Doing My Elul Jumping Jacks

Doing My Elul Jumping Jacks
Tonight I saw the almost-full moon rising in the sky, and felt the panic of a procrastinator who realizes that the big end-of-year exam he thought was weeks away is in fact tomorrow morning.
Elul is almost half over, and where am I?
Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwartz pointed out in her class this week that if you knew you could do 25 jumping jacks and lose 50 lbs instantly, then we would all be jumping-jacking away. And on a spiritual level, Elul is like those jumping jacks; the Ben Ish Chai taught that every moment of Elul introspection has 1000 times the power of a moment of soul-searching any other month of the year.
But I, for one, have been busy. With summer vacation. With kids. With trips. With hosting. Most years I try to spend at least 5 minutes a day doing Elul instrospection in order to come up with my goals and priorities for the coming year. But this Elul I’ve been spending only a minute a day, or even less than a minute, reflecting on the year that was and my goals for the year ahead.
So I’m happy I signed up for Yocheved Rottenberg’s therapeutic writing for Elul workshop, to force myself to do those jumping jacks I really need (and really want!) to do.
This morning was the first of the course’s three 2-hour sessions. The last class I took with Yocheved was pre-Covid, so it’s been a while. But it was as incredible and deep as I remember.
First Yocheved had us write down our goals, what we want most. And this is what I wrote:
*I want to know that my life’s journey is not better or worse than anybody else’s life journey.
*I want to know that my children are on their own life journeys, which are not better or worse than anyone else’s life journey.
*If my life were to end today, I would want to feel the deep satisfaction that I have fulfilled my yeud, my G-d given life’s purpose, which is not better or worse than anybody else’s G-d given life purpose.

One comment

  1. Chana,
    Thanx to you I’ve learned from Rabbi Nivin about the power of introspection during Elul, even for a minute a day. As well, I have taken Yocheved’s therapeutic writing classes and their depth, honesty, and support have been a tremendous gift. Last year I did the daily 5-minute Elul writing prompt, and was astounded at how it changed my perspective on Hashem, Elul, and myself.
    These programs are truly a blessing for us busy mothers!!!
    Thank you for sharing, and promoting them.
    Hatzlacha rabbah on your life journey, and your children’s journeys as well!

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