“And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind,
dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale
of the breath that is breathing us all into being,
not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within”
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer – The Dance ~
Jewish people from around the globe have been celebrating my most favourite Jewish holiday, which began on Sunday evening and comes to an end tonight.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New year. It is not only known as the ‘head of the year’ but it is also a day of remembrance; a holiday that commemorates the creation of the universe, by God – “we are to remember who we are by remembering that the Lord is our King, and to crown the Creator as such”.
It marks the beginning of the ‘10 Days of Awe’ and it calls believers to an awakening to judgment, because it is a period of prayer, self-examination and repentance which culminates on the fast day of Yom Kippur.
According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah, the destiny of the righteous are written in the Book of Life and the destiny of the wicked are written in the Book of Death. However, most people will not be inscribed in either book, but have ten days – until Yom Kippur – to repent before sealing their fate, because then everyone’s names will be sealed in either of the books. And thus, the blessing or greeting over this time is, “L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu” – “may your name be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life”.
For me, the richness and beauty of this period, isn’t because of conventional ‘fire and brimstone’ thought, but rather, because it encourages Jewish folk to participate in the process of forgiveness. It is a time where we forgive others, whilst also seeking out forgiveness of self and forgiveness from others too. It allows people to come into contact with the gifts of mercy, compassion and ultimately forgiveness, along with the reminder that it is a process. Forgiveness is an ongoing process.
It is a holiday that teaches us that forgiveness is a choice, and that it is a choice that we need to make for our own sakes, lest we be forever frozen in a particular event or wrong. And that, through forgiveness and allowing ourselves to move on, we give ourselves the opportunity to live and celebrate life to the full without being held back by the shackles of resentment and vindictiveness.
In this blog’s ‘About’ page, I talk about how I believe that life is a dance. I also believe that this dance comes with a prescribed sheet of music – there is a specific beat to life that follows us wherever we go. Consider when you breathe, your lungs fill with oxygen but there comes a point where you need to exhale. The same can be said about your heart. It fills with blood before pumping it throughout your body.
It is also demonstrated by nature. I love taking long walks on the beach for this very reason, because for me, the shore is the epitome of what I like to refer to as ‘impoverished spirituality’. The shore lies open and in wait of gifts that the ocean will lay at its feet. It demands nothing, accepts everything, but it also has the ability to let go when the time or the need arises.
For me, the rhythm of life is the same as the rhythm of forgiveness (and perhaps there is a message that lies in this?) – it is one of acceptance and letting go.
“I accept everything that you bring to me. I accept that you have wronged me. I accept that I am in this horrible situation. And now that I have accepted it, I let it go. I am not going to get worked up over it. I am not going to allow myself to be a victim. I am not going to hold onto something so tightly that it will be crushed inside of my hands. I am not going to allow myself to be a doormat. What I will do is to accept that this has taken place. I will appreciate this experience and attempt to learn from it, but I will then let it go, find a way to move forward and allow myself to evolve and transcend my current state of be-ing.”
As Rosh Hashanah draws to a close, and I embark upon my own inner journey towards trying to identify experiences and people that are still in need of my forgiveness, my wish for all of us is, “L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu.” Indeed, may our names be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life. May our ability to forgive, allow us to dance freely to the dance of life so that who we are and the lives that we are living, may be made complete in this now…and the next…and the next!
Happy New Here (and now)!
“Every person from your past lives as a shadow in your mind.
Good or bad, they’ve helped you write the story of your life
and shaped the person you are today”
~ Unknown ~