Years ago, comedian and actor Jim Carrey was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on her show. In this interview, he told her a story about the early days of his career and how hard he struggled during that time. He was barely scraping by and had nothing except his dream of becoming an actor. Instead of accepting and succumbing to his circumstances of lack and seeming limitation, he would consciously visualize all the things he wanted. This empowered him to continue in his pursuit.
Eventually, he took this practice one step further and wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered” to be paid on Thanksgiving three years from the date he wrote it. He carried it around in his wallet every day, and it became tattered and worn, but it gave him the constant reminder. A reminder that success was on its way. Three years went by, and as Thanksgiving rolled around, he learned that he would be making $10 million on a film called Dumb and Dumber. The rest, as we know, is history.
In the days leading up to the holiday of Yom Kippur, we are given the opportunity to connect to an abundance of joy and fulfillment no matter what our circumstances are. The kabbalists teach that each holiday is a powerful and important cosmic window offering specific energies. These days are celebrated as a way of helping us harness their energy in our lives and one such window in time is Yom Kippur, which begins tomorrow, the 10th of Libra.
On Yom Kippur, we don’t eat or drink because we want to allow our body and soul to elevate to the highest spiritual level. By abstaining from food, drink, perfumes, and even bathing, we disconnect from the physical world as a way to connect as clearly as possible to the spiritual realm. By doing this, we raise our consciousness and from there are given the opportunity to remove any negativity that we have accrued throughout the year.
This is the most important opportunity we get from participating in Yom Kippur. That for these 24 hours we bring ourselves to a place where we experience only joy, fulfillment, and peace. No matter how the current circumstances look. No matter how the physical picture looks. An entire day of no eating, drinking, or bathing probably doesn’t sound joy-filled or fulfilling, but that’s the point. It creates the perfect condition for the practice of calling on positivity even when the physical looks and feels constricted. How we experience these limits in the 24 hours, we observe them is what dictates the blessings that we will receive in the coming year.
We all can manifest all sorts of blessings in our lives every single day. But so often, we get caught up in all the things that we see–and don’t see. We get stuck in a pattern of only noticing what we lack or the things that aren’t working. As we continue to focus on these things, we create more of them through our thoughts, words, and actions. Just as we can draw positivity to us, we can draw negativity in the same exact way. Now, this isn’t meant to scare you, in fact, it’s meant to do the opposite. It’s meant to empower you and inspire you to redirect your year.
Just as Jim Carrey illustrated in his story of manifestation and success, it takes time for a thought to manifest. It needs the consistent power of our attention and energy. Shifting our perspective from what is lacking to what it is that we want is the secret ingredient. And you can do it multiple times a day. Anytime you notice yourself focusing on something negative, use it as a signal to shift your focus back to what you want.
On Yom Kippur, we get to spend an entire energetically-charged day doing this, giving our full attention to everything we want to feel. As we dedicate ourselves to positivity, we remove negativity.
The Arvei Nachal says “On Yom Kippur, we sit next to the Creator as he looks through each day from the past year and makes an account.” And what is he looking for? Not the time that we shared, gave and connected to the Light, but all of the areas where we can elevate. He counts the moments in which we can transcend darkness and bring down more Light–just as that struggling actor did in those early years of his career.
Jim Carey may have been in circumstances that reflected only lack, failure, and limitation but he remained undefined by it. Instead, he actively chose to know something greater; choosing to draw whatever positivity he could to keep him strong and fortified in his purpose. It is just as true and just as possible for all of us, and it is the gift of Yom Kippur.
In what areas of your life do wish for positive change? What aspects of yourself do wish you could change? What do you dream of accomplishing? And what holds you back from making the changes that can get you get there? Again, it isn’t about judging ourselves but reflecting on how negativity hinders us and then choosing something more positive.
These moments of work help us to bring light out of darkness and, if in one year’s time, a person elevates 24 hours of Light, then that person is considered righteous–because this work isn’t always easy. It includes fighting against obstacles that would stop us from fulfilling our purpose, pushing ourselves when we don’t want to, transforming judgment to compassion, and not being reactive to difficult circumstances. Sharing when we least want to and giving solely for the purpose of giving. These are the keys to drawing down our blessings. Our goal is to bring Light in abundance not only for ourselves but our family, and the world and Yom Kippur gives us a powerful chance to do exactly that.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
As you observe Yom Kippur, give yourself permission to feel the joy, fulfillment, and peace to the highest degree, no matter where you are. Simply allow it. And know that as you draw down the Light into your life, you do so for everyone around you. Gamar Chatima Tova.