Rosh Hashanah: A New Year, the birthday of the world celebrated by the Jewish people
In the past, I was a sporadic blogger, and with the start of the COVID quarantine, I put pen to paper and camera to video to discuss the hidden lessons from COVID and the myriad ways to maintain wellness in this time of heightened uncertainty. And then, as the quarantine dragged on for months, I was back to work and busier than ever to transform and adapt practicing medicine in this new age of masks, temperature checks and video visits (telehealth). Even as I went back to work fulltime in April, my soul went into quarantine and I studied:
- Tools for integrating trauma
- As well as emotional processing and healing
- While continuing my studies in
- Integrative medicine, and
- Preventative wellness
Now as the New Year begins, I must leave my solitude and rededicate myself to writing and teaching and sharing my thoughts with my patients, clients, friends and any others who want to join in my musings, learning, growth and journey.
This New Year also marks the start of a new circle. The circle of life is like a spiral staircase. Each year, we are asked to climb to the next rung. It is a spiral so we can see where we’ve been while simultaneously, we can also look up and aim to continue climbing to our pinnacle. And each year as we approach the new calendar, we approach from a new angle, because of all our past experiences, knowledge and collective wisdom gained from the prior year coupled with new goals and aspirations give us perspective on what may lie ahead. We have new insights and new perspectives. So, even as we visit this holiday year after year, each year it is brand new. The duality of the old and the new is but the first of the dualities I will discuss today.
Much like all women are guided by the moon as it moves oceans (the tides) as well as women’s monthly rhythms (the macrocosm and the microcosm simultaneously), The Jewish Year is also guided by the moon. The religion constantly points out these dualities in nature and humankind and teaches that all duality is indeed one; hence the ultimate belief in ONENESS in our cosmos, the oneness that is the UNIVERSAL wisdom that is the basis for monotheism.
So, what’s this got to do with the New Year?
Each year at this time, the torah teaches that we may be inscribed in the ‘Book of Life’: on Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed: who shall live and who shall die. But with prayer, repentance and ‘teshuva’ /a turning, we can ameliorate the decree.
This is a metaphor for how to live – a call to action. We are blessed with freewill. As such, every morning, we get to decide if we will or won’t live fully that day, that month and that year. We get to decide whether to do so as a community.
Only at the end of our days will we be able to judge if we truly lived. We all have the capacity to choose to live fully all of our days. As conscious beings of choice, at every moment, every day and at every year, we have the choice to fully live or to just pass our days as sheep: merely existing.
We may hate our jobs, but need our jobs for financial security: we have the choice to go through the motions and complain or to find joy in our ability to go to work and provide for our monetary well-being and that of our family.
We may have relationships in our lives that are bringing us down, that are depleting:
Again, we are born with choice: we have the ability to choose to stay in relationships with these people who deplete our energy or to choose to let these relationships fade away or be more proactive and leave them behind.
Sometimes, the latter is difficult if not almost impossible. In that case, we have the choice to change our relationship to these people so that the relationship morphs or rewrite our story – our perspective about the relationship. We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves and how we respond to this other person(s). We can respond and not react. We can live with compassion for ourselves and avoid the negativity that others may throw at us. We can grow body armor so that the barbs and arrows sent our way cannot pierce our energetic shield.
We can choose self-compassion and not take anything personally. We can recognize that others live in their own reality and their barbs and arrows are a reflection of their personal journey and not make it a part of ours.
We are conscious beings of choice.
We can choose to live each day, staying present in each moment. What’s more, we need to accept that each day is finite. We may not finish all we set out to accomplish. We can practice forgiveness each night: forgive ourselves for missing the mark and vow to try again to live fully tomorrow. We can forgive others for what they did or didn’t do: it’s their choice how they choose to live. But, how we react is our choice and within our control.
We cannot predict which day will be our last. Hence, we need to live with joy and amazement, wonder and appreciation of the miracle that is our life to ensure that at the end of our days, we have not left any untied knots and we have no regrets, no unfinished business. We have loved and accepted ourselves because we are all perfect in our imperfections and we are unique—there is no one that is just like us.
We need to live fully so we don’t feel cheated. We should always let our loved ones know we loved them.
We need to remember to play and prioritize pleasure. Life, this earth and our existence is to be cherished and enjoyed. Hard work is just one piece of life’s puzzle, it is no bigger than love, family & friends, fun, personal growth, money, health and spirituality.
The journey is our life, there is no destination.
And so, on this day and every day: GO OUT AND INSCRIBE YOURSELF IN THE BOOK OF LIFE.
Enjoy every day to the fullest and make conscious choices for yourself.