Guided Meditation for the High Holidays

Focusing on the year that's ending.

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Move slowly from November into December, the Hebrew month of Kislev, the month that holds Hanukkah, the holiday of lights and miracles. In what ways did you bring light or goodness into the world this year? What miracles happened in your life this year?

Then think back to last January and February; first, the Hebrew month of Tevet, the conclusion of Hanukkah.

Then, the month of Shevat, the month that contains Tu Bishevat, the festival of the trees, a time for planting. Think about new projects that you started this year, new plans that you made, "seeds" that you planted for your or your family's future.

Move from late February into March, the Hebrew month of Adar and the ending of winter. During Adar, we celebrate Purim, a festival of fun and revelry. Think about the joy that came into your life this year? In what ways were you silly? Can you think of moments when you laughed?

From March to April, from Adar to Nisan, the month of spring. The time we celebrate Pesach [Passover] and think about renewal, rebirth, and newfound freedom. What struggles concluded in your life this year? Were there issues or difficulties in your life that you were able to overcome?

Next, think back to last May, the Hebrew month of Iyar. In the secular year, a time for closings and endings. Think about endings that occurred in your life this year. What issues, relationships, situations came to a close during the past 12 months?

Move from May into June and into the month of Sivan, the month that holds the holiday of Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates our receiving of the Torah. Think about learning that you did during the year. What new things did you learn this year, and what effect did they have on you?

From June into July and August; through the Hebrew months of Tammuz and Av; hot and humid weather; slowing of activity and some time for rest; in the Hebrew calendar, these months are a time to think about history and loss; think about losses in your life this past year. In what ways did you grieve?

And here we are in the new year, making new promises and setting new goals. So before we do that, take a few moments and deep breaths to remember the journey of the past year.

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Erika Katske is the Executive Director at San Francisco Organizing Project. She was previously a Program Associate at Ma'yan: the Jewish Women's Project.