Many of us are no longer tethered to an academic calendar, and yet at least in the northern hemisphere the coming of fall feels like the beginning of a new annual cycle. For our Jewish forebears, friends and family, this is the new year, with required soul-searching, coming into alignment with our deepest, wisest
self. We ask: who do we need to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness? What do we have to release, in order to affirm and be open to a new cycle? This would be a great practice for all of us this month, to supplement our shared UU practice.
Throughout this year, I invite you to a shared UU spiritual practice, using our 7 UU principles. For September, we continue with our 1st UU principle: We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every individual.
How it works: Set the intention for the week and each day. At the end of the day, reflect on what you noticed, what was hard, what was easy, how it affected you, what you’re learning. We’re staying with one intention for a whole week, because it takes practice (and sometimes we forget or get distracted!)
Here are intentions for 5 weeks, from August 29, through September, until October 2:
–Aug 29-Sep 4: Today I’ll choose one meeting, interaction or conversation to pay special attention to when, where and with whom I’m aware of worth and dignity and when I’m not.
–Sep 5-11: Today I’ll notice who treats me with respect, who’s aware of my inherent worth and dignity. What do they do that makes me feel appreciated? What can I learn from their actions and attitudes?
–Sep 12-18: Today I’ll notice who treats others with respect, who’s aware of the inherent worth and dignity of others. How do they do that? What effects do I notice from their attitude, words and actions?
–Sep 19-25: This week, I’ll shift to a daily evening reflection practice. Thinking back over the day: when did I notice dignity and worth today? When did it arise automatically? How did I feel in my body? When did I make an effort to notice inherent dignity and worth? What am I learning about dignity and worth?
Sep 26-Oct 2: This week, I’ll focus on a body-based reflection practice for the first principle: Today, I’ll explore body motions and positions that affirm inherent worth & dignity – my own and others.
May your shared UU spiritual practice go well!