High Holy Days Journey with Amichai Lau-Lavie: 40 ways in 40 days to find your focus


What’s left to examine on this last night before arrival?



Be cheerful. What an insane habit is this of groping always into the past months, and scraping together every little pitiful instance of awkwardness and misfortune, and keeping my nervous system ever on the rack. (Emerson)


I think Emerson’s right – this 40-day journey is somewhat insane, and now that it is almost over, that we’re almost there, I feel the weight of the travel, these past few weeks of daily probing the innards of who and what I am. Are we there yet?


Am I Here yet?


Is Here what happens all day on Yom Kippur or is that just another there?


It’s about being in focus. Like with a camera, being ready to be in the moment. Tonight is the focus prep final.


I know that this journey does not really end on Saturday night when the Shofar blows and the sun sets on these 40 days and the feast replaces the fast. The repenting/perfecting/reflecting of self has to go on if the changes I want and the more happiness I want are to ground and grow and become part of who I am. But in some ways, this is the artificial, ritualized way of marking progress. There is a deadline – a focal point. Tonight we prepare for trial, for full on focus – tomorrow night we rise to the occasion.


Tonight I pause to look back and reflect on the journey of finding my focus– the 38 days of thinking and thanking and lists and conversations and cleaning up and questions rising and a gradual ascent up the mountain of these high and holy hills.  Day by day, what did I learn here? What is refined?


If you have been traveling with me, as so sweetly some of you share, I invite you to take this time tonight or tomorrow morning and look back at your journey as well.

There’s still time for phone calls and emails to deal with unfinished business of apologies and truth.


But mostly, if possible, find a minute to honor this journey and pause to reflect.

Have you found more of your focus? What more do you want to focus on?

Are you happier, from 1-10?

Are you more ready to be present, here, within, these coming days of atonement?  This coming year?


We t/here yet?


Day 37 9.15 SING MORE
Day 39 9.17 OPEN WIDE