Beginning again when every effort needs to count

Fireweed – the first plant to grow after fire.

Beginning again.

It’s something we’ve all had to do once or twice.

For many people it brings up a mixture of excitement (I’m really ready this time!) to dread (Oh, god. I know it’s time, but, shit.).

Regardless of whether it’s a health concern that’s driving the renewal or an artistic practice or even a new relationship or having another child, the combination of anxiety and excitement and expectation can cause more procrastination than is sometimes necessary.

After a long break from actively promoting and running this business, I’m beginning again.

It’s time. I’m not really ready, even though on closer inspection, there’s no good reason not to be. I’m excited to be working again under my own auspice. And also, not-so-much looking forward to rebuilding the writing and communication practice that drives my business. Even though I can write reasonably well and am looking forward to having a writing practice again, I have a variety of insecurities about putting myself out there. Eeek!

Maybe you can relate, even if your own new beginning is in an entirely different portion of your life.

So what the hell. Just do it. Right?!?

The thing with beginning again is that often we come to it a little road weary. And, we don’t want to waste any precious effort or resource like we may have done last time. We have high hopes.

Here are some thoughts and tips on this oh-so-human of endeavors.

First, know how do you typically begin things.

Whether it’s a conversation, meal planning, a job, or a piece of artwork, we are often fairly consistent about how we approach life. Use the 4 Elements as a place to start. While this is very broad brush strokes, do you start with feelings – emotions or intuitions (Water), just jumping in with action and experimentation (Fire), planning and structure (Earth), or inspiration, ideals, and/or lots of talking (Air)?

There’s no right answer here. Observe yourself. No judgement on whether your way is right or wrong or produces success or failure or criticism or approval from others.

Chances are there is some comfort in the way you begin, you know it well. That’s good. We’re not trying to change anything, but rather to make your process more evident, so you can rely on it even more.

You are brilliant and know right the way – the way that is best for you right now.

The initial task is often about uncovering that right way, that right attitude, that right perspective – the ones that are already alive in your body and being. The more clearly we can see your way, the more we can clear obstacles and conserve effort.

You may observe your usual way of beginning and then notice a quirk pop up, something that make this situation unique. Great! Every situation is. Don’t let the quirk become an instant prohibition.

The quirks that make this moment unique are not ‘buts’, they are ‘ands’.

Be on the lookout for the ‘buts’ which immediately impede. There are always new opportunities and new obstacles, variations on a theme. Note them. At some point this knowledge will come in handy. These apparent obstacles are actually bumpers there to help guide you forward.

The lack of money right now means there is a new skill, which once learned, will be the difference to signing on that perfect client in a few months. The repeated resistance, when gazed upon more closely, is an invitation for investing in a deeper faith rather than more strategizing. The too-full schedule is an invitation to clear the clutter in some sector – there is ALWAYS enough time for what really matters, and what really matters doesn’t take as much time as you think.

It is up to you to decide (on your own or with guidance) if each situation is asking you to jettison something or dig deeper into your own skill set for learning or maturing.

Context is always king. Your current constraints and reality are perfect and the perfect starting point.

Understanding how this moment is the same and different as others, how you are now the same and different as you’ve always been, will help guide you to your wisdom as you move through this next chapter.

Next, it’s always a good idea to understand the resources, both internal and external, you have for this endeavor.

Maybe it’s talent or commitment or money or colleagues or friends. Keep those resources foremost in your mind. Track them. Note how they change. They are invaluable as you move along. You’ll need to rely on them at different times, and we all can forget what we’ve got once the stress shows up.

Keep in mind the 4 Elements. The Air, Fire, Earth, Water. The communicating/thinking, the doing, the being/observing, the feeling. Watch your patterns, this is where the wise strategy will be born.

And know these resources will be tested.

Maybe it’s your faith or a friend or the money running thin. In each new challenge in life there is always a test or it’s not a real challenge.

Either you will:

– Have to walk away from something you don’t really need anymore (hint: it will be something you previously thought you couldn’t live without)

or

– You’ll realize a prized resource isn’t available (hint: you CAN rebuild it or replace it)

or

– Some untapped part of you will finally need tapping (hint: this usually comes with that feeling in the gut of trepidation mixed with excitement)

Keep in mind what happens in every great adventure tale:

1. The hero loses that which is not needed. And not usually willingly. Allies die, resources are lost, used up, stolen away. Always turns out the hero didn’t really need these things, their usefulness had been outstripped. This is the lunar path – the letting go of the things we desire but do not need, the things that shine with only reflected light.

2. The heroine keeps going and musters up from inside. This is the solar path. The path of the light of the life. Only you can know this path. No one else can tell you where the courage needs to be used or from where it will be summoned, but you will know when it’s time if you do not already.

Compassion. Always compassion.

It’s one more crucial component to beginning again.

While diligence and hard work almost always mix into new beginnings in some way, it’s easy to forget the compassion – the moments where we admit it’s hard supporting the true courage required for facing the beginning on which maybe your life depends.

Remember, we are not complaining in these moments, only looking for self-sympathy. With each moment that we allow the compassion and recognition of effort, might we be refilling our cup for the next day of standing up, digging in, doing our work? Yes, I am suggesting that compassion and recognition of effort is not just a bit of self-care – the sort that is so trendy – but also a real lever for resilience.

So. How do you begin again?

Start with understanding whether you are feeling it, thinking it, doing it, or being it.

I’d love to hear in the comments how your tales of beginning again have gone. What have you learned from them?

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