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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish New Year’

When I was young, and didn’t want to eat something the Flapper served at the dinner table, she would happily chirp, “Good! All the more for us!” She was all about the Freudian theory of opposites, and she thought if she just played up how great a new dish was, my defense would fold and I’d give in to her exceptional strategy. Sometimes it worked!

Which is why I was intrigued with an essay written by Andrew Wilkinson on his tactic of reversing his To-Do-List at work; he applied the theory of opposites by turning his goals upside down and became immeasurably happier. “He wanted to figure out how to improve his day and make it more enjoyable. So, he followed the lead of Charlie Munger, right-hand man of famed investor Warren Buffet, and a proponent of ‘inversion’ – a strategy that looks at problems in reverse, focusing on minimising the negatives instead of maximising the positives.” http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170919-the-power-of-a-not-to-do-list

Last night, as I was explaining simply what the Jewish New Year meant to me while the 5 and “almost” 3 year old partially listened, it dawned on me that I wanted to start off the year 5778 with a new angle. I promised myself I’d try and look for the silver lining when things go south, I’d apply my Pippy Longstocking pigtails to every new challenge. I’d learn something new.

Just imagine making your New Year resolutions, only this time God has his Book open and he’s writing down everything you’re putting on your To-Do-List, making Rosh Hashana a kind of spiritual reckoning that ends at Yom Kippur and you better have confessed all your sins by that time.

“What’s a sin?” the Love Bug asked. I mumbled something about not listening…

So I thought about changing my resolutions, my intention to “do Better” infers that I haven’t been doing enough, right? What if I chose to make this the year I employ some “Anti-Goals?” Like Wilkinson, who stopped meeting with people he didn’t like, stopped holding morning meetings altogether, and never scheduled more than 2 hours of his workday, I might just say “No” now and then. I wonder how he dealt with his emails?

Let’s all try and reverse our thinking for a day, a week or maybe even a year. Let’s just put the wrong shoe on the right foot for once and walk around like a toddler not caring one iota! What will bring you more joy in the New Year? Let’s all make our very own “Not-To-Do-List!”

Happy Birthday to the World and I promise never to stop fighting for climate science education, because otherwise our great-grandchildren will have to populate another planet and start over. And I’m not so sure God would start out with “Let there be Light” again, since we didn’t listen the first time.

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When our children were young, we would walk to the river and stand on the rocks in contemplation. Usually our daughter, who liked to be first at most things, would dig a hand into her pocket and pull out a speck of pocket dust. One by one, all four of us would throw our tiny pocket-sized flecks of cotton dust into the water. Because this is the start of the Jewish New Year, and we knew it was time to think about our “faults.” In this quiet time of self-examination, Jews all over the world were symbolically shedding their sins (my term) in order to start over – to begin anew. One by one, all of our shortcomings could be thrown into the river and washed away.

Growing up Catholic, I always knew that whatever I did during the week, I need only confess to a priest on Friday and all would be forgiven. I’m a sucker for pomp and tradition. I loved marching to a beautiful grotto dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the forest around Camp St Joseph for Girls. Singing Ave Maria with the nuns there among the sun-dappled trees, gave me goose bumps. But in this ancient tradition of Bob’s family, we only had one shot at forgiveness. On Rosh Hashana God opened the Book of Life, and for Ten Days of Awe, He (or She) would inscribe the names of those who would be admitted to heaven. On Yom Kippur, the Book is closed. Ten days out of 365 to get it right. Ten days to make amends and start over.

Christian, Agnostic, Jewish, Atheist, Muslim, or Hindu, Buddhist or Hedonist, whatever you profess to believe – even you Secular Humanists and Unitarians out there, on these holiest of days in the Jewish calendar, I wish you a sweet year. And I sincerely pray that the Israelis and Palestinians will break bread together.

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