The Challenge We Can Expect

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The Challenge We Can Expect

Kabbalah Centre
Setembro 22, 2014
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When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.
~Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s words express a hard truth about life–that tough times are inevitable. We will come up against all kinds of hardships, detours, and trying situations throughout our lives. It often seems that just when things begin to go our way, we run into a problem that can challenge our morals, integrity, or strength. And as Coelho so eloquently puts it, these moments come when we least expect it.

But the New Year is unique. Based on the Hebrew calendar, we know exactly when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will fall. At this time of year, life sets us a challenge that we CAN expect, unlike the challenges we face during the rest of the year. We can't postpone these powerful holidays. They come whether we are ready or not.

The challenge before us is two-fold—identify the parts of ourselves that we no longer want to possess (negative behavior and thoughts) and then remove those traits and tendencies from our lives. Rising to this colossal challenge will affect the entire year ahead by unlocking an abundance of blessings and gifts.

During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our positive and negative actions are set before us. We can transform our negativity into Light by recognizing our shortcomings and the ways in which we invite chaos into our lives, and then take positive action to shift our behavior and thoughts. Humility is the key to this transformation. Humility removes chaos that we invite into our lives through emotions like jealousy, ego, or anger (to name a few). Humility cleanses us of this negativity and prepares us for change.

The New Year offers powerful opportunities for change and growth. They are lessons waiting to be embraced. We must face them in order to receive the blessings waiting for us in the New Year. When we are hit with a challenge or feel blocked in life, it never feels convenient and rather than face the challenge, we often seek to avoid or ignore it. “But I have a deadline.” “The in-laws are arriving in town.” “The house could really use a new coat of paint.” We grasp at excuses in hopes that we can back out of the task life has placed before us.

“So many times we come to difficult places and situations in our lives, places where we feel completely blocked, and we just want to go around it or find a way out of it,” says Michael Berg. “What we don’t understand in those moments is that every single blockage needs to become an opening, and that within every single lock is the opening.” Each time we recognize an unattractive part of our behavior, we may feel inclined to look in the other direction. It is extremely uncomfortable. In this moment, we are facing a door. Recognizing this behavior and making a commitment to end it helps us move forward and unlock that door.

Rising to the challenge posed by Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur isn’t easy. In doing so, we face doubt and uncertainty. “Don’t go around a doubt,” says Michael Berg. “Don’t go around a challenge. Don’t go around a difficulty. Fight through them.” Transformation happens when we meet the challenge head on with our whole selves. By limiting the extent to which we meet this challenge, we are limiting the love, joy, and Light available to us in the year ahead. The holidays are a gift we can count on each and every year, providing us with the opportunity to grow and unlock the door to countless blessings in the New Year.