In January I was going to write about new beginnings, but frankly it just seemed like a tired, overused topic for the New Year so I decided to wait until later in the year when it was less obvious and thus, probably needed more.
We human beings seem to need new beginnings; spaces that mark a fresh start. Life gains so much momentum that we often lose ourselves in our obligations and busyness. We lose sight of our values and forget our intentions. We seem to need markers that remind us and give us permission to begin again, anew.
Since January I have thought a great deal about the opportunities for new beginnings and they are everywhere. There is no need to wait for the new year to resolve to begin again. Many people loathe Mondays, the beginning of another work week, back to the grind. But each new week is a chance to begin again. You may not be able to change what is happening in your place of work, but you can change your relationship to it. You can resolve to be a force for energy, cooperation and support among your coworkers. You can make cleaning your desk on Friday a ritual for the new week that will begin on Monday, preparing the way, if you will.
But you don’t have to wait until Monday. Each new day offers the exact same opportunity. Each morning that you wake up and remember to stretch and take a few deep breaths and begin the day unencumbered by yesterday’s grievances is an opportunity to create something new.
In meditation, as we follow the breath we understand that each breath is new. The last exhalation ends and we rest in the pause between breaths and when it is time, the next new breath takes in fresh air, peaks and then releases the old breath back into the world, giving us the opportunity, once more, to rest in the pause and begin anew.
As a therapist I often sit with people whose worlds are falling apart; careers, relationships, health crises, financial disasters, natural disasters, traumas. I know what many of these people cannot even allow themselves to dream in that moment of despair; that a new future is ahead. It is often a future they cannot imagine from their current vantage point. But I have learned, both in my own fifty years of life and in the work that I do with others, that a failure or a crisis that often feels like the end, is truly an opportunity for a new beginning. There may be work to do, such as grief, healing, forgiveness or processing, but these are all the beginning footsteps on the new path.
So, wherever you are, I urge you to take your next full breath with intention, and then the next and remember, you can begin again.