Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to let go and be turned

horn_and_pomagranite

Hashivaynu e’lecha ve’nashuvah  Come let us turn, return, and be turned to the one.

 

After Teshuvah, the willful work of turning and returning, we let go of preconceived notions of what we are and how life should be. We breathe, relax and allow life to unfold for us. The more we allow ourselves to be turned, the more we are home.

Our attempts at prayer for help, as it is with any action, is motivated by our belief, laden with guilt, that we need to do something and that belief causes us to never let go or relax. We are always doing, trying, controlling and seeking to get better, farther, etc. Most often we forget to stop after we ask to feel the effect of our “doing” and to let help, joy and life in. We are habituated to do and we rarely surrender long enough to be turned and be at home.

The Jewish New Year is here to remind us to wake up and stop the doing and the trying so we could be turned. At the beginning of a new year, willing to be transformed and with hope we stand at a new beginning pregnant with possibilities. We pray and ask to be turned and retuned to the home of our souls. (You may have more specific prayers in your heart for happiness, health, peace, prosperity etc.) I hope you can stop doing and listen deeply and pray for an opening in the heart, so you could be turned to more fully appreciate the gift of this life.

With humility and with hope in our hearts we allow ourselves to fall into the mystery of it all and enjoy the ride guided only by our desire to love this life before it is too late.

Shuvah, it’s time to come home.

Besefer haim tekateyvu vetechatymu. May we all be inscribed in the book of good life.

I wish you and yours a sweet and healthy new year and wonderful holiday celebrations.

Blessings, Rabbi Sigal

Forgiveness, the return

The full moon of Elul is hanging in the night’s sky beckoning us to come home. We are two weeks away from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

To truly have a fresh start and return to the home of our soul we must forgive. We forgive the hope for a better past so we can live well now and in the future.

We have been turning our attention toward home with Elul practices. We spent time at the wellspring of our hearts remembering what we love, what is important to us and what brings us alive. When we remember home and long to return, we feel the strong pull of our desire to be home. Even when it’s hard to manage through the work of forgiveness, the sweet memory and feeling of being at home with ourselves and in the world encourages us to do the work. We trust our stamina and commitment to do the work of forgiveness so we could live our highest aspirations and honor the desires of our hearts more each day. (if you missed it see: Shuvah, it’s time to come home post)

This week we reflect on: What is in the way? What is between home and us? How do we leave the unhelpful habits, partly unconscious? How do we let go? What do we need to release? How do we decide what to let go of and what to keep?

Madison Taylor writes: “One of the hardest things in life is feeling stuck in a situation that we don’t like and want to change. We may have exhausted ourselves trying to figure out how to make change, and we may even have given up. If we tend to regard ourselves as having failed, this will block our ability to allow ourselves to succeed. We have the power to change the story we tell ourselves by acknowledging that in the past, we did our best, and we exhibited many positive qualities, and had many fine moments on our path to the present moment.”

Each year we are given the opportunity to review our lives and renew our resolve to change. The New Year is a call to open to the possibilities, the help and the hope to make the changes we need to make to live more fully from the heart. When we honestly and kindly review the past year, we make it possible to open to new ways in the new year. Welcoming an inner shift to allow us to get out of the cycle we’ve been in that’s been keeping us stuck.

After the reviewing it’s time to open the heart with forgiveness. To loosen the knots of shame, blame, regret, self-hatred, not good enough and other sticky patterns of thinking and feeling. All those feelings and thoughts about ourselves and others keep us separated from the home of our soul; our joy, ease and fulfillment. 

Practice:

Imagine you are holding a pebble or a stone in you hand, clutching around a painful feelings or beliefs. Notice what you are holding on to. What has hardened and stuck to you? Notice your breathing. Now, begin opening the hand that has been holding on for too long and inquire to see what is in the pebble you are holding on to. What feeling, belief, resentment, blame… invite the hand to open and release it. Toss it, send it with kindness and care, and feel the room it leaves behind. Feel how the stones you release want to return to the river of life. Be gentle and go slow. It may bring up unpleasant or pleasant feelings with it. Acknowledge it is hard to let go and make a change, even in our imagination. Breathe, notice the space and feel. It will take time to become comfortable being with space after the release, because it is new and unfamiliar. You can repeat several times and make time to practice this daily in the next two week.

We release the past and open to new possibilities in the new year.

Join us for inspiring and musical High Holy Days services in Abington, PA.  We meet at the beautiful Abington Art Center.      Details