Because I already did Teshuva (repentance) last year and the year before that and the year before that.

I KNOW I did Teshuva because ever since my spiritual cleansing a few years back, not much has changed.

What was my spiritual cleansing like?

Well, let’s see.

I took stock of the spiritual burden I was carrying around with me

the physical burden

the emotional burden

the religious burden

my fears, hopes and cares

and I came to the realization that the burden I was carrying, well, it was just too damn heavy for one person to bear alone.

And so I removed that burden from upon my weary shoulders and stopped to rest for awhile. I lay those responsibilities, worries, cares and overwhelming sense of self awareness against a strong and stable tree and sat in its shade and rested my weary body and soul for awhile.

And as I sat, disconnected from everything around me, it was at that moment that I finally had a sense of what it felt like to run free.

Running free without any burdens, it felt good and young and oh so carefree.

But it meant that I was missing out on building up parts of my inner strength, my connections and my overwhelming sense of humanity. It meant feeling alone and not truly experiencing more than just a carefree sort of existence.

Of course I wasn’t ever completely burden free, I was really only free on some holidays and every third weekend, but who’s counting.

Even pseudo-freedom without commitments counts for something, sort of like holding onto a dinghy in the ocean, knowing that you still have a long way to swim, that your journey is far from done, but nonetheless feeling a sense of relief and salvation, even if it is only for a moment.

Then finally, when I was ready to carry that burden once again on my path that some refer to as life, I stood up and resumed my journey. It was then that I realized that much of what I had been carrying has been weighing me down, making me feel more tired and more worn out than I needed to feel. And so I left much of my previous burden resting there, in the shade of that tree and took with me only the most important loads as I ventured out once again.

Which of those peckalehs (packages in Yiddish) did I take with me, you may ask?

I took my children, love for my family, love for Israel, honesty, integrity, happiness, self preservation and love for God in a way that makes both me and God feel OK (right God?).

And so now as I walk along with a spring in my step and my head held high, approaching each and every new year with that feeling of overwhelming gratitude, determination and renewed appreciation for the world around me and I know that I have willingly chosen a path that I can happily call my own.

So to all of you who are walking the path of life with me: some holding me up, some keeping me company, some carrying similar burdens to my own, some carrying the weight of the world upon their shoulders,  whomever you are, you are part of my new-found Teshuva, my reality, my life.

It is to all of you that I wish a happy and healthy new year.