By Rev. Edie Weinstein http://liveinjoy.org
“Sometimes, when it is all, finally, too much, I climb into my car, roll the windows up, and somewhere between backing out the driveway and rounding the next corner, I let out a yell that would topple Manhattan. How do you pray?”
by Margaret L. Mitchell, as quoted in The Feminine Face of God, p. 124.
My friend Cindy Greb posted this on her Facebook page and I knew I had to respond since it spoke so vividly to the ways I blow off steam AND pray. My response to her was:” Sometimes a good aaaarrrggghhhh is as potent and healing as a good o0o0o00o0o0mmmmm (: I pray every which way imaginable, depending on what state of mind I am in the moment.”
When I was in seminary in 1999, studying to be an interfaith minister, (The New Seminary in New York City), I wrote a paper called Prayer is Portable. There I expressed my take on the subject that we need not be in an edifice such as a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or ashram in order to engage in communication with the Divine. Many of us were taught that prayer must be in a certain form, a particular language and uttered at certain times. I was raised in Judaism (Conservative…spiritually, not politically, which is considered a middle ground between Orthodox and Reform) and went to Hebrew school until age 16. Each night throughout my childhood, my parents would tuck us in with the recitation of the Shema, which is what I call ‘the signature prayer’ of the Jewish religion. “Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad” which translates to “Hear, O Israel, The Lord Our God, The Lord is One”. I heard my favorite interpretation from Rabbi Rami Shapiro: “That which we call God is Oneness itself.” What if we recognized the Oneness in all events and every being? To this day, I say the prayer before drifting off into dreamland. Each morning before rolling out of bed, I allow the words to The Modeh Ani to flow through me.
“Modeh ani lifanekha melekh ḥai v’kayam sheheḥezarta bi nishmahti b’ḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.“
This translates to “I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.”
I then engage in another ritual which is to set intention for the day: “to have extraordinary experiences and connect with amazing people.” As the next 24 hours unfold, those events occur and those folks show up. Why should it surprise me? Throughout the day, my prayers are about wrapped in gratitude for what unfolds and what I desire to call in. As a wordsmith, I am careful to use language that speaks to what I do want, rather than what I don’t want…since our minds are tricky little critters that can lead us down all manner of meandering paths that we would prefer to avoid. I have found myself laughing with amazement and amusement at how far I have come in the past twenty or so years, from the somewhat timid little creature who dared not believe that she could truly live the life of her dreams. I attribute that to the process I described above. When the need to emote otherwise, arises, I allow myself to engage in toning, chanting, drumming, dancing, jumping up and down energy release.
As I enter this new morning, I express appreciation for the blessings that are constantly unfolding and let out an ahhhhh…rather than an arrggghhhh at this moment.
Rev. Edie Weinstein, LSW is a colorfully creative journalist, dynamic transformational speaker, licensed social worker, interfaith minister, PR Goddess, radio host and the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary. She is also an Opti-Mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility.