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In Rendezvous with G-d, twentysomething blogger and journalist Monica Rozenfeld explores what it means as a young Jewish woman in New York City to have a relationship with G-d.

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January 11th, 2011

Remembering how to pray

 
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monica-eatprayloveSo, recently, I’ve been trying out this new thing called bubble baths which I hear are great for relaxation. I make a warm bath, get in, and read a good book for about a half hour or so. For the past week, during these baths, I’ve been rereading Eat, Pray, Love (which I had forgotten how G-d heavy the book is). And here it was, after all this time of not praying, author Elizabeth Gilbert reminding me how to begin.

If you’ve never read her book, you must. It’s all about leaving behind the things that do not fulfill us (in her case, her marriage) to discover the things in life that do. And at her lowest points, when she did not know what to do, Elizabeth would cry on her bathroom floor to G-d and He would say to her, “Go back to bed, Liz.” G-d has a plan.

So in this sort of holy soul-searching story, Elizabeth Gilbert seeks to find balance between worldly pleasures and godly presence. She begins to pray in an unusual way. Instead of crying on bathroom floors again, she writes a letter to herself, in a stream of consciousness, to see what writes back.

She writes to herself:

“I need your help.”

And in response she writes, “I’m right here. What can I do for you?”

The letter continues into this self-revelation about her loneliness, and depression, and how despite all that, she is loved unconditionally. It’s just the start to her becoming comfortable communicating with G-d.

I thought, how cool?! So after I got out of my bath, I tried it for myself. I too completely forgot how to communicate with G-d. The letter started out on loose-leaf paper like this…

“Dear G-d. What do I want?”

To my surprise, I wrote back. I wrote, “I want to be happy.”

“And what does Happy mean?”

“I want to live life.”

“And what does living life mean?”

“Well G-d, you see, I just turned 25 — and it’s as if everything and nothing makes sense at the same time. I have someone who loves me, a wonderful family, great friends, an acceptance into a dream graduate program, two friends ready to move out with me to my favorite part of the City, And I’m finally making money doing what I love. So, what’s wrong? Why don’t I feel happy?”

“Well,” my handwriting responds, “so many good things are happening for you. What are you doing in return?”

Pause.

“Well G-d, not much. I’ve stopped giving to charity, have not volunteered in a while, and have not said thanks in quite some time. Is this why I’m unhappy?”

I think so.

Wow. Talk about saving a ridiculous amount of money on therapy.

Although I still have not resuscitated myself back to prayer, I feel like I have this new, powerful way to tap into my truest self. I am now curious to see what my next handwritten prayer will uncover.

Thanks Elizabeth Gilbert and G-d for helping me out with my prayer.

Just wondering, have any of you tried praying in this way? If you have, or plan to, please let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear if you had any awesome ah-hah moments of your own.

 
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The Author : Monica Rozenfeld

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  • Monica

    Wow, Kay. That is a really great perspective. And I hear that. I too would be super high on life in Bali. But there is something to be said about moving on from the things that hold us back. In the end of the day, our purpose to G-d is to reach our potentials and serve him in the best way we can. Not unhappy, and not under a marriage that doesn’t lead us to somewhere great. Am I wrong?

  • Kay

    ugh – I couldn’t stand this book. I thought Elizabeth Gilbert’s story was completely self-centered and all about pursuing happiness with herself at the center. “It‚Äôs all about leaving behind the things that do not fulfill us (in her case, her marriage) to discover the things in life that do.” – Huh???, Really??? I see this book as the exact opposite. Gilbert is extremely confused about what in life is brings fulfillment. There is nothing fulfilling about me,me,me,me,me,me.’ She went around the world traveling to find happiness, please, how realistic is this for most of us??? Who wouldn’t feel happy travleing the world. Real fulfillment are the relationships that we can’t run from but must sacrifice in order to become better people.

  • James

    I can definitely relate with the idea of pushing and pushing and pushing to meet your goals, and then finding yourself unhappy despite all of your dreams coming true. Why? Because there’s always more goals to attain, which makes it seem as if there is never enough time to stop, say thank you, and give a little of yourself that is not for your own gain.

  • Tom Gibbons

    I have had A LOT of great conversations with God this way, especially recently… it has often surprised me the answers I have received from my written questions. Thanks for this post!

  • Simona

    I used to pray in the shower. I know it’s such an awkward place, but it was the only time that I felt like I could be truly alone and honest with my emotions. It made me feel better afterwards, like I was washing away the pain.

    I’ll have to try this letter concept.

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