Happy Rosh Hashanah 5773 to my Jewish readers out there in Nobody Nation.
Or, Rosh Hashanah 2012.
Either way, for our Jewish friends, sundown Sunday marks the start of the new year. A new beginning. A time to reflect back on all that transpired in the last year, and to look ahead at all the goals for the days ahead. The start of days of awe. The start of days of wonder. The start of the new.
The new year, or any new year, whether in Judaism or for other traditions, is a time to stand at the starting line, waiting for the word “go.” It’s a pause. A moment. A gap between what was, and what will be.
But what’s in that gap? What’s in that pause? What goes though a person’s mind when the training is behind and the race is ahead? Is it nerves? Excitement? A tremendous sense of quiet focus?
Often, when a new start comes for me or one of my friends, no matter what our religion or pursuit, I think about that gap. That moment before the official start of a new race. When we stand in prayer or anticipation or in a secular phase between what was and it is coming, what is it that we’re really doing?
If we’re just standing there regretting everything that has happened, then we aren’t thinking about ways to make a fresh start. If we ignore the past altogether and just say, “I’m living in the moment now!” we risk leaving loose ends.
But, if we stand in focus…if we stand in reflection…if we stand with a real sense of desire to account for what has happened, and an earnest desire to prepare for what’s ahead, then we give ourselves a chance to really understand this moment. This liminal phase in the doorway between what’s behind and what’s ahead.
Okay, now what does all of that mean? Maybe it’s like this. We had a goal in the last year. There was something we wanted that perhaps we didn’t receive. Now, we have a ceremony going on in this moment — secular or religious, doesn’t matter — that will give us time to pause and reflect — to stand in the reality of our situation and take stock. So, maybe we review the paths we took to that goal that didn’t work out so well. The false starts. The earnest attempts. Maybe we think about the delays, the disappointments, the things that didn’t go exactly as planned. But now, in this moment, we’re not pursuing. We’re not regretting. Instead, we’re holding. Holding a space. Sitting in the middle between what we want and what we’ll do to get there. So we plan anew. We pray. We take stock. We get the courage up again.
And then we take a step.
We move ahead.
We put one foot in front of the other and take a fresh stride into a new commitment.
That, folks, is what a new year is about. Take resolutions, for example. They’re not necessarily about making a commitment to an absolute. Rather, they’re about standing in the gap between what we wanted and what we still want and committing to a fresh start. A renewal, of sorts.
Don’t lose sight of the importance of that. Don’t miss the MAKING of the vow…the TAKING of the pause…the MOMENT of reflection.
The STANDING in the gap.
As the year of Judaism turns to 5773, whether you are Jewish or not, take a minute to appreciate the pause. The stop. The opportunity.
Stand in the gap between desire and accomplishment and renew your commitment — either to something old, or something completely new.
REFLECT on what you wanted.
RENEW your commitment to pursue it.
REENERGIZE your will to carry on, and…
REMEMBER to be fully present in the space between the dream and the journey to get there.
With that formula, I can’t guarantee you’ll reach your goal, but I can honestly say you’re giving yourself the best chance at seeing it in fresh light with a new vigor.
Heck, that’s a recipe all of Nobody Nation should follow.
Do it. Help a friend to do it.
Then, when you reach the finish line, don’t forget to celebrate. Your Jewish friends will tell you that Rosh Hashanah 5773 has time for that as well.