photo by Jennifer Bloom
I like the symmetry of this moment
as I sit silent on the same couch,
in the same spot,
wrapped in a blanket,
surrounded by boxes,
filled with a deep sense of peace.
The last night in this home
is a reflection of the first.
And yet, in that reflection
I view myself in a different light,
as a hand gently gliding
on the surface of a still pond
would allow me to see myself transformed
by the movement of the water.
Every once in a while, I experience what I call a "bookend moment," a brief point of time that brings me full circle to a previous memory. The circumstance or environment might be familiar, but I can really notice the ways in which I'm different than I was before, and also how I'm still and always me at the core.
I think the seasonal rituals that we humans create can serve as bookend moments in their own way. This week, my family and I celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Over dinner and apple crisp, my twenty-year-old son, twelve-year-old daughter, and I reflected on the past year: How had we each grown? What were we most proud of? And what do we wish we had done differently? We shared our personal reflections for ourselves and then each offered a view of what we noticed in the others. Then, in the car on the way to synagogue, we talked about our hopes, dreams, and intentions for the new year.
After services we drove my son back to his college apartment and he told us that he had started keeping a journal, reflecting on the week every Friday afternoon. I like to think that our family practices helped plant this seed. My daughter and I drove home singing songs from a playlist of her favorite tunes (which included a lot of Taylor Swift). When I got home, I texted my son: “My 💖 is full and happy tonight 🥰🥰🥰”
The customary Rosh Hashanah greeting is L’Shana Nova Tikateivu: May a good year be written for you. I like to imagine that we are co-authors of the script of our lives. While the flow of life is unpredictable, mysterious, and influenced by many factors beyond our control, through reflection we have the opportunity to make sense of our experiences in ways that can help us learn, heal, connect, and grow. Over the years, my reflection practices have helped me live life with a greater sense of intention, meaning, and unique purpose.
As the season turns toward autumn in the northern hemisphere, I wish you the opportunity for sweet reflections that yield a bountiful harvest for your soul.