Yesterday began the celebration of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I do happen to be Jewish, but even if I weren’t I would find this holiday special.
You see RH kicks off 10 days of reflection leading up to the “day of judgment,” Yom Kippur.
In Wikipedia terms, “…three books of account are opened on Rosh Hashanah, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life and they are sealed ‘to live.’ The intermediate class are allowed a respite of ten days to reflect, repent and become righteous; the wicked are ‘blotted out of the book of the living forever."
I do take pride in being wicked in some ways, but not in the aforementioned definition. Certainly I am not the most righteous, although I strive to be.
What a privilege to have 10 days to consider a path to righteousness and ask forgiveness of those I could have done better by.
Part of the tradition is “to throw bread or pebbles into the water, to symbolize the ‘casting off’ of sins.” I liken that to the ritual of writing down thoughts to get them out of your head to ease your mind. Cleansing is good!
I appreciate the opportunity to take a moment to think about the hits (and misses) of past year and address them. To consider what went well, and what didn't; any regrets or missteps; and how to approach the year to come.
Whether you observe a religion or not, I suggest you too use this time to reflect, and ask yourself some key questions:
- What are three things you are proud of having accomplished this year?
- What are three things you are ashamed or disappointed by?
- In hindsight, what do you wish you would have done differently?
- Were you resourceful, or did you try to do everything on your own?
- Is there anyone you could have been kinder to?
- How could you make it up to him/her? Perhaps with a simple note or apology?
- How will what you’ve learned over the last year impact your actions going forward?
- How can you be kinder to yourself?
- What are your intentions for the coming year?
According to new research published by the Harvard Business School:
[The] results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning, confirming the words of American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.” … In fact, these beneficial effects seem to be lasting.
Through reflection we learn, refine and improve. We commit to ourselves and others, and build confidence along the way. The goal is progress not perfection. Small changes, right?
Wishing you a sweet and healthful year.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™