Happy New Year! I am so grateful for those of you who read, for encouraging me to keep this blog, for the ability to look back over the course of the year past. So many changes! And yes, I realize that my initial goal of blogging daily was not kept. But honestly, no one needs to hear from me that much. Take my word for it. I live with me. I know. Still, I apologize for letting so much time go by since my last entry.
Last year in beginning this blog I wrote:
I want to be able to ask myself the question, “WHAT am I?” without feeling the shame. I want to collect the shards of my whole self and put them back together without hesitation, gluing them into place with love and acceptance. How hard must that be?
It was hard. It is hard. But somehow it has become, is becoming, not so very hard. Baby steps. Oh for sure I still don’t have the answer to “what am I”. So in that respect it hasn’t gotten easier per se. But the part about even asking the question without being bombarded by shame, that has changed. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it has shifted because in writing and giving myself time to process, I have been wondering with genuine curiosity and compassion and not so much with judgment. Maybe my meditation practice, which includes even considering maitri, has helped. Maybe it has to do with the love and acceptance of the people in my life. Whatever the reason, it is a breath of fresh air, a load lifted, a gift, a blessing beyond measure. For resolutions this year…. I want to continue to wonder about “what is” in a way that is simply noticing instead of defending or criticizing, castigating, disapproving, disparaging.
This is the time of year though that doesn’t necessarily encourage that kind of thinking. During this season, these Days of Awe we are supposed to engage in the process of Cheshbon Ha Nefesh and Cheshbon Ha Lev – searching of your heart and soul, getting to know yourself. We usually interpret that as judging ourselves, looking within with a disapproving eye, fine tuning, routing out the flaws. But honestly, I don’t think I need any practice at judging myself. I am (as is everyone else I know) already way better at being strict, being harsh, being critical of myself than I should be, than I want to be, and, dare I say it, than I deserve. So this year I decided to tweak the tradition a bit. I thought, what would it be like if Cheshbon Ha Lev did not mean looking at my heart with harsh judgment, but simply looking at, wondering at my heart and just letting what is be? What would it be like to know myself and like, or at least accept who/what I find there? I’m really trying to believe, understand, embrace the notion that we are created in the image of God, that we are all, each, holy. But what does that mean to someone like me??? I have spent so much of my life feeling defective, wrong, and “other”, anything but holy. I want to believe that at our very core, each of us is holy, and that includes me. What I’m beginning to realize in the middle of this holiest of seasons, as I wrestle with what it means to be holy, whether or not I am holy, is that holiness is not an end. It is a means. Holiness is a journey, not a destination. It is a process. I’m trying desperately to connect with, to be aware of, to realize (on an ongoing basis) my connection with my best self, my deepest core, my own holiness.
We all have a Spark of the Divine in us. That is what my tradition teaches. We all have souls that are pure. So why is it so hard to see that spark within, to be warmed by its flame? For me it is easier to see that Spark in others than in myself. But in order to see the Divine in others, doesn’t it make sense that we have to first see it in ourselves? I don’t know. It’s complicated. In conclusion, I’d like to end with a blessing:
May you find the peace within you. May you see with eyes that wonder, free from judgment. May you appoint for yourself an inner judge who is a guardian angel. May these Days of Awe leave you awed by the person you are.