L’Shana Tovah(Happy Jewish New Year)

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Photo of rose picked from garden, in front of rose colored wall, by W.B.

Just like any New Year, in any culture, or ethnicity, the Jewish New Year is a time to look at the previous year, and hopefully gain insight from it.

The main difference between Rosh Hashanah, and the American New Year, is that Rosh Hashanah is focused on God, and how He(She?) has found us wanting.

The Jewish New Year is very upbeat, and everything we eat during the 2 plus day celebration is sweet, to represent a sweet New Year.

Yom Kippur has more to do with soul searching, and redemption. It is the Day of Atonement. My least favorite holiday as a child.

I know much less about these holidays than I should, given my Jewish roots and my recent Bat Mitzvah(at 50 years of age).

I do know that I’ve been giving my inner life a great deal of attention, and that I’d honestly like to know what I’ve done wrong, and what I’ve done right, and how I can become a better person this coming year.

Often, I feel like I identify more with being chronically ill, than with being Jewish.

Especially lately, since my health has taken a downturn. All I want to do is sleep, and maybe eat once in awhile. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, exactly.

There are services the night before the JNY, which were tonight. I was planning on going, when it seemed that I was developing a cold. I decided not to go, for this reason. I felt that spraying mucous from my sneezing to all of the people around me, would most likely be a greater sin, than not going at all.

One thing we do on Yom Kippur, is we consider all of the wrongs we’ve done others, and ourselves, and while thinking of this, toss rocks, or bread, into a creek, or a lake, to release those hurts and bruises.

The boulder that I need for my transgressions will be too heavy to carry, and it would embarrass me to show everyone in the community what a stinker I am.

What are some things I’d like to do less this coming year?

  1. Gossip
  2. Whine
  3. Identify strongly with being a victim
  4. Indulge in despair
  5. Be angry and bitter

I could write a much longer list, but didn’t want to bore you.

What are some things I’d like to do more this coming year?

  1. Be genuine
  2. Show kindness
  3. Go places even when I’m scared to do so
  4. Identify more with my strengths
  5. Paint more
  6. Write more
  7. Remember that I’m not my illness

I would like to think about all of this more. Of course our resolutions are always lofty, and often soon forgotten by the end of the first month of the New Year.

Sometimes, with all of the medications I’m on, Psych drugs and otherwise, I feel like I don’t really know exactly who it is I am.

I also can feel numbed, both by difficult experiences, and by my meds.

One of the most important qualities to me is self-compassion, which I believe leads to compassion towards others.

It’s easy to forget that we are complex creatures, who can get very messy. It’s easy to forget, that we are loved and appreciated for who we are-even when we’re not doing our very best.

So many changes constantly whacking us in the head, and in our hearts. So much to adjust to.

As you all know, being human isn’t an easy job.

If I could take everything in, both what is happening outside, and within me, with slightly more grace, I would see this as a humungous accomplishment.

If I could befriend myself tenderly, and in a manner which leaked out into my relationships with other people, I’d be even happier.

In which ways do you wish to change, whether you are Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, or anyone else? What do you think would make your journey on this earth just a little more meaningful, and more easily endured?

New Years are always good times to think about what kinds of changes we wish to make within ourselves, and our lives. But really, we are tested, constantly, by our inner realm, to take what we need, and let go of what we don’t.

These seem like they should be easy questions to ask ourselves, and to answer. But they never are.

May you be inscribed in the book of life, for this coming year, and may it be filled with much love, meaning, and sweetness, as well.

 

2 Comments

  1. Happy Jewish New Year 🌷 I know very little about it so I feel I’ve been educated by your post (thank you)! I think the sense of reflection is good, and comes at a good time later in the year I think. If I were doing a list of things I’d like to do less of and more of, they’d look similar to yours. An interesting point about identifying with chronic illness. It can be a slippery slope with letting it define us, if it takes a negative edge. I’d like to whine less as I’ve become a pro at complaining. But don’t be too hard on yourself, Wendy. You’ve been through a lot and it’s good to vent, as long as any negativity and bitterness aren’t dragging you down further. More painting, more writing and creativity, and more kindness (to yourself too, I think you should add there 😉) all sound like great ones for your list  ♥
    Caz xx

  2. Hi Caz. As usual, I pretty much agree with everything you said. I suppose the wanting to whine less has more to do with me, than how it affects others, though. I don’t know if it ever happens to you, but at times I complain so much, that I actually bring MYSELF down.

    You too, have an immense amount to legitimately complain about. I know it’s an issue for you, as well. When to complain and when not too.

    Yes, all of that creative stuff can be very helpful. You know how hard it is to do any of it, when you are feeling exhausted and lousy.

    I really cannot imagine what you go through. I’m not trying to deify you here, but I know you are constantly in very severe pain, among other things. I hope that you allow yourself to cry, and tear up paper, and feel deservedly sorry for yourself, at times.

    We both need to be kinder to ourselves, I think. That’s probably the hardest behavior to emulate, given the list of qualities that I’d like to change within myself. I know it’s not easy for you.

    Thank you for the kind, and thoughtful comments. I’m so glad that we’ve connected on WordPress.

    xxx Wendy

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