My Jew Years Resolutions Reflections Part 2 - Reflection

We're now in the second week of Elul, and I'm continuing to walk the talk of modeling how I'm using my Jew Years Resolutions workbook to prepare for the new year. Last week, I shared how I prepared and created my own sacred space for this ritual, and this week, it's on to the next level. The Jewish practice of cheshbon hanefesh, spiritual accounting, is the act of taking stock of ones soul and actions and contemplating what we need to do in order to be the best version of ourselves. Soul searching is something that can be done at any time of year and in any form that speaks to you the most, but for me, having this season as a designated time for contemplation and reflection is an amazing gift. It's a time just for me, and like many of my fellow educators, when I spend so much of the year 'doing Jewish' for others, it's so important to have my own recharge and reflection time this way.

This week is REFLECTION.

After I prepared last week and set the space, I jumped into the questions. First, I focused on the positive by reflecting on my greatest achievements from the past year. This year has truly been an amazing one for me, full of growth and movement. Work-wise, the things I've been the most proud of have been building my professional portfolio and skill set, having my concept paper approved so that I'm one step closer to the completion of my doctorate, and the leadership roles I've been able to take on. Beyond that, this year has been all about healthy living for me, and I consider my new healthy lifestyle to be a huge achievement, particularly when thinking back to where I was a year ago. Physical and mental health have been a priority, and for me that means giving the relationships that matter to me first billing and reserving my time for the things and people that bring joy and added value to my life.

Second, I thought about my biggest challenges and the things I want to do differently in the new year. The thing that came to mind first is being more productive with my time, particularly after I get home from work. On nights when I don't teach, I realized that I have approximately six and a half hours between when I get home and when I fall asleep, and if I'm not mindful, five of those could easily be eaten away by binge watching TV and probing the social media accounts of people I haven't seen in years. While I'm the first one to say how important it is to be able to veg out and not to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to not indulge in mindless pleasures, I've been a bit too indulgent with myself. I want to embrace personal as well as professional goals for the best uses of my time. 

Third, I reflected on the moments of inspiration that have shaped me this year. Many of them came from travel. The two most formative trips that I took this year were to Maine and Israel. Maine was great because it was the first time in months that I completely unplugged. I let myself put my email aside and immersed myself in nature and activity, and was rewarded with moments of clarity and euphoria. And in Israel, rather than being unplugged, I fully plugged myself in to the places, people, and experiences that made me fall in love with Jewish peoplehood in the first place, and was able to reconnect with much of what brought me to where I am today. Other inspiration touch points for me have been my colleagues, classmates, and of course my students, whose insightful questions and comments move me and cause me to delve deeper every day.

Finally, I brainstormed the defining words for my year. Here's what I came up with:

  • Motivation
  • Priorities
  • Identity
  • Creating
  • Introspection 

So that's where I am today. Next week, I'll get to step three - ACTION. Until then, I continue to encourage you to start using the workbook for your own Elul reflections. And, for a limited time, if you're interested in embarking on a spiritual hevruta/accountability partnership for 5779, to ensure that we both succeed in reaching our goals, now is your chance for 1:1 access to me, the resources I design exclusively for you, and other unique opportunities! Simply fill out your name and email address below and I'll be in touch with you to set up check in times throughout the year. 


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