Another Rosh Hashanah, more Sharon Salzberg…Begin Again

Tonight is a very auspicious time to blow the dust of this blog and post.

Once again, we are in the Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And tonight, I saw Sharon Salzberg speak about her new book (and got my copy signed!)

Last year at this time, I did this post about how we can always begin again. That is the basis for many Buddhist and secular mindfulness practices. And last year, I was reminded by an Instagram post of Sharon Salzberg’s.  (it was right after Scott’s workshop. He just had an AMAZING book come out, called  BIG LOVE. Go buy it! It. Is. Fantastic.  And Sharon’s book has “Love” in the title.  No coincidences….)

If you’ve never heard her speak–especially in person–she is very down to earth. She doesn’t get all heady or philosophical.  She speaks in practical terms, tells stories to punctuate her points, and often gets the laugh a comedian would get. Just by sitting up there, being, well, herself.

I find it both enlightening and comforting at the same time.  She embodies such wisdom, and she does it in a way that sparks the feeling in me that I, too, can do it.

Tonight, she was talking about her newest book,  Real Love.
And she said:
“Love is not a feeling.
It’s an ability.”

Of course, we all have feelings of love. But what she is saying is that it is not SIMPLY a feeling. Loving, the action, is a skill we can cultivate and nourish.  Choosing love, doing the hard parts of real love-whether with a partner, a child, friends, whoever-is a behavior. If we want to live in love, we have to get very good at the *behavior* of love. Choose it again and again, even when it is not easy.

Especially when it is not easy.

This applies all the time, but the Days of Awe are a particularly good time to reflect on how we love. How we love others–but more importantly, how we love ourselves.

I have a big stack of books to read. I have been on kind of a bender after not buying books for a long time.  I have a few I’ve started, some I have not yet cracked open.  In golf, when you want to let someone get ahead of you on the course, you let them play the hole you are on. It’s called playing through.

This book may just play through that big stack.

L’shana Tova to all, sweet year, a year of presence and discovery. And always remember that you can begin again, every moment.