Some of this is normal, "time-to-check-in-because-High-Holy-Days-will-be-here-soon" stuff.
Some of it is the ongoing struggle with the changes that have arisen in my life since I decided to answer the call -- well, more of a nagging -- to dedicate myself to Jewish music and education.
And some of it is just the recognition that I'm getting, well, older, in a world where youth culture is still the biggest deal and the Millenials are already planning their World Takeover or whatever.
Mostly it's about exploring my spiritual innards and being honest with myself about lots of things, who I am in the ways that I am and everything I've grown through over the last year.
Elul and the impending High Holy Days just give this process a lot more focus.
I am home for High Holy Days this year. The first realization of that fact brought a sense of disappointment, even in light of the knowledge that last year's out-of-town, in-way-over-my-head experience will likely never be repeated. And yet, as I settled into the realization, I found myself making room for other things to come in -- and that's when I was able to relax and enjoy being at home.
Benefits of being home include:
-- returning to spend the Holy Days with my Havurah, whom I must admit I really missed last year;
-- being home with my Sweetie and having those really good heart-to-heart talks about dreams and goals and returning;
-- knowing that I will be in town this year to put up our sukkah, something that has not happened the last two years and which we both really missed;
-- being able to grow in new ways, spiritually and musically, thanks to taking on some additional tasks during the Holy Days at my Havurah, and the huge amount of encouragement to create and grow that I've gotten from friends in the process.
So today I look behind and ahead and, while the work of Teshuva continues, I am grateful for everything between last year and now. And I mean everything.
If you will be in Portland and want to spend Selichot in gentle, contemplative space, I invite you to join me and others at Havurah Shalom next Saturday evening. We'll begin in the courtyard with Havdalah at 9 pm, and then spend some time thinking and singing and dreaming together about how far we've come and how far we have to go in the coming year.
May the rest of Elul be a time of contemplation, reconciliation and forgiveness for all of us.