This other morning, in the cold pre-dawn hours, my husband and twelve other men dove naked into the surf at Baker Beach. Two by two they went, in silence, no barrier between them and the past, no barrier between them and the present...nothing between them and the future to come. Together, they washed away the past year--all the heartache and sorrow, all the successes and joys--and stood together in utter nowness.
And his act of spirituality, of faith and trust in new beginnings, reminded me if how valuable starting again can be. Like a "do over' in a game, or the hard reset on my computer, creating space and a ritual to clear the past and start from the beginning is something I know that many of us need.
In my tradition as I understand it, the new year began on Sunday night...and that means that I spend the days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (Ending Wednesday, September 23rd) reflecting. It's a time to take stock of what I have done well, and what I have not. To celebrate my successes AND my spectacular failures. And to reset for another year.
This is not a time for me to castigate myself or dwell in lack or guilt...in my understanding, I am to reflect on my "chait"--a Hebrew word that literally means, "missing of the mark". Much as an arrow speeds towards a bullseye, I aim myself with my intentions and go out in the world and live and create...and mess up. Sometimes I am closer to the mark, and other times farther away. And sometimes, there is that magical moment when I hit the bullseye exactly.
So this is a time for restringing our bow, taking aim at those bullseyes, and trying again.
This sentiment is not unique to my tradition, of course. As I understand it, Christianity has baptism and confession as part of its reset. Paganism has the death and resurrection of the horned god as part of its. Twelve Step groups all over the world practice the 9th step--a writing down of transgressions and then doing the 10th step of making amends.
What is unique for me is that I do it with an open heart, a free confession of my misses, a guilt-free inventory of my deeds--and I include EVERYTHING, and my dreams for the year ahead.
And I share it with others.
I don;t keep it secret, and dark and small. I invite others into my process so that I am in community, so that we can all laugh ruefully at my mistakes and rejoice together at my joys. SO that I can stand side by side with others as a sister, a mother, a woman, a friend.
In the spirit of the season, I invite you to join me for a small workshop:
Hitting the Bullseye: A Workshop for the Year Ahead
Friday, October 16th, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM at my home.
It will be intimate and fun and supportive and deep--and we'll look back, dream ahead and create something for right NOW.
You can sign up on my retreats page.
I can't wait to build the year ahead with you!