We are now in the month of Elul, the final month of the Jewish calendar, a month of introspection and contemplation culminating in Rosh Hashonah and the Days of Awe.
This is the time in Jewish yearly cycle that Jews are asked to focus on Teshuvah--a word often translated as repentance, but one that actually means return. It is a time to look back over the past years, reflect on the actions of your life and see what can be turned towards building and, often, rebuilding a better future. The break down to the depth of the soul began at Tisha b'Av. Now is the time to set the cornerstone for the coming year.
Teshuvah is a very personal, individual endeavor. Each person must decide each year what work needs to be done. For me, this year is a time to finish the transition forced upon me with my cancer diagnosis, and fully accept and embrace the opportunities this phase of my life has to offer. I am trying to rid myself of the clutter I have accumulated these past 5 years, of clutter both material and emotional. I am trying to clear my house of unnecessary possessions that just take up space and clear my mind of fearful thoughts that hold me back.
Each morning of Elul the shofar is sounded, not a call to arms but a call to peace--a peace within our hearts and soul. May we all find a way to turn to that peace and carry it with us into the new year.