Your mistakes are not who you are. They are what you’ve done.
Care for a little background? Yesterday concluded Rosh Hashana – the Jewish New Year. We believe it is during this holiday that our fate for the coming year is decided. Next week during Yom Kippur, our fate is sealed.
I realize many of my readers may not be Jewish, but humor me here… I think the lessons transcend – whether you’re Christian, Mormon, or don’t believe in much of anything.
We are taught that sin is an act, not a state. We all screw up. We are each born with powerful tendencies to both good and bad - and the drama of human character lies within the struggle and balance between the two.
Teshuva (the hebrew word for repentance) is ongoing, mainly because even though we KNOW what is right and wrong, sometimes our desires (and the power of human nature) blur our lines of rationale… and let’s face it - life can be complex and confusing.
It's during this time of year that we are encouraged to reflect on what we've done and what we've left undone. We're encouraged to refocus on what's important and who we want to be - it's never too late! Teshuva is meant to be aspirational. It's less about who we have been and more about who we might become. We're encouraged to assess any damage we've done in the past year, apologize, make amends, and move forward.
This, in my opinion, is this holiday's true beauty. G-d offers us this chance to return to Him and receive love. In every moment, of every day.
I couldn’t help but think back to December 31st, 2014. The clock was about to strike midnight and we all proclaimed our New Year’s resolutions.
Mine was “do more of what scares me.”
And here I am – nearly 10 months later (WHERE has this year gone?!) and I’ve terrified the shit out of myself!! I joined a barre studio and taught pilates. I quit that part-time job after deciding to do a bodybuilding competition. A self-confessed argument avoider (is that actually a word?!), I ended a relationship that contained more arguments than all previous relationships combined. I sold my condo (with all my belongings in it!), bought a house, hired a contractor and watched as they ripped all the walls out. While I’m proud to say I’ve come a long way this year, make no mistake. I’ve stumbled. I’m not perfect. And that’s the beauty in this holiday. It’s about holding up that mirror to ourselves and saying, “Ok. I wasn’t perfect. But here’s who I want to become.”
And sitting in that temple yesterday morning, I made a commitment to myself – and the good man above. I want to continue terrifying myself – doing bold things with this one life I have. I want to tell the special people in my life what they mean to me. I want to be a loving and loyal partner when the right person comes into my life. I want to do good deeds without expecting anything in return. I want to practice patience and forgiveness.
For all my readers – regardless of what you believe in – I hope you too experience a wonderful year that encourages you to stretch beyond the constraints you may put on yourself. I hope you see beautiful places, I hope you feel the contentment of receiving true, unconditional love. I hope you challenge yourself and try something you never thought possible. And most importantly, I hope you live a grateful life - living each and every day to its fullest.