September 2021 Tishrei 5782
We are entering the new moon of the Hebrew month of Tishrei and the new year 5782. The many holidays of this month reflect its importance as a time of intention setting for the entire year, a time of recalibrating and reassessing how we are living our lives, a time of forgiving and starting anew. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, are the energetic centers of the year, the sacred moments that encourage us to profoundly connect with ourselves, our communities, and the Holy One.
I usually feel such joy as I approach these times of reflection and reconnection. The meaningful customs of our tradition converge to awaken me to possibilities for new growth and creativity. The haunting sound of the shofar pierces the shell of my defenses and awakens me to a deeper truth.
I struggle this year as we enter another holiday on Zoom to keep my spirits strong and clear. I am saddened that this is the second year that I will not be with my community in person to honor these holy days. I yearn to intimately help build the energetic container with prayer and chant that can inspire me and all of us to push beyond boundaries toward an unexplored path forward. And I will be fully present, but just in a different way than I expected. All of life seems different from what I and many of us expected. Elaborately planned trips to loved ones simply disappear into the pandemic fog.
Feeling vulnerable is part of this moment in sacred time. This year the sense of being unmoored is even stronger. By feeling and acknowledging our vulnerability, we can release old patterns that limit our capacity to embrace the unknown. It is compassion, the hallmark of this month, that can soothe fear and depression and help us accept what we can not change. Being kind and tender with ourselves will help us move through these chaotic and disruptive times. When we recite “The 13 Attributes of Compassion” each morning of Elul to prepare for the new year, we call toward ourselves the healing energy of love that keeps us firmly grounded. Like the Tree of Life, we root ourselves in the earth and stretch our branches to the heavens.
I enter into this New Year buoyed by my daily practices that connect me to the Source and ask for the courage and fortitude to move through the profound changes I encounter with balance and equanimity. I trust we are ultimately evolving as a human species that can live peacefully and joyfully on this abundant planet earth. May we all learn to be part of the ever-changing dance of life that invites us to find compassion and forgiveness in our hearts as we learn to repair the wounded places that have torn us apart. With gratitude for this opportunity to connect with you from my heart, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy New Year filled with blessings and love.