T'Shuvah, according to our mystical tradition was put into the world before the world was created. I understand this teaching as God knew we were imperfect and wanted us to have a way back when we erred. TShuvah is translated as Repentance, Return, and Response. This is the "work" of the month of Elul. It is our statement of our own imperfection and our desire of wanting to repair damaged relationships and return to a state of connection. TShuvah is also a concept that says CHANGE IS MANDATORY! There is a saying that goes "a leopard doesn't change it's spots". TShuvah says that humans do and must change. The world thinks that once you say something, if you change your mind because of new data, you are 'flip-flopping.' In the real world, if you don't change your mind when new data is presented, you are stuck and stale. The month of Elul is our opportunity to get unstuck and freshen up our lives.
Another aspect of T'Shuvah is HOPE. Because we are able to repair old damages and see the good we have done/created in the past year(s), we can live Hope. Hope is a state of being, not a feeling. It is a state of being because we KNOW that things will change, we are the agents of change and "be the change we want to see". Each day we wake up to a new day and new possibilities. T'Shuvah helps us live Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's teaching: "No two moments are alike." Living in the state of being of Hope allows us to appreciate each moment and, like Rabbi Heschel, be surprised all the time. Tomorrow I will start different ways to be in the process of Tshuvah.