I was recently told a saying I had never heard before but made total sense:
ego is the way of edging God out.
And man… Have I known what its like to be a product of my own ego.
I don’t normally do anything big for Yom Kippur (but I should since it is the holiest of days). Mainly this is because I draw on my Catholic side to practice the sacraments of confession and reconciliation on a regular basis.
This year I called deep on my courage, and am taking a 12 step amends approach to my sins.
I’m cleaning up my side of the street.
I realize that not only did I break my own frivolous resolutions from last year, but I didn’t accomplish a single thing I set out to do.
Rather I started cleaning up my side of the street, slowly, as opportunities presented themselves. The year wasn’t a loss like one might think, having broken all those self promises.
Because the reality is, when I stopped living other people’s “should’s” and stopped trying to control the outcomes of what I thought I needed; what I really needed- happened.
The way it’s supposed to.
I’m not going to celebrate Yom Kippur this year as a way of cleaning my slate in one easy fell swoop, rather I’m going keep my side of the street clean and make true amends as needed.
Amends when in the form of a program is not just saying “I’m sorry”. Its not enough to feel remorseful for what has been said, done, or what has failed to occur- rather it is a form of righting a wrong either directly or indirectly (depending on what has transpired).
I recently made a big one in the form of an apology and while a direct righting of said wrong wasn’t possible- indirectly I right it everyday by not letting it happen again and choosing to live a more mindful life. Being mindful requires me calling out my ego when it wants to lash out in fear. It requires me to have better communication and let people in, rather than putting up walls. Finally, it requires me to be open to possibilities and trust in myself, something I struggle with.
It’s no wonder that 12 step programs are rooted in spirituality. By being better versions of ourselves, we serve God and the people in our lives in a higher way.
I’m not in a formal program, or recovering from an addiction (unless you count perfectionism), but I am in my own personal recovery of relearning how to live the way I need to and not the way I think someone else projects that I should.
Yon Kippur is no longer one short period of atonement for me, but now a daily practice. It’s a conscious act of keeping my side of the street cleaner so that I can walk down both sides, without a heavy mind or heart.