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Prepent 5774: Day 17, Trust Yourself

Before the High Holidays, a chance to step back and reflect

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Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.

Trust your feelings, they say, but can I trust trust? Can I release enough control to let go and trust that the universe is plotting in my favor even as so many stressful thoughts dance a hora on my heart and my mind? 

Well, I try. And on this Prepent. journey to get ready for the new year, I’m taking today, the Sabbath, to focus on the feeling of trust. 

I sat on the beach this morning and breathed in the sea air, realizing after a few minutes that my head wasn’t resting on my beach chair—it was up, scanning the waves, with a million thoughts running through it, anywhere but here. A voice inside (or maybe its just gravity) whispers, ‘Release, put down your head, everything will be ok.’

It’s so simple and yet so difficult a task, to relax enough to let go of the worries while trusting that everything will end up okay.  

That, in a nutshell, is the promise and the premise of Shabbat. On this third weekend of Elul, I want to remind myself of the basics: deep breaths, letting go of worry, laying my head down to rest, and remembering to trust (repeat daily, or at least once a week). 

I got up from the deck chair and went swimming in the ocean. But within seconds it’s really deep and my feet can’t feel the ground. I panic for an instant—that familiar fear and loss of control—but then I remember to relax, and to trust, and the feeling of release washes over me. I feel the waves for a bit, fighting the fear, kicking to stay balanced and be as calm as I can, before swimming back to the safety of the shore.

I need to remind myself to trust, just like I need to remind myself to stop, breathe, and just be, on Shabbat. 

A friend’s beach read featured this quote from a 10th century CE monk, which I found especially meaningful after my swim:

When a man walks into the sea up to his knees or waist, he can see the water all around him. But when he dives into the water, he can no longer see anything outside, and he knows only that his whole body is in the water. This is what happens to those who plunge into the vision of God.

God is another word for universe, ocean, being, and trust. These days are all about the gentle plunge. Find a way to let to go today, if only for a moment, and trust the feel of earth beneath your feet. 

Shabbat Shalom

Follow along with the Scroll’s daily Prepent series here.

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Prepent 5774: Day 17, Trust Yourself

Before the High Holidays, a chance to step back and reflect

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