I am generally not a fan of those positive affirmation messages that litter my social media. I'm certainly not criticizing those who post them, nor am I suggesting that the people who do post them aren't genuine believers in that which they are posting. It's just that the spiritual cynic in me can't abide self-help via Facebook.
For me, (and this is a strictly personal belief so please don't send me emails, posts, and comments calling me a defeatist bitch!) soul-searching and personal growth require a far more intensive thought process than can be gleaned from a photoshopped nature scene complete with an inspirational quote from the Dali Lama. I need to delve deeper into my psyche and creativity in order to discover that certain level of introspection, rejuvenation, and inspiration necessary for intimate growth. In short, I need to put in the work.
Belief in God is a tremendously personal experience. It is impossible to explain in any single blog post or conversation as to how or why The Divine Presence impacts an individual. I would never claim that I myself have a personal conversation with God. I honestly believe that espousing such a thing tends to come off as somewhat egocentric. (Hello Mike Huckabee!) My personal search for The Divine Spirit has led me on a path that is unearthed less through prayer and ritual, and more through discovering everyday brilliance, genius, and natural wonder. I am in awe of the painter who can perfectly capture a moment in time through her brushstrokes. I revel in the musician who can manipulate emotions through just the right chord patterns. I gaze with wonder upon the the dancer whose whole being is engulfed with fervour as he leaps for the stars. I marvel at the writer who can tell a story that is infused with both pain and passion. I see God in these moments and through their creativity I find meaning.
The month of Elul affords me the time I require for that personal introspection and reflection. It is my warm-up for the New Year that is rapidly approaching. It allows me to revel in those brilliances that I believe to be divinely-inspired, and it brings the philosophy of t'shuva, t'fillah, U'tzedakah, repentance, prayer, and charity into a clearer perspective. This is why I am once again choosing to participate in the daily exercise of blogging for the month.
Blog Elul is the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer. (aka Ima on the Bimah) It is her way of engaging the social media world in introspective conversation for the month. Each day is assigned a specific prompting word that is a theme for the upcoming Yamim Noraim, High Holy Days. In past years, I have used the genius of Broadway musicals as my vehicle of expression. This year, I have decided to use what I consider brilliant film works to articulate each day's theme. It is surely a challenge, but it makes for a more intentional personal involvement and it allows me to revisit some of my all-time favourite films. The combination of pop culture with increased spiritual awakening feels very much me.
I hope that you will join me for the journey. The month of Elul begins this Sunday August 16th (we are not quibbling with the two day Rosh Chodesh-new month) and thus my first posting will appear then.
A quick caveat about spoiler alerts.
It is possible that you may not have seen the films from which I will be excising my clips and therefore you may wish not to be spoiled. (Some of the clips I have chosen come from climactic or final scenes.) That is your choice, but this is my one and only Spoiler Alert. Now it's up to you the reader. Let's call it personal responsibility, shall we? It is very in keeping with the time of year.
You can also follow my posts through my newly minted Facebook page. Just follow the link and like the page at the top. The updates will appear in your Facebook feeds. As well you can follow me and other Elul-involved bloggers on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #blogelul or #elulgram
See you Sunday.