As I stand at the water’s edge, I am mesmerized by the ebb and flow of the waves. Some gently lap against the rocks; others come in more forcefully. Regardless of strength, the waves come in and then roll back out to sea. Countless living organisms ride this continuous cycle along with my thoughts as if the earth is in sync with my breath by means of the motion of the waves.
It is Rosh Hashanah; the Jewish New Year also known as the Days of Awe. Awe is an emotion combining dread, reverence, and wonder that is inspired by the sacred or magnificent. As I watch the waves and listen to the vast stillness of Lake Michigan, I am in awe. And as I cast bread upon the waves demonstrating my release of negative thoughts and feelings that have weighed me down this past year, feelings of insignificance bubble to the surface and I simply observe them. Questions that plague me today and every day are, “Do I matter?” and “How am I significant?”
In services the Rabbi spoke about in order to be, one must do. I believe about being the change I want to see in the world. Namely, I try to walk my talk every day through helping and truly listening to others in what I hope is a nonjudgmental approach. Through my coaching education I have learned to be the cause of my life, not the effect and that only I can shift my way of thinking to alter my feelings and behavior. This is why having purpose is so important. But whose purpose do I carry in my soul? Mine or that of my parents or family?
As I feel the breeze gently blowing through my hair and feel the warmth of the sunshine on my face I watch the bees’ intent on pollinating the wild flowers around the rocks continuing the cycle of life. What or who will I be when I’m no longer in the shadow of judgment or walking in the footsteps of those tremendous figures that came before me? What impact will I have in this world and will it be lasting? Who will be left to care? My mind is racing with rhetorical questions to which only God knows the answer as I struggle to uncover them. I’m listening but I do not hear.
Tikkun Olam teaches me to be my best self as I help to repair and heal the world. I believe by being the person I am I work towards that goal every day, or do I? Unfortunately, my training makes me keenly aware of how little others are there for me while recognizing how much I am there for them, or so I believe. In general, most people are focused solely on themselves; showing sympathy yet rarely empathy. How often do I try to share something of myself when others interrupt telling me about something similar that happened to them or simply tune out because what I have to say is of no interest? How fast the tables turn away from me often leaving me sad and lonely.
OK, this may all sound selfish of me yet it really connects back to Being and Doing. No matter what others may say or think, I will continue to DO what my conscience knows is best for me so that I can simply BE. And by BEING I will matter and I will make a significant mark of good on this world before leaving it. So who will I BE when no longer in the shadow of others? That’s for consideration hopefully many years from now.