I always get really excited when holidays fall on a Wednesday. Fourth of July, Halloween, all on Wednesdays this year. It means we can throw super fun, whacky, themed workouts. But when I realized Yom Kippur fell on a Wednesday this year, I was pretty torn as to what to do. For those that don’t know, Yom Kippur is one of the holiest days in Judaism. It’s the day of atonement after the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah), the day in which we ask God for forgiveness, and to secure our fate in the ‘book of life’ for the coming year. Most Jews fast, to put aside physical desires and concentrate on spiritual needs through prayer, repentance and self-improvement. Super fun stuff perfect for an NP workout, I know! I dreaded about what I would do for September 19th. Would I co-lead the workout, or lay low and focus on my own atonement (because having that much fun on Yom Kippur felt sinful, and Jewish guilt is a powerful force).
The real root of Yom Kippur is self betterment; to atone for your wrong doings, and enter the New Year with a clean slate. It dawned on me that self improvement is also at the root of fitness, November Project, and our local tribe. We all have goals we were working towards, and our community is designed to help us reach them: those plyometric exercises you know will make you stronger, but you never wanted to do them on your own; the regular Track Tuesday workouts, to make you faster; the hugs or high fives throughout the workout, to make everyone feel welcomed, supported and motivated; the continued work of November Project Global’s, to create an even more respectful, diverse, and inclusive community. These goals are all incredible iterations of self-improvement, ones I think would impress any Rabbi.
I know this community motivates me to be my best. I wouldn’t have trained for and completed my first marathon last weekend, if not for the November Project. Every week, our local tribe inspires me to not only meet my fitness goals but to more respectful and appreciative of everyone who joins us at 6:30 am. The positive vibes from our workout stay with me and are something I try to spread throughout the day.
So, I decided to show up this morning. I was inspired by Nas’s I Can and Shira of NPSD to lead a bounce that felt relevant to the goal of being your best, and working towards being what you want to be.
As I sat in services today, I read some of the missed-deeds in the prayer book that were suggested as things you could atone for. Many of them resonated with me, and I thought they might be relevant for the three of you who are still reading:
- “For neglecting to treat my body/ mind as my temple, needing attention, repair, exercise, and rest”
- “For allowing myself to internalize false images of what I am supposed to look like, for holding myself to an ideal that is neither healthy nor liberating”
- “For failing to be mindful, grateful and appreciative of the wonders and people around me”
Whether you’re religious or completely disinterested in spirituality or organized worship, I think self-improvement is a goal we’re all working towards. So thanks for continuing to show up, and continuing to motivate me on my own path bettering myself.
-Rebecca, Co-Leader of November Project Oakland
-Recruiting Challenge continues through the end of September, track your recruits here!
-Color wars continue next week for PR Wednesday at Cleveland Cascade. As it stands now, Team Green has 522 points and Team Yellow has 550 points.
-Save the Date for NP_OAK & NPSF Show & Tell on October 4! (more info here)