Creating My Own Jewish Guided Imagery
Gore For several days before I began chemotherapy for transitional cell carcinoma, I created and rehearsed a guided image of a boat that allowed me to relax and give myself permission to enjoy the journey toward renewed health one chemo drip at a time. During my first chemo session, as my husband held my hand, I began to breathe deeply and follow my guided imagery. As I did, I felt HaShem's profound presence. There was no doubt in my mind that the infusion process was being guided by a Higher Power. Because the guided imagery I used for my first round of chemotherapy served me well, I decided to create something completely different, a mantra, to contemplate for the second round of infusions. Since the Hebrew word shalom denotes peace and inner tranquility, I repeated the following every day as a way of connecting to my spiritual self. It became the mantra I repeated throughout my second round of chemo.
S is for serenity H is for harmony A is for affection L is for luminous O is for Oneness M is for mystical
May the mystery of the One lead to my inner luminosity, compel me to show affection for those I love and produce harmony around me with serenity in my soul. Amen
The meditation on shalom worked very well for the second round of chemotherapy. I decided to create another mantra for the third round. I had been praying daily to the Source of Creation and had become humbled by it. The Hebrew word sh'ma means "hear" or "listen" to the still voice within one's self.
SH'MA (sometimes spelled "Shema")
S is for silence H is for humanity E is for envision M is for meditation A is for affirmation In the silent recesses of my mind, I envision a meditation that affirms my humanity. Amen
My fourth and final round of chemo was to be given the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is customary during the month of Elul to practice T'Shuva, the psychological process of turning inward, letting go of one's past and being open to one's future.This was the basis for my meditation.
T is for turn S is for self H is for hidden U is for ultimate V is for view A is for allowTurn inward toward your hidden self. Allow yourself to view your ultimate existence. -Amen
This meditation during my last chemo infused me with the confidence that I would have a peaceful transition from the arduousness of chemotherapy to the joy of living.
Carole Ann Wainer Gore is a member of Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster, PA.
This post originally appeared on URJ.org in 2010