Awareness helps you begin again - over and over in life. Whether it's a habit you're trying to form, a new routine, a relationship or even a mindset or attitude - beginning again is an option. With the presence of mind to see that coming back to something would be skillful, healthy and constructive you can restart at any time with ease. You have the choice of letting go of the self-judgement, the critical voice of "I should have" and the notion in life that everything is all or nothing.
Many people tend to think the progress already put in doesn't count if a routine gets broken. Or that stopping a new habit means failure and the end of the story. But this simply isn't true. If you meditate for ten minutes a day for 5 days in a row and then skip three days, not beginning again is the only ending in that scenario.
When you try to develop new habits to support your well being, it is helpful to have an attitude that knows when challenges or obstacles get in the way, you can look them in the eye, adjust and simply begin again.
Starting again involves persistence and courage but also the willingness to let go. To let go of the judgements that so often come up as we're learning or growing. To let go of unrealistic expectations. To let go of any notion that success is easy or happens in a linear fashion.
How do you let go? By bringing some attention to what you’re holding onto so tightly. Is it an expectation that things should be easy, that you should learn something the first time, or even a belief that you’re destined to fail? With self-compassion, these expectations that get in your way of restarting a new habit can be looked at with clarity and tenderness. Loosening your attachment to the judgements helps open you up to giving yourself some grace and simply sliding into a new start with less stress and angst.
Formal meditation is a great practice for learning to begin again. As you sit in meditation, you notice being caught in thinking about your to do list - then you return your attention to the breath and begin again. Or maybe you notice getting wrapped up in a stream of stories about the past and you check back in with the sensations in your feet and come back to the now. Over and over, mindfulness trains you to start over. To wake up repeatedly and to begin again with compassion.
In any given moment - and well beyond the turn of the new year - beginning again is a way to give yourself some grace, to stay committed to your well being, to build resilience and to learn and grow.
Let us know how you apply the practice of beginning again in your life in the comments below.