MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

T’shuva: Recognizing Holiness

with 4 comments

Photo: Laura Hegfield

I was watching the gathering clouds and their shifting shadows on those familiar mountains for quite a while. I saw you, but it wasn’t until I turned and took a step that I could truly see you.

With an intake of breath, my heart expanded in awe, recognizing yours, so perfectly formed.

How many others had passed by without noticing? What if I had not turned that afternoon, had not taken a step?

Gratitude awakened, witnessing this mirrored image of sacredness balanced on the mountainside.

                                                  You.   Me.   God.

Standing as One in this single moment of grace.

I love this tree. I love remembering the feeling of awe that filled me when I looked through the viewfinder of my camera and realized that the branches and leaves grew into a perfect heart shape. But I didn’t see it right away; it took a while until I was standing in just the right position to be aware of what was in front of me the whole time.

The form was there, the core essence of holiness was present all along, but I had to orient myself properly in order to recognize it. I think the same can be said for the holy essence that resides within each of us.

During the month of Elul, leading up to the Yomim Noraim, the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is a Jewish spiritual practice to make t’shuva — to turn, return to our goodness, our godliness, to God.

We turn inward. We look in our hearts and examine closely the mountains of mistakes we have made. We turn towards those we have hurt and ask for forgiveness. We promise to do better — at the very least to try to be kinder and more thoughtful in the year to come. We do what we can to repair what we have broken. We make a conscious shift from where our hearts were positioned when we were intentionally hurtful or simply not paying attention to our words and actions. We return to God awareness, remembering that it is when we forget our own divinity and that of others that we inflict harm.

We choose to change, to grow. Like the micro-movements of alignment a yogini must make to settle into vrkasana (tree pose) with strength, firmly rooted, balanced, open, present, we readjust our inner stance until we can see beyond the misdeeds, harsh words, insincerity, apathy, judgment and wounds to discover our own holy hearts, beautifully formed, strong, rooted, balanced, open and fully present; silhouetted before the jagged background of those mountains. The dark clouds move aside, our holiness shines brilliantly. It was always there. Here. We forgive ourselves; perhaps the hardest step of all. We have returned.

~ Laura Hegfield


Written by MattAndJojang

September 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm

4 Responses

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  1. What a beautiful tree, and what an interesting perspective. Do you know what tickles me? There are people I know who could look at that photo and not see the heart – just like there are people who look at others and never see their hearts.

    One thing’s clear. Knowing that one step to the right or the left can change the way we see the world, we’d be well advised to keep moving, at least a little. 😉


    September 24, 2011 at 3:32 am

  2. “There are people I know who could look at that photo and not see the heart – just like there are people who look at others and never see their hearts.”

    This is so beautiful and so poetic! So true, too. Reminds me of this quote from the book “The Little Prince:”

    “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”



    September 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

  3. Thanks for reposting this Matt…what an honor. Love the Little Prince Quote you have shared.
    gentle steps,

    Laura Hegfield

    September 29, 2011 at 1:25 am

  4. The honor is ours, Laura! Thank you so much for sharing your reflection. It’s beautiful, profound, and inspiring.

    By the way, I ‘ve also visited your blog, and I love it! Just like you, I ‘ve been suffering from chronic illness for almost ten years. I find it inspiring that you can still be grateful & happy inspite of what you’re going through.

    May God sustain you, protect you, and guide you in your journey. God bless!


    September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

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