How I love the beautiful nights at the end of Summer. The sliver of the moon above is beckoning us to gather a few more sun rays and a couple more days at the beach, to store within for the approaching cold of winter. On August 17, the new moon of the month of Elul will hang in the night’s sky. It will be the last new moon before Rosh Hashana.
All these signs in nature are telling us: we are four weeks away from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
The invitation of the Jewish New Year is to truly have a fresh start; to review, organize and prioritize our lives and how we spend our time. To make amends, forgive, release, mend and at the end of this have a plan of intentions and goals to return to the home of our soul. A return to our kind and loving nature. This yearly internal reflection is necessary and important to help clear a new path of hope to an inspired and meaningful life in the future. To truly clear a new path we must pass through the gates of forgiveness.
Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. It is a hard ask, but giving up the hope that the past could be different removes the heavy shackles we carry. The past cannot change. It is in the past. We need to leave the past to the past in order to truly move forward. This is the season to sincerely forgive ourselves, the past and others. Now is the time to release and move forward.
Elul the month preceding the New Year, invites us to spent time at the wellspring of our hearts remembering what we love, what is important to us and what brings us alive. Even when it’s hard to manage through the work of forgiveness, the sweet memory and feeling whole in ourselves and in the world, encourages us to do the work. When we remember there can be peace in our soul and long to return to that feeling, we sometimes experience a strong pull of the desire to be at peace, and are motivated to do the work. We hold before us the hope to live our highest aspirations, to live in peace and honor the desires of our hearts more fully each day.
Here are some questions and inspirations to Contemplate during Elul:
Help yourself decide what to release and what to keep
Identify: What are the obstacles to living the life you want? What is standing between you and living guided by your values and aspirations? How can you stop engaging in unhelpful habits? How can you help yourself release them? What do you need to do to release them?
Madison Taylor writes: “One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, and we may even have given up. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this will block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed. We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many fine moments on our path to the present moment.”
Identify: What are the things you need and want to keep? How can you better nurture them to make them grow more in your life?
Each new year we are given the opportunity to review our lives and renew our resolve to change for the better. Each new year we are called to open to new possibilities. Open to the hope that we can make the changes we need to make.
When we honestly and kindly review the past year, it is possible to open to new ways, new healthier habits and routines. Consciously welcoming an inner shift to allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been which has kept us stuck.
Sit, contemplate, write…
After the reviewing it’s time to open the heart with forgiveness. To loosen the knots of shame, blame, regret, self-hatred, not good enough and other sticky patterns of thinking and feeling. All those feelings and thoughts about ourselves and others keep us separated from each other and the home of our soul; our joy, our peace, and our ease and contentment.
We release the past and open to new possibilities in the new year.