I Shall Be Released

Earlier this week on Rosh Hashanah, the family gathered to celebrate, eat and share the ritual of Tashlich

We talked about the heart of the ritual, to release things from the past year that you want to let go of, those things (and behaviors) that no longer serve, a spiritual doorway to renewal for the new year.

My 13 year old niece asked, “So what is everybody going to let go of as we throw our bread crumbs into the lake?“ In the spirit of transparency and sharing, I volunteered first:

“I want to get let go of the image of self-reliance that keeps me from actually getting the support I need.“

Complete stillness and awkward silence. (Uh oh, too much vulnerability?)

Then my niece said with a chuckle, “Well who wants to follow that?!”

I felt an old impulse, a vestige of shame, stir inside my belly, and thankfully I was able to release it. I trust that every single person at the table heard what I said, and bore witness to my truth. Perhaps I even planted some seeds of transformation in each of them.

We then strolled unceremoniously down to the lake on that glorious autumn afternoon, our hands clutching fistfuls of small chunks of old bread – somewhat squishy somewhat stale mixed with palm sweat. I lobbed a half a dozen blobs of bread into the water, feeling the arc of my arm and shoulder, watching as they hit the surface of the water.

I could hear Bob Dylan singing “I Shall Be Released” echoing in my bones.

What do you want to release from the past year? What might you let go of, those things (and behaviors) that no longer serve, to make space for possibility and renewal in the new year?

What do we collectively need to let go of in order to heal the planet and the world?