It's the Festival of Light, a celebration of miracles, and a time for prayer when - sages say - miracles are granted. I lit my candles, solo: for the past fourteen years, my immediate family has consisted of my husband and my dog, both of them asleep now, and in their own world - my dog dreaming of more food, my husband dreaming of more money. Tomorrow I will celebrate with Jewish community for an evening. Today, and the rest of the nights, it's me alone, my thoughts, my feelings and my prayers.
I have decided to pray for one topic each day of Hanukkah, for a total of eight prayers. I let my own interior to guide me, allowing my deepest hurts and my brightest hopes to shape the form of each blessing; and tonight, swept by a wave of sadness which points towards the disconnect, mistrust, and mismatch with my spouse, I choose to pray for The End of Suffering.
The second day has started tonight. My prayer for the first day has been 'Authenticity'. Here it is:
May I live authentically, according to my deepest truth and values, uncompromised, and undetracted from my heart's desires. May there be congruence between my thoughts, my language, and my actions, and may my motives always reflect my values, so that I am moved not by necessity, but by my plenty, my resources, my passions. My I show up transparent to the world, and may I be blessed with what it takes to do so, be it strength, courage, integrity, wisdom, love, and a touch of grace. May I associate with authentic others, learn from them, model their best, and get inspired; and may I cultivate authentic expression in my world, inspiring others to be truthful and transparent. May I be an agent of change in my culture, and in the world, and may I contribute to a vision of global authenticity where humans see each other, and connect with each other deeply, without distortion, but with the pure, unadulterated presence of their authentic selves.
May I, and all beings, live authentically.
The second prayer is 'The End of Suffering'
2: End of Suffering
May I be delivered free from all this suffering, this heartache, sadness, rigidity, and tension. May the ordeal that's frowned my forehead, hunched my shoulders and clouded my emotions for so long, finally end. May the fears, doubts, worries, anger, resentments and all the kinds of pain emerging with my contracted and separate identity, subside, and give way to peace and to true, lasting joy and happiness. May all violence expressed and experienced end, washed away by genuine loving kindness; may the distortion of mind's madness dissipate and give way to clear, naked truth; may alienation cease and be replaced with deep, meaningful, intimate connection. May my aching heart sing of joy. May my tears dry and make way to laughter. May this hunger, deprivation and frustration become a long lost memory of a far away past, so that I know deep nourishment and fulfillment of my body, mind and soul, so that all dryness becomes juicy aliveness, all greed gives way to generosity, all snappy sarcasm and complaints turn into witty playfulness which is kind to all. May all repression and suppression end so I live fully, fiercely, exuberantly, fully human, all of me, all of who I am, now, and now, and now! May I weed away all thoughts, language, actions, relationships and objects that hold me or others back, or that make me or others small, or weak, or afraid, or subjugated. May I end all suffering in myself, in my circle of care, and in the world with every breath I take, every choice I make, every man or woman I serve through my work or meet with my presence. May overcoming my own pain and suffering become a valuable resource to alleviate suffering in others, just like the great healers and teachers that inspire me do. My I share my accomplishments and merits with all.
May I, and all beings, be free from all suffering.