Dancing in my Mother's Slippers

Circles is a book to be shared with others. It is a book of comfort, a companion on the journey of conscious grief and healing. Its compelling prayers invite the reader to an unexpected sense of peace around matters often fraught with confusion, fear and tension.

Circles is spiral-bound, so it’s easy to hold for people whose hands are less nimble. The spiral also enables the book to lie flat, to be folded back, or to stand without support. The pages are double, with the fold at the outside edge, which makes them easier to turn. The font is clear and easy to read, and a large-print version is also available. One reader called Circles “the perfect bedside book.”

The Circles Story

My friend Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in her early fifties. She fought a hard battle. A telephone prayer circle was formed by friends and family around the globe to help support Kelly and her partner, Carolyn. Kelly asked for particular kinds of healing support. My job was to say the prayer that led into our silent meditation. I decided to write the prayer myself. The circles continued. Kelly’s condition changed quickly over the last weeks, and nearly every week, a different prayer was needed as she approached her ending time and eased herself closer to immersion in the Mystery.

The prayer circles changed all of us in the core group. We made an opening for a powerful love to pour in, a love that not only inspired and supported, and yes, helped to heal Kelly in those last weeks of her life, but also changed forever those who were intimately in touch with her process. Kelly’s love poured forth and she affected the lives of people who barely knew her, people she’d never met.

Kelly chose a conscious death, and a conscious dying. She helped us to understand that what we call “death” can be a journey, an extraordinary experience, an adventure. She carried us with her to the edge of the Mystery and held us there in awe.

Creating Circles

Circles consists of eighteen prayers and one poem, written as an expression of Oneness, with the intent to engage what is spiritual in each reader. The prayers are suitable for reading aloud.

The number eighteen is significant in Jewish tradition. In Hebrew numerology it is the equivalent of the word “chai,” which means “life.” The first of the prayers in Circles are prayers of bereavement. They are followed by prayers of illness, and then of transition. Life is not a linear process, it is cyclical, and the order of these prayers reflects that. The last piece, the poem “Dancing Lesson,” which first appeared in Dancing in My Mother’s Slippers, carries us around again to bereavement.

The first and last prayers are adapted from prayers written for Carolyn and Kelly for the prayer circles. The other prayers in Circles emerge from my own experience at the bedsides of the dying and also from my experience of my own and other people’s bereavement.

Circles was first created as a gift for my dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Marc Sirinsky, with gratitude for his mentorship and for all that I learn from him of this journey at the edge of realms.

Copyright © 2006-2010 Fayegail Mandell Bisaccia. All Rights Reserved. Design by LightWerx Media.
Sunset photo © 2006 Benjamin Fisher. Portraits by Shianna Walker, Georgia King, and Lance Bisaccia.
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