“Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be along at perfect peace and ease.”
~Bill Wilson, “Into Action”
“While we should not allow the burdens of the past nor the anxieties of the future to exert a destructive effect on our living, the constructive lessons of the past and a responsible attitude toward the future can guide us to a proper and responsible life.”
~Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
Reflect, Realign, and Return Renewed
I was raised with little more than an overview of my Jewish heritage and an elementary smattering of the religion itself. However, the culture, the humor, the food, the angst, and the oy vey factor is what my sister and I learned to identify with, and what we joyously keep active and alive. It shouldn’t be a total loss.
The Jewish High Holidays are upon us. One is somber (Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement), and one is joyous (Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the New Year, 5779 to be exact). When I hear the ancient Hebrew prayers and chants, they sound familiar and very beautiful, and I trust they have deep meaning to many.
But to me, the concept of a Day of Atonement, which includes a day of fasting, feels more relevant to my life today when I think of it in terms of making amends. It’s becoming clear to me that humans have a wired-in need to come clean with our spiritual self, to clean the slate, to clean our side of the street and live from a place of peace and harmony. Interesting, and for me somewhat challenging to really think it could be done in one day, one clean sweep so to speak. Clean and sober – I see a trend.
The sense of freedom and inner peace that I tapped into (and still seek to deepen) by continuing to learn to be honest with myself and others, and by owning up to past transgressions as best as possible, has so much more power to it than I thought. Early on, the inkling that this would be required of me was enough to make me eye the door and start constructing an “out” in my mind, an exemption, writing myself a mental note to be excused from this.
Though my formal Ninth Step Work was done in sequence with the process, the actual making of amends for me is ongoing. True, I have yet to complete one that still lingers. And other forgotten ones continue to gurgle up occasionally, some of which I have acknowledged within myself, as I don’t even know where the people are.
I never embraced the fasting concept for this Jewish holiday, nor the subdued demeanor, nor the deeper meaning of what the Hebrew prayers were stating. But even as a child, I recognized how wonderful it would be to start anew.
And today it’s something I don’t have to wait for all year. It is an ongoing seeking of “what is my part in” something that’s running amok, or when I am fuming at someone or something. And handling it ASAP.
In whichever way it feels comfortable (or comfortably uncomfortable) to reflect, realign, and return to life renewed, I say do it.
L’Shana Tova and G’mar Tov. (To a beautiful New Year, and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life).
In gratitude, harmony, and support,