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If you're not doing this, you're missing out...

Greetings & Blessings,
This month we have a very special opportunity and I didn't want you 
to miss out! This past weekend, we celebrated Rosh Chodesh, the new
Hebrew month of Elul. The special spiritual energy of this time
is to review our lives, and reconnect and strengthen our relationship with G-d. 

The spiritual power of the month of Elul is explained by a beautiful
parable based on the teachings of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi,
the first Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch:

When the king is in his palace you dress in your best, you make
an appointment and if you are lucky and the ministers let you pass, 
you are admitted to the fabulous, impressive chambers of the King. 
But when the King is out inspecting his fields, he is closer and 
easier to approach. You don't have to go through so much red tape. 
The king smiles at you and receives you just as you are.

I've heard this parable many times, but this time I got curious.
Just what does a farmer do in the fields at this time of year?
Does the farmer have some wisdom for us for Elul?

You may not know this about me, but I've lived on a sheep ranch,
a horse ranch, and a cattle ranch, but still I had to look it up.
I had a feeling there would be some juicy morsels there to share with you.
So, what does a farmer do?

First, the farmer picks his harvest. He looks over his fruits and vegetables
and sorts through them, picking out the best ones to sell and rejecting the
ugly, malformed or rotten ones. After the farmer harvests, he plows the field.
He digs and turns the soil with great force, breaking up the clumps into finer soil,
and destroying the roots of the weeds. Finally, the farmer prepares for the following
year with preventative maintenance, cleaning and inspecting his equipment
for damage and repairing it.

And so it is with us. The month of Elul arrives blowing the winds of teshuva,
reminding us to return to G-d. Teshuva is the spiritual process we use to
examine our good deeds and mistakes. Just like the farmer picks through his
harvest, we look for the things we've done right, and decide how we can do them even better. 

Where can we fit a little more Torah study into each day? How much extra tzedakah - charity can we squeeze out of our salary to give to the poor? When can we spend a few more minutes each day talking to G-d? 

Just as the farmer plows his field, we uproot the weedy character traits that are holding us back from G-d. We break up our harmful habits and refine our character traits by turning over our negative traits into positive ones.

And just like the farmer, we prepare for Rosh Hashanah (Oct. 3-4) and
Yom Kippur (Oct. 12) with preventative maintenance. We examine, clean and
repair our souls with our intense introspection during this holy month of Elul.

So, how do we do this?
We create a Teshuvah Action Plan!

Over the next few weeks of Elul, G-d willing, I'll be writing to you
a little more often to give you some juicy tips for creating your own TAP - Teshuvah
Action Plan. In this way, you can enter the new year with a bountiful harvest
of good deeds and intentions ready to give to the King on Rosh Hashanah.

Wishing you a  K'Siva Vachasima Tova, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
So, my friend, the winds of Teshuvah are in the air! How would you like to change? What good things would you like to increase? What harvest do you want to give to the King?

I'd really like to know, so please comment below and share your thoughts with me. 
May you enjoy your inner Elul journey!
The Artnotes above are included in "The Return to G-d Soul Kit," which is available

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