We enter the month of Elul — a time for reflection over the past year. What a wonderful Jewish idea! We have a whole month to get ready for the Days of Awe.
The challenge in our busy lives is how to truly reflect and plan for change. I must admit that I looked for an app that would guide me to ask myself questions — I’m sure there is one but I gave up after searching. Instead I found a great book: Creating Authenticity — Meaningful Questions for Meaningful Moments, by Greg Giesen. This is not a Jewish book or even a book by a Jewish author yet the questions can guide us to a deeper place. Take these as starters:
Put an alarm on your phone to remind you to stop and think every day.
Commit to answering a question with friends or family at dinner.
Find an email pal to share thoughts each day.
Put it on Facebook.
There are many ways to make reflection a habit and you don’t need to stop after the month of Elul! Here are a few questions from the book:
- What are you most passionate about in your life and how would someone know it?
- What three things do you value most in life?
- What has been one of the toughest things you have had to say to someone else?
- What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you see yourself in the mirror?
- Which of the television shows that you currently watch reveals the most about you?
- What is one of the most meaningful compliments you’ve ever received?
- What do you wish you were better at and why?
These are just a few and, of course, after you answer each one, go deeper into the question. Think about the “inner you” at the beginning of the month — who are you, then who do you want to be, and, most important, how will you grow to make a difference in our world this new year.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.