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Healthy Self-Improvement

Friday, 11 October, 2019 - 11:58 am

Let’s face it, change is difficult!
We often speak about unshackling from the status quo and growing into a ‘new me,’ but inertia still seductively beckons.
There is a sense of vulnerability that comes with moving on to new behaviors and attitudes. The old way, as deficient as we may know it to be, has the comfort that comes with familiarity. When we’re in a tough spot, it may be uncomfortable, but at least it’s our spot; we feel like we have a grip on who we are, for better or worse.
Moving from point A to point B is a journey, and journeys are inherently disruptive. We’re neither here nor there. We’re not in a settled place.
If we want to maximize the likelihood that we will achieve our growth potential by by successfully navigating the journey from point A to point B, we need to chart a stable course that enables us to move away from the comforts of point A with the security and confidence that we will arrive intact at Point B.
That trajectory is found in the Holidays we now celebrate.
First, we spend an introspective ten days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. In that time, we painstakingly strip away the layers of self-image and ego, and the defense mechanisms, that have allowed us to ignore what we need to correct in ourselves and have served as barriers to self-improvement. On this side of Yom Kippur, we are more self-aware; but we are also a little unsteady.
We know the ‘old me’; but how will we relate to a ‘new me’? Will our self-betterment plan work? Will it affect how we are accepted and loved?

It’s a little scary at the beginning, so ‘training wheels’ are needed to steady the journey.
With perfect timing, G-d gives us the Holiday of Sukkot. During this Holiday we sit in a hut – the Sukkah - to eat, drink, study and celebrate with family and friends. Sitting in the Sukkah, we are nestling in G-d’s haven, a place of emotional and spiritual security where we are encircled by G-d and hugged by his embrace.
We’ve left Yom Kippur cleansed of the spiritual baggage that fosters inertia and with a budding optimism about self-improvement.  Yet there is also a trepidation about making the changes that will allow those buds of optimism to blossom.

In the safety of the Sukkah, we acclimate to our new perspective on life. We use the nurturing presence of G-d and our community to steady ourselves for the journey ahead.

Once Sukkot is over and we are walking steadily, we are ready to leave the Sukkah – to shed the ‘training wheels’  – and to implement our New Year’s resolutions in everyday life.  

What a wonderful transition to the year ahead.
Looking forward! 

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