We are entering the new moon of the Hebrew month of Elul, the time of teshuvah, return to our inner wholeness and alignment with our essential self. In this month before the New Year and the High Holidays, we are invited to look deeply at our actions during the past year and assess if they have been congruent with our highest aspirations for ourselves. Or have we fallen short of our expectations, holding a feeling of regret that drags our energy down, hampering our capacity to actualize our potential?
Without question, this has been a most difficult and challenging year, taxing all of us in ways none of us could have expected, asking us to draw upon our inner resource with a patience that was not always available. Moses in Deuteronomy exhorts us to see clearly the choices before us and then choose between Blessing and Curse. During this month of Elul, we can assess how we, individually and as a country, have confronted the weighty and urgent choices placed before us this past year and take this opportunity to shift hardened patterns and destructive policies that don’t serve our health and well-being.
As each of us grapples with the personal implications of the continuing pandemic and the political unrest tearing our country apart, can we perceive new ways of holding these challenges? Can we awaken to new possibilities in this liminal space between the world we have known and the new world that is not yet born? Living in this in between place, this place of Mystery requires us to rely on our own moorings, our own practices, our connection to what is eternal and never changing, our faith in the One. For me, my morning meditation, prayer, and energy practice is absolutely essential to feel grounded in the midst of the confusion and chaos of living with a 3 and 6 -year old in my home and the consequences of childlike behavior in our leaders.
The piercing cry of the shofar, blown each morning of Elul, calls us to turn inward and awaken to the brokenness of our hearts as we sit isolated from our loved ones, wearing masks, in our own separate spaces. It calls us to see the inherent racism at the foundation of our country and confront the inequities in our social and economic system with wisdom and compassion. The shofar calls us to combine the healing of seeing we experienced in Tammuz (June) with the healing of hearing in Av (July) to heal our actions in Elul, so they are fully manifesting the truth of who we are at this pivotal moment in time. During these days of grace when love from the One is uniquely accessible, may each one of us embrace our highest self and choose the path of renewal and blessing in the coming new year.