Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

Relationship Takes Work, but Is Rightfully Yours

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Sep• 02•11

Last night, the Elul moon set just beside the Coit Tower across the San Francisco Bay. I was driving home with my man, celebrating eight years of marriage, ten years of love, and an eternity of depth and connection. It was a glorious evening.

Elul, already 29 percent full, was afire with the sun’s orange reflection. The vision swept across my heart, penetrating my awareness of relationship with myself, the Divine, other people, and the world.

Orange Flame of Elul Sets across the SF Bay.

The Hebrew acronym for the month of Elul translates into English as: “I am to my beloved as my beloved is to me.” This reminds me of the guaranteed relationship we have with the Divine. We’re born that way. But every day, moments of action and breath, thoughts and feelings, affect how close or far we feel from the tangibility of Divine love and support.

The moon cycle of Elul is an auspicious period to review relationships to self, others, the Divine, and the world. Make  time for spiritual accounting during this moon cycle. Start by reviewing your day or this past week. Gradually, bring yourself back through the last four seasons of the year—summer, spring, winter, and fall. Allow your heart to be open and curious about which memories arise. Some may be specific. Others a bit vague. But capture them in writing—that is, jot them down—so you can review them.

Most people wait until something terrible has happened (suffering from an addiction, receiving a terminal diagnosis, etc.) before they do this type of review. The Elul moon cycle, however, provides this choice every year. During this twenty-nine day phase, we are encouraged to review, refresh, and reengage, so we may begin anew.

The Questions of Elul

Ask yourself: What patterns of behavior can you identify that keep you feeling isolated and alone? What experiences do you repeat—even when you don’t want to—that affect how available or open you are to yourself and others. Are there particular patterns of behavior, fantasies, or practices that cause discord, pain, or distance with people you know and love? What veils you from being in Divine relationship that is rightfully yours?

The first step is to notice the areas that arise when you contemplate these questions. Do not be critical of yourself, but allow the reality of your missteps and misperceptions to arise. Revisit—first just in your heart—people you may not have interacted with in the most tender or thoughtful of ways. Keep a list. Bring these events and people to heart and awareness in the coming days. As the moon waxes toward fullness, your actions will begin returning you to what is rightfully yours: love, acceptance, rebirth.

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