Dogs at the Table

...or to put it another way, "Perish, priest!"

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

New Year's Day

For some reason, I think of September as New Year's. Maybe I am Jewish in my heart-of-hearts, since Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year - usually takes place in September and commemorates the creation of the world (or humanity, depending on your rabbi of choice). It is the day that marks the beginning of sabbatical and jubilee years. It begins a ten-day period of introspection and repentance, and offers the opportunity to make what we might call "New Year's Resolutions" or amendment and change of life.

One of the best illustrations of this that I know is an episode of Northern Exposure called Shofar, so Good. Joel, the Jewish doctor in Alaska is confronted by his own arrogance and selfishness by three visits of "The Rabbi of Yom Kippur (Past, Present and Future)" in an extended dream sequence. It also invites us to reflect on how others (Ed, the Shaman-in-training) can atone for the sins of others, although it takes an act of will to allow someone else to do this for us.

I have been doing some reading this year in Jewish spirituality, specifically the path of Musar (sometimes Mussar) or Inner Holiness. It is actually quite close to some of the Vedantic (a Hindu derivative practice) spirituality which helped frame my own spiritual journey.

Upon reflection, and with some coaching, I am discovering that I need to exercise control in my life (also a common trait of Enneagram 7s). Workspace, calendar, routine -- these are not necessarily bad things, and engaging with them can be very fulfilling.

Unfortunately this goes against my inner nature which is adventure-seeking and somewhat chaotic. I like the notion of waiting to see what each day will bring, or where the wind of God might carry me. This isn't to be confused with pleasure-seeking or hedonism (not that I am against such things), but Musar is helping me with the notion of creating space for stillness and calm, and not living with the expectation that something - anything - should and will happen.

So September is New Year's for me, and the irony is that as I seek stillness and calm, as I attempt to take control of my workspace and calendar, as I develop healthy routines, that my calendar and parish life explode with obligations and other people's expectations.

C'est la vie!

Today's weigh-in: 229 Something's working