in awe

We are now in the Yamim Noraim or the Days of Awe (though some say we’ve been in them for about a month already, nobody can deny we are definitely in them now).  The ten days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are also called Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, or the 10 days of repentance.  Now, I’m not too big on the concept of repentance (I overdosed on it several times while growing up), so I prefer another meaning that the word “teshuvah” has—returning.  The “ten days of returning” is something I can deal with without doing too many mental gymnastics or getting painful flashbacks from my childhood.

The idea of “returning” reminds me of something my therapist said to me a few weeks ago.  We were talking about ideas about God, ideas about belief and spiritual practice.  She told me that she thinks that the reason that regular spiritual practice is so important (her example was “even just sitting in church for a couple of hours a week”) is that it helps us reconnect to ourselves.  Growing up, I would have thought this bordered on heresy (after all, we’re supposed to be connecting with God!), but this makes a lot of sense to me now.  Maybe I’ll talk about this more another day.  Maybe not.  The point is that I am seeing these ten days, and especially the hours I’ll be spending in shul (synagogue) as a time to refocus, to renew, to reconnect with the deepest part of myself, the part of myself that connects with the eternal.

As a part of this, I have decided to participate in 10Q this year.

10 Days. 10 Questions.  Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection…Next year the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that.

(And you definitely don’t have to be Jewish, so check it out if you’re interested.)  I’m planning to post my answers here.  So here goes, question #1:

Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

The most significant thing(s) that happened in the past year all have to do with breaking my ties to X.  In the past year we went to mediation for the divorce, the house was foreclosed, the divorce was finalized, he gave me a get (Jewish divorce), I went through the When Your Relationship Ends class, and he married ____.

Today I am so much more free than this time last year.  Last year at the holidays X was so very much an anchor holding me down, a very heavy weight on me.  Last year he was almost all I could think about.  This year I am thinking about how I can live my life to the fullest.  I am thinking about how I can let others in.  Last year the best I could do for myself was put up walls of self-protection.  This year I am thinking about how to bring them down.

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4 responses to “in awe

  1. I think it’s too bad that the word repentance has come to have a negative connotation… really it just means to turn and go in the opposite direction. Instead it has come to mean ‘I’m sorry’. I can regret my actions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to change my life. But if I turn and take my life in the opposite direction, only then I am truly repentant.
    I like the connection you mentioned of returning… getting back to center. It fits well.

  2. I really like the way you are looking at this and I love the idea of the 10Q.

  3. I’m glad you are seeing such a positive difference in your life this year. : )

  4. I like the idea of time to connect with yourself although I still don’t think I’m ready to go to church. I also like the idea of the questions and to look at where you were last year and where you are now.

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