Perfectionism and waking up…Rosh Hashanah reflections
I’ve spent the past two days doing a lot of reflecting. While Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a festive time, it is also a time of contemplation and repentance. So, as I sat in my synagogue, praying and listening to the beautiful chanting, I found myself wondering—how do I approach self-reflection in a healthy manner? How do I not become obsessed with being perfect or simply rationalize away any challenging thoughts? Then, I remembered a quote from Sue Monk Kidd’s “Dance of the Dissident Daughter”: “Once you wake up, can you wake up any more?” And something clicked.
I realized that I had been looking at life as a destination rather than a journey. I had been searching for that one book or quote or lecture that would unlock life’s mysteries and help me be a better person. But, life isn’t like that! It’s a process. We are constantly waking up—not just every morning, but with every breath. Every second is new.
It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being awake. And these external and internal challenges I face are here by design—even the ones I revisit time and time again! What a blessing this Rosh Hashanah has been! I am not striving for perfection nor am I ignoring the challenges. I am determined to engage with life, with all the messy details, the questions and conflicts, to connect and listen and see, to face myself with curiosity and wonder, and to awaken—every day and with every breath.