The 10 days between the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement are called the Days of Awe. Jews are commanded to take time and look inside, to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and make some commitment to becoming ones best selves. On Yom Kippur you hope that if you’ve prayed sincerely, your faults will be forgiven and you will be inscribed in the Book of Life.
When I was a boy, I actually thought that if God missed my name (God forbid) and I didn’t get in, I’d die a horrible death. I take it less literally now, and use this time to look inside and around me, for ways to love myself, and others more. It’s less about sin and repentance, and more about embracing myself…and forgiving myself for what I can no longer do.
But this Yom Kippur I am not feeling particularly loving, although I am hopeful today’s diplomatic breakthrough will end Syria’s horrific civil war. I have my doubts that the Assad regime will destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, but I am still praying we do not launch a “limited military strike” sending in missiles, and instead send in clowns.
In a few weeks I’m scheduled to visit Syrian refugee camps in Jordan with Patch Adams MD and other Gesundheit! clowns (www.patchadams.org). In addition to whatever else I am, I am also a clown. The clown/fool/jester is an archetypal human character throughout history. They provoke laughter, poke fun, provide social commentary, diffuse anxiety, and also heal.
Even in times of our greatest suffering, if we can reach out and make openhearted, loving connections, it is those moments that we are reminded that we have not lost our humanity. When I think we will still make this trip, I feel my despair lift. Let’s send in the clowns as an alternative to missiles…and may this be the year we find peace and delight in life, Inshallah.
PS For those of you who want to treat yourselves to a healing experience join Mona Polacca (one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers) and me for the only healing workshop we will do this year. It’s November 17-19, 2013 in Phoenix for more information go to my website (www.healingdoc.com) for details because early registration discounts are still in effect.
Have a great week, and remember the people you love…… and tell them….I say this For All My Relations , Mi Takuye Oyacin