I frequently use this bulletin to promote what we can all agree are the world’s best medicines: timeless and universal interventions that will never be withdrawn or recalled. They form the foundation that supports the integration of our whole self into the world and into the tasks we encounter here.
We don’t see too many ER visits caused by work-life balance, a better routine, or a stretching program. These habits are good medicine. Regular exercise in nature does wonders, as does a little sunshine on the skin first thing in the am or switching to unrefined sea salt, just to name a few.
I consider emotions to be like medicines too. Kindness in heavy doses is pretty amazing. Whatever you put out there can’t help but act back on you. That’s a main way to ensure it and other positive emotions in your life. Kindness outwardly is amplified 100x if it is matched inwardly, whether directed at ourselves or others. It’s pretty noticeable how a gentle inner atmosphere gives you more options with how you treat other people.
You can practice emotions too. Actually, it seems clear that practice is the way they become habitual. It’s good work though. Ask anyone who has a gratitude journal.
With this outlook in mind, and in connection with celebrating the year’s rhythm, which I also like to do in the bulletin, today I wish to highlight the most special time of the Jewish calendar. This weekend is Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the year for the Jewish community. I would like to promote several healthy aspects of the traditions and practices around the holiday that are as sound as any medicine.
It’s with great anticipation and excitement that the 10th day of the Jewish new year approaches. Sunday night into Monday is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. Since Rosh Hashanah, preparations have been intensifying for this communal day of fasting and prayer. On Yom Kippur any act of betrayal against God is forgiven. It’s emphasized, however, that sins against your fellow man or woman are another story. They are our own responsibility. They require an action on our part, maybe an apology or gesture of reconciliation, maybe a retribution of some kind.
Accountability and responsibility: world’s best medicines list? Definitely.
Forgiveness lights up the criteria to be included in the list of highly effective holistic medicinal gestures. The themes of self-reflection, prayer, and humility are the same.
Not to mention, the medical libraries are full of physiologic evidence supporting the benefits of fasting.
Throw in connectedness, family, and communityand you complete a beautiful picture of how living with a shared spiritual tradition is priceless.
So in appreciation for the worlds best medicines and in solidarity, we wish our Jewish brothers and sisters a “happy holiday”, a good fast, and a good final sealing.
And to us as a world community, as we sit at the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere, it’s a reminder that our small existence is backed up by a larger one.
To remember that is to be whole.
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