We are in the days of awe at the turning of the year. I am not observant in the traditional sense, I don’t often go to temple, I don’t keep kosher, I seldom say the Shabbat prayers. And yet I consider myself irrevocably Jewish, for while I don’t observe the holidays in the way I did as a child I am deeply connected to the intentions of the rituals. And so have created some rituals of my own, rooted in questions, turning, returning, and reflecting on how the invisible is visible. Reflecting on how I create home in both the metaphorical sense and the actual place and what brings me to home. What is the longing that we all feel to belong and what does it mean to try and practice “a right life” and a “writing life” within and outside of community.
Over the years I have created rituals, reading Alan Lew’s “This is Real and You Are Totally Unprepared” between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Walking in the woods. Journaling. Reading poetry. Giving things away. Being sure to have those “I really mean to get in touch” conversations with friends and family. Discerning what is important, what feels purposeful and joyful, and then deciding which of those I can realistically follow to completion during the course of the year. It is a time to pause, to take stock, to mend, to offer gratitude, both in the visible and invisible realms we live in.
What rituals do you have for the times of turnings in your life? What can you create?