7 Ways to Be More Mindful in Elul

By Sarah Tasman and Sarah Waxman for At the Well

Elul is the wind up for the Jewish high holidays. With their approach comes much anticipation. As we prepare to honor the Hebrew calendar’s request to turn deeply inward and reflect, the season moves from summer to fall, and our days fill with newness.

There is a day in Elul when we are specifically extolled to take up a daily spiritual mindfulness practice. We call this day Selichot. Selichot is about pausing, asking questions, paying attention, and making the choice to live a more whole life. Remember, all this is in prep for that final moment when the sun sets on Yom Kippur, and the gates of the Divine swing open. No pressure, right? Breathe easy; At The Well has your back. Here are some tips to help you navigate Elul with grace.

1. Meditate 

Mindfulness meditation is one way we can honor whatever is up in the present moment, free of judgment. Inviting simple awareness into our lives gives us space to notice, accept, and make choices based on how we want to walk through the world. Keep bringing yourself gently back to yourself; over time, it will become second nature. Set aside some time to be with yourself, be with your breath, and notice what is. 

2. Devote Time to Reflection / Conduct a Spiritual Year In Review

Get that journal out, sister. Time to take an existential inventory. What happened this year? What was awesome? What was hard?  What have been the biggest opportunities to rise to the occasion? The greatest joys? How did you grow? What did you accomplish? What are the things you want and need to leave behind? What will you let go of? 

Make sure to share some of these reflections with your crew... perhaps even your Well Circle? Remember, you are not alone.

3. Contemplate Forgiveness

Are there relationships in your life in need of repair? (No shame, us too!) Are there people who have hurt you? Have you hurt others? Are there amends you could do to make? Old wounds that twinge? Taking stock of all this is “real work” of preparing for the new year. It’s not easy. Give this task the time, attention, and love it deserves so you arrive truly ready for the new year.

4. Spend Time in Nature

This is such a beautiful time of year to notice the natural world around you. Take a walk, clear your head, and breathe in the fresh air. Take a hike and get a new vantage.  Remember, when you inhale, the trees exhale. You breathe each other into existence. #Oneness.

5. Reconnect with Friends and Family

There’s a custom to send New Year’s cards to friends and family before Rosh Hashanah. Plan ahead! Reconnect with old friends by calling or sending a card with your “Well” wishes for the New Year. (p.s. The At The Well crew loves New Year’s lovin’. Our mailing address is on our website…wink wink.)

6. Set a Practical Intention

On both the secular and the Jewish New Year, we have a tendency to set unrealistic and unattainable goals for ourselves. This year, set aside some time during Elul to come up with an intention for how you want to live that’s practical, sustainable, and doable. Identify something small that you can truly commit to changing. (Helpful hint: get yourself an accountability buddy who motivates you and will remind you to stick to your goal.)

7. Perform a Ritual to Make a Fresh Start

Jewish tradition is filled with rituals to help you mark time in a meaningful way. Immerse yourself in the mikvah, or a natural body of water for a full-body refresh through the ritual of immersion. Say some healing prayers, and, for goodness sake, join/start a Well Circle and celebrate Rosh Chodesh with us!

Booklet Section: Remembrance, New Year Blessings, Elul Blessings, Meditations
Source: At the Well https://www.atthewellproject.com/blog//elul-ritual-month-of-mindfulness