Prepent: 40 daily reminders to change for good and go into a new year, better. read more/subscribe


32 of 40
Sep 27/Tishrei 2

New Year’s resolutions sail in on the tides of good intentions but sometimes when those begin to ebb into our default comfort zones of familiar patterns and behaviors we sometimes crash against our own sad shores.


Despite my fresh will and vision I catch myself already doing this or that, habitually, and spin into self judgement, disappointed rage and resignation. Sadness follows, just a funk, a lousy mood, fatigued if not exactly hopeless. Change is not without its price.

I went for a walk and entered a park and laid down in the grass under a tree whose leaves were gently falling. and with that, my tears started falling too. No real reason, no cause, just a quiet time to mourn what’s falling, to let the sadness be.

There is an art to sadness, and a skill in navigating our energies and moods as they dip and rise. Sure, medication works for many, and sometimes all that it takes is just a good night sleep. But often we are programmed to deny ourselves our private moments, hours, more – of simple sadness. Keep on the public OK face, and hide the part of self that isn’t sure and has big questions. “We tell our triumphs to the crowds, but our own hearts are the sole confidants of our sorrows. “ wrote a British poet,Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton, 100 hundred years ago.


So I’m claiming for myself a slice of private sadness tonight, actively reflective, letting it settle and then wash out. Saturday nights, I find, are often good opportunities to delve into mellow, and sometimes wallow in some sad. Sabbath’s gone, the week begins, quiet blues-like liturgy is often sung and chanted, liminality in action allows some quiet tears. How much more so for the first sabbath of this new year?


Everybody’s got something to be sad about in our own world or the greater reality even as our lives are blessed and rich and full of joy. I feel it’s healthy to invite our sadness as a guest to our table during these days of introspection, honoring all that makes us who we are, if we like it or not.  Maybe it we ritualized it in this way we will be less taken aback when it lands on our doorstep?


Music helps. And quiet walks in nature. What makes me sad, and why, and what will help me thank it and give room to it, and expand my self to celebrate the wider range of feelings? Here’s a little help from Sinead O’Connor’s Tiny Grief Song

Sow in tears, reap in joy… a sacred week of soul work upon us. what a privilege.

Good week, Shavua tova.


31 of 40: Life's prose. Sabbath is poetry. Pick a poem for this first shabbat
33 of 40: What I learned from Orange is the New Black about Repenting.