Here we are at the season of Turning and Returning. Holding onto the final weeks of summer, we've become uncertain once again about where exactly we're headed this year.
- How long will this Delta wave last?
- When will our kids or our grandkids get vaccinated?
- Where will these culture wars lead?
I recently came across this teaching by Sharon Salzberg, and I think it's a beautiful description of how we might enter into the High Holy Days:
"We practice in order to cultivate a sense of agency, to understand that a range of responses is open to us. We practice to remember to breathe, to have the space in the midst of adversity to remember our values, what we really care about, and to find support in our inner strength and in one another."
What is true for meditation is true for this season of the Jewish calendar that invites us to begin again. "The healing is is the return," she explains. "Learning how to start over with some compassion for yourself, instead of judging yourself so harshly — that [is] the point."
And that's what we're going to do in the weeks to come. As we acknowledge the heavy challenges of the past year and our hope for new sources of sweetness in the coming year, we turn inward to cultivate a sense of agency in what lies ahead.
We turn inward to pause and reflect on the range of responses we might bring to the unknowns in our lives.
We turn inward to feel the healing that comes with the return - with starting the year in news ways and ancient ones, with the opportunity life gives us to reinvent ourselves with each and every breath.
At Sanctuary, we're returning to beautiful nature settings for Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, so that we can turn inward together. We're organizing ourselves in small groups, and you'll find details below about the Circles & Gatherings.
May we begin a year of exploration, growth and connection with the trust that we'll figure out together our response to the changing world around us, each season at a time, each step at a time.
Sending love and strength,
Rabbi Bethie Miller