Begin again. Two simple words that are said when one is meditating and the mind has wandered to thinking about the day’s activities, anxiety about a deadline, or the million other things that occupy our brains. Begin again. It brings the mind back to focus on the breath and affords you the possibility of having a moment (or a few seconds in my case) of stillness until the thoughts intrude again.
What I love about this phrase and the practice of using it, is that it reminds me that starting over is always an option. And in many ways that is what our mission “making hope and opportunity happen” is all about. For so many of our clients, it’s about beginning again. After a tragedy. Or a life changing detour. Or unforeseen circumstances. After which each of us who has gone through a disruptive event or experience stands at a cross roads with the choice to fold up our tents or begin again.
You don’t have to be in the midst of a life changing event to consider beginning again. It can be as simple as a practice I’ve adopted in the last few years of examining my behavior with rigorous honesty at the end of each day to see if it was principled, kind, and aligned with my values. Surprise, surprise – it isn’t always. But what IS always true is that I can CHOOSE to start over. Where did I act out of resentment? To whom was my heart not fully open? How did I not show up as myself? Where did I let fear drive my decision making? Was I less than thoughtful? Did I talk more than listen?
I contemplate. I consider alternatives. I think about how to repair. And then…I begin again.
May the coming year be one of many new beginnings for us all.