I am currently reading the well known book, Women Who Run With the Wolves and just finished a story, La Loba, about an old woman who travels around the world to collect bones. Once she has a completed skeleton in front of her, she sings and the skeleton transforms into a human being who runs free. This story reminds me of the work we are encouraged to do during the month of Elul, the preparation month for the High Holiday Season. This is a time to collect our bones and integrate them into who we were born to be, rather than who we wish we could be. Instead of focusing on a fantasized life that we could create if only we had this, that or the other, we are challenged to look inward and reflect on how we can transform our inner landscape to be truly and completely ourselves. Yes, it is a month where we ask others to forgive us for how we may have wronged them, but most importantly it is a time for us to return to ourselves (as is suggested by the Hebrew word used for forgiveness, Teshuvah, that comes from the wordShav- to return). In order for us as Jews, Californians, Americans, Global Citizens... etc to come together and live in peace and harmony, we must first look for our bones and learn the sweet sweet song of our soul.