I was honored to be allowed to blow the Shofar at Bonai Shalom on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah. But I had a really hard time preparing for it. I have been blessed for decades with a consistent ability to blow the Shofar that my father gave me. That Shofar and I were like a machine. But this year nothing would seem to come out. The failure affected me deeply. Rabbi Marc helped me tremendously but I was so gripped by self-consciousness and anxiety that I turned to our beloved Reb Zalman [Schachter-Shalomi] for guidance and advice. I thought for sure that I would need at least 30 minutes of private time with him to deal with my “tsuris”. But in his loving, inimitable fashion, when I caught him in Shul he said “Let’s talk now, what is it?” And in about 30 seconds he told me exactly what I needed to hear and understand. I blew just fine and had what was a cathartic experience. I got into “the zone”…way into the zone…I think you could call that Kavanah.From "The Lost Tallis" by Aron Friedman, Boulder Jewish News, October 25, 2011
In email correspondence to me, Aron Friedman adds:
I thought you might find it interesting what Reb Zalman said to me. He simply said: "Lose the ego", and "just think: I am blowing Shofar because Hashem told me to." Simple, direct, beautiful.
I asked Rabbi Soloway if I could face the "Ahron" (ark containing Torah) rather than the congregation like my peer did on the 1st day, and further asked him to please not introduce me. I wore a Kittel, draped my father's tallis over my head and focused my Kavanah. Exactly what I needed to do.