Hello! Did you miss last week’s blog? My apologies, there were too many illnesses, tasks and chaos in my life last week to get the blog done on time.
You have probably heard me talk endlessly about self-care; and perhaps you roll your eyes and say to yourself, “Yeah, right, that again”, and you feel like you are doing all you can, you know it isn’t enough, and you feel trapped, miserable, exhausted, and frustrated. You know you need more time to relax and do the things you enjoy and the things that will help you stay abstinent; like meetings, prayer, step work, sponsorship, – and a movie with someone you love, and a phone call to someone precious to you, and finish the laundry, and clean out that pile of mail and bills.
Now Friday was Rosh Hashanah, and this week is Yom Kippur and if you happen to be Jewish, this is the most sacred time of the year; there are rituals and services and time with family.
If you are not of the heritage, you are made aware of these special holidays and they may cause a variety of effects in your lives.
But considering the kind of year we all have had; I think it might be helpful to look at the spiritual meanings of these holidays.
“Rosh Hashanah, which means “the head of the year,” is the Jewish New Year. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of the world and the creation of Adam and Eve, who are known as the biblical first man and first woman. Rosh Hashanah is also a judgment day, when Jews believe that their God considers people’s deeds from the previous year, decides what the next year will be like for them, and inscribes the results in the Book of Life for the coming year”.(1)
“Rosh Hashanah is celebrated with prayer services in the synagogue, candle lighting in the evening, and the sharing of food. Other customs include the sounding of the shofar (a ram’s horn) as prescribed in the Torah. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the shofar in the synagogue. One hundred notes are sounded each day during this holiday.” (1)
“Yom Kippur is much more than a tradition. It reflects a deep, internal state in human development. Thus, it requires being viewed in context of the full year’s cycle of holidays.”(2)
“The Hebrew word for “year” (“Shana”) comes from the word for “change” (“Shinui”). Therefore, a year is considered as a cycle of changes we go through. When we decide that we need to change—that our current self-aimed and individualistic approach to life needs shifting to one guided by connection, love and bestowal—then it is considered as the beginning of the new year: Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of change…. This action of examining our attitude towards others requires unique means and a method, which is what the wisdom of Kabbalah provides, in order to draw what is called “the light,” i.e. a special illumination of the force of love and bestowal…. Essentially, Yom Kippur signifies the need to put ourselves aside and act for the sake of others”. (2)
Now I have taken the liberty of only using a few sentences from these two masterful works. But for me, they express the essence of where we are as a nation as well as where we are with our food and eating disorders. This is a time to begin again; to look at what is working for us and what is not; to make the changes we need to make in our lives, to more closely align ourselves with the Power and Principles we believe in or want to create in our lives.
So now wait a minute here – how does this relate to self-care? My friend, this IS the essence of self-care – setting aside those ideas and behaviors that do not lead us to the lives we really want – even though they annoy some family members, even though they require that we change our behavior, even though we need to say no when a part of us wants to say yes, even when it hurts. This is self-care; this is how we get to creating the life we really want.
Those of you who know me well will find certain changes in my work and behavior. Smile. Think maybe I am trying to practice what I am inviting your to do here.
So, in honor of my favorite author, Abraham Twerski:
Shanah Tovah Umetukah
Have a good and sweet year (1)
“Ah gut gebentsht yohr”
A good and blessed year (2)
I don’t know about you, but for me, dealing with this pandemic has been difficult, disheartening, scary, annoying, divisive, and just plain difficult to deal with. As we now approach the most special times of both of our calendars, and the dawning of a new year, may whatever Power you believe in bless, direct, and protect you.
I wish you all the beauty of Mother Nature, all the love of your family and friends, and a solid sense of peace and wellbeing in your hearts.
Blessings to you,
(1) From Henry Ford College: https://www.hfcc.edu/news/2019/what-rosh-hashanah-and-yom-kippur-mean
(2) From Kabbalah https://www.kabbalah.info/bb/yom-kippur-meaning/