We’re entering my favourite month of the year – Elul! I am a bit of a self improvement junkie, so I connect super well with the spirit of Elul, which is all about improvement and going deep. I’m including here my notes on the month from a range of difference sources (links included at the end), and a video summary of some of those thoughts directly below!
Reflect on the past year, and when we have “missed the mark” and how to move forward.
Take ownership of our lives – don’t be a victim. Be honest with yourself.
Elul is the time of year when the call to become aware of exactly where we are, and — from that heightened awareness — how to proceed is amplified to its loudest levels.
Elul – hit the reset button. A month where we can make choices and have supernatural power to move forward.
Getting ready to forgive others for their “human-ness” too.
“Anger and resentment are heavy, sticky things. These feelings bind us to victimhood and tempt up to ignore our own culpability. Do yourself and the rest of the world a huge favor: act with radical compassion for yourself, and all other humans. In Elul, begin to let go of whatever you’re holding onto so tightly. The release will purify, heal, and liberate you. We promise.” – At The Well
Personal Journal Questions (From At The Well)
As a side note, I wanted to say that I am sharing these very raw and personal comments in an attempt to be vulnerable to help others who feel the same way feel less alone, (hopefully) document a way forward starting at the place I’m at now, and also – I find writing to be therapeutic! Please refrain from comments that are too “helpful” – I’m not looking for suggestions, just for my voice to be heard!
- What is it time for you to wake up to? What is the Shofar blowing for? Wasn’t sure about this for a few days, but have realised I need to wake up to my humanity – as in the failings and reality of my body and health circumstances.
- If you were on your deathbed today, who would you forgive? What are you waiting for? Myself. My body.
- Which pain is pressing on your heartstrings at the moment? Not feeling loved/wanted/appreciated. Simultaneous feeling like a burden to others, but also alone – that there is no one I can rely on.
- What are you returning to this year? Joyfulness and vulnerability.
- What do you fear in this moment? Going through this conversion, which includes converting the children and for that to end up being a disservice to them – that they will reject parts of Judaism, and therefore would have been better off living as Noahides without the burden of being a Jew.
- What do you desire? To be loved, to be in a loving regular (as in, meeting up regularly) mama community, to be close in location to my greatest friends and allies. My old life?
- In what ways have you been alienated from your body and self? I think when you’re sick you can become really disconnected from your body. It’s what I imagine being old is like – that your have these moments thinking “I’ll do that” or “I like that thing”, and then in reality your body just can’t do that. Lately I’ve been exhausted constantly, and spend many moments in bed in the day. I still get up and do things, because I have little children to look after, and they need to DO stuff, but sometimes I hold back tears because I am just so exhausted. That’s really hard, because then logically I know that I slept well, and long, and really don’t do much, but the actual physical feeling of exhaustion is just totally overwhelming.
- In what ways or moments have you felt alienated from the Divine? A lot. Just lately I feel alienated because I wonder why I have been brought to such a difficult time and place when my life was so wonderful before. I’m not sure why all these feelings are back. I wonder if coming back to these feelings in cyclical, or circumstantial? It’s not a constant feeling, but when it’s here it burns through my soul. I am finding it difficult to connect with Hashem, despite increasing my time meditating on Torah, and praying more.
Mindfulness in Elul
self love <- self awareness <- introspection (hello Elul!)
A big month of preparation – preparing physically for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. But also preparing spiritually and soulfully for change and renewal.
Selichot – days of mindfullness
Elul = mindfulness
Ways to encourage Selichot:
- Meditate. Set aside some time to be with yourself, be with your breath, and notice what is.
- Time for reflection/year in review. What happened this year? What was awesome? What was hard? What have been the biggest opportunities to rise to the occasion? The greatest joys? How did you grow? What did you accomplish? What are the things you want and need to leave behind? What will you let go of?
- Forgiveness. Forgive those who’d hurt you, apologise for your part in bad relationships.
- Spend time in nature.
- Reconnect with family and friends. Send a card to welcome in the new year!
- Set a practical intention.
- Perform a ritual/mitzvah that’s like a fresh start.
Feminine month – month to receive as we turn within.
Letter of the month – Yud.
Yud represents the selflessness needed to come closer to Hashem.
First letter of Hashem’s name, Yisrael, and Jew (Yehud?).
Hashem is the inner point within us – meditate on this (the Yud) this month. The power of smallness and humility.
The first letters of the Hebrew verse “Ani Ledodi vidodi li” I AM MY BELOVED’S AND MY BELOVED IS MINE” ( SONG OF SONGS 6:3) spell our Elul, signifying that there is an intimate and loving closeness between God and people during this month.
Closeness with Hashem
Womanhood in Elul:
Goals fo Elul:
All these ideas are from the following places:
Mindy Ribner’s emails (email her to subscribe – beitmiriam (@) msn.com )