Autumnal Equinox, Yom Kippur, and S.A.D, time for Forgiveness and Gratitude

Today is the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur

An important and sacred day in my tradition. It is the Day of Atonement and forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” – Marianne Williamson

In all relationships we make mistakes.  Forgiveness is hard in any relationship. It can be interpersonal, or inter-generational, or inter-national.  Research shows that learning how to repair, is the most important skill into healthy relationships.  We will hurt the ones we love. Our loved ones will hurt us. We will be hurt intentionally or unintentionally. It is how to deal with this that matters.

"Forgiveness." Picture taken outside Nelson Mandela’s home.

Entering into a process of forgiveness is a choice.  If you chose to not forgive, and you close yourself in order to not risk ever being hurt again…You lessen your chances for closeness and connections with your community, parents, partners and loved ones. At times it can separate you from yourself.

Few years ago I had the honor to teach my Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop workshop in South Africa. This is a picture I took outside Nelson Mandela home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In a past blog, Forgiveness – Is It Even Possible? I wrote about forgiveness in relationships and how hard that can be. In all relationships we make mistakes. We hurt those we love. Ruptures and injuries happen in most relationships. Time does not always heal. If we do not choose to enter the process of forgiveness, we decrease the chances of closeness and connection with our loved ones.

In Her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson, devotes a full conversation to forgiveness as it is one of the most difficult tasks to overcome in a relationship’s attachment injuries and breakups. Sue Johnson writes:

“The first goal for partners is forgiveness.”

In my psychotherapy practice, I have found that forgiveness, and trusting again, is one of the hardest tasks we face in repairing a relationship.

Happy Jewish New Year to us all, ‘Shana Tova’, and may this year be graced with understanding, and forgiveness.helping others

In the Jewish traditions, fall is a time of beginning and renewal, that is when the Jewish New Year, ‘Rosh Ha’shannah  is celebrated.  Autumn is when you harvest the field and prepare for winter.  Yom Kippur, is also part of the high holidays of Autumn, Yom Kippur is the day of Atonement and it is about pardon and forgiveness. It is a tradition to go to the river and throw away ‘the old’, and invite the new for the New Year.  Another tradition of the New Year is to eat an apple with honey to invite the new year to be as sweet as honey…

The Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur come around the Autumnal equinox, when the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Autumn, is the beginning of the dark time of the year.

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light…”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I often talk to my clients around this time of year, about a certain kind of sadness that starts to show up in Autumn. According to the Mayo ClinicSeasonal affective disorder (S.A.D) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, making you feel sad and moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.’

It is important to not overlook S.A.D., as it can be debilitating and cause worrisome symptoms.  Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.  Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and at time, medications.

Couples Workshop Nevada CityIn Refinery29 , Sara Coughlin  writes about the rituals of the autumnal equinox, “Most of us have been conditioned to believe summer ends abruptly after Labor Day weekend, But fall doesn’t officially start until the sun crosses the Earth’s equator from north to south, in an event known as the autumnal equinox, or within Paganism, Mabon. This year, the equinox will occur on Saturday, September 22. Spiritually speaking, this day signals much more than the start of sweater weather — the fall equinox is also viewed as the perfect opportunity to spend time outside, embrace changes in the natural world, and practice gratitude… The harvest festivals all revolve around our gratitude for the Earth and the bounty it gives us, explains author and Wiccan high priestess Deborah Blake. Historically, we would spend the equinox celebrating a successful crop and preparing for the colder months to come…

Nowadays, you’re just as likely to celebrate a more figurative bounty. By looking back on the last 12 months, since last year’s fall equinox, you’ll probably recall something (maybe a new friendship, relationship, job, or something as simple as a new budgeting app) that deserves a moment of reflection and, yes, gratitude.”
What is SAD, and Why is it Important to Not Ignore it!I often find that in the rush of time, creating times for rituals gets to the bottom of my list. I am always surprised how, slowing down the pace, and taking time, to write a gratitude journal, read a passage in a spiritual book that has been sitting there collecting dust, connecting more intentionally with friends I have not seen for a while, going hiking up in the mountains, and reflecting on the summer that passed and the year that is coming to a close, remind me my commitment to spend my life setting intentions, and being more present and aware.

Our next Northern California, Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop  October 13-14, 2018, is Sold-Out!!!  Thanks SO much to all of you who signed up, or referred family, friends, clients, and colleagues.  Your vote of confidence means so much to me.

Whether couples come to deal with painful issues such as infidelity and affairs, or to enhance what is good in their relationship, wanting to make it even better, our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, is a safe place to understand your relationship, and learn how to reach FOR each other in times of need, and communicate hopes, wants and needs.  To learn about our next  Hold Me Tight® workshop read here! 

If you have any questions about couples therapy, the workshop, or any other inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me,
with warm regards,
(530) 692 0680
Note: Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson.