My Jew Years Resolutions Reflections Part I - Preparation
Last week, in honor of the beginning of the month of Elul I posted a free downloadable resource - my workbook to help each of us make our *Jew Years Resolutions.* Now, I'm sharing my process with you - over the month of Elul, I'm going to be engaging in the classic educator technique of modeling, and I'll give you my insights on each step of the Jew Years Resolution process.
This week is PREPARATION.
One of my favorite parts of the choreography of traditional Jewish prayer comes during the amidah, the centerpiece of Jewish daily services. The first thing that happens, even before the prayer starts, is that everyone takes three steps back before taking three steps forward. We therefore end up in the same place where we started. So why take the steps in the first place?
There are plenty of explanations, and as with many Jewish questions, while the answers range from halachic to esoteric, I'm opting to mesh a bunch together and choose my own. The idea that resonates with me the most is that by taking a step back to reflect and prepare, even if we end up in the same physical space afterwards, we're changed by the experience and are bringing new pieces of ourselves than we would have had we simply stood still. So too with Elul and resolution making. We could just jump right into the final stages with both feet when Rosh Hashana rolls around, and it'd be fine. But we're being given the gift of preparation, of taking the step back before moving forward, and assessing who we are and where we're going.
So, to my PREPARATION.
First, I unplugged. I went outside, and in a rare move, left my phone and earbuds at home. I walked around my neighborhood, breathing in the damp post-rain smell, feeling the heat of the August sun, and listening to the sounds around me. My outside time is usually spent racing from place to place, with a phone call or a podcast in progress, so disconnecting was amazing for getting me into the headspace to be reflective.
Second, I created sacred space. I took some traditional elements (candles) and some just for me (a brand new journal and my favorite pens - don't judge), and sat in the most comfortable corner of my couch. I made sure that it was somewhere that I felt totally comfortable and at ease, but made the familiar feel special by adding elements that marked this time as different from my usual couch lounging.
Third, I read. I'm a text junkie, and for me that includes traditional sacred texts, modern texts, and non-traditional quotes and prompts. I used some past Elul reflection pieces, favorite Jewish sources, and seemingly unrelated inspirational words to get myself in the mood for stage two - REFLECTION.
That'll be the topic for next week, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I 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.