Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish/Hebrew day of atonement. For most of us it means fasting for 26 hours and afflicting ourselves from the most basic of needs, food. But for us all, it is the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar.
So to those of you observing…
May you have an easy fast. May you be inscribed & sealed in the book of life.
צום קל. גמר חתימה טובה.
Any Jew will tell you that Rosh Hashanah and the days leading up to Yom Kippur mark a season of change. It is a joyous time coupled by the fact that it is during the early days of Autumn where we see nothing but change. But sometimes that change comes with challenge. It is even painful.
This past year has been trying for us all in more ways than one. The challenges we all faced, the obstacles we all overcame. Some of us are still struggling and facing those same obstacles or in the face of new ones. While all or most it stemmed from the pandemic, others faced financial crisis, racial tensions and so many other socioeconomic issues.
Some issues hit closer to home. So many of us were forced to take shelter in place with family and loved ones only to realize that there was toxicity brewing within our own walls. It was this toxicity that we had not only ignored but not were forced to face. It created anxieties in us that we didn’t even know existed. It exposed traumas and realities that we never had to deal with before.
For me the biggest issue was when I know longer had the security blanket of the workplace. It was there that I could take refuge from all the foolery at home and in the world. I used my office after hours to work on projects like writing and my blog. I even used the gym area to workout. Because then I didn’t have to compromise at home or ask permission for my own space that I actually paid for!
That’s another story for another day. (trust me on that)
But then the pandemic hit and while we all thought (well hoped) it would be a few weeks or so, the fit hit the shan. Days became weeks and weeks became months, Before we knew it, spring became summer and well now, here we are in fall.
We live in a country often assumed to be great but literally forced us to face the realization that for a developed nation, we were actually far from it. When you think about it, it’s really effed up. Most US citizens were forced to either send their kids to school amid a pandemic or have them starve because school lunches & breakfasts was their primary place of nourishment? And just as bad, middle class & poorer class Americans havinh to chose between risking exposure to the same disease or work to earn a paycheck to barely get by. Meanwhile some us were privileged enough to stock up just in case. It was this economic divide that no matter what our financial class/status was, we could ignore it. Out of sight, out of mind.
And sadly, 2020 had more insanity to give us.
As if that wasn’t bad enough we saw a racial divide topple the already existing socio-economic one. I won’t dive into the aspects of race because it only leads to 2 sides… one of which that believes the other is racist, while they in turn believe that there is nothing more than race baiting to stir the masses. Meanwhile, what is really going to boil your noodle is that idea of race is nothing more than social construct created to build a sense of superiority and inferiority is us all.
Like I said, that’s not a conversation any of us are ready to have.
Needless to say I won’t be traveling down that rabbit hole today.
While today is about reflecting on the things that we can do to become better people, it is also about forgiveness. I used to seek forgiveness to the people I had wronged as well as forgive those that wronged me. Not once I hadn’t forgiven myself. Years of coping and therapeutic change and not once had I sought forgiveness to my ow self.
While I had forgiven myself for allowing others to hurt me. What I had never tried was forgiving myself for compromising myself or lying to myself. Too many times we trap ourselves in the idea of conformity disguised as comfort. We tell ourselves that if we don’t make waves or if we bend over backwards for just a moment it’ll keep the peace. It’s like we allow a situation to fester because we know it’s temporary. Why put up with any bullshit? We live in that prison. That lie.
I know it because it was the same prison I built for myself long before the pandemic came along.
Well this calendar year of 2020 and Hebrew year beginning 5781 marks not only my 40th birthday but changes that I will seek to make within. Sure I believed in the compromise that I could not change others but that should not mean that I will allow them change me. That’s what self-reflection means.
To learn, to grow, to actually change is to reflect. We do not grow wiser from our experiences alone but from what we reflect on them. Once you become aware of what led you to those experiences in the first place, you put yourself in a better position to make the necessary changes in order to improve your life.
Until Next Time Kiddies,
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