Today is the last day of the year, Elul the 29th. The year 5772 ends at sunset. You don’t have to be Jewish to review your past year, any time you choose, and make an assessment. How have you been? Up to your own standards? Overly self-critical? Given yourself a B+ and a vow to try harder in future?
I’ve spent the past 29 days rereading my journal entries from the past year, going over “Sent” email, and even reviewing my Amazon orders. Yikes, I made a lot of mistakes in 5772. And I’ve got a few apologies to make.
Fortunately, I did a bunch of good things, too, that I feel proud of. The most humbling part of this balancing of the spiritual ledger has been looking at my list of goals and intentions from a year ago, and noticing how far I sometimes strayed from my path. That’s painful.
So I took some time off to paddle around Walden Pond in my kayak. While soaking up New England’s late-summer sun I read The New Yorker, a couple of novels, Thoreau‘s journals, and some other juicy stuff. I floated around. While floating, I ate tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden. Also some Ben & Jerry’s pistachio ice cream. I searched out the Walden jellyfish. Chatted with Pond People. Saw a Great Blue Heron from three feet away. Watched the moon rise. Took pictures, including the one in this post. Felt joyful. Avoided the news. Avoided my To-Do list.
Sunset comes earlier every day. All my good intentions, vows, and resolutions are finished. It’s time to start over, realign my mission. All my deal-making with the Universe must be accounted for — on both sides.
In Jewish tradition, the question each person must answer tonight isn’t “Why wasn’t I perfect?” but rather “Why wasn’t I as much as I could have been?”
This is the 30th day of the 60-day spiritual journey. We’re halfway there. As Simon Jacobson puts it,
As the sun goes down before Rosh haShanah the universe goes into a comatose state. A slumber descends on all existence, everything comes to a standstill in cosmic silence, in appreciation of its contract being renewed. (p. 72)
- You’re Invited on a 60-Day Journey (thoreaussukkah.wordpress.com)