The Jewish month of Elul is when we gear up for the High Holidays. During this season, G‑d is closer to us than ever. Like a king leaving his palace to accept the petitions of the common folks, G‑d is especially tuned in during Elul.

G‑d is listening, G‑d is close, but where am I? Where do I stand with G‑d?

I can begin to improve my relationship with G‑d by examining my relationships with my fellow man, by conducting a "searching and fearless moral inventory." Thank G‑d for the 4th step!

So I sit down with a pen and a supply of paper and I begin writing… Whom do I resent? Whom do I fear? To whom do I owe amends? Maybe I can only come up with a few names. But that's great! G‑d loves the effort that I am making.

I am not trying to be harsh with myself, just to be honest so I can improve. Not to blame, but to come clean. Not to find fault, but simply to recognize which of my own character defects might be preventing me from connecting to others, to G‑d, and to myself. After I own my imperfections, I can let them go.

This is not about people on the outside; it is about looking into myself - inside my own head and heart. Maybe I have habits like being selfish or inconsiderate of others. At some time in my past, these habits may have been ways of protecting myself. But now they form my E.G.O.: Edge G‑d Out. And now, during Elul, I want to edge Him back in my consciousness and my life.

It's human to be human. G‑d made us human, with imperfections, so we would own them and work on them. That is how we invite Him back in.

Hold on to your list and smile: The year is already different.