Many years ago I “channelled” a musical setting for the words Ahavat Olam (“everlasting love”) from the evening liturgy. Not considering myself a terribly musical person, I was sure I had lifted (stolen? expropriated?) the melody from somewhere else. I consulted with two of my closest cantor friends, Cantor Martin Levson and Cantor Abbe Lyons. Both of them deemed my melody “original” and therefore kosher. Additionally, each has been using it in their congregational settings, which tickles me to no end. Abbe set an English translation to it, along with the Hebrew, using Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s translation “We are loved by an unending love.” You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/abbe-lyons/ahavat-olam-unending-love-rabbi-pam-wax. Thanks, Abbe! (My talented friend also has other tracks up on Sound Cloud that you can listen to while you are there.)
Today is the first day of the week of Compassion/Tiferet in the Omer count. This first day is dedicated to lovingkindness/chesed. I will commemorate it by sowing my garden, preparing it for spring planting, and by planting some potted hyacinths which were given to me as a Passover gift. It is my way of saying thank you to God for finally giving us in the northeast a spring! Hodu l’Adonai ki tov – ki l’olam chasdo — Give thanks to the Eternal for God is good; God’s lovingkindness is everlasting/unending!
My blood pressure continues to be scarily elevated, both morning and evening. Thanks to Helen, Carol and Judith for helping me develop a meditation/prayer/chant practice to accompany my daily BP checks. If there is a good thing to come out of this scare, it will be the imperative for daily meditation, a regular practice I’ve long wanted and dabbled in but never fully committed to. This, too, will be lovingkindness and compassion for self.
Even Chaim, one of the most averse-to-meditation kind-of-guys I know, is supporting my meditation practice — reminding me how the great yogis can control their blood pressure and leading me to the early work of Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard on meditation and blood pressure. (BTW, Chaim has been on blood pressure meds for as long as I’ve known him and never once decided to try the meditation route himself.)
Another appropriate thought for the day: My friend Shari has collected heart-shaped rocks for some time. I have since joined in the search. Sometimes I search for them for her, sometimes for myself. I have quite a collection spread out all over my desk at work, but nothing like hers. On Friday, she sent me this photo — a rock she found while walking her (very cute!) dog. A perfect photo for this day of lovingkindness within compassion.
May it be a day of unending love for you!
Meditation leads to wisdom and enlighten your life. Shalom
How wonderful that Cantor Abbe Lyons has recorded your melody! She is a dear friend of mine as well and I am delighted to know that we know her in common. I’m looking forward to listening.
After my strokes when I began taking two different hypertension meds every morning, I began saying the asher yatzar blessing when I swallow the meds. It is still my practice, and it has brought me some comfort. I share it in case it brings comfort to you too. You are in my prayers.
I’ve so enjoyed your posts. Thank you. As a long-time practitioner of qi gong, I wanted to share this with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPnNZLFhzoI
Thanks for picking up your blog for this omer period. I enjoy reading your posts and reflections.
Good luck with your meditation practice. I’m working on that as well. Sitting still does not come naturally to me.
I also look for heart shaped rocks because my cousin collects them. You have reminded me that I have a special little one that I can bring to her when I see her in Israel next month.