A Fresh Start

Happy 2016 everyone!  It’s hard to believe that another year has ended and a new one begun.  But that’s the nature of things isn’t it?  The tide rolls in and rolls out; we move from season to season, sometimes more seamlessly and other times more abruptly; we breathe in and breathe out, with one breath moving into the next; we move from one month to the next and one year to the next.  The practice of endings and beginnings is all around us. 
 
And with each new beginning we get to start fresh – it’s like a magic re-set button. 
 
With that thought in mind, I'm reflecting on these first few  weeks of 2016, which have been a little challenging..
 
The holidays are such a special time of year. We make it a point to visit with family and friends.  Jonathan is off from school and my teaching schedule usually simmers down quite a bit. It becomes somewhat of a suspension from reality.  We eat well, stay up too late, maybe catch up on a little sleep, laugh a lot, travel a lot, and spend pretty much every waking moment together. It’s really terrific.  But then the holidays subside and with it the festivities and the suspension from reality.  We are smacked hard with the fact that Monday morning is arriving and so is work and early morning schedules…schedules in general. 

The end of this holiday season we all felt tremendously, and it was particularly hard for Maddie as I had to work early Monday morning, something she is not accustomed to.  Jonathan was gone, I was leaving, and her dear babysitter was arriving all before she had time to really, fully understand that we would not be spending the whole day together.  Bouts of anger flared as did negotiations, tempers, even some fights.  With each breath that rolled in and out I kept telling myself here’s my chance to begin again -  to try a new tactic: to pause; to retaliate; to take a time out; to sit and get grounded.  Each breath reminded me that I had the chance to start again – sometimes I did so successfully, sometimes I did not.  And every night as one day turned into the next, I made it a point to start fresh: to start with a clean slate;  to begin again; to try to be the best version of myself - the kind, compassionate, patient version of me I wanted to be; the one with the integrity that I value. While it didn’t always work, it helped me see the possibility for forgiving myself for not being the perfect parent or partner.  And it also helped me to see that through it all we are always practicing – and that there’s always something to practice and always a way to practice – and that we get a chance to start practicing if we forget.
 
So, dear friends, what do you want to practice this new year of 2016?
 
Is it joy, presence, kindness, fearlessness…?  Whatever it is, put it in your breath, put it in your heart, put it in your body, put it in your mind, write it down…let it be a part of you.  And when you forget – don’t worry. You can always come back and start fresh.  That’s the beauty of each new year, each new month, each new breath, each new moment- that’s the beauty of practice – you get a chance to begin again! 
 
Peace, Love, and Bliss,
 
Beth
 

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