Some thoughts on the year past

Don’t get me wrong.  I was born a Jew and I’ll not only die one but it’s a sure thing–Buddhist meditation, love of Jesus, devotion to Krishna, the Tao Te Ching and the wisdom of the Koran notwithstanding–I’ll still spend all the time between those two events being a Jew.  This isn’t about that.  It’s about making use of Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish new year, and it’s companion, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.  This is the time of year when we traditionally take account of the past year to identify and atone for our sins.  Another way to see this is that this is the time when we clear away the trash of the past, the ego-based guilts and sadnesses of the past twelve months, to clear space for God’s grace in the coming year.

Those of you who’ve been following this blog pretty much know of my bigger blunders, those conflicts ultimately based on my (at the time) sincere belief that I was right and someone else was wrong.  I’ve tried to write about them in ways that indicate that, at least in hindsight, I was no longer being taken in by my own sense of superiority, righteous indignation, hope or fear.  I hope that came through.

There’s been another attempt to escape from egocentricity.  Simply put: a reaching out to make this blog a bit more about us and not about just me.    Frequently I’ve included in my email announcements the hope that you’d contribute comments.  There was a request that you write about your work or submit a six word autobiography or supply a caption for a photo.  Recently I posted Goldie Silverman’s Rosh Hashonah poem, Tashlik 2000.

I found an unexpected ally in in this pursuit, Facebook, using it to reconnect with several of the folks I knew and in some cases undoubtedly offended (or at least irritated) as an angry, moody,  drug-propelled film editor or an equally arrogant student or club bike rider or even family member.   I identified presenting myself as open to take the shit accumulated in the past  as a form of atonement: to be ready for and willing to accept that a significant part of the world wasn’t waiting for me with bouquets of fresh picked chrysanthemums and gracious welcoming smiles.  Each time I sent out one of those Friend requests my mouse finger trembled.  Blissfully, several responded warmly to my befriending requests.  In a few cases there have been actual reunions with the expressed intention of maintaining contact in the future.  In other cases there have been no responses.

All that said, in the Facebook words of Fredric D. Rosenberg, who’s said it so well and will probably not hurt me for quoting him without permission,

This is going to sound strange, but if I hurt you in any way in the last year and have not apologized and made amends before now, I am sorry. I will try to do better in the future. Let the fast begin.

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Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. richard:

    happy new year!

    bill

    Like

  2. dear richard,
    i’m amazingly happy and moved that you reached out to me after do many years.
    it was a good reunion.
    alan

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  3. Oh come now Dick! You can’t take a Rosh Hashona picture of your reflection on that metal surface! It’s for fire department use only!

    Happy New Year!

    Like

  4. I continue to marvel and applaud your ability to open yourself up publicly, particularly about the “bad” stuff.
    Thanks for introducing me to meditation, in fact I’m now taking another class with Peter. A happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

    Like

    • Esther,
      Remarkable how things happen! First your comment sparking a new perspective for me, then my beginning to re-read Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. She writes about herself, “…by attempting to share this experience of a student’s path with others [for me, blogging], I found a kind of fundamental happiness and contentment that I’d never known before. It made me laugh to see that…making friends with our own demons and their accompanying insecurity [the blog’s contents] leads to a very simple, understated relaxation and joy.”

      Like


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