Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is less than two weeks away. We all have our own customs and traditions prior to and during what Jewish people refer to as "The High Holy Days." For me, the holidays are about forgiveness, making the month and days preceding them a good time to talk to the people I may have had challenges with in the past year and strive to make amends — to ask for forgiveness.
To clarify some of the things you could do to get ready for the holidays and make this time meaningful, Rabbi John Rosove offers these suggestions, as follows (excerpted from Jewish Journal):
1. Relax: Slow down. Think about where you are in your life, what you want and need, whether you are happy or sad, fulfilled or frustrated.
2. Be self-critical: Identify those things that keep you from being your better self. Commit to breaking at least one bad habit in the New Year. For example, let go of the anger, resentment, and hurt that you’ve allowed to build up over time.
3. Meditate: Meditation is a means to become more self-conscious, self-aware, and calmer. Meditating can be done anywhere and at any time, when listening to music, looking at fine art, reading wonderful literature, exercising, walking in nature, and sitting still. Meditation trains us to listen mindfully and to be present fully with our loved ones, friends and even strangers. Become at-one with your environment.
4. Exercise: Walk, swim, ride a bike, go to the J, keep your body toned. Whenever possible, walk stairs and park at the far end of a parking lot. The calories burned this way will shed pounds of fat over time, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and afford you a greater sense of well-being.
5. Do at least one of the following each day:
• Have an ice cream
• Eat a piece of dark chocolate
• Buy a loved one a gift for no reason
• Stretch whenever you feel like it
• Sing in the shower
• Say hello to and smile at a perfect stranger
• Let that guy cut in front of you in traffic
• Pet a dog
6. Say “No” to requests if you feel already overtaxed and exhausted. Say “Yes” whenever you know doing so will feed your soul and open your heart.
7. Friendships: Apologize to the people that you’ve wronged and do so without condition. Don’t blame anyone for your own mistakes. Express gratitude freely. Compliment people when they have done something that inspired your gratitude and praise.
May the New Year return each of us to lives of kindness, wonder, sweetness, goodness, family, friends, and community. L'shanah tovah u-m'tukah (For a good sweet New Year)