Thursday, 6 October 2016


Yesterday, my daughter Sat-Sung asked me what I would like for my up-coming Libra birthday. After barely a pause, my answer was "I don't need anything and I don't want anything. What I would really like for my birthday is for you to do a conscious act of kindness for someone. This does not involve money. It is (simply) a kind act."

Our world needs kindness and compassion so add some extra for my birthday!

With the arrival of ‘our’ sponsored family from Syria this month, I am more aware than ever of the importance of reaching out with love and of countering injustice with compassion.  Aware, as well, of the kind generosity of people who are helping these future Canadians.

With the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I realize again that life is transitory and uncertain.  I see that I must consciously examine my life and act exactly as if this is my one chance.  "Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique..." *

My journey is to actualize my very own potential, following my own path, not walking in the footsteps of another, attempting to achieve what has been already accomplished.

There is a beautiful passage in the Mahzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, edited by Rabbi Jules Harlow and published by The Rabbinical Assembly in New York.

"Rabbi Susya said, a short while before his death: 'In the world to come I shall not be asked: ' Why were you not Moses?' I shall be asked: 'Why were you not Susya?' "

My challenge in this year 5777 of the Jewish calendar is to open myself with more daring. To breathe more deeply into my being. To own my uniqueness. Not everyone will like this mirror of me and my biggest challenge will be to stay on course, to ignore the media's persuasive slogans whose messages infer the "if onlys" and the "not quites".

When authentic selves meet we can listen and be heard. When we meet we can honour without either of us being "the other."  We can move towards our fuller selves rather than leave ourselves small and unexamined.

For Rosh Hashanah my wishes were:

  ~may love & compassion guide us
  ~may there be peace within us and throughout the world
  ~and may the work of our hands, heads and hearts be for tikkun olam**

When I was assisting clients at the Food Bank at St. John's last week, I chatted with a new volunteer.  I shared a thought that I bring with me each time I come. My way of being and my caring may be the only kindness this person experiences during this entire day.

We are the fortunate ones.

 It is essential that we embrace compassion and kindness and share it generously.

*Mahzor published by The Rabbinical Assembly in New York 1998 Printing
** repairing the world through human kindness and action