Begin Again

Whether your resolutions are cruising right along or rapidly growing stale, this simple tip can free you from stuck-ness and open up a world of possibility.

I’m always so stoked for New Year’s. Not for the fireworks, or the epic board games, or the bubbly. It’s because this is the one time of year that our society collectively gives everyone permission to start fresh. Together, we celebrate "beginning again."

Most of us feel some degree of excitement and renewal – the hopeful act of turning over a new leaf, and the blank slate of possibility that arrives with it. It’s interesting, however, that for the most part, we’ve all engaged in this tradition of giving ourselves exactly ONE annual opportunity to begin again. C'mon...that's hardly sufficient for us imperfect humans :)

This is one of the things I’ve learned to deeply appreciate about meditation. Through practice, you discover that every moment, every breath is an invitation to begin again. You can choose in each moment how you’re going to show up and how you’re going to live out that specific moment. Kind or unkind, present or absent. In the words of teacher Sharon Salzberg:

“The amazing gift of being alive is that no matter what, you can always begin again.”

Now that’s hopeful.

Ryan and I attended a retreat at Great Vow Monastery this past fall, and one of the themes they repeated over and over was “begin again.” We would meditate for 8+ hours each day – we’d get drowsy, angry, sad, hungry, physically uncomfortable (like REALLY) and our minds would wander to Timbuktu and back. And yet, we were warmly encouraged to “begin again.”

What liberating permission to give ourselves. Why not carry this into our everyday life? Not just once per year. But moment after moment.

Make a mistake? Begin again. Get bristly with your spouse? Begin again. Overeat? Begin again. Skip your morning meditation? Begin again. Haven’t even thought about your resolutions and it’s January 23rd? No prob - you got this! Begin again.

This doesn’t mean get sloppy and keep a liberal stack of “get out jail free” cards on the counter. It's still important to hold your resolutions gently,