This past weekend at the cottage, I walked in to my neighbour’s cottage where several of our friends have gathered and it was clear they were all deep in thought. My friend quickly turned to me and said “You have to share with us the following:
- Your favourite part of or memory from the summer
- What you’re looking forward to the most in the Fall and
- Your least favourite body part
I actually thought this idea was pretty interesting and the timing of these questions couldn’t have come at a better time.
For some people, the start of school is somewhat of a New-Year trigger, where they set intentions and make resolutions. I know that for me, this was true about two years ago when I started my healthy lifestyle journey (although, I haven’t kept up with it the last year). September also marks the Jewish New Year – which I celebrate. So the timing of this is sort of serendipitous. While I was quick to answer, I thought about it more in depth when I came home. What intentions do I want to set for myself for this New (school / Jewish) Year? What could I have done differently or what actions would I change?
The one thing that comes right to my mind is to be more present with my family. I recently posted an Instagram post about this. I found a beautiful definition of the reasons as to why Jews put up a Mezuzah on their door frames and it really struck a cord with me. It’s a reminder to ask yourself the question “Who Am I?” every time you enter your home (or your friends). Are you the employee of Company XYZ, or are you a loving partner and parent? How you define yourself when you walk through the doors will help set the tone for how you treat those in your home.
I’m not a religious person, but I grew up religious. Now, I keep the Jewish customs because I enjoy them or out of habit, but mostly, because of tradition. It was so nice to come home today and find the mezuzah (the covered scroll on my doorpost) hung up by my parents. It’s customary & considered a good deed for Jews to put it up on all of the doorposts of their home. Our house now feels like home. I also searched the web to find a way to describe what a mezuzah is for those of you who aren’t familiar with it and I found a beautiful explanation for it (by Rabbi Irwin Kula) that I connected with… “Usually, when we knock on someone’s door we are asked “Who is there?” The mezuzah reminds us to ask ourselves the same question when we we enter our own home – Specifically, we should ask “Who am I?” Am I the employee, who is returning from a day at the office? Am I the CEO of a company? Am I the person coming home to pay bills and deal with the daily challenges that weigh me down? Or am I the loving spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend who is returning to a loving family? It is tempting for all of us to define ourselves as a worker, as a bill-payer, or as a person who needs to respond to our many Facebook friends instead of defining ourselves as a loving family member and caring friend. But fortunately, the mezuzah reminds us to assess who we are every time we enter our house or a loved one’s home. It is a vital question that should force us to remember what is important when we come home every day. Otherwise, if we don’t, the stressors of the day may stay with us mentally, though we may have left the office physically. In that case, we may be a spouse, friend and a parent in name, but emotionally we are not present.” A great reminder for me for sure as I aim to focus on becoming more present this year. Hopefully having 2 of the 3 boys in school full time this year will help too.
I know that I have to be more present this year. Especially with my oldest two boys in school full-day. It’s my last year at home with a child, and while I’m SO READY for them to all be in school and to do something different with my days, I know that I need to soak it all in because I’m going to miss this time too. I’m not 100% sure yet how I’m going to accomplish it, but I think setting boundaries in place for things like checking my e-mail, working, and going on social media will help… or at least be a start.
Have you set any intentions for this year yet? Or how would you answer the 3 questions posed above?