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1: www.JewishMilestones.org Hineini: Here I Am, Copyright ©2010 by Jewish Milestones. All rights reserved. This material may not be duplicated for any profit-driven enterprise. For permission, contact Jewish Milestones: admin@ JewishMilestones.org.
2: THIS BOOK IS A GIFT This book is a gift to you. A collection of words and images, texts and textures, gathered together to keep you company during medical treatments. A gift to engage and ground you. A support to be used in whatever way you find it useful at any particular moment. This book is a gift from many people, some you may know, others you do not. The first is Sarah Fenner, the one who conceived of this project and created the original version of this book as an attempt to transform her own experience of chemotherapy. You can read the backstory of this book at: www.JewishMilestones.org. You can also find, on the next page, the names of many people who had a hand in its creation. Special thanks to: Lee Bearson, Diane Bernbaum, Rachel Brodie, Jennifer Childs, Rhoda and Chris Friedrichs, Alison Jordan and Barbara Selvidge.
3: With love from:
6: OPENING: A Ritual Before beginning, fill the handwashing cup with tap water. To be mindful of this sacred act requires a transition from ordinary life into a state of holiness. The practice is not complicated. Ritual washing involves filling a cup with water, then pouring the cup first over the right hand, then the left, then right and left again, then again a third time. As you wash, pay attention to the feeling of the water, both the physical sensations and any emotions or thoughts that arise. Use the moments of silence to notice the physical cleanliness, or cultivate a sense of readiness for what comes next. As you cover your hands with mayyim-water--the source of life, you may offer the words of Hassidic Master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (on the next page) out loud, in a whisper, in your heart or with your eyes:
7: “And before You I will pour out my words Until I can pour out my heart like water before God, And lift my hands to You” You may also want to pause in the moment after washing. The Hasidic Rabbi (Meir ben Rabbi Yehuda Leib) suggests: “After pouring the water over your hands, raise them to the level of your face... palms inward. Then, slightly cupping your fingers, and with your hands touching, reach out like someone who wants to receive something – this symbolizes reception.”
9: FOCUS: A Kavanah (setting an intention) Hineini, Here I am Fully present, Ready to receive, In body Heart Mind Spirit. Hineini. Here I am
10: FOCUS: A Visualization We carry sacred space within us and around us always. While in treatment, a hospital room, a doctor’s waiting room, we can find calm and focus through our thoughts and prayers. In the following guided meditation, we use the images of angels from the bedtime prayers to feel surrounded by loving forces, protection and support. Imagine yourself in a beautiful, holy space. You are completely relaxed and safe. Where are you? Look around; what do you see? What sounds do you hear? What scents envelop you? What do you feel?
11: Four angels come to you, surround you: On your right is Michael, who performs God’s unique miracles. On your left is Gavriel, the emissary of God’s almighty power. In front of you is Uriel, the bearer of God’s light. Behind you, Rafael, who brings you God’s healing. Overhead is Shekhina, the protecting feminine Presence. One angel steps forward with a message for you. Which angel is it? Listen for the message. Thank the angel for this message and tuck it into your heart. Return to it whenever you need to feel strength, protection, or support.
12: FOCUS: A Prayer May it be delightful, my house, From my head, may it be delightful. To my feet, may it be delightful, Where I lie, may it be delightful, All above me, may it be delightful. All around me, may it be delightful.
15: RELEASE: A Reflection Tentatively I tip my toe into the river of un-knowing innocently I feel for the rhythms of a transformation’s undertowing wantonly I open and I open Like a seed that’s ripe for sowing Somehow I taste the freedom and relief that I don’t know who I am and I don’t know where I’m going
16: RELEASE: A Reflection For God has hidden my way and put hedges across my path. I sit and gnaw on my grief; my groans pour out like water. My worst fears have happened; my nightmares have come to life. Silence and peace have abandoned me, and anguish camps in my heart.
18: RELEASE: A Breathing Meditation Take a slow, deep breath in. Feel a warmth entering your being. Now breathe out slowly. Imagine that you are releasing all the cares of the week. All the tension. All the worries. All the sadness. Spend the next few minutes taking long, full breaths. Each time you inhale, imagine that you are filling up your every limb with lightness, like a helium balloon, so that with each breath you are gradually floating higher and higher. Each time you exhale, imagine that you are releasing the heavy weight that burdens your soul. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly.
19: Breathe in peace, breathe out anxiety. Breathe in light, breathe out darkness. Breathe in joy, breathe out pain. Breathe in health, breathe out sickness. Breathe in trust, breathe out fear. Breathe in rest, breathe out panic. Breathe in the life breath that comes from God, breathe out all that we take for granted.
20: RELEASE: A Prayer Eternal wellspring of peace – may we be drenched with the longing for peace that we may give ourselves over as the earth to the rain, to the dew, until peace overflows our lives as living waters overflow the seas.
21: Nish’al mey’eyn hashalom: Yizal katal, Ya’arof kamatar hashalom, v’timla ha’aretz shalom kamayim layam m’khasim.
24: STRENGTH: A Prayer When pain and fatigue are my companions, Let there be room in my heart for strength. When days and nights are filled with darkness, Let the light of courage find its place. Help me to endure the suffering and dissolve fear. Renew within me the calm spirit of trust and peace.
25: STRENGTH: A Reflection Do not despair because of suffering, For life is suffering. Suffering and also joy. When life brings you suffering, hurt. When life brings you joy, laugh. Cling to nothing For all is fleeting.
26: STRENGTH: A Prayer Don’t let me fall As a stone falls upon the hard ground. And don’t let my hands become dry As the twigs of a tree When the wind beats down the last leaves. And when the storm raises dust from the earth With anger and howling, Don’t let me become the last fly Trembling terrified on a windowpane. Don’t let me fall. I have asked for so much, But as a blade of your grass in a distant wild field Lets drop a seed in the lap of the earth And dies away. Sow in me your living breath, As you sow a seed in the earth.
27: STRENGTH: A Meditation The matter of suffering is clear to me: it arises from ignorance of impermanence. Everything functions in time; everything flows, changes, transforms. In your heart you sense eternity, but our mind mistakes it for time without end. Eternity is not endless time; eternity is the ending of time. Under the sun it is all flux and flow, diverse and separate. But under the sun is not the whole, and there is a deeper truth embracing the many in a greater One.
29: HOPE: A Kavanah (setting an intention) The breath of my life will bless, the cells of my being sing in gratitude, reawakening. | Nishmat chayay t’vareykh v’kerev libi yashir: Kol od n’shamah b’kirbi modah (female)/modeh (male) ani.
30: HOPE: A Prayer Dear God, Be with my family and friends. Bring peace to their troubled spirits. Enable them to know that their love gives me strength. Help me to express my gratitude and appreciation to them for all they have done and are continuing to do. Let them feel free to bring me their own joys and sorrows that I may continue to participate in their lives even as they share mine.
31: HOPE: A Kavanah (setting an intention) Teach us to treasure each day. That we may open our hearts to your wisdom. Teach us to treasure each day. | Limnot yameinu kein hoda v’navi l’vav chokhma.
33: RETURN: A Ritual Before beginning, fill the handwashing cup with tap water. Hineini – Here I am. Using the ancient ritual of handwashing, I pull myself into the present moment, bringing myself into contact with the Source of Life. Hold the handwashing cup in one hand and pour water first over the right hand, then the left. As you cover your hands with mayyim, [water] the source of life, you may offer the blessing below either out loud, in a whisper, in you heart or with your eyes. | Tizkor nafshi et k’dushat haguf bintilat yadayim. Washing the hands, I call to mind the holiness of body.
34: Acknowledgments Opening “To be mindful of this sacred act” Excerpted from: God in Your Body – Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice, © 2007 by Jay Michaelson. Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, www.jewishlights.com, pages 142-143, 165. Focus “Hineini, Here I am fully present” From Jewish Meditation: How to Begin Your Practice (pamphlet © 2002) by Nan Fink Gefen. Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, www. jewishlights.com. “We carry sacred space within us” “Angel Meditation,” © 2009 by Matia Rania Angelou. Reprinted with permission of the author. “May it be delightful my house” Navajo Chant reprinted in: Women Pray: Voices through the Ages, from Many Faiths, Cultures and Traditions, © 2001 edited by Monica Furlong. Permission granted by SkyLight Paths Publishing, www.skylightpaths.com, page 37.
35: Release “Tentatively I tip my toe into the river...” River of Unknowing © 2003 by Linda Miller. Reprinted with permission of the author. “For God has hidden my way” After Job 3:23-26, translated by Stephen Mitchell, The Book of Job, © 1987. Pending Permission by North Point Press, p.14. “Take a slow, deep breath in” A Breathing Meditation. Adapted from To Begin Again, © 1998 by Naomi Levy, pending Permission by Ballantine Books, pages 212-213. “Eternal wellspring of peace” “Blessing of Peace” by Marcia Falk, excerpted from The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival, (Harper, 1996). Copyright © 1996 by Marcia Lee Falk, pages 250-251.
36: Strength “When pain and fatigue are my companions” “Prayer Following Immersion.” Blessings for the Journey. © 2009. Used with permission from Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center Inc., www.mayyimhayyim.org, page 46. “Do not despair because of suffering” Translation of Mishnah Avot 1:7 quoted in The Mitzvah of Healing © 2003, edited by Rabbi Hara Person, UAHC Press, page 116. Reprinted with permission of the author. “Don’t let me fall” Kathryn Hellerstein, translator, “Prayers: I” by Kadya Molodowsky, excerpted from Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, © 1995, edited by Jane Hirshfield, HarperPerennial, p.238. Reprinted with permission of the translator. “The matter of suffering is clear to me” Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:10-11 as interpreted in The Way of Solomon: Finding Joy and Contentment in the Wisdom of Ecclesiastes, © 2000 by Rami Shapiro. HarperCollins. Reprinted with permission of the author.
37: Hope “The breath of my life will bless” “Morning Blessing” by Marcia Falk, excerpted from The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival, (Harper, 1996). Copyright © 1996 by Marcia Lee Falk, pages 154-155. “Dear God, be with my family and friends” "Dear God" by Hirshel Jaffe, from Gates of Healing: A Message of Comfort and Hope, ©1988, 1991; under the copyright protection of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and reprinted by permission of the CCAR. All rights reserved. “Teach us to treasure each day” Psalm 90:12, translated by Rabbi Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin. Reprinted with permission of the translator. Return “Hineini – Here I am. Using the ancient ritual...” Adapted from a ceremony created by Matia Rania Angelou, Deborah Issokson, and Judith D. Kummer for Mayyim Hayyim. Used with permission from Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Education Center Inc., www.mayyimhayyim.org. The blessing “Handwashing upon Awakening” by Marcia Falk, excerpted from The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival, (Harper, 1996). Copyright © 1996 by Marcia Lee Falk, pages 12-13.
38: Additional Resources * Books available for loan from the Jewish Milestones Ritual Resource Library Books Aiken, Lisa, Why Me God?: A Jewish Guide to Coping with Suffering. Jason Aronson, 1996. Dosick, Wayne, When Life Hurts: A Book of Hope. Harper Collins, 1998. Frankel, Estelle, Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness. Shambhala, 2003. Frankiel, Tamar and Judy Greenfield, Entering the Temple of Dreams: Jewish Prayers, Movement, and Meditation. Jewish Lights Publishing, 1999. Halpern, Susan P., The Etiquette of Illness: What To Say When You Can’t Find the Words. Bloomsbury, 2004. Lévy, Isaac Jack & Lévy Zumwalt, Ritual Medical Lore of Sephardic Women: Sweetening the Spirits, Healing the Sick. University of Illinois Press, 2002. Levy, Naomi, To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times. Ballantine Books, 1998. National Center for Jewish Healing, Jewish Spiritual Companion for Medical Treatments, 2007. Olitzky, Kerry, Jewish Paths Towards Healing and Wholeness: A Personal Guide To Dealing With Suffering. Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000. Person, Hara (ed.), The Mitzvah of Healing: An Anthology of Jewish Texts, Meditations, Essays, Personal Stories, and Rituals, 2003. Websites Caringbridge.com Lotsofhelpinghands.com Myjewishlearning.com Jewishhealing.org Sharsheret.org Yedidyacenter.org Witnessingproject.org/treateded.html JewishMilestones.org