Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dancing through the Days of Awe

Happy autumn, happy new moon, happy Jewish New Year. Wait, the High Holy Days are not meant to be happy. The days of Awe are supposed to be serious, contemplative. Though there will be feasts this evening, (including here at the chateau) and the blowing of the shofar - which is pretty fun because it's so weird sounding - after that the holiday settles into a rather excruciating intensity for those who participate. Many Jews forget all about the days between Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur. There is probably wisdom in that.

I love the High Holy Days - of course. One of my favorite pastimes is contemplation. Intensity is my normal. I like taking my time. A ten day holiday is perfect for me - there's plenty of time to delve deeply into it. So hey what is not to love?

I've been engaged for the last 24 hours in some new year's eve contemplation, looking back over the last year, thinking about what I've learned, the mistakes I made, and such. It was a very dynamic year!

One of the most useful things I learned is that sometimes, during certain eras of life, it's best not to push too ambitiously to accomplish everything. Timing is everything when it comes to achieving goals. This past year was not in any way horrible or boring - just the opposite. As for accomplishing great things, it was a total fizzle.

What I learned is: that's OK! Every year does not have to be stellar. So be it.

Since I lowered my level of ambition, I've been sailing smoothly along through the days and nights. After a winter and spring in which I aimed high and failed repeatedly, I changed my strategy to great effect. Summer was lovely. I spent my time doing all the mundane things I enjoy most: walking, looking at art, taking pictures, spending time with friends, cooking, cleaning, working on clients. I didn't travel, I didn't get out of DC in August, something I usually think of as Absolutely Necessary.

It was fine! The weather was so nice and the city was so quiet. Sweet.

One thing you're supposed to do during the High Holy Days is make amends. The one big apology I owed has already been extended. I'm pondering whether I should apologize again. It's possible one sincere apology is enough. My spirit guides hate it when I over-apologize. I look forward to meditating on it.

Hear ye hear ye! The book of life is open for perusal between sunset tonight and Yom Kippur. I will leaf through the pages, as I always do, and happily say goodbye when the year ends on Yom Kippur. Though you could hardly call me an observant Jew, I do resonate with the rhythms of the religion. I can dance with those rhythms.



  1. I so love this time of year being an adopted Jew as a child. Fall already feels like a time of contemplation, so it fits. I wish you a blessed new year, dear Reya.

  2. I love the whole idea of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe, contemplating the previous year. Yom Kippur not so much. I don't care for the idea that god decides if we get another year based on the previous year's behavior. what if we just had a really bad year? anyway, I think it is healing and a good idea to try and make amends once a year.

  3. I've definitely been leaning towards serious contemplation lately. It feels like being at an internal crossroads, reassessing the value of everything in my life and how much focus to put where. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of timing and that I don't have to always accomplish great things.