In past years, I have always approached Elul by determining what new practices I would take upon myself. Regardless of whether it was truly more than I could handle at the time or not, I felt somewhat compelled to take on these new practices. After all, isn’t this what one does in Elul when everyone is trying to stockpile more merits in his corner before the awesome day of Rosh Hashana when their fate will be decided for the upcoming year?
Reflecting on Eluls past, I asked myself if this approach worked for me or whether it just left me exhausted before Tishrei even began. Was I doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
It appeared that I was.
I am not following this pedal to the metal approach this Elul. Rather, I have been devoting my hour of hisbodedus each morning to asking Hashem to help me identify and rectify unhealthy thought patterns; thought patterns which ultimately serve as a barrier between Hashem and myself.
Much of Elul is now behind me and I have only started scratching the surface removing this unhealthy mental residue. It is an extremely slow process and I am certain that there is still much lurking in my blind spots.
Nevertheless, I am confident that it is the journey that will lead me to the real me.