The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
It never ceases to amaze me. It always happens like clockwork at this time of year. It’s the power of a double helix combining the new school year with the Jewish New Year (the High Holiday season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) which occurs simultaneously. I notice more of a bounce in my step, a happier spirit, and extra energy. I am filled with hope and gratitude for this annual gift. Every year at this time we get a “Do Over”. How great is that? It’s a “Get out of Jail Free” card every year for every reflective soul, of which I am one.
At this time of year, we’re all invited to reflect upon the year that was and what we learned from it. We get to re-establish community, belonging and connection. We are thankful to G-d for every blessing that has come our way, and ask for forgiveness when we know we could have been an even better version of ourselves not only to others but to our own selves as well. Like the round Challah bread which is only served at the Jewish New Year to signify the circular nature of our years and our lives, coupled with the traditional tastes of apples and honey for a sweet new year, I embrace joy and hope. In this new year of 2021-2022 and the Jewish new year of 5782, how are you going to be a good person?
Holy days are not only about religion, they’re also about reflection. I offer you some prompts to reflect upon yourself to start the new school year on the right foot.
- How will you show up for other people? How will you manage your ego to step outside yourself into the needs and dreams of others in the spirit of selfless support?
- How will you plan to flourish and not just survive? After the last eighteen months from Pandemic hell, what will your proactive practices be that will ensure joy and fulfillment?
- How will you be compassionate to yourself when your own unkind demons kick in? What will your self-talk script sound like?
- When you get so busy being busy that you are too busy to make yourself a priority, what is your plan to put on the brakes, get off the hamster wheel and breathe?
- How can you take all of the gifts you have inherited from your ancestors and send them forward to others along the way?
5 of My Favorite Grounding Websites:
- The Faith Matters Network (View)
Equipping faith leaders, community organizers, and activists with resources for spiritual sustainability and more
- The On Being Project (View)
Pursuing deep thinking and moral imagination, social courage and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.
- The Mystic Soul Project (View)
Helping cultivate and grow a new generation of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ leaders and teachers of spiritual well-being. Building networks and resources for and by people of color.
- The One Life Institute (View)
A nine-month Christian gap year program for students who want to grow in their faith, experience genuine community, serve others, and travel while earning college credit.
- Rooted in Resilience (View)
A group of local advocates helped catalyze a movement for more equitable, resilient communities throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
5 of My Favorite Books for Hope and Joy:
- Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
- Peripheral Visions, by Mary Catherine Bateson
- I and Thou, by Martin Buber
- A Guide to Rational Living, by Albert Ellis
- Getting to Yes With Yourself, by William Ury