The month of Elul is an essential beginning of the High Holiday season, and it begins this Friday evening. It provides each of us an opportunity—an entire moon cycle of days—to intentionally prepare ourselves for a new spiritual beginning.
The birthday of humanity is approaching, and celebrates your specific and unique life journey. It’s most essential to remember who you are. To help me walk consciously through the month of Elul, I create a calendar. Although simple in design and measure, it is a holy caffeine-like anecdote that keeps me awake: daily awareness. It’s based on a design by Shira Markowitz, which I began using nearly a dozen years ago.
Once you have printed it out–Elul Calendar PDF– (or emailed me directly for the file), decide on one simple action you will do every single day of the Elul moon. During this act, you commit to placing your full attention on you. For that one moment—or five or ten or forty (!) consecutive moments—you breathe into and align yourself with clearest purpose and being
Commit to doing the same act of wakefulness each day of the Elul moon cycle (and the first ten days of Tishrei, too). Choose something that is easy to accomplish and that you won’t mind doing for 40 consecutive days (between now and Yom Kippur). Choose your moment with simplicity. Some suggestions: light a candle, turn off all screens and media, sit outside on your deck listening to sounds, take a slow intentional stroll through your backyard, meditate, blow the shofar (which is a traditional practice for this time of year). You get the idea. These moments are for you. Each day after you honor your commitment, check the box of the appropriate date.
These moments of attention are a strong and valuable commitment. There’s much to do during these holy days of Elul, some of which I’ll highlight in future (and past) blog posts. However, in the well known words of the famous Chinese master, (Rebbe!) Lao-tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Be intentional about yours.
TAKE NOTE: If you are interested in diving deeply into the stunning transformative power of these next two moon cycles, I encourage you to immediately buy Reb Simon Jacobson’s 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays. Each page is beautifully designed, and packed with useful, interesting, and personal information about each of the sixty days of the Elul and Tishrei moon cycles. I pull this book off my shelf every year, its pages tattered and earmarked, a rainbow of Sticky Notes jetting off most of the pages. It deepens my journey. Seek it out. You’ll probably be able to find it somewhere. Yet, if it is back ordered, order it anyway! You’ll want to have it on your shelf for next year, too.