Carol Silver Elliott


Photo taken by author
Photo provided by author

On my desk is a small jar of water with colored glitter gathered on the bottom of it.  It’s a great “fidget” focus, because you can shake it and watch the multi-colored glitter rearrange itself into changing patterns.  You can hear the water sloshing and feel the cool glass against your hands.  We put these jars together, creating our own colors and combinations, as part of a class in managing stress.  And we each put a sticker on the jar, carefully writing one word that we felt we needed to remember.  My word is “breathe.”

So many of us live lives that are full almost every moment.  Work, family, friends, activities and more combine to make schedules full and time stretched in every direction.  Like most of you, I suspect, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, sometimes, I—and maybe you as well—need to be reminded to just breathe.

As I write this we are between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  We are in that period when, as Jews, we have an opportunity, an obligation, to reflect on the year that has just ended and think about the year ahead.  This is the time that we ask forgiveness for anything we may have done that has been hurtful to others. This is the time that we re-dedicate ourselves to being the people we want to be in the New Year.

For me, it distills to something as simple, and profound, as that single word “breathe.”  We each need to give ourselves the space to think and reflect and plan.  We each need to take a moment to focus internally rather than externally.  We need to push “pause” for a second.  We need to take a conscious breath and create the peace we both need and are entitled to have.

Many of us find that kind of focus difficult, akin to meditation when we cannot quiet our ever-active minds.  So I suggest to you that, in the spirit of the holiday and the year it begins, that you allow yourself to close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath.  Breath is life.  Breath is energy. Breath is clarity. Breath is renewal.

May your New Year be filled with breaths that fill you with peace, joy, energy, health, kindness and calm.

About the Author
Carol Silver Elliott is President and CEO of The Jewish Home Family, which runs NJ's Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living, Jewish Home Foundation and Jewish Home at Home. She joined The Jewish Home Family in 2014. Previously, she served as President and CEO of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is past chair of LeadingAge and the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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