Leo Babauta of Zen Habits fame is someone I grow to admire more and more by the blog post. I frequently turn to his blog for inspiration and most importantly, practical tips on leading a more mindful life in a world that seems to be more “to’hu va’vohu” in its increasing chaos.
While t’shuvah, repenting for our sins and striving to be better is a mitzvah every day, Elul holds within it a sacred space to recalibrate and reset ourselves for the coming year. Any day of the year we can (and must) confess our sins. Yet, in our yearning for piety we may inadvertently overlook a crucial element of Elul, exposing ourselves and facing our own deep-rooted vulnerabilities. To be sure, vidui (confession) over failing to uphold Shabbat, the kashrut mixups, hurtful words uttered, unfair judgements passed is vital but could it be that our hyper-diligence to account for each sin like line-items on a spreadsheet is in itself a mask? Have we peeked behind the curtains, swept beyond veils of guilt to face our fears, our sense of inadequacy, our doubts of worthiness?
It’s a challenge getting to know ourselves in a world that has forgotten the sacred art of hitbodedut, of meditation and silence. In this world the challenge is all the greater and all the more important. Seeing all the parts of you, exposing yourself to your weakest points will direct you to the areas that beg for the most self-love and compassion, the points that are in fact your greatest potential for growth.
How has your life journey introduced you to your vulnerabilities? How do you respond to your failings? How do you grow from your past mistakes and mis-steps? Share in your journal or comment below!