Besides the fact that I love fall weather (sweater weather, of course!), one of the main reasons that autumn resonates so strongly with me is because it embodies a sense of new beginnings. Who doesn’t love a fresh start? I feel it now, so much more than the flip of December in to January. I’m certain that in part this is because of back-to-school vibes, but it’s also because I’m Jewish, and in the fall we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. .
Like everything in a pandemic, the holiday was different this year. We covid-tested (negative) in order to spend some much needed time with family, which definitely helped to soothe the ache in my heart and bones, but what a head trip. Nothing is as simple as it once was. We live-streamed services which were beautiful as always, but we weren’t in community the way I’m used to. I wanted to burst into tears seeing my dear family, and also at the same time felt so wistful about the weird mixture of being in person with family after so long along with the distance of the live-streamed services. Add to the mix, the sheer joy of being WITH family in person along with the tumult in the news including the death of one of my most beloved Jewish icons, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the devastating miscarriage of justice for Breonna Taylor.* . And that’s just one instance of how part of this new normal is about figuring out how to manage conflicting emotions that come all at once. With increased frequency, I’m hearing, for example, about deep regrets, and then in almost the same breath, I’m hearing about guilt for having said regrets. It’s a lot. I know I’m coaching clients through being pulled in opposite directions by the multiplicity of emotions all the time lately. . This week we Jews called upon to reflect on the past year, to consider what went right and where we missed the mark. In a few days we move into Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and right now all this reflection and repentance is especially overwhelming. To say that this past year has not gone as planned is quite the understatement. I know I’m not the only one who has had challenges, had to make the most of complicated and difficult situations, had to turn lemons into lemonade, etc etc. Whew. . I wish I had magic to make it all ok. To make it easy. I don’t. But here’s what I do have to offer: Just be real with what is. And be kind to yourself about it. There is no point to trying to force yourself into being OK, or to wishing away sadness, or to being anything but real with what is. That saying, “The only way out is through,” is true. And I find the more present we can be with what’s true for us in each moment, the better we are able to honor our needs and pour kindness on ourselves, the easier and more clearly we can see a path forward. But you have to start by finding a way to be easeful with yourself where you are. . *Although expected, both the death of my personal hero Justice Ginsburg and the timing of it gutted me. I have taken great comfort in reading these pieces about RBG, and am sharing widely: From Margaret Wheeler, April Daniels Hussar, and of course Irin Carmon . And, the heart-break continued this past week with the gross injustice that was the ruling in Breonna Taylor’s murder case. If you’re sick about it like me, this fund, the Louisville Community Bail Fund, is a good way to support protestors who continue to champion her name on the ground in Louisville