Early Autumn brings the New Year, Rosh HaShanah. It is a time for clearing negativity and caring for our inner selves, to begin the new year from a place of spiritual strength. I want to share with you some spiritual life hacks that I hope will bring you inner growth, awareness and ultimately joy.
Hack One (Deep connections)
Identify and name four elements in your life that are integral to you. These four elements are what ground you and keep you here on the planet. How are these life elements—and I know for me these elements are always relationships— like the four archangels? How are they like the angel Michael offering you love and nurturance? How are they like the angel Gabriel, offering empowerment and protection? How are they like the angel Uriel offering light, wisdom and insight? How are they like the angel Rafael offering healing, shalom, peace and wholeness? Now inventory how you offer the gifts of the archangels back to your four core life elements? Take a piece of yarn or thread and after contemplating each element, consciously tie a knot in the thread for each element and tie the thread on your wrist. During your day, take time to be contemplative and touch the knots and invoke intentions for their wholeness, and hold gratitude.
Hack Two (Hope)
Imagine a time in your life when you felt fully alive in a positive and peaceful way. Turn up the sensory volume on the memory; make all of the details more vibrant for a moment. The colours, the sounds, the feeling within you. Now go within the memory, inside of self, and find the line that attached you in that moment to the universe. We all have a metaphoric line or golden thread that attaches our inner being, our soul, to Divine Source. That line is hope, in Hebrew tikvah. The word tikvah literally is a line. In the Book of Joshua, Rachav is given a scarlet thread as her surety- the word in Hebrew for the thread is tikvah.
Use your time away from mundane life and work to remember your glowing line/thread to Divine Source and pull on it; feel it so you can remember when you need hope and strength that this line is always present.
Hack Three (Co-Authoring my life)
I think of myself together with Divine Source writing the next chapter in my book of life. My writing starts by doing a Cheshbon Nefesh, a soul accounting—taking stock of my spiritual and emotional life. I find the best way to kick-start my soul accounting is to check in with the people who matter most in my life, to find out if I need to offer others mechilah. Mechilah is a kind of forgiveness. Mechilah literally comes from the Hebrew word that means dancing. Essentially, I am asking people that I care about if we are dancing in our relationship, and if not, what needs repair to get back to our dance. The repair holds clues about my ways of being that need refining. Mechilah is beneficial for relationships and it is also serves as a mirror to see actual self. I understand mechilah as the first step towards writing the next chapter. It allows me to get a better sense not only of what do I want, but what wants me. Metaphorically writing with God allows for real change in my fortune and karma. You may not be Jewish and celebrating Rosh HaShanah but at this time of year there are many new beginnings. Let’s enter them, bringing our best selves.
Rabbi Harry Brechner is Rabbi of Congregation of Emanu-El in Victoria, B.C.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking at https://www.timescolonist.com/blogs/spiritually-speaking
* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, September 24th 2022