This past Shabbat, the world welcomed in the energy of Elul - the month before the Jewish
New Year - a time where G-d is seen as being closer to us than at any other time.
While the month of Elul is seen as a time for introspection and accounting of ones actions for the past year, I'd like to propose something totally different - something revolutionary and uplifting - after all, isn't it a mitzvah to serve G-d with Joy?
But how does one get to joy? You can't instant message someone to be joyous. Can't send an email or a tweet and demand joy...so what is the best route to getting to a place of joy?
How about Gratitude?
Studies have shown people who are grateful on a regular basis lead happier lives, have less anxiety and are also more successful - one gives birth to the other.
We are fortunate to have 2 daily prayers in Judaism which strengthen this emotional muscle called gratitude. When practiced with kavanah, it's the perfect start to a brand new day. The first is Modeh Ani where we express gratitude to G-d as soon as we wake up. The second is Mizmor LeTodah - a song of Gratitude.
After saying the one sentence prayer of Modeh Ani, which 3 specific things are you grateful for this morning? Grateful for a good night sleep? Grateful for the sunny day? Grateful that your child has a great friend? ....The opportunities for gratitude are endless.
Expressing gratitude quietly to yourself or to your family first thing in the morning will guarantee a positive start to your day - a chemical change within you occurs when feelings of gratitude are expressed. And positive feelings create joy which in turn spurs the mind to creativity and success.
And why stop in the morning? Why not practice this in the afternoon and evening? How will building this emotional muscle called gratitude change your day? Your week? Your Month? And the New Year? How will it snowball to change the course of your life?
Try it for a day. And then another. Gratitude is not difficult. Since G-d is closer to us in Elul than at any other time of the year, why not try gratitude everyday this month? I guarantee if cultivated daily, the New Year will be full of marvelous surprises....why not welcome in more joy, more success and more healing into your life thru gratitude?
Gratitude has no limits...and you have the power for positive change thru the simple words "I am grateful for......". Just saying this one simple sentence will alter your day...try it starting now.
Join us in welcoming the Jewish New year in Miami Beach ! Watch the video below for more information and visit www.getkavanah.com!