1. DAYEINU!

Had God fed us with manna and not given us the Sabbath, Dayeinu!

Had God given us the Sabbath and not brought us to Mount Sinai, Dayeinu!

Had God brought us to Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah, Dayeinu!

Had God given us the Torah and not led us into the land of Israel, Dayeinu!

--A Passover Haggaddah, ed. Herbert Bronstein

In the Passover Seder, Jews commemorate the miracle of the exodus from Egypt. Recalling each element of what God did for the Israelites, a celebrant cries out, "Dayeinu!" (pronounced die-ay-noo) which literally means "enough," or "it would have been enough." It would have been enough, by itself, to receive manna in the desert; or the grace of the Sabbath; or the sacred books of the Torah--the list goes on and on. Any of these blessings, on its own, would have been fulfilling, and yet Spirit heaped them one atop another in a marvelous profligacy of riches.

As you go through the day, proclaim to yourself time and again in thought (or aloud if no one's around to think you crazy), "Dayeinu!" At a joyful event--a nice breakfast, perhaps--use this to awaken to the fullness of the moment. "A heap of pancakes, maple syrup, my family's gathered and actually getting along--this is enough." At more difficult times, use "Dayeinu!" as a challenge to see them afresh. Perhaps you're cleaning up the mess after that breakfast when you remember to repeat to yourself "Dayeinu!" Dayeinu? Yes, this too is enough: the calming of chaos back into order while wiping the counters clean. In this way, use "Dayeinu!" as a repetitive mantra to call yourself back to wholeness.

Then, too, before retiring at night, take a few minutes to recollect the day and celebrate the many blessings you received. For example, you might say (in mental, spoken, or written form): "Had I only spent that hour reading my daughter fairy-tales, Dayeinu! Had I only gone for that walk with the sun and wind in my face, Dayeinu!" Recite the litany of sacred blessings the day has laid at your doorstep.

See how many "dayeinus" you can uncover. Perhaps it's easy to find two or three. But what if each day, you search out at least five or ten (or some such goal)? A slew of small treasures may come to light that would be overlooked in a cursory scan.

Then, too, you might focus on particular areas of your life. Perhaps you enjoy staying home with the kids, but find your nine-to-five world frustrating. Can you locate "dayeinus" even at work? Or maybe your issue is the opposite--hanging onto "dayeinus" when stuck in the house on a rainy day with a two-year-old. For even small successes, give yourself a pat on the back and a "Dayeinu!" to the grace-filled universe.

 

HELPFUL HINTS

* Fake it till you make it. You may feel you're not having much of a Dayeinu-day. The dog peed on the living room carpet, an unexpected bill arrived in the mail, and everything went wrong at work. So what? Fake it till you make it. That is, instead of abandoning the game, redouble your efforts to find "dayeinus" even if it feels artificial. This discipline of mind, with time, can infiltrate your heart. You slowly begin to experience what at first seemed but pretense.

* Use ritual. The evening Dayeinu-recitation can become even more powerful if, like the Passover Seder, you surround it with sacred ceremony. You might choose a special place and time--light candles, use a meditation cushion--whatever works for you. Or you can keep it simple. Dayeinus while brushing your teeth at night, or while drifting off to sleep, can themselves become healing rituals.

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