I am writing this entry on the morning of Yom Kippur, as a bird is sweetly serenading and the sun-dancing leaves are casting patterns on my curtains. Growly stomach and slight headache since having a light dinner last night. Fasting today as part of honoring the High Holy day. Not my favorite aspect of the observance, but it makes me ever more mindful and appreciative of food. I don’t view the rituals of the holiday as I had in childhood when they felt restrictive and punitive. Instead, I see them as opening a portal to the sacred and awakening my own heart song. Later in the day, I will go to Peace Valley Park to sit by Lake Galena as I meditate, pray and write. That is my temple, my sacred space, my place to commune with the celestial today.
This year in particular has profound meaning, since the last six months have brought with them a torrent of tears that have washed me clean, a recognition of frayed and worn out life patterns, shedding of masks, shields and armor, shaking off denial of what I thought was so and what I believed I was ‘allowed’ to want in my life. I have en-realed and revealed myself to the woman in the mirror and those other sweet souls who love her. As my fear of abandonment and anticipated rejection (not sure where those were coming from….some ancient lurking something or other) were quelled and people actually applauded my vulnerability, I felt more courageous in my stretching. I have been doing a lot of ‘come cleans’ with my friends and family, sharing what I have been holding back. I have been increasingly willing to sit in the silence of my own thoughts, not pushing them away with frenetic activity. I have been celebrating my own human-ness, not covering over messy feelings with a smiling façade. The rewards have been immense as I have felt a deepening closeness with those I hold dear. It’s what makes life worthwhile.
Forgiveness is a huge part of the observance. We ask that if in any way we have caused harm, whether by thought word or deed, intentionally or unintentionally, may we be forgiven. It is so freeing to put that out there. I am also forgiving myself for all of the ways that I have done myself harm.
One of the tenets of the holiday is the idea of ‘being inscribed in the book of life for a sweet new year.’ At face value, it is a lovely wish. My only challenge with it, is that I had interpreted it as a child as meaning that if you didn’t follow the ‘rules’ as dictated by an outside male entity on High, then you would die. Did that mean that if someone died, that they had been bad? Did that mean if tragedy befell you, that you hadn’t adhered to the strictures that were imposed by the religious teachings? As an adult, I have interpreted it in alignment with intention setting. I decide what a sweet new year looks and feels like. I turn the pages of the book in alignment with the ‘God of my understanding’. I am filling the pages with more love, adventure, abundance, connection and Divine alignment than can fill an entire library.
http://youtu.be/_rIckugU4w0 I Shall Be Released