In my tradition (I am Jewish) this is a powerful time of reflection – the month before the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is like a 30-day retreat, looking back over the year and taking stock.
I resisted this part of the tradition for a long time, but these last few years, they have begun to work me. There are practices for asking for forgiveness. There are practices for looking inward and strengthening my connection with The Larger Force That Drives the Big Boat. No one needs to be Jewish to do these things, and every tradition has some special way of driving us inward so that we can align and act according to our best possible intention. Lionheart training is a yearlong practice, a time of fierce reflection and adding new tools to facilitate a lifetime of change.
I don’t know whom I would be without having been given the opportunity to practice, to forgive, and to change. As resistant as I have been to any formal practice, at the ripe old age of 62, I am noticing what daily prayer does for me and my ability to constantly forgive others, and myself on apparently a daily basis. What it offers me in relationship to my own grief and sadness, a place where I am not so isolated and self- absorbed. Practice means what it means – practice.
Here’s a great quote from Rabbi Rachel Barenblat that is part of my practice today: “Sometimes change foists itself on us, ready or not….But I think if we’ve already accustomed ourselves to the constancy of change, then when changes come along they’re not so terrifying…Change is always coming. The best tools I know for dealing with change are the best tools I know for dealing with life. Compassion, kindness, plenty of sleep, good hot showers, hugs, prayer. Patience with yourself when you screw it up. Williness to try again. And again. And again.”
Lionheart Teacher, Deborah Allen
Deborah has been facilitating women’s retreats since 1990. She has a private practice as a counselor in Santa Cruz, California, with a focus on women’s health, trauma, and life transitions. She studied for seven years with Center for Intentional Living-a psychology post-graduate program, as well as ongoing training as a group facilitator. Deborah has been invited to lead groups in the United States, Europe, Japan and Africa. Deborah excels at creating an environment that is not only safe but also filled with laughter and discovery.