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Blanketing the World in Prayer

Blanketing the World in Prayer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a sobering time for so many people who have been affected by this scary and deadly disease. I am one of those people. I will be seventeen years cancer-free this January.

Cancer changed my life and my outlook and absolutely rocked my world. And I lived to talk about it. I thrive in my world after much healing, reflection, and action. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes in true Scorpio style, I am grateful, honored, and humbled by my experience.

The Diagnosis
I will never forget hearing those words just days before New Year’s Eve in 2006 on a late Friday afternoon. I had indeed tested positive for cancer. My life at the time was in a very low place. My lover of four years had moved out just two months ago. He needed to find himself and had his own journey ahead of him. Our split devastated me; I felt as though half of me was missing. Then, I received the diagnosis that would further change my life and the world as I knew it.

My head was spinning. Thoughts came flooding in, but nothing went out. I was full of self-doubt, scared to death, and lower than low. Would I survive this? How could I tell my mom? Would I be able to work in my beloved Rolfing practice? Would I lose my home? Would insurance cover the treatments? If I survived, would I ever be the same? Would I be maimed and disfigured?

After the initial shock, I looked to different people for advice and support. My cousin in Florida gave me some direction from her husband, who was a semi-religious man. I’m not sure of the name of the process, but it involved asking my ancestors for their help. Why not? I had nothing else planned and a long solo journey ahead of me.

Making Offerings
The next day, I drove to the cemetery in Hartford’s North End, where my dad and several of his siblings are buried. I got out of my car with my dog beside me and began to pray out loud to my family. I asked them to speak to God on my behalf because they were closer to God than I was. I told them I was not ready to leave this earth, that I still had work to do and a life ahead of me. Could they ask God to spare me? I would be so grateful. My dog, who never barked, started to howl at the top of his lungs. I was sobbing, he was howling—we were a strange and powerful sight. I thanked my ancestors and drove home with a tear-stained face and an exhausted pooch.

I had plans for the upcoming New Year’s Eve with two friends. One told me about Yemaya, the Goddess of the Oceans. Her origins were from Africa, but somehow, the Caribbean became the seat of Yemaya’s soul. My friend had studied about her, and we decided to have a ritual at the shore since it was a full moon on New Year’s Eve and that was the ideal time to make an offering.

We shopped for seven of everything as there are seven oceans on Earth. It was said that Yemaya had a special love for shiny things, such as money and jewelry. We went to the local dollar store, and each bought baskets that we later filled with countless trinkets, seven beaded necklaces, seven dimes and seven nickels, sweets, bubble bath, and seven tea candles. We set our baskets afloat at the high tide on that bright full moon evening and said our individual prayers. We asked Yemaya to accept our offerings and grant us our wishes. My basket went out the furthest before it sank into the water, and the candles sputtered out.

The proof of the acceptance of our offerings would be to visit the same beach the next day and see if any debris was washed up on the beach. No sign of baskets or their contents were found the next morning. Success!

The Power of Prayer
I had people praying for me in several prayer circles. I wore a pink shawl that had been made by women at a local church. They prayed as they knitted, I prayed as I wore it. I took prayers from everyone who wanted to give them. I had my Jewish ancestors, a Caribbean Goddess, some Buddhist friends, and Christian groups holding my health and well-being in their stead. I don’t know specifically who to thank, but all that prayer worked! I had over a year and a half of treatments, including an initial surgery, chemotherapy, radiation combined with a bunch of supplements, a couple more surgeries, and tons of prayers from countless people. I received a clean bill of health the following year and every year since.

As a result of surviving my cancer saga, I have a greater sense of who I am, how strong I am, and when to take it easy, and now I know that I need to ask for help. All those prayers from all of those people helped me. I could not have done this journey by myself.

I see life differently now. I enjoy simpler things—a great meal with friends, work I love, daily calls with my mom. Every morning while walking my dogs, I say my prayers, asking God for continued good health and safety and for the health and safety of my beautiful pet family, my mom, my extended family, my friends, my Rolfing® clients, my neighbors – everyone! I blanket the earth with goodwill and ask for blessings for all.

Try blessing your day and all those you love with a ritual prayer that feels comfortable to you. You may like it. Mother Earth, society as a whole, and our troubled times really need all the help we can give.

Sharon Sklar is in her 42nd year of private practice as a Certified Advanced Rolfer. She has been voted one of Natural Nutmeg’s 10BEST Bodyworkers for the last four years. Sharon works with direct manipulation of the soft tissue of the body and movement re-education over a ten-session series to help her clients feel freer, get more balanced, and reduce chronic pain. Great for athletes, children, and adults recovering from the stress, injuries, or traumas of life. Inquiries are encouraged! State Licensed. Call 860.561.4337 for more info or to schedule a consultation.