As the High Holidays approach, here's how to make real changes and get the new year off to a fresh start.Twelve days. That’s the length of time most people keep...Read More
Subscribe to weekly Shabbat candle lighting times and Torah portion by email.
The most important part of beginning anew is letting go; we need to stop what we are currently doing in order to do something else.
William Bridges writes in Transitions: “To become something else, you have to stop being what you are now; to start doing things in a new way, you have to end the way you are doing them now; and to develop a new attitude or outlook, you have to let go of the old one you have now… Endings always come first. The first task is to let go.”
It’s helpful advice for preparing for the High Holidays. We should ask ourselves: What do I need to let go of in my life right now in order to become who I want to be?
Here are eight things that I am trying to let go of before Rosh Hashanah.
Needing to be right. Most arguments are not worth the price that we pay afterwards. I would rather be connected than right. I would rather give in than give up the chance to be close to someone I care about.
Treating life like it’s a race. I’m letting go of rushing from one thing to the next like life is an endless race to complete my to-do list. I am accepting that my list will never be complete and that itself is a blessing. I’m going to recognize the beauty and the gift of each moment instead of running past them.
Worrying about things that don’t matter. It doesn’t really matter if the dinner I’m preparing is fancy enough or if the house is spotless. Instead I am going to focus on the parts that really do matter like the blessing of being together as a family or the joy of sharing a meal with friends.
Interrupting other people with my own agenda. And not just when they’re speaking, but I’m also letting go of preparing my questions and answers in my mind while they’re talking. I’m going to try to really listen to what the person is saying instead of imposing my own agenda onto the conversation.
My desire for certainty. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or even today, so I’m going to stop making decisions based on my desire for certainty. Instead I’m going to try to base my decisions on my values and my goals, even when they risk upsetting the status quo.
Taking things personally. The unanswered text. The frown in reaction to my smile. The guy who just cut me off on the highway. The moody teenager. The overtired toddler. The friend who isn’t listening because she is too caught up in her own issues. Most of the time people are not out to insult us. They’re usually tired, hungry, overworked, in a bad mood or a combination of all of the above. Instead of being insulted when someone rejects me, I am going to try to judge them favorably and assume that they are doing the best that they can under the circumstances that they have.
Avoiding pain and suffering. What we gain from pushing through our comfort zones is far greater than what we lose. Instead I’m going to reframe the suffering in my life as not only redemptive but as a gift given to me to help me grow.
Thinking that I am in control. There is very little that any of us actually control in our lives except for who we choose to become with the circumstances that we are given. Instead I am going to acknowledge God as both my Father and my King who creates and controls every breath that I take. And I am going to thank Him for bringing me and my family to this moment in this time. For creating us. For sustaining us. For bringing us into the New Year and for giving us all the strength to let go of what we need to in order to begin anew.