Saturday, September 11, 2010

Days of Awe

Rosh Hoshanah took place this past week--sunset Sept. 8 through sunset last night. Not being Jewish, or having extensive knowledge of Jewish traditions, and not living in an area with many observant Jewish people, it passed by my notice as every other year.

But in catching up on reading a few of my regular blog feeds over the past couple of days, I found a number of posts about the tradition of Rosh Hoshanah, and what it represents in terms of renewal and fresh starts. And, you know me and fresh starts... love 'em. New calendar years, new school years, new months, even a new morning, a blank journal... all good.

The days between Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, 10 days later, sunset Sept. 17 through sunset Sept. 18) are called the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim). Isn't that a great name: Days of Awe? During these 10 days, it's a time of reflection on the past year, to recognize the wrongs of the year and reconcile with each other and with God. (Who, I've noticed, Jewish people refer to as "G-d" when writing... I had to look it up and discovered that apparently spelling out the name might be taking it in vain.)

A couple of my favorite posts were at Eat The Damn Cake and in the SmartlyLA blog. At the end of Kate's post at Eat The Damn Cake was a list of questions that she uses to reflect on the past year and move forward. I enjoyed reading her questions and thought I'd answer them in my own way here, as my own kind of Rosh Hoshanah practice. It's a new meme! And maybe, just maybe, I'll remember this next year and come back and see if I really do learn anything or am just stuck on repeat, year after year. (Some days it does feel like that.)

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned this year?
I seem to learn the same lessons over and over: Slow down. This applies to all areas of my life. Driving. Talking. Thinking. Moving. Mowing. Making decisions. Reacting. Speaking before thinking.

What is a new skill you’ve acquired?
I have learned bits in photography. A little with sewing. I definitely want to keep going further with the photography, and add in more artistic creativity to my life overall.

Did you do something big that you never thought you’d be able to? What was it?
Can't think of anything BIG.

What do you find beautiful about yourself that you didn’t before this year?
I can't think of anything. I may need to ponder this one a bit.

Who did you grow to love even more?
My husband.

Who did you grow to love or appreciate for the first time?
A new friend. A lovely surprise.

Who impacted you in a profoundly positive way?
A group of women I have lunch with about once a month. It's pretty great.

Who surprised you?
My son, with his maturity and insight.

Who infuriated you? Have you been able to come to terms with it?
Can't say, we live in a small town. And, no, haven't come to terms with it. I'll keep working on it.

Who hurt you? Have you been able to forgive them?
No significant hurts to me personally this past year. But, when you hurt my guys, you hurt me... I actively work on forgiveness; it's a process.

What do you recognize in yourself that you want to work to improve?
Pettiness. Seeing issues in other people and being blind to my own "stuff."

What food did you discover? Or what food did you grow to love?
Is there any food I don't already love? That is the better question...

What negative thing have you let go of?
The need to be right; I don't need to be right, I need to be learning. But I'll be reminding myself of that one over and over in the coming years, I'm sure.

What is something you’re truly sorry for?
Turning a blind eye to situations and circumstances that have needed my attention. Letting things be, thinking they'd fix or improve when in fact they needed addressing.

Who did you really hurt? Did you tell them you’re sorry?
Significant other of the past. Yes.

What goal did you accomplish? (It’s OK if it’s something “small.”)
I have started running again, and practicing my calligraphy on a daily basis. And writing more, but I need to get more consistent with that discipline.

What are you really looking forward to?
Celebrating my fifth anniversary with my husband in Hawaii.

What is one of your favorite things about your life, looking back?
That I made a choice to turn back toward a more spiritual basis for living and learning. The blessings have been innumerable.

Would love to know how you'd answer these, either in the comments or on your own blog. Shalom.

Photo source: (A Rosh Hoshanah tradition includes eating apples dipped in honey in the hopes that eating them will bring about a sweet new year.)


  1. Was just about to make comments on your Friday night grateful list and here comes a wonderful reminder of the benefits of looking around for new ideas in worship and family traditions. Thank you so much for this insight into Rosh Hoshana...sometimes we associate these holidays with historical happenings on these days but to make it a living, breathing part of your life is awesome...truly awesome.

  2. I put this survey on my own blog. What a great way to reflect on the past year and get the new year off to a positive start! I enjoy your blog so much. It's always a pleasure to read!


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