A Month of Reflection: Day One

Today marks the beginning of the month of Elul on the Jewish calendar. Elul is that time of the year to reflect and prepare ourselves mentally for the High Holidays approaching. Each day of Elul, I’ll reflect on a theme and invite yoElul blog listu to come along on that journey. Feel free to comment with your reflections on the theme, post your own blog or Facebook thoughts, or just quietly give yourself a bit of spiritual space.

Day 1: DO

I suppose it makes sense to start here. Seeing as I’ve been away from writing on this blog for too long. Time to get back in the DOING of writing. It’s an important outlet for me, and I’ve missed it.

I’ve always been a word person. I pride myself on being a person who can use words to make people feel better. It feels good to have words be my “DO.” Sometimes, a note or a phone call with the right words can help make the world a better place. Can help carry someone’s burden. Can help lessen grief.

Still, words sometimes don’t cut it. 

Sometimes, I say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes words are just…empty. Sometimes I try to say something helpful and make someone feel worse. I find it incredibly difficult to forgive myself when that happens. (It’s human, I know. Doesn’t help.)

And I know that words have their limits. Beyond reassurance and love, my words hold intention. I want to be better at knowing when to let words be my “DO,” and when more is needed.
Sure, a note to a colleague is nice.
          Showing up to help in her classroom goes a long way, too.
Telling an acquaintance I’m sorry for their loss is a good thing to do.
          Showing up to help him mourn speaks even more.
So…to have writing be a “DO?” I’ll admit, it feels strange. But that is why, I suppose, I’m glad tomorrow’s theme is “ACT.” 

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2 Responses to “A Month of Reflection: Day One”

  1. Alana Mancuso Says:

    Interesting food for thought– did you know “do” in Korean means “way of life”? (At least, in regards to activities such as taekwondo; sadly my Korean is mostly based on my TKD experiences and secondhand lessons from a TEFL friend who taught in Seoul for two years.) For me that’s an important connection– that one DOES on a day to day basis determines one’s way of life. If someone’s unhappy with their way of life, then, it probably means they need to change their own habits. Obviously there are outside circumstances that can exist too– institutionalized disadvantage, a physical/mental disability– which can seriously hamper change. Still, I find the thought empowering: that, if you can try to change one small part of your daily “doing,” even if it’s only one small improvement, you can begin to change your overall way of life. Sometimes problems look so big it’s really hard to take any steps at all, they seem so ineffectual. But small dos eventually wear it away. Eventually, things change. It’s a reassuring thought.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      How amazing is that!? I love having that knowledge. It’s incredibly reassuring, I agree. And I agree that our level of satisfaction with life is intertwined with our own habits of thought and action. It’s also interesting because I had made my own connection with the theme of “act,” which seems – at least in English, at least to me – to convey a way of being, much like you were mentioning. More on that later, I suppose…

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