Kol Nidre (All Vows)

Kol Nidre. “The Giving Tree” popped into my head.

I stood there under the canopy of my prayer shawl, thinking “I have not failed to keep my word to anyone;” I sifted back through the year and realized…I gave my word freely and I kept it, for a quick shot of righteousness in the arm, for a little bit of self-esteem boost that I could be a good person–at the expense of my own creative life.

If the world is that growing boy in “The Giving Tree” story, my writing is the tree. I asked that tree to give her leaves, then her branches, then her very body -and when I was left locked in silence with no more words, having drained the life of that tree with my own choices, I chipped away at her even further by berating myself as a writer.

Under the tallit, the white cloth grown luminous in front of my eyes with the light of the candles, surrounded by the achingly beautiful strains of Kol Nidre, I cried until my face was wet with a mikveh of remorse.

Then, I forgave.

Yom Kippur. pressing the reset button. Setting an intention to nurture the tree FIRST. Creative life is not a frivolous thing- it does not come last.

Letting go, now, of that image of tree and boy–letting go of that story and mindset–letting go of the stuck places, letting go of the sensory memory of being locked in silence with no words flowing–forgiving it completely.  It was a journey and a realization I had to go through in order to get here today to this fresh new beautiful blank sheet of paper on which I begin, again and yet completely anew, to set words.


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