Looking Forward to Fitness

Looking forward...

The Jewish holidays ended Sunday at sunset. We spent the entire month of Elul (the Hebrew month leading up to Rosh Hashanah–the New Year) preparing for the spiritual work that takes place during the Ten Days of Repentance (from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur). Once the New Year begins, the intensity does not let up; just 5 days after Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the year) we begin Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), which lasts for over a week.

During this period of heightened spirituality, we often say, “I’ll get to that after the holidays.” We are busy and things get pushed off. Well, here we are; all the hoopla has died down and it is time to commit to the promises we made to ourselves, each other, and God.

For me, in the midst of it all I was also recovering from biceps tendon surgery. What I have been waiting for until “after the holidays,” was getting back into my best shape/fitness/health possible. And boy do I need it. Yesterday morning I got on the scale and had found that my weight had crossed a red line that I have not crossed in several years. So yesterday, I buckled down and got back on the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. I am already making progress. I am also making an effort to plan for daily workouts and making them a priority.

One of the amazing things about the High Holiday season is that it comes around every year. There is a realization that we are works in progress and that the journey to becoming our best selves is a lengthy one. Judaism teaches us to review our past, learn from our mistakes…and then look forward. We do a lot of remembering in Judaism–not for the sake of wallowing in the difficulties of the past, but rather as a guidepost for where we need to head in the future.

Looking at the number on the scale, contemplating the loss of muscle mass due to my surgery, noting the diminished stamina that I have could all be reasons to be downhearted. Judaism teaches me that it is best to take the information I have and take the steps to go in the right direction. When we have a bad day (or week or month or year), we should realize that every day provides us with new opportunities. We should be informed by the past, and not imprisoned by it.

Today is a new day. So is tomorrow. I am looking forward to continuing to become the person I want to be–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The holidays are over; let’s get to it!

Start your Spiritual Warm-Up Now…

Shana Tova

Thought for Shabbat

It is well known that going to the gym and starting to work out without some kind of warm-up is not the best idea.  The same is true with relationships; when you meet someone, it is best not to propose marriage on the first date!  

Now that Shavuot is in the rear-view mirror, I am feeling the same way about the high holidays that are just a few months away.  (I know!?!?)  While it is true that the month of Elul is really the time to gear up for the Ten Days of Repentance, summer gives us a bit of a longer runway.

If we think about it, when we are listening to your GPS and get off course, it is best to try to make a correction as soon as possible.  The further we keep driving on the wrong path, the more difficult it will be to get back on track and to our final destination.  Think back to the High Holidays last year.  Do we remember the goals we set and the changes we wanted to make?

We should not wait until Elul to take this walk down memory lane.  If we set our hearts, minds and souls to it, we can arrive at Elul already well back on track.

We often think of summer as a relaxing time.  (It should be that too!)  From a Jewish standpoint, however, it is time to orient ourselves to the task of meeting our goals and making the necessary changes.  

So…enjoy the weather, let’s not forget what lies ahead as the days begin to shorten.

Shabbat Shalom!