Harvest Time: Succot 2013

Succot 2013Anyone who’s visited a farmer’s market lately knows it’s a gorgeous time of year. Abundant in virtually every fruit and veggie we could conjure: bright, fresh, full of nutrients and flavor.  As we give thanks for nature’s blessings, we’re filled gratitude and delight. Wouldn’t it be grand to feel so enthusiastic about your own progress?

We’ve also reached almost full Torah circle. The perfect moment to look at how far you’ve come with what you started “in the beginning.”

You know the questions I care about in this blog: How can we create greater awareness and intention? How we can elevate our recalcitrance? How can we better connect to our holy spark? How we can become lighter beings, kinder and more compassionate? How can we heal our core stuff? How can we live with greater goodness and joy? How can we be fully present in the moments of our lives?

This week’s about looking your crap in the eye and saying both Good job! and I can do better.

Acknowledge where you’ve fallen short of the mark you’d hoped to reach. But also remember to give yourself credit. What you failed to score in reality points you may have reached in insight. Getting holier and wiser, or even healthier, more successful, or better partnered is a process that takes time. What’s more important than paying good attention, stepping up and trying to do better?

Judaism has a holiday for this season that involves setting up a small booth. The kind you might see at a craft show. A place to go, eat, and pray regularly for a week. To sit in the field of your being and say: This is what I have sown, and this is what I have reaped.

Poet Marge Piercy, speaking of the High Holidays, observes: I will find there both ripeness and rot./ What I have done and undone/ what I must let go with the waning days and what I must take in./ With the last tomatoes, we harvest the fruit of our lives.

That’s what this week is about. About making good salad, good  blessings, and enough time to contemplate the fields of your soul and your life.

It’s a time to breathe a little deeper and move a little slower. Be more contemplative as your lungs fill with both late summer and incipient autumn. Feel your heart nostalgic for the seasons ended as you remember the bright daffodils in your future.

That’s one of the beauties of Torah. The cycle repeats, and we get to appreciate it before we start again.

Jewish days begin at sundown, and Jewish years in autumn. We go inward into the darker time, getting ready to listen. Now’s the time to prepare to do better, while you can still taste the fresh tomatoes. A time to get ready to change I did into I will. To say good-bye and thank you, before we say Hello again. I’ll do better.

This week take some time to be silent, truly silent, and sit outside. Then listen to what you are being told about what has been and what comes next.

That’s your homework for now, and for the next round.