5774 has passed in such a blur, at least for me, that in many ways i feel completely unprepared for a new year, and in other ways, i'm keen to turn the page, and start afresh. Rosh Hashana is the time of making a new start, a new beginning. It's the most powerful time of transformation in the whole year - and again speaking personally, i have so many things that i really, really would like to see transformed from their current state of affairs.
Last year, i literally spent days in Elul making teshuva, and trying to go over all my deeds etc. This year, between moving, starting two new businesses and having a lot of other stuff to do besides, i've barely begun the formal process of making teshuva.
But luckily, i have Rav Arush to help me out. He recently gave over a lesson where he explained that the year goes after the end - if we spend erev Rosh Hashana making teshuva on all the stuff we didn't manage to do, or unfortunately did, that rectifies the whole year, and gives us a clean slate, spiritually.
So clear the decks on Wednesday, get all the cooking, shopping, cleaning and arguing out the way by Tues pm, and spend as much of wednesday as you can making teshuva.
Good question: you can get little booklets in many places which literally go through all the sins a person can do in alphabetical order; you can follow the standard 'vidui' (confession) format; you can go through every part of your body, and try to think what you did with it that you shouldn't have and vice-versa (Rav Arush said that if we only focus on our mouths and eyes, we'll catch most of the really big ones...)
But don't just look back - also look forward. Remember, anything can change on Rosh Hashana. So how do you want your life to look? What problems do you want to see disappear? What miracle salvations are you waiting for? Spend at least a few minutes before Rosh Hashana to imagine how you'd like your life to look next year. Peaceful? Happy? Blessed? Content? Holy?
Then ask G-d to make it happen! Remember, He can do anything.
I'm going to end this post, probably the last one of 5774, with a really useful exercise that we can do to help manually over-ride our yetzer haras. It's called the 'temporal tap', and you can use it to deal with physical issues, bad habits, states of mind, anything you want:
The picture shows you where you should tap lightly, with three fingers together, on the temporal lobe that goes above and around the ear. Tapping makes the brain more receptive to the message you are trying to give it. As you tap, you repeat a carefully-worded statement, related to what you're trying to achieve, or stop, with G-d's help.
The left-hand of the brain is more receptive to negative statements (yup, that explains a lot...) so the statement you tap in on the left side should have a positive sentiment, but be worded in the negative.
EG: "I don't want to eat chocolate for breakfast"
"My back doesn't hurt"
" I don't get angry any more"
Notice that all the statements are worded in the present, as though they are already happening.
The brain's right hand responds better to positivity, so word your tapping statement in the positive for the right side, stating how you'd like the reality to be.
EG: "I enjoy eating healthy foods for breakfast"
"My back is radiantly healthy and supple'
"I respond to challenges calmly."
You get the idea.
Tap around the temporal lobe on both sides, while repeating the statement, 4-5 times a day, for at least a week. For chronic or long-lasting issues, do it for a month. With G-d's help, you will see things shift.
Shana tova u'metuka, and may we all be signed in the book of lifein 5775.