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Embrace Optimism in the New Year

01/02/2019 08:26:31 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

The start of a new year brings with it an opportunity to start over, to rededicate ourselves to that which is most important in our lives; to remind ourselves that we can free ourselves of the burdensome patterns that tend to overtake us. We can start fresh, adopting new patterns, dedicating ourselves with intentionality to people and pursuits that help us to fill our days with meaning.

I’ve been having conversations lately with a friend about his optimistic outlook. The crux of his philosophy is that he sees the world as changeable and that we should apply a sense of optimism to the way we navigate daily living. With the right mixture, we can indeed accomplish much more than we imagine. When we gather the right people together, we can form support networks to get us through difficult times. When we commit to a course of study, we inspire new approaches to time-tested dilemmas. When we direct ourselves more fully to spiritual pursuits, we realize just how much we are missing in the realm of everyday holiness. In applying our optimism, we refuse to accept the dominant narrative and instead work to craft our own. We go from consumers to producers, from readers to writers.

I like to believe that we are better than the sum of our parts, that we have accomplished more than the lines on our resume or website bio. I like to believe that we can live deliberately even while responding to the chaos of being in relationship with others. That is a step to identifying as an optimist. And chief among my goals in this year ahead is to apply that optimism as often as I can.

Whatever your own resolutions at the start of this New Year, may your year be filled with smiles, may your encounter challenges that you can overcome, may you learn from mistakes, and may goodness and God-ness envelop you each and every day.

Shabbat Shalom,


Tue, February 18 2020 23 Sh'vat 5780