Monday, September 17, 2012
Last night began the time in the Jewish year called "The days of awe." While I'm not a religious person, I was brought up in this tradition, and this year I really need the life lessons that this season teaches.
Last night began the new year. Tradition dictates that you eat something sweet to usher in a sweet new year. The readings and prayers for last night, today, and tomorrow morning center upon renewal, and asking to be inscribed in the book of life for the next year. There is also quite a bit of planning for Yom Kippur, the next holiday, in 10 days.
This holiday is about repentance and forgiveness. You ask the people in your life for forgiveness for anything you've done to hurt them. You repent for sins, sure, but not just the usual things people think of as "sin." Basically, you take responsibility for all sins of human kind, including acid rain, nuclear waste, violence, animal abuse ... all of it. And you are also required to forgive. You forgive those who ask. You let go and forgive even if you aren't asked. Resentment and bitterness get in the way and take the joy out of life.
So if you know me at all, you'll understand why this part of the Jewish year is suddenly so important to me. I need renewal, and I've been working on it. I'm working on a healthier me, and I'm succeeding. That's physical renewal. I also need some emotional and intellectual renewal.
I need to reprogram how I talk to myself, stop negative thoughts before they start, and believe in myself. I need to learn to trust and I have so much forgiving to do. I have been hurt by the individuals at the company I used to work for, and every time I fail to land a job, I allow anger caused by past actions to raise its ugly head again, which just creates more unneeded anger and feelings of helplessness. I need to forgive friends and family who have let me down, and I have to forgive myself for allowing myself to stay in a life-threatening situation for so long. And of course, for failing to treat my body with respect.
I'm hoping that be following the traditions and listening to and acting upon the lessons being reinforced, that I'll be refreshed and happier and get more out of life. I want a peaceful, happy, and active journey. And if I want it, I have to go and get it.