My Personal Torah...
Prelude to the dawn:
Without an alarm clock, I have a habit of waking up early... between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. I do this because I love the peace and silence of those wee hours. I move about stealthfully... consciously... fixing tea without a sound. I don't want any noises to disturb the gift of peace that is mine to savor! I take my tea and sit outside in the stillness, opening to the Oneness I find there. I am home in the Oneness. For me, this is the time when the very essence of creative potential is most palpable.
Breathing meditatively, I feel the wings of Shechinah envelop me and rock me gently with soft breezes. I experience a spiritual and mental clarity in this time of Oneness, a perspective unrivaled. After a long while, as the exquisite morning stars graciously roll away in submission to the ensuing glow of dawn, I read spiritual literature or I write my heart. Always, as weather permits, I am outside.
Below is a morning page from August 2008. Amidst an extremely trying time for our family, feeling so weary and knowing it would be too easy to bemoan my fate... I chose instead to give thanks...
23 August 2008
I thank You, G-d for jasmine tea steaming against cool, dark mountain air.
I thank You for leaves silhouetted against the early dawn. For the animated chirping of birds as night yields to day.
I thank You for this life and for the man who shares it with me thoughthe laughter and tears. We are strong individuals yet strongertogether.
I thank You for three beautiful sons to love and cherish, nourish andteach. They have provided me with my chiefest joys and deepestdespair. I would never trade a minute of my motherhood.
I thank You for our parents whom I find so easy to cherish and honor and dote upon. I am grateful for the lessons they have taught and the examples they set even now in their wisdom years.
I thank You for our family. We hold fast to each other to keep any oneof us from blowing away in life's storms. And so, we are deeply rooted.
I thank You for all those souls you've brought into my life. Both thosein whom I've delighted and those whom I would, at first despise. I amgrateful for them all. For the lessons I've learned from knowing eachof them has helped me to know myself and You, better.
Thank You for providing me with tough and painful lessons which make meweep and agonize, explore and grapple, mourn and emerge.
Thank You for adversity. It is sacred as the wind and sun and water inall their forms as it carries with it the ability to be either lifegiving or taking. I believe that no living thing grows strong and wisewithout it.
Thank You for the ability to recognize opportunities to reach out and tolive my life in the service of others, rather than serving myselfalone. I know that if I serve myself alone, I am truly alone. I amenriched through my giving. It gives my life value. For all ofmankind's differences...we are, in the end, All One.
Thank You for the opportunities you provide to me to grow my soul, dayby day. May I bring You joy by making choices which reflect Your light.
Thank You for all the blessings in my life...both light and shadow, goodand bad... In the end I suppose they are all good... if we learn and growand emerge into the light just a little more every day. Blessed areYou, my G-d. Blessed are You.
Carol Gunnerson is the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Or Rishon in Orangevale, CA.