us Meet

Posted on: March 7th, 2013 by tobendlight

healing-infused-sunlit-waterThis is a prayer of invitation. “Let us meet,” Ancient One, in the place where “Your radiance shimmers across creation.” Where is that? Everywhere. I use this prayer for day 34 of counting the Omer, yesod b’hod.

Let Us Meet
How can You hear me,
G-d of Old,
How can You hear my voice,
In the chorus of
Song and praise
Reaching toward heaven?

How can I hear You,
G-d of Old,
How can I hear Your Voice,
In the chorus of
Traffic and regret
Weighing on my heart?

Let us meet in the hills at daybreak.
Let us meet in my eyes at sunset.
Let us meet in my labor at noontide.
Let us meet in this yearning at twilight.

My life is a prayer.
Your whispers, a blessing.

Let us meet in sacred moments of holiness and love.
Let us meet in gentle moments of awe and wonder.
Your radiance shimmers across creation.
My words approach You, a song of delight.

Holy One,
Let us meet
In a heartbeat,
In a breath,
In a vision
Of Your holy mountain,
Where Your Word,
Where Your Righteousness,
Where Your Justice and Your Mercy
Blesses and sustains
Us all.

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

Postscript: See also a related meditation called “Invitations.” My other prayers about prayer include: “Prayers of My Heart,” “Whispered Prayer,” “Prayer for You, Prayer for Me.” “For Prayer,” “Prayer Released” and “To Pray.”

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: Roseedge.com

The Open Space

Posted on: March 3rd, 2013 by tobendlight

pillar_03 wwuThis is a meditation about opening the spiritual space for wholeness to enter. It is, of course, in the voice of the spiritual traveler, the one who hints at wisdom and loves the journey for its own sake. This prayer/poem will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler.

The Open Space

Wholeness is the open space,

The place between,

Where the rhythm of being

Enters, flows through,

In my vision and my courage.

Forgiveness is the open space,

Where yesterday meets tomorrow,

Where the tide waits to shift,

Where holiness blesses the mundane,

In my breath and my celebration.

Wisdom is the open space

Where the echo hears the wind,

Where the silence becomes G-d’s Voice,

Where all that I am meets all that I can be,

In my marrow and in my surrender.

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

 

Postscript: Here’s a link to one of my favorite prayer/poems in the voice of the spiritual traveler, “Come Walk.” Here’s a link to more related meditations.

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 Credit: WWU Planetarium

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