Saturday, September 14, 2013

Yom Kippur

Contemplating the crossroads at the American Indian Museum.

It's Yom Kippur.

I started the day by praying and meditating, then took my coffee out to the terrace so I could gaze at the sky for awhile. Though I walk every day, and definitely look at the sky while I'm walking, I had gotten out of the habit of just sitting down outside, gazing at the sky. One gift of the trip to the lake was rediscovering that practice. I'm a little unkempt when I sit down with morning coffee. I think I've been too self conscious to sit in a public front yard on East Capitol Street before I've cleaned up, but since the lake, I've decided I can run a brush through my hair and put on something slightly less dodgy than my jammies. With minimal effort I can make myself almost presentable even first thing in the a.m. It is worth it!

In a little while I'll take a shower, get out for a walk on this spectacular day of perfect, crisp, bittersweet fall weather. The light is gold, the sky a shocking blue. I will have to wear a light jacket. It is perfection.

The sky above the chateau this morning.

Later today I'll work on a couple of clients. They aren't just anyone. On Yom Kippur I was given the opportunity to work on two incredible, powerful, insightful young women. It's perfect.

Oh - I know, most Jews will spend their day much differently than I. They'll be in temple singing and praying, hungry/thirsty. In the afternoon they'll lapse into a daze generated by all the prayer, song and fasting. They will nap or zone out in some way that makes it possible for God to speak to them. The fasting, singing and non-stop praying helps cut through the wall of sound that surrounds most people. The observance of Yom Kippur dissolves every routine, puts people into a mild state of shock that opens space for a direct sit down with God. At least this is what I've experienced. It's very powerful.

Yom Kippur, like all Jewish holidays, is based on family and community. I love thinking of my kin gathering today to observe the holiday. Tonight I'll join the Temple Micah community at a neighborhood Break Fast dinner. I go every year and always look forward to it. I'll hear about the sermons and how the day went, I'll hear about the problems finding parking and other annoyances. We will eat apples dipped in honey and toast the new year together. I will see my friends and neighbors arrive kind of shriveled. As they begin to eat and drink again I'll see them plump out like one of those super skinny sponges that doubles its size when immersed in water. I'll watch their walls of sound come back. Their voices will become fuller, louder. There will be laugher. This is how a new year should begin.

In the meantime, I'll be doing my thing with God on my own. The God I worship does not care how or even if I observe the holidays. The God I worship only cares that I am sincere.

I am sincerely grateful for my good health, creative mind, and vibrancy. I'm sincerely grateful to live in this beautiful space on this beautiful street in the heart of my beloved Capitol Hill. I give thanks for my community, friends, clients and family and for all the seasons of life I've experienced and survived. I feel well cared for and guided.

This year, Yom Kippur is all about sincere thankfulness. Man, am I lucky! I surely am.

Onwards to 5774. Shalom.

Wings? A big heart? Taken at the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania Ave. SE yesterday.

1 comment:

Pam said...

This is fascinating to me Reya, as I am unaware of just what happens around Yom Kippur.
I will also learn more next week in one of my favourite television programs here, 'Compass' where around a dozen guests are seated for a dinner party while the host asks interesting questions about their particular religion/beliefs,while enjoying lovely food and the company of each other. This week it was Islam. Next week guests discuss Judaism and the beliefs important to them individually.
...and great photos Reya!