Tishrei is a challenging time for us. It begins with Rosh Hashanah, when we evaluate who we are, where we’re going, and whether we are living our lives in a way that is truly human. Then comes Yom Kippur, a day of forgiveness and reconciliation. We look deeper, and often find we are living in a way that is too superficial. We can look at ourselves bravely and honestly, and reframe our lives, becoming what we want to be. Then Sukkot arrives, and we let go and notice the transience in our lives, including appreciation for all the people who have passed through our lives. Last is Simchat Torah, and we share our joy in receiving the book that guides us through life, our instruction book.
It is during this time that we can really appreciate our community, sharing this experience together and rebuilding connections that we have let slide during the year. When we take a hard look at ourselves, and realize that we have not done all we could have, we know that among each other we will find support as we stand together.
Mindfulness, being in the present moment without judgement, also can be helpful during this time. It means paying attention to where your mind wanders, and bringing it back to what you’re doing. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and panicked about how your life for the year will be written, or how you are going to get through this month, bring yourself back to whatever is going on in that exact moment. Nothing before and nothing after. It’s just the practice of bringing yourself back. Over, and over, and over again.
It may also be helpful to keep in mind this top 10 list:
- Treat everyone like you want to be treated.
- Pray not for things, but for wisdom and courage.
- Keep your promises.
- Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen.
- Leave everything better than you found it.
- Don’t rain on other people’s parades.
- Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all he has.
- Be kinder than necessary.
- Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
- Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
– Cheryl Gewing