Today is Rosh Hashanah. This year is 5776 in the Jewish calendar. The Jewish new year. New. Shiny. Bright. Filled with promise.
What I love about the ritual of this particular holiday, is that, unlike most things in life, your contract with your own vows from the prior year is wiped clean and you create a new contract for the year ahead. Kind of like a purpose statement, or a strategic plan for an entrepreneurial small business of yourself.
If you’ve not experienced the tradition, basically, when you go to service, you start off the Days of Awe, at Rosh Hashanah, casting away your old contract and spending the next 10 days in reflections. At Yom Kippur, 10 days later (the day of atonement), your contract gets sealed and you start your work toward being the best you that you can be in the year ahead.
There is something both challenging and terrifying in looking at your spiritual and emotional naked self and assessing where you’ve been and where you want to go. Not in comparison to anyone else, but against only you, yourself.
This past year has been a particularly challenging one for me personally, and it is with welcome relief that I embrace the next 10 days.
I have always believed that if you keep your mind open, you’ll see opportunity where you may have been blinded in the past. I like to look for coincidence, apparently random connections, and common themes. Just as when a woman becomes pregnant the whole world around her is suddenly filled with pregnant women at every corner, when you open your mind to randomness, common themes start to take shape and emerge.
Given that I’ve been through a tougher year than I’ve experienced in most of my past life, and given that randomness and a blank slate are both on the horizon, it’ll be particularly interesting for me to try to clear my mind and get rid of whatever is clogging my emotional and spiritual drain and see what emerges.
I’m blessed to have a mom who in later life became a Rabbi (as in started Rabbinic studies at 72 and ordained at 79- you can check her out at www.rabbicorinne.com) and she did two very interesting exercises with her Sunday morning study group this past week.
The first was to visualize where you wanted to be in the next 5 years. But to write a paragraph in the present tense as if the 5 years was now. “I am…”
The second was to really, deeply ponder what you wanted your life purposes to be. This one was left open for the next 10 days of reflection.
My “I am..” statement surprised me (as I think it did for most of us). And delighted me. I really do have a vision for five years from now and I didn’t quite realize it. And I suspect will be lending shape to my statement of purpose for the coming year.
So that is what I wanted to leave you with. Rabbi Corinne’s spiritual exercise to help set your tone for the next 5 years ahead.
L’Shana Tova…wishing you a good year.