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Finding the New

Beginning something new is a thing, isn’t it?   Sometimes it’s something simple and exciting, like picking up a new book or trying that new restaurant in town.

Other times it’s more like that blank piece of paper waiting for the first brilliant word or the desire for that first note to break the silence with meaning – daunting, sometimes overwhelming.

Leaving all those expectations aside, what’s beginning really about?  How do we find meaningful beginnings?  How do we find beginnings that will lead to something?

If we want to begin something new, we’re looking for the opportunity to see the world in a different way, to experience ourselves in a new way.  How do we do that?

Well, one way is to just stop and look around.  Even if you haven’t left your house for months, what haven’t you looked at lately?  How often do you look up?  What does the top of the refrigerator look like?  What’s down by the floorboards?

What if you turned yourself upside down to look around?

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We really get set in habits and patterns, don’t we?  So we can support a new beginning by breaking our visual habits.

How about we look at those great expectations?  What if, instead of grandiose plans, we focused on changing habits?  Small ones, even.  Like the small changes you can make in noticing the world around you.

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of the butterfly/tornado story by now.  Just as a reminder, the poetic version of “small changes can have big effects” says that if a butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings, a meteorologist in Texas will have to change his forecast to include a tornado.  Welcome to non-literal chaos theory.

So, if you’re ready to take off into the whirlwind of growth that Spring promises each year, how about making small changes in the way you pay attention to the world around you?  Let a small change in habit be your breakthrough to a new beginning.

Room to Breathe

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The Truth of the Heart

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Updating Meditation

My out-of-work barn cat has been put on a diet.  Just about the time I sit down to meditate, she starts her persistent lobbying for another meal.  And they say meditation always has new levels of challenge.


Supporting Your Resolutions

Making a resolution really winds up being making a series of mini-resolutions.  The problem is, we usually miss the little ones with our focus on the big end-game.  And that’s why so many of us “fail” at our new year resolutions.

By now, you’ve probably had plenty of time to find “failure”.  Crazy that it only takes a couple of weeks, isn’t it?  You tried to stick to your new movement program and the first cold, dark morning, you rolled over and gave it up.  You held out on the new way of eating and then had a binge fest in front of a screen binge.  You sought to understand alternative points of view for days and then had a verbal slash fest when that last pin dropped on your last nerve.

See, the thing is . . . these aren’t failures.  Not even temporary ones.  They’re the moments that let you know where you need more than a running start to get to the big goal.

It’s just a matter of acknowledging all the little steps along the way to any goal.  You didn’t get to your professional status just through force of will: you got an education, you made contacts, you took the jobs – even the ones you didn’t really want — that contribute to a body of experience that would support the position you now hold.  You didn’t become a “grown up” just by wishing it: you lived a bunch of years that filled in the gaps.  You didn’t just sight read that Faure Elegie at Carnegie Hall: there was a lot of learning and prep time before the concert Catch my drift?

Yes, there are those wonderful windfalls when you wind up at the end of the path straight from the beginning.  Wormholes.  Chutes and Ladders.  But if you’re struggling with your resolution, by definition, that ain’t you right now.

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So, now is when you back up and see what mini-resolutions you need to set to reach your big one.  “I resolve to arrange my day for lunchtime/evening/select-another-option movement when the morning is cold and dark and I don’t want to get out of bed.”  (Just one possibility out of manymanymany.)  “I resolve to have available the biggest tray of popcorn, celery and carrot sticks I’ve ever seen before I sit down to watch 6,000 episodes of Supernatural.”  “I resolve, twice a week, to find a train crossing where I can scream all the things I wanted to say but didn’t.”

And you set a new line-up of mini-resolutions as often as you need to, to support you in working toward the one big one.  Instead of a line of excuses and obstacles, you’ve got a set of stepping stones to reach the new you you’re aiming for.